Alert papillon dog on grass at dusk
Young Papillon isolated on white

Papillon

Many people have never heard of the dog breed called Papillon. Those who know this breed well sing their praises and tout the many attributes that make the Papillon a good choice for many people. This small dog has a big heart, is very companionable and can adapt to many lifestyles. The breed’s elegant good looks disguise a merry personality that will easily steal your heart and a hardy nature that is willing to join in on all activities.

The Papillon is a small dog, generally 8 to 11 inches high and weighing about 3 to 9 pounds. The coat is long and fringed, with additional thickness at the chest, called a “ruff,” and on the hind legs, giving them the look of wearing “culottes.” The ears are upright, large and fringed, giving the breed its name, Papillon, the French word for “butterfly.” The skull is small with a pointed snout like its ancestors, the spaniels of the European courts. The tail is held high over the back and curled, with long hair that gives it its “plumed” appearance. The coat is two or more colours, usually white, black and tan, in any combination or all three for a parti-coloured look. Papillon puppies have a thin coat that will shed before they get their adult coat.

Temperament

Papillons are lively dogs with happy personalities. They love to be with their owners and will become unhappy if left alone for long periods of time. A Papillon will be your shadow around the house, following close at your heels even when you aren’t aware of it. Owners should be careful, as this behaviour can lead to accidents when heavy doors close or when the dog follows you into the garage.

Lifestyle Needs

Whether you live in a city apartment or on a sprawling suburban lot, the Papillon will be able to keep up with your needs. They will romp and chase a ball for hours and can easily learn agility course exercises, but they are just as content going for a long walks on city streets. They are good travellers that will happily go along on a flight or car trip. Papillons are good family dogs that will attach to all family members. They are not good with small children, however, who may handle them roughly or fall on them.

Health Concerns

Papillons are generally healthy dogs without the allergy problems of other toy dogs. However, they can suffer from patellar luxation as do many toy breeds. Patellar luxation is a dislocation of the kneecap on the hind legs. It can cause pain and lameness which comes and goes. Severe cases may require surgery. Papillons tend to have trouble with periodontal disease. Brushing the dog’s teeth at home and regular tooth cleaning by your veterinarian is recommended. Papillons may suffer from other diseases that afflict toy breeds, such as hypoglycaemia and epilepsy, but these conditions are rare.

Male or Female

Both male and female Papillons make good companions. Females, however, are hard to find because the female Papillon’s breeding years are short and most are kept to produce more pups. The number of male pups available is generally larger, ensuring that you will be able to find the right puppy for you.

Papillon Quirks

Papillons that come from larger stock can grow bigger than the breed standard. If you have your heart set on a tiny dog, go to a good breeder that can ensure that your Papillon’s ancestors have the characteristics that you require. Pet store animals may not have the best appearance or health as pups you will acquire from reputable breeders. Papillon pups may be finicky eaters, causing their owners concern and worry, which can also lead to bad eating habits. Your breeder will be able to advise you on the best foods for your Papillon puppy. Papillons also may be difficult to housebreak. Do not punish the pup for accidents. Keep the pup in a room with a washable floor confined with a pet gate when you cannot watch it, and continue with outdoor housetraining efforts. If patient consistency does not work, apply even more patience and consistency. Praise profusely for good results until he or she catches on to the correct behaviour.


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