These small, happy dogs are known for their big wing-like ears and agility abilities. Papillons are incredibly smart and friendly, making them great companions, especially for those who might live in smaller places or those who want to travel with their dog. They’re always ready to play and love the outdoors. If you’re looking for a happy dog that doesn’t believe in personal space, a papillon may just be for you.
Papillons are descendants of a European Toy Spaniel, a toy dog that was popular among European royalty for centuries. In fact, one court painting from ~1500 CE included several of these tiny dogs and artists like Rubens, Rembrandt, and Goya have all included papillons in some of their paintings. The breed has a strong connection to France, as Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette were just some of the breed’s admirers. Initially, papillons didn’t have their iconic erect ears but by the 17th century, their ears started to resemble the wings of butterflies, giving the breed their name.
These dogs are so smart and have been described as tiny Border Collies. In addition to being smart, some papillons have been known to herd sheep and many thrive in agility courses and obedience competitions. Because of their intelligence and high energy, papillons definitely need plenty of exercise and enrichment to keep them happy and healthy. Daily walks, the occasional hike, and playing in a fenced backyard are all great ways to keep a papillon happy! And puzzle toys can help keep them busy while inside. A bored papillon may not cause the same destruction as a larger dog but they can still cause some issues and can be overly vocal, which may annoy you and your neighbors.
While papillons have a long coat, grooming is an easy task for these dogs. Brushing their coats once or twice a week can help shedding and will prevent matting. Bath them as needed and regularly trim their nails. Health wise, these dogs can stay relatively healthy and could easily live for 15+ years! Many papillons deal with paroxysmal respiration, otherwise known as reverse sneezing. This condition isn’t actually a sneeze but can be caused by adverse reactions to perfumes/strong odors, pollen allergies, or overexertion. While reverse sneezing isn’t something to worry too much about, it might scare an owner because of how strange it sounds!
Papillons are a part of the Toy Group but tend to act much bigger than they actually are. Adult papillons can be quite sturdy but as puppies, these dogs can be fragile and can easily injury themselves by doing something like jumping off the couch. Having a papillon may mean you’re regularly making sure these tiny dogs aren’t getting themselves into trouble! These dogs are also house dogs and aren’t meant to spend significant amounts of time outside by themselves. They like being with their people and may follow you from room to room.
If you’re looking for a smart, loyal, and small dog, a papillon may be the perfect companion for you! These dogs do well in a variety of homes, from apartments to farms. Like any other breed, they’ll need grooming like weekly brushing and regular nail trims but overall, care for papillons is relatively easy. They’re energic and intelligent so make sure to walk/exercise them daily and offer enrichment like puzzle toys or agility training. Papillons may not be able to cause the same damage as a larger dog but they do have the spirit of one and can get overly vocal if bored.
Have you ever had a papillon? If so, you are in the company of royalty! Let me know about your papillon in the comments.