The Phalene is a happy, lively, outgoing, affectionate lapdog who also loves to run and play--especially outdoors! He loves to cuddle and give kisses, and can be a calm, gentle and patient companion. But he's also a high-energy, fast-moving, go-getting athlete who needs a fair amount of exercise. He's always ready to play in the house and romp and roll around on the floor. He loves to take long walks, or to compete in dog-sports like agility. He is extremely easy to train and highly obedient: he has been named the number one toy obedience breed. He is very eager to please you and quick to learn new tricks. He craves the companionship of his owner and wants to be with you as much as possible, and needs to give as well as receive lots of attention and affection. He is very friendly with guests and will welcome them with polite kisses. He makes an excellent therapy dog. He is a good watchdog who will sound the alarm if something suspicious is happening. Sometimes he can bark too much, but he is not a yappy dog. He can sometimes take a while to housebreak, and is occasionally stubborn. He needs a daily walk and should always be leashed when outdoors, or allowed to play in a safely fenced area. You will need to check for small openings and holes in your fence that might allow him to get out. You need to supervise him around larger dogs, since he may bark sharply or jealously toward them and they can intentionally or unintentionally hurt his small body. He can be good with cats if raised with them, and is fine with smaller dogs. He is not recommended for young children because of his smallness and delicacy, but he loves older, well-behaved children. Both adults and children must be careful not to let him jump from high places, since he might hurt himself. He is a high-shedder, and so is not a good pet if you are concerned about dog-hair in the home.
The Phalene is 8 to 11 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 8 to 10 pounds. He has a medium-length, silky, flowing, straight coat. His coat is always multicolored, and may contain white with black, lemon, red, tan, brown, sable or silver.
He only needs an occasional brushing. But you might find yourself brushing him more often, however, to remove all the loose hair he will otherwise shed around your home.
The Phalene is the earliest form of what is now known as the Papillon, and precedes his prick-eared relative by a century or more. He has moth-like, drooping ears ("phalene" is a French word for "moth"), and his image is visible in paintings by 15th-century Old Masters. He was extremely popular in the courts of Europe, and may have been owned by Marie Antionette. By the 1900's however the Papillon had surpassed the Phalene in popularity, and by the 20th century the "little moth dog" was in danger of extinction. The 21st century has seen renewed interest in the Phalene, although he is still outnumbered by the Papillon. While many nations class the two dogs separately, the AKC officially recognizes the Phalene and the Papillon as a single breed.