Skip to Content

What Owners Need to Know About Papillons Dogs

Papillons are wonderful, cuddly lap dogs that require little to no effort, right? Well, not exactly. They may seem like a breeze to own and raise, but new owners should be aware about their unique challenges and problems.

And trust me, there are definitely some issues that new dog owners might not be prepared for. From their ability to outsmart you, to their “yappy” nature and health issues, you’ll want to know these first. So let’s talk about the things that nobody tells you about owning a Papillon.

RECOMMENDED: 10 Interesting Papillon Facts

1. It’s likely your Papillon will be “yappy.”

If you’re dreaming of quiet evenings with a Papillon, you might need a reality check. They may be small, but they love to yap (bark). Infamously known for their vocal prowess, Papillons aren’t just barking up the wrong tree; they’re barking at every tree. 

On the bright side, their alert nature allows them to become excellent watchdogs in the home. Have you heard a leaf fall two blocks away? Well, your Papillon has probably already filed a noise complaint! You can be sure they’ll let you know with their barks.

However, there will be some outliers with these dogs. Some won’t be yappy at all, while others are more like “chatty” – that is, they’ll only use their barks to communicate their wants and needs.

2. Papillons will be more energetic and active than they seem.

Looks can be deceiving, and Papillons are the living proof! Don’t be fooled by their dainty appearance or lap dog feel. Papillons might be labeled as toy dogs, but they should be treated like sporting dogs.

Most will be energetic and active, but on the bright side, their energy isn’t something that’s too daunting – especially if you’ve ever owned a working dog breed. In fact, this activeness is going to be manageable by most people.

According to Papillon owners, they’re not any more energetic than your typical dog – It’s just that many new owners have the false impression that they’re super low maintenance and chill dogs. This simply isn’t the case.

They’ll still need a couple of short walks around the neighborhood per day, followed by a session of catch or other activity. So if you’re looking for a dog that’ll just sit in your lap all day…maybe try the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

3. They’re smart and easy to train (if you can find their motivation).

Papillons are kinda like the valedictorians of the dog world – highly intelligent, quick to learn and clever. But they’re also like the genius students who only work hard if there’s a good reason.

Most Papillons aren’t people-pleasing dogs, so they won’t learn and obey for the sake of pleasing their owners – like a Border Collie would do. In fact, here’s a great example:

One owner’s Papillon loved to whine excitedly whenever the doorbell rings. The owner’s solution was to not to react to the doorbell until her dog quiets down completely. If he starts whining when she’s halfway down the hallway, she stops moving.

According to the owner, it took only TWO days and 4 doorbell rings to correct her Papillon. The dog knew he wouldn’t get what he wanted – which was to see who was at the door – unless he was quiet.

You need to identify the cause of the behavior and make it worth their while. Once you find their motivation, training becomes a breeze. 

Here’s a pro-tip: Behavioral issues are common in intelligent dogs who aren’t mentally stimulated, so make sure to start training immediately after the puppy arrives at home.

4. Housebreaking (or potty training) a Papillon will require more commitment.

Housebreaking, or potty training, is when you teach your dog to “do their business” either outside or in a designated spot in the home. Dogs that live inside the home (and they should be) will need to go through this training at some point – Papillons included.

However, this will require more effort and commitment from you during the first few months. You see – Papillons have small bladders because they’re, well, small dogs. So as puppies going through house-training, they need to be taken outside far more often than other dog breeds.

In fact, you’ll probably need to take them out to potty every 30 minutes or so throughout the day. For the first few months, it’ll seem like all you’re ever doing is taking your Papillon outside to answer nature’s calling. However, that’s exactly how it should feel.

It may be time consuming in the beginning, but just know that this will end really soon. But don’t stress out about it too much. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

5. High intelligence means they might outsmart you at times.

Never underestimate a Papillon – no matter how adorable and innocent they may seem. These dogs are a lot smarter than they seem. Take this one Papillon, for example.

The owner says that her brother likes to make it difficult for the dog to “earn” a treat. In other words, he’ll request a whole arsenal of tricks or commands before he hands over the dog’s favorite treat. But, her Papillon isn’t having any of it.

The dog will pretend to lose interest and drift away towards the ball. Naturally, the brother puts down the treat and moves towards the ball because he assumes she wants to play catch now. However, as soon as he’s far enough away, her dog dashes towards the treat.

If that’s not a smart dog, I don’t know what is. So if you really want a Papillon, you’ll need to be ready to deal with these intelligent antics.

6. Papillons will be sassy and stubborn at times.

Papillons, with their delicate appearance and elegant ears, might look like canine royalty, but many of them can have an attitude at times! These little dogs pack a punch of personality, often described as “sassy” and “independent.”

If they don’t want to do something, they simply won’t do it. In fact, no amount of praise, treats or toys will move them. One Papillon owner claims her dog will sit on walks and refuse to move until she turns in the direction the dog wants to go.

When a Papillon decides they don’t want to do something, it’s like hitting a fluffy brick wall. They’re not afraid to let you know what they think, with a well-timed bark, a mischievous act or  sit-down protest.

However, this sass and stubbornness, while challenging, also make them unique. It’s not just a dog you’re bringing home; it’s a character. 

Training and patience are key, but remember to appreciate their spirited nature – it’s what makes every day with a Papillon a wonderful adventure.

7. A Papillon will NEED human attention and interaction.

Papillons might be small in size, but their need for human attention is huge. Here’s the thing – dogs were specifically bred to herd, to hunt and retrieve, to guard people or property, and much more.

The Papillon? They were bred to be companions to humans. In fact, that’s their entire purpose. Needless to say, that’s the reason why they need plenty of human interaction.

They’re a dog-friendly breed, but won’t be happy or well-adjusted without a considerable amount of your time, attention, and presence. These dogs aren’t ideal for busy owners that need to leave their dogs alone for several hours every day.

So if that’s you, I’d strongly urge you to consider another breed. These dogs thrive when they’re the center of attention and get to spend a lot of time with their owners..

8. Not all Papillons are guaranteed to be velcro dogs that love to cuddle.

When you think of Papillons, you might imagine a cuddly little lap dog that’s stuck to your side like a piece of confetti after a New Years Eve party. But I’m sorry to say, not all Papillons are born to be velcro dogs. 

And even among those that are velcro dogs, they won’t necessarily want to cuddle with you all the time. Many Papillons just want to be in your presence – whether they’re seated next to your legs or on a nearby ottoman.

Sure, many love nothing more than snuggling up with their humans, but let’s not paint them all with the same brush. Some Papillons value their independence just as much as their companionship. They love your company, but on their own terms. 

Think of them as the feline of the dog world – affectionate, yes, but also masters of their own space. However, this doesn’t mean they love you any less. 

Some of these dogs simply show their affection differently. So if you’re looking for a guaranteed velcro dog, try an Italian Greyhound or a Pomeranian. 

9. Grooming is going to be essential with a Papillon.

When it comes to Papillons, their shedding is pretty manageable – thanks to their silky single coats. But don’t put away the brush just yet! These dogs may not turn your home into a fur palace, but their coats do require regular grooming. 

Regular baths with conditioner is highly recommended to get any debris out of their coats. However, the most important part of grooming may be brushing. Papillons have long fur, especially around the ears.

Regular brushing reduces matting around the ear fringe, which is the long hair that grows on the breed’s ears. In fact, a natural bristle brush works extremely well with these dogs. If hair in this sensitive area of your Papillon starts to matt, you can bet it’s going to be painful for them.

So if you can’t commit yourself to regular grooming, then the Papillon is probably not the best choice for you. And remember – it’s not just good for their looks – it’s also good for bonding. 

Brushing sessions can be a special time between you and your Papillon, turning grooming into a pampering session. So, embrace the brush – your Papillon’s coat will thank you for it!

10. Dental health is extremely important with Papillons.

One of the most neglected aspects of dog ownership in general is with dental health. In fact, according to a study, just 7% of owners brush their dog’s teeth on a daily basis. But when it comes to Papillons, their dental health is something you can’t afford to overlook. 

These charming little dogs are more prone to dental problems than other breeds, and it’s not just about bad breath. Papillons are susceptible to tartar buildup, which eventually leads to gum disease, and even tooth loss. 

But that’s not all – they’re also prone to a condition called “retained puppy teeth” – where their puppy teeth don’t fall out when the adult teeth grow in. This can cause food or other particles to get trapped in the teeth, leading to issues later in life.

That said, it’s so important you brush their teeth regularly. And make sure to use dog toothpaste – not human toothpaste. Also, dental chews and regular vet check-ups can keep those pearly whites well maintained. 

Is the Papillon For You?

So with all these things, is the Papillon still a good choice? Absolutely. You just need to know and understand the expectations of these dogs before bringing one home, so that there aren’t any surprises.

After all, they were bred to be great companions – and that’s exactly what they are. Given their bright and cheerful personality, you really can’t go wrong with a Papillon.

Do you own a Papillon? Is your dog just like this? Let me know in the comments section below!

Posts you may like: