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Ever spot what you thought was a fox, but it turned out to be your neighbor’s dog? It’s no surprise that some dog breeds are often confused with foxes, as today’s dogs descended from wolves, a close fox relative. But unlike their wild cousins, dogs have evolved to understand and communicate with humans.

By Jennifer Lesser Ever spot what you thought was a fox , but it turned out to be your neighbor’s dog? Spitzes are colder weather, double-coated dogs with perky ears, pointy muzzles, and curly or bushy tails. These predominant spitz qualities are what give these dogs a foxy look. If you leave in an area without winters, these dogs might not tolerate it well or may be prone to overheating. Initially bred for hunting, the shiba inu is a spitz breed of Japan. These intelligent , independent dogs can be a challenge to train and can sometimes develop issues, including possessiveness and aggression. They’re an affectionate, loyal breed with their families, although they might be wary of strangers. Often referred to as a “silent hunter,” the Akita is the largest Japanese spitz breed. But they also tend to be fiercely loyal and have long served as guard and hunting dogs. As a high-energy breed, Akitas require rigorous daily exercise. The American Eskimo dog looks similar to the snowy white Arctic fox. These dogs tend to be affectionate, loyal, protective watchdogs for their families. Their heavy coats shed a lot and require diligent grooming. The independent, spunky schipperke looks like a small black fox. They love to be involved in daily activities, especially outdoor exercise, with their families. The Samoyed is another spitz breed that originated in the Arctic, primarily the Siberian area of Russia. These solid and intelligent dogs were historically bred to pull sleds on polar expeditions. Today, they are mainly kept as affectionate and playful family pets, though they have retained their strong instinct to chase small animals. Often called the barking bird dog, the Finnish spitz is a highly energetic breed that requires a significant amount of daily exercise for both its physical and mental well-being. These dogs make loving family pets but are prone to barking out of boredom, especially when their exercise needs aren’t met. It’s a playful and protective dog that makes a loyal pet. It craves human companionship and can be prone to separation anxiety. The Norwegian elkhound is a highly energetic breed that requires rigorous daily exercise. These dogs tend to be loyal to their families and great with children. Coat and Color: Straight and stand-off outer coat paired with a short, soft, dense undercoat; colors include black, brown, orange, red, and white Many Chihuahuas, especially those with long fur, look strikingly similar to the tiny, big-eared fennec fox . These dogs tend to bond closely with their favorite humans but might be standoffish with other people and animals. Despite their small size, they need a fair amount of mental and physical exercise to keep them happy.

Which breed of dog looks like a fox?

Shiba Inu. Of all the dogs that look like foxes, the Shiba may be one of the most well-known. Made famous by “doge” meme, the Shiba Inu is the most popular companion dog breed in Japan.

What small breed of dog looks like a fox?

Long-haired chihuahua. These miniature fluffy purse dogs are one of the smaller dogs that look like foxes. Chihuahuas are actually the tiniest dog breed in existence. They require very minimal exercise and grooming, making them one of the most low-maintenance dogs out there.

What animal looks like a fox?

Jackals look kind of like foxes, only larger. They have thin frames, slender faces, bushy tails and large ears. Jackals are found in southeastern Asia and Africa. Jackals live in small family groups and will hunt together.

Why does a Shiba look like a fox?

Because of its independent nature, this dog breed is more of a one-person companion and does well in small families. … The Shiba Inu’s fur and colors make them look just like foxes, according to the AKC. They love playing and spending time with their owners.

We wouldn’t be the first to admit that foxes are rather adorable, sometimes even resembling a small dog you’d like to have around your home. Dogs descend from wolves, but they do have a genetic similarity to foxes, so it’s no surprise that there are a handful of uncanny resemblances. But unlike dogs, foxes would make a pretty dreadful pet due to their wild nature and inability to be trained properly. It’s actually illegal to own a pet fox in the United States, but luckily there aren’t any laws saying that you can’t own a dog that looks like one. These dogs could be easily mistaken for foxes if you want more of a wild animal look in your pup. If stuffed animals are more your style, check out these puppies that look just like teddy bears.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a suitable companion for people who love being outside because these pups need tons of physical activity. Inexperienced dog owners may find this breed to be a challenge, but with continuous training, they can be the sweetest, most loveable pups. Before running to your local animal shelter, make sure to read our official guide on choosing the best dog for your family . Basenjis require a ton of both physical and mental stimulation, getting destructive when they get bored, but they ultimately remain pretty clean, grooming themselves like cats. In Japanese culture, babies receive a tiny Akita Inu ornament from family because the breed signifies health, happiness, and long life. They were initially bred for hunting and remain one of the few ancient dog breeds still surviving today, although they did face extinction right after World War II. One of the most versatile breeds on this list, they would be happy in any home from a small apartment in a bustling city or a large house with lots of land.

Foxes are undeniably one of the most beautiful animals that we can spot in the wild and sometimes in urban areas. With their slender appearance, pointy ears, and bushy tails, these witty creatures stole the heart of many animal lovers. However, foxes do not do well in closed environments and can rarely be kept as pets. Fortunately, there are several breeds of dogs that look like foxes, and they will make a perfect addition to any family.

Looking like a smaller version of the foxy-looking Akita, the Shiba Inu is a confident, courageous, alert, and highly trainable little dog. Dholes are true to their wild ancestry – they can run at an impressive speed of over 34 miles per hour and kill prey ten times their size. During WW II, people used Canaan Dogs as mine detectors, trackers, messengers, and guardians. The Norwegian Buhund is a foxy looking, Spitz type, medium-sized dog with a square build, prick ears, and a high-set tail curled over the back. Highly treasured by ancient Toltec and Aztec civilizations, the Chihuahua is the world’s 30th most popular dog breed. The breed belongs to the hunting dogs group , and has a nickname the Silent Hunter because of its unusual quietness while following its prey’s trail. The Akita Inu strikingly resembles foxes – it has high-pricked and pointed, triangular ears, long and thick fur. It is an interesting fact that despite its diminutive size, people initially bred the Volpino Italiano to be a guard dog. Resembling a lot the white Arctic Fox, the American Eskimo Dog has high-pricked, wedge-shaped ears and distinctively marked black points on the nose, eye rims, and lips. People initially bred Finnish Spitz for hunting purposes, and it was a bark pointer – its job was alerting the hunter of the prey’s presence and location. The Finish Spitz’s fox-like appearance is due to the fluffy red coat, squarely built body, and small, high-pricked ears. Today, Corgis have a special place at Buckingham Palace as Queen Elisabeth II’s favorite breed. The huge personality stashed in a small, stocky body makes the Pembroke Welsh Corgi a somewhat eccentric dog breed. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a foxy-looking and extremely active dog with a never-ending reserve of energy and go-all-day stamina. The breed owes its name to its initial purpose – the term schipperke in Flemish means little captain because this dog’s role was catching rats on ships. Breeders initially developed Kugsha to carry heavy loads over long distances, and therefore, even modern Khugsa dogs have strong legs and bodies. Pharaohs praised the Basenji because of its foxy and unusual appearance, and African tribesmen cherished its impeccable hunting skills. Physically resembling the Arctic fox , the Japanese Spitz has pricked ears and a white coat that is often described as Kitsune-like. Owning a Japanese Spitz means taking tons of cute pictures since this dog can smile. What gives this breed its foxy appearance are the upright ears, the abundance of fur, tan coat colors, and feisty nature. The Papillon originated in Spain, but we can trace its ancestry back to 15th century Italy when Tiziano Vecellio started painting his famous family portraits.

Fox is a beautiful creature, but it doesn’t make a good pet due to its free and cunning nature. Fortunately, numerous genetic and physical traits of dogs and foxes are quite similar to each other. If you are looking for a pet, the dog breeds that resemble foxes are a much better alternative. Below is a list of 10 foxy dogs that you can adopt.

Therefore, if you want a fox as a pet, it’s ideal to go with the red and white Alaskan Klee Kai. They are also good at making ‘yodeling’ sounds, and this has earned them the name ‘Barking Bird Dog’. This dog breed requires a lot of exercise to maintain its physical and mental health. The history of the Japanese Spitz is unclear because all the records were wiped out during World War II. This dog breed also needs a lot of exercise and can become moody if sufficient physical activity is NOT provided. Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be traced back to Queen Elizabeth II as her prized dogs. Shiba Inu is among the most popular dog breeds in the world, partially because of the ‘doge’ meme. They were bred as guard dogs and the modern Volpino Italiano retains its energetic and lively nature.

Breed Characteristics

Many dogs that look like foxes are spitz breeds. They tend to be intelligent, active, and high shedders. Spitzes are colder weather, double-coated dogs with perky ears, pointy muzzles, and curly or bushy tails. These predominant spitz qualities are what give these dogs a foxy look.Here are 10 dog breeds that look just like foxes.

13 Dogs That Look Like Foxes

Run, don’t walk, to the nearest shelter to bring home one of these adorable dogs that look like foxes.

We wouldn’t be the first to admit that foxes are rather adorable, sometimes even resembling a small dog you’d like to have around your home. Dogs descend from wolves, but they do have a genetic similarity to foxes, so it’s no surprise that there are a handful of uncanny resemblances. But unlike dogs, foxes would make a pretty dreadful pet due to their wild nature and inability to be trained properly. It’s actually illegal to own a pet fox in the United States, but luckily there aren’t any laws saying that you can’t own a dog that

Alaskan Klee Kai

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a suitable companion for people who love being outside because these pups need tons of physical activity. They were originally bred to create a lap-sized version of a Husky, but there are a few key differences. Unlike Huskies, Alaskan Klee Kai dogs are more suited to be companion dogs even with their high levels of energy and intense demand for exercise. Inexperienced dog owners may find this breed to be a challenge, but with continuous training, they can be the sweetest, most loveable pups. Before running to your local animal shelter, make sure to read our official guide on choosing the best dog for your family.

Basenji

These dogs are incredibly vocal and will howl until they have your full attention, but they are also known as “barkless” dogs. Their voice is a unique sound described as something between a chortle and a yodel. Basenjis require a ton of both physical and mental stimulation, getting destructive when they get bored, but they ultimately remain pretty clean, grooming themselves like cats. Don’t miss the real reason why dogs howl.

Akita Inu

In Japanese culture, babies receive a tiny Akita Inu ornament from family because the breed signifies health, happiness, and long life. As a pet, this breed can be quiet, unpredictable, and a challenge to train. They can be wary of strangers and are frequently intolerant of other animals. But they remain tremendously loyal and live up to their reputation of being a guard dog. Akina Inus flourish with human companionship and will do whatever they can to keep those they love safe. Don’t miss these common puppy training mistakes that you’ll regret making later.

Shibu Inu

This breed’s color and size make them appear almost exactly like a fox. They are an ancient breed of hunting dog and currently serve as the most popular companion dog in Japan. Shibu Inus love to run around and play with their humans, but they do suffer from separation anxiety. They were initially bred for hunting and remain one of the few ancient dog breeds still surviving today, although they did face extinction right after World War II. One of the most versatile breeds on this list, they would be happy in any home from a small apartment in a bustling city or a large house with lots of land. Before letting your dog run around your backyard, make sure it’s clear from these common dog dangers.

Keeshond

This breed is very closely related to Pomeranians and Samoyeds. Keeshonds love to keep their owner’s company and typically struggle when left alone for long periods of time. A run or walk daily is necessary to keep this dog healthy and happy; bonus points if their human plays alongside them. Learn how long it’s OK to leave your dog home alone.

Long-haired chihuahua

These miniature fluffy purse dogs are one of the smaller dogs that look like foxes. Chihuahuas are actually the tiniest dog breed in existence. They require very minimal exercise and grooming, making them one of the most low-maintenance dogs out there. Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal, and their size doesn’t stop them from protecting their pack. Check out more of the most adorable lapdogs.

Finnish Spitz

The Finnish Spitz is incredibly loving, friendly, and playful making them ideal for families. They are a medium-sized breed that originated from Finland—they remain the national dog of Finland today! Unlike the very timid fox, this breed is incredibly outgoing and friendly. They can actually “yodel” up to 160 barks per minute, a talent formerly used to entrance prey. Here are some tips on how to get your dog to stop barking—without yelling.

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz has a prominent resemblance to Arctic foxes. This breed is always up for the next adventure whether that be a run on the beach, a hike with a view, or a long car ride. They learn very quickly and love to smile, especially during a long day of fun activities. Learn how much exercise your dog really needs.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Standing at just about a foot tall and weighing up to 30 pounds, don’t be fooled by their size. Corgis will excitedly join you on long walks and are extremely hard-working. They’ve actually been Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite pet— and rightfully so. Corgis are the epitome of a large dog in a small package. They are clever and sensitive while remaining independent. As long as they get their daily walks, they will be the most loyal and loving dog. See which dog breeds are best for children and their families.

Schipperke

Schipperkes are actually a lot smaller than they seem standing at only 13 inches or less and weighing up to 16 pounds. They were formerly popular among ship crews and were used to catch rats leading to the name Schipperke meaning “little captain” in Flemish. These dogs are fearless, loyal, and make a great guard dog. Don’t miss more rare dog breeds you probably didn’t know about, but will want to bring home immediately.

Korean Jindo

Originally from Jingo Island, Korea, Korean Jindos are medium sized and very athletic. They lived alongside Islanders for thousands of years giving them strong hunting instincts and confidence. Jindos tend to be quite stubborn which can get them into trouble, but they love being with their human. They prefer to be the only pet in the household and benefit from daily exercise. Check out these training tips dog trainers won’t tell you for free.

Icelandic Sheepdog

As their name suggests, Icelandic Sheepdogs originated from Iceland, dating all the way back to the time of the Vikings. Their face and their upright ears will make you do a double-take when comparing them to a fox, but they are slightly larger than the average fox. They are a very active dog that needs intense daily exercise and are quite friendly as long as they are socialized at an early age. This breed suffers from separation anxiety and can’t be left alone for too long. If you’re ready for a cuteness overload, see the cutest dog breeds as puppies.

How Did Fox Dogs Come To Existence?

Both dogs and foxes share the same ancestry and belong to the Canids’ family, together with wolves and coyotes. However, at some point, their evolutions took different paths. Dogs eventually became domesticated while foxes remained true to their wild heritage.Originating from the same genetic pool, dogs and foxes share many personality traits and physical features. From pointy ears through long snout-like muzzles to fawn, red coats, there are many similarities.Some dogs that look like foxes are prevalent worldwide, while others are common only in their native regions. Regardless of their popularity, they are all affectionate and loving canines.

20 Dogs That Look Like Foxes

1. Shiba Inu

The smallest Japanese Spitz-type of dog is the Shiba Inu. It is among the few ancient dog breeds that are still in existence. Well, not just in existence – the Shiba Inu is increasingly popular among dog parents worldwide.Looking like a smaller version of the foxy-looking Akita, the Shiba Inu is a confident, courageous, alert, and highly trainable little dog.It is naturally friendly and sociable with everybody – including strangers, other dogs, and smaller pets. Unless well-socialized, the Shiba Inu can become possessive and stubborn. This dog thrives on human companionship and is prone to separation anxiety if left alone.

2. Alaskan Klei Kai

The Alaskan Klei Kai is popularly known as Husky lite or the Husky’s lapdog version. Breeders developed the entire breed with one particular reason – to create the perfect, Husky-looking companion dog. However, the Alaskan Klei Kai can be too challenging for first-time dog parents.Just like its founding father, the Alaskan Klei Kai is stubborn, strong-willed, tenacious, and cannot be trusted off-leash. This foxy-looking dog loves to run and to be mentally challenged. It does not know how to bark, but that does not prevent it from being too vocal.

3. Korean Jindo

Originating from the Jindo Island in Korea, the Jindo is an athletic yet sturdy medium-sized dog with impeccable hunting skills. One of the most elegant dogs that look like foxes, Korean Jindo comes in a plethora of different colors and color combinations. Red and white Jindos look almost the same as the Asian Red Fox.The Korean Jindo is an extraordinarily territorial and often stubborn dog. It has go-all-day stamina the must be used constructively. Unless physically and mentally challenged, the Korean Jindo may revert to destructive behaviours.

4. Dhole

Popularly known as the Indian wild dog, locals call the Dhole “the red fox dog”. Native to certain parts of Asia, the Dhole looks more like the Arabian fox than an ordinary dog. Sadly, today, this uniquely looking dog is considered to be endangered.Dholes are true to their wild ancestry – they can run at an impressive speed of over 34 miles per hour and kill prey ten times their size. However, their talents are not limited to the ground; Dholes are skilled swimmers and can jump high in the air.

5. Keeshond

It is believed that the Keeshond originated in Holland around 300 years ago. When it first appeared, the Keeshond was known as the “overweight Pomeranian,” and it was not until 1925 that the breed got its actual name. The Keeshond has a handsome and good-looking overall appearance with an endearing fox-like facial expression and alert carriage.One of the most popular dogs that look like foxes, Keeshonds have a rather unique personality. They are sweet, polite, and outgoing. These fox dogs love their human families and are very protective of them. Besides their small size and non-biting nature, they will try to protect by using their strong, sharp bark.

6. Canaan Dog

The feral forefather of the Canaan Dog was the Middle Eastern Pariah Dog. Dating back to the pre-biblical times, this foxy looking dog was initially used as a flock guardian. During WW II, people used Canaan Dogs as mine detectors, trackers, messengers, and guardians. Today, they make popular and affectionate pets.Canaan dogs are docile, persistent, and vigilant. However, it should be noted that they tend to wander and even run away. Just like their wild relative, the fox, Canaan Dogs can run at high speeds and almost effortlessly change directions while running.

7. Norwegian Buhund

The Norwegian Buhund is a Spitz-type herding dog belonging to the oldest Nordic breeds. It is believed that this dog is closely related to the Arctic wolf. According to ancient Scandinavians, Norwegian Buhunds were the underworld’s sacred guardians.The Norwegian Buhund is a foxy looking, Spitz type, medium-sized dog with a square build, prick ears, and a high-set tail curled over the back. It has a playful, lively, and affectionate personality. As a brilliant dog, the Norwegian Buhund enjoys puzzle games and mental challenges.

8. Chihuahua

Highly treasured by ancient Toltec and Aztec civilizations, the Chihuahua is the world’s 30th most popular dog breed. Although most recognizable, the smallest dog breed in the world is believed to be the least understood.In spite of their diminutive-sized bodies, Chihuahuas have enormous personalities. These popular dogs that look like foxes are sassy, graceful, charming, and often snappy with people they dislike.What is more, Chihuahuas have high barking tendencies and are picky eaters. There are two Chihuahua varieties based on coat type – short and long-haired. The long-haired variety has an overall foxy appearance.

9. Akita Inu

People know the Akita Inu by several names, including the Great Japanese and the Silent Hunter. The breed belongs to the hunting dogs group, and has a nickname the Silent Hunter because of its unusual quietness while following its prey’s trail.The Akita Inu is extremely devoted and loyal to its owner, but we do not recommend it for first-time dog parents. The Akita Inu strikingly resembles foxes – it has high-pricked and pointed, triangular ears, long and thick fur. Acceptable fur colors include red, fawn, brindle, white, and sesame.

10. Volpino Italiano

This small, Spitz-type dog comes from Italy. It is an interesting fact that despite its diminutive size, people initially bred the Volpino Italiano to be a guard dog. It is even more impressive than it managed to excel in this task. Well, the Volpino Italiano’s job was alerting the powerful Mastiffs that an intruder is approaching.In 1965, with only five individuals left, the Volpino Italiano almost went extinct. Thanks to the joined efforts of dog enthusiasts, the breed was saved from the brink of extinction. In 2006 there were 2000 dogs in the world. Even today, these rarest dogs that look like foxes are barely known outside Italy.

11. American Eskimo Dog

Originating in Germany, the American Eskimo Dog was brought to the United States in the 1930s with the sole purpose of serving as a circus dog. Today, this Spitz-type of dog is a loving, affectionate, and cherished companion.Resembling a lot the white Arctic Fox, the American Eskimo Dog has high-pricked, wedge-shaped ears and distinctively marked black points on the nose, eye rims, and lips. The American Eskimo Dog is trustworthy, and because of its fondness of children, it makes an excellent nanny dog.

12. Finnish Spitz

As the name suggests, the Finnish Spitz originated in Finland and is considered to be the national dog of the country. People initially bred Finnish Spitz for hunting purposes, and it was a bark pointer – its job was alerting the hunter of the prey’s presence and location.The Finish Spitz’s fox-like appearance is due to the fluffy red coat, squarely built body, and small, high-pricked ears. However, unlike its fox cousins, the Finish Spitz is outgoing and playful. Even modern Finish Spitz Dogs are true to their barking instincts.

13. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This foxy-looking dog possesses a unique herding skillset. Namely, it herds by nipping at the heels and barking. Its low stature was particularly useful when avoiding cattle kicks. Today, Corgis have a special place at Buckingham Palace as Queen Elisabeth II’s favorite breed.The huge personality stashed in a small, stocky body makes the Pembroke Welsh Corgi a somewhat eccentric dog breed. Fun-loving, protective and high-spirited, Corgis make excellent companion dogs.

14. Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog has an over 100 year long and exciting history. This Spitz group member used to ride alongside the Vikings on their conquering quests. Later on, people gave this breed a more standard job – to herd sheep and ponies.The Icelandic Sheepdog can have either a short or long coat. Regardless of the coat length, all breed members have fox-looking faces with long snout-like muzzles and pricked ears. Icelandic Sheepdogs are exceptionally smart and love learning tricks.

15. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originated in Yarmouth in the southern tip of Nova Scotia. Strictly bred for hunting, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever’s purpose was to lure or entice ducks. Today the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a companion who still retains much of his strong retrieving instincts.The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a foxy-looking and extremely active dog with a never-ending reserve of energy and go-all-day stamina. He is a quick-moving, alert and agile dog and in constant need of physical and mental stimulation. All in all, he is an easy-going, affectionate, happy, and playful dog.

16. Schipperke

Only 13 inches tall and weighing less than 16 pounds, the Schipperke is a confident yet diminutive-sized dog. The breed owes its name to its initial purpose – the term schipperke in Flemish means little captain because this dog’s role was catching rats on ships.The Schipperke is a fearless, spunky, loyal, and independent dog. This dog that looks like a fox is incredibly prone to barking and enjoys outdoor activities. The Schipperke is true to its rodents-hunting instincts and loves chasing smaller animals. Physical, this dog looks like a little black fox.

17. Khugsa

Also known as the Amerindian Malamute, the Kughsa is a real native American dog. Although genetically, the Kughsa Dog is closer to wolves than foxes, its physical appearance is definitely foxy. Namely, it has erect ears, a lean body, white and Arctic fox-like fur. Plus, it is intelligent, quick, and alert in nature.Although recently domesticated, Khugsa dogs are not suitable for first-time dog parents. They are too high-spirited and independent. Breeders initially developed Kugsha to carry heavy loads over long distances, and therefore, even modern Khugsa dogs have strong legs and bodies.

18. Basenji

Popularly known as the barkless dog, the Basenji is an ancient dog breed frequently depicted in Babylonian, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian art and artifacts. Pharaohs praised the Basenji because of its foxy and unusual appearance, and African tribesmen cherished its impeccable hunting skills.Basenjis are friendly and affectionate with their human families but aloof and suspicious of strangers. They are extremely intelligent and energetic, often resulting in misbehavior and questionable actions. Today, the Basenji is a relatively rear dog breed.

19. Japanese Spitz

Physically resembling the Arctic fox, the Japanese Spitz has pricked ears and a white coat that is often described as Kitsune-like. The Kitsune is a Japanese mythical creature with immense wisdom and supernatural powers.The Japanese Spitz is lively, playful, outgoing, and always ready for an adventure. Its coat is high-maintenance, but the ultimate look is worth the time investment. Owning a Japanese Spitz means taking tons of cute pictures since this dog can smile.

20. Pomeranian

The cute, little, and fox-like Pomeranian might be miniature in size, but its ancestors were the big and powerful sled dogs. With only 3 to 7 pounds, what they lack in weight, they surely compensate with huge personalities.The Pomeranian thrives on human companionship and enjoys being part of the pack. What gives this breed its foxy appearance are the upright ears, the abundance of fur, tan coat colors, and feisty nature. Do not be fooled by their size; Pomeranians are loud and persistent barkers.

21. Papillon

This breed got its name from the shape of its ears – the term papillon means butterfly in French. The Papillon originated in Spain, but we can trace its ancestry back to 15th century Italy when Tiziano Vecellio started painting his famous family portraits. Although people primarily bred the Papillon as a companion dog and to compete in shows, they now successfully use it as a therapy dog.The Papillon is a small Spaniel-type dog, with fine bone structure and almost square conformation. The muzzle is thin and tapering, and the eyes are dark, round, and medium in size. The ears are the hallmark of the breed. Overall, the Papillon has a foxy physical appearance.