Papillons are named for their butterfly-shaped ears. Although it looks like these petite little dogs are picking up satellite signals with their oversized ears, their ears are better indicators of the Papillon's jovial personality and perky attitudes. Papillons' fringed prick ears should stand erect to indicate their alertness.
Papillons' jaunty dispositions match their active lifestyle and alert ears. They make active companions for households looking to add a humorous, energetic new friend to their home.
Papillons are friendly dogs. They are recognized as the smartest toy breed because of their eagerness to learn and the ease with which they accept challenges. Papillons have an impressive amount of tricks up their sleeves — they can be trained to do almost everything, including skills often left to bigger dogs, like herding and retrieving. They are also bold, proud dogs who delight in showing off their talents and receiving praise for their work. Papillons are busy bees. They might be a little confused if they are expected to sit still indoors for too long. They will look at you with a quizzical expression before they take matters into their own hands. Papillons spend most of their time indoors flitting around the house looking for adventure. Although they are best suited to owners who will help them stay active, they can be trained to adapt to the activity level of their owners.
They should be amiable toward people and other dogs. Occasionally, Papillons are timid around strangers, but they should not be excessively shy or aggressive. They do tend to get jealous, especially of the attention that their owners give other dogs. They bond closely to their owners and without early socialization, they will not understand why their owners show affection toward any other dogs.
Papillons have a long, flowing coat with no undercoat, so they do not shed. Their coat should be silky and abundant with frill of hair along the chest and culottes on the back of the legs. The Papillon's defining characteristic is their ears, which are fringed on the outsides and covered in silky hair on the insides. Papillons carry a plumed tail covered in long hair that cascades over their backs. All Papillons are parti-color, which means they have white bodies with significant splotches of other solid colors.
Brushing the Papillon once every other day with a natural bristle brush will prevent matting and help his coat hang naturally and beautifully.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
Breeds with combination coats should be bathed seasonally, or about every three months. Naturally, it can be done more often if needed. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.
Dogs with combination coats generally require routine trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Papillon owners should also take care to trim the stray hairs around and inside the ears to keep them looking their best and avoid infection.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.