Also known as the Butterfly dog due to the unique shape of its ears, the Papillon is a French dog breed which is rising in popularity across the USA. These dogs are known for their superior intelligence and beauty as well as easy trainability. Owing to these characteristics, Papillons (or Paps as they are fondly known) are considered one of the best breeds for first time dog owners. This brief guide on Papillons cover the basics of their care, training and grooming.
Facts and characteristics
- Papillon was bred as a companion for the royalty since most European Kings and Queens preferred small pets. Paps are well known for their delicate feather ears and the name Papillon comes from French papillon which means butterfly. The original version of this toy breed is the Phalene dog; phalene being French for moth.
- Earlier, the Papillon was only available in solid colors. Today, you will predominantly find it in combinations like white and black, white and lemon, white and sable or even in tri-colored combos of white, black and tan.
- Marie Antoinette was believed to have owned two Papillons whom she loved dearly. Prior to her execution, she is said to have handed over these pets to her executioner. Both dogs were cared for very well even after her death.
- Papillon height and weight- Breed standard height is 8-11 inches at withers and weight in proportion to height about 10-18 pounds.
Papillon mixed breeds
Popular mixed breeds that are very popular today include the Papillon Pomeranian mix and the Papillon Chihuahua mix. Poodle and papillon mix, known aptly as the Papipoo are also in demand. The advantage of owning designer dogs like these is the fact that the pups have inherited the best traits of both parents. Breeders claim that designer breeds like Papillon Pomeranian mix and the Papillon Chihuahua mix rarely inherit genetic defects. The downside of designer dogs could be the price; breeders don’t hesitate to charge premium amounts for these dogs.
Where to find a Papillon
Once you have decided that a Papillon is right for you, you must explore all possible options as to where to get your pet from. A vet in your neighborhood can guide you or you could also talk to fellow Papillon owners. Another great resource is the official website of the Papillon club of America. Adopting a Papillon rescue is a noble thing to do. Hundreds of thousands of dogs end up in shelters, most often due to owner negligence. Shelters provide a relatively inexpensive and compassionate means of obtaining a pup or adult dog that would be vaccinated and dewormed as well. If you are especially looking for Papillon Pomeranian mix or a Papillon Chihuahua mix, then visiting a rescue shelter might actually make a great deal of sense.
This tiny dog is full of fun, mischievousness and charm. Paps are very intelligent and easy to train but you must invest in their early training and obedience to ensure they learn the rules of your household early on. They are affectionate and love to cuddle. All these personality traits and qualities make it one of the best dog breeds for first time owners. This is an alert friendly dog who loves children and other animals.
Although not a high maintenance breed in terms of exercise, Paps love the activity and companionship that daily walks with their owners provide. Two short 15 minute walks each day are ideal to keep your pet in sound physical and mental health. Best owners for Paps are apartment dwellers or people who love sports but want a small dog.
Training your Papillon
As stated above, Papillons are easy to train since they are very intelligent. However, consistency is a must and you may want to have short training lessons 3-4 times a day. Dogs get bored with long, elaborate sessions. As far as possible get your pet used to crate. I have discussed many tips on crate training here. Maintain a feeding schedule and routine so that your pet gets to know the house rules. Leash training is also a must. Teach your dog never to lead while on leash. He should know you are the leader. Obedience classes can also help. Teaching basic commands like sit, stay, come etc can also help and they are pretty easy to teach. Your dog should obey you and each time he does, make sure you load heaps of praise or give it a healthy treat. Patient and gentle training is best for all dog breeds; after all, dogs understand the language of love. Never scold or punish your pet; that could only lead to adverse effects.
The Papillon has a soft, silky coat that requires little grooming save regular brushing and daily attention to its delicate ear fringe. Paps do not have double coats so shedding is not a huge problem. This is another characteristic feature that makes the Pap an ideal breed for first time owners. Begin grooming your pet as soon as you get him so that he starts considering grooming as a part of his daily routine. Invest in brushes, combs, nail clippers and of course shampoos to keep your pet healthy and clean.
Understanding the basics of a good diet as well as understanding how to read food labels is an essential part of feeding a healthy, balanced meal to your canine companion. Never allow free food access to your Papillon-he will simply overeat. Always stick to a strict feeding schedule and talk to your vet or a knowledgeable breeder as to how much food to feed at different stages. This is very important to maintain your Pap’s weight and overall health.
PRA, luxating patellas and liver shunts are common issues in this breed.