What Are the 7 Things You Need to Know About Papillons?

5 min read
Updated on: Mar 15, 2024
Sviat Oleksiv
Sviatoslav Oleksiv created The Pets and Love website because he loves animals and wants to help other people who care about them, especially dogs.
What Are the 7 Things You Need to Know About Papillons?

Toy dog breeds often get looked down upon – figuratively, not just literally. They are also seen as kind of the same type of dog, just with different looks – tiny, loud, think they are bigger than they actually are. Toy breeds vary a lot, however, and the Papillon is a great example of that.

So, what are the 7 things you need to know about Papillons? Is this a good breed for you to bring home? Are they healthy? Are they easy to train? We’ll go over all that and more below.

Despite typically being seen as variations of the same small, high-energy and occasionally temperamental type of dog, toy breeds vary greatly in character. The Papillon provides a fantastic example of this diversity.

Curious about what Papillons are like? Wondering if this breed would make a great addition to your family? Want to know about their health and training needs? We're here to provide you with a comprehensive guide, covering everything you need to know about these adorable, butterfly-like dogs.

1. Papillons: The Noble Butterflies of the Canine World

Papillon, literally translating to 'Butterfly' in French, nods to their irresistibly large ears and petite, elongated muzzles. Interestingly, though the name suggests French descent, that's not entirely accurate. Papillons are distant descendants from Spaniel breeds, initially bred to serve as miniature versions around 700 years ago. They've since evolved into a distinct breed, with Spaniel being a mere hint of their lineage.

Papillons were primarily developed in Northern Italy as pets for the noble people during the late Medieval era. They rapidly gained popularity in France and Spain, with ongoing breeding in those countries ever since.

It's also worth noting that Papillons have a rich history, dating back to the 16th century in France, where they were favored by royalty. Their intelligence and loyal nature have made them cherished companions throughout the centuries

Why does this matter? Understanding the breed's historical background helps us get a better grasp of their behaviour and disposition. Papillons, unlike herding and working breeds, were bred primarily as family pets, instead of performing various tasks. They don't have an innate inclination to hunt, despite descending from gun dog Spaniels, as the separation between these breeds spans centuries. This purposeful breeding steers their behaviour to being particularly family-oriented and domestic, leading to their unique characteristics.

2. Papillons are Friendly and Affectionate

Affectionate With Family
Good With Young Children
Not Recommended
Good With Children

A standout trait of papillons is their particularly friendly and warm disposition. Frequently, small breeds are presumed to bark incessantly and display comically aggressive behaviour, but Papillons are considered as markedly social and amiable dogs.

Of course, to foster this sociableness, it's important to engage them in early socialization. With a little bit of guidance, almost all Papillons effortlessly get along well with their family members, friends, visitors, strangers, and other dogs.

Besides, these dogs can form lovely bonds with cats, other house pets, and young children. Their petite size rules out the risk of accidents, so all you need to ensure is that your child doesn't pull too hard at the Papillon's tail or ears.

3. Papillons Crave Human Presence and Attention

Like most social and affectionate breeds, Papillons also crave a significant amount of attention. Their tendency to form close bonds with people can have a downside, as they can easily develop separation anxiety if left alone - a trait that seems particularly pronounced in them compared to other breeds.

Leaving a Papillon alone in the house may create a stressful environment for them, potentially leading to destructive behaviours like relentless barking and stress-related accidents. It's generally best to avoid leaving them alone where possible, whether this involves someone at home or bringing them along when leaving the house.

There are a few other solutions for when leaving your Papillon at home is unavoidable:

  • Make sure they get plenty of exercises before leaving
  • Try not to stay out too long
  • Hire a dog sitter or dog walker
  • Arrange for play-dates with other dogs
  • Consider getting a second dog
  • Leave out lots of interactive and novel toys for them

There are other methods to calm pets, including calming music and hidden treat hunts, but these aren't always effective.

4. Papillons are Intelligent and Trainable

Trainability Level
Eager to Please

Belying their toy breed status, Papillons are remarkably bright and trainable. With early obedience training, they can quickly pick up new commands and instructions.

Their unending desire to please and their inherent need for affection predominantly drive their trainability. While they're also food-motivated, it's their desire to delight their owners that highlights their ease of training.

Despite their small size, Papillons are "robust and agile, often participating in dog sports and obedience training with enthusiasm"

However, it's worth noting that despite their trainability, potty training can still require more patience and consistency, as is the case with most small breeds.

5. Papillons Have Moderate Shedding

Shedding Level
No Shedding
Hair Everywhere

If you're looking for a low-shedding dog, Papillons can be an excellent choice. While they do shed, their lack of an undercoat and small size means that stray hairs will be hardly noticeable. Plus, no undercoat means no seasonal shedding spikes.

Occasional brushing a few times a week should suffice for keeping their gorgeously long brown, black, and white locks in check. Add occasional baths, standard eye, and ear care, nail trimming, and dental hygiene to their grooming routine, and you'll find that Papillons are surprisingly low-maintenance considering their abundant fur.

6. Papillons Have Low Indoor Exercise Needs

They are "generally outgoing, happy dogs that enjoy sitting in laps as much as they like running around the house"

With their small stature reaching up to 11 inches in height and 10 pounds in weight, Papillons are not very demanding when it comes to outdoor activities. A couple of quick trips outside for toilet breaks and some playtime is all they require daily. They're perfectly content to stay indoors for the majority of the day, making them fantastic pets for apartment dwellers.

7. Health Issues to Watch

You might expect Papillons to be plagued with frequent health problems considering their Toy breed category, but that isn't the case. With proper veterinary care, they can often live healthily for 15+ years, sometimes even up to 20! Potential health concerns to be aware of include sensitivity to anesthesia, Luxating patella, and Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), among others.

In a nutshell, Papillons are more than just petite and pretty lap dogs. They bring liveliness and joy to any home with their friendly and well-balanced temperament. With proper training and socialisation, they make loving companions for families of all types and sizes. And with a little patience and accommodations for their social needs, they can bring an immense amount of joy and companionship to owners seeking a compact, indoor-loving canine companion.