"Papillon"- Butterfly In French, Delightful Companion in English
This Article First Appeared in Showsight Magazine
by Angela Pickett, Wildfire Papillons
elegant. These three words describe
a Papillon to perfection! However,
a prospective owner of this delightful breed should be aware that those words
do not correlate to a couch potato or a lap dog! Papillons love to play
& just be a dog. Given a choice, a Papillon would much rather be
running around the house chasing a ball than sitting quietly watching boring
tv. They are not hyper dogs, but outgoing dogs with a fun loving
personality. They want to be the life of the party & will work
the crowd if given the opportunity.
very intelligent dogs, excelling in obedience, tracking, &
agility. They can also be trained to do
service work. They are big dogs in a little package and are
the “do it all” toy dog. Most are happiest with a job to do
that involves interaction with their owner. They love to
please and can be trained with consistent positive reinforcement. With
their intelligence, they can easily manipulate their owner to get their
way. Suddenly, you will realize that you have been
outsmarted by a Papillon!
The hallmark of the
breed is the big beautiful butterfly ears. The ears are large, round and
should be well fringed. When you look at
a Papillon you should never think Chihuahua! The Phalene is equally
as beautiful with their dropped ears. The Papillon coat is silky,
much like human hair. When you touch a
Papillon coat it is cool to the touch. They should not be double
coated like a Pomeranian. Papillons are small, measuring between 8-11
inches at the withers and usually weigh 5 - 8 pounds.
Papillons are a
generally healthy breed. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) has
been linked to Papillons, however, recently the DNA marker was found for PRA in
Papillons. A simple DNA test swab can now give a definitive diagnosis for
the blinding disease on a Papillon and more importantly, on dogs used in
breeding programs. Responsible breeders are very careful not to breed
dogs with genetically linked problem in their breeding programs such as patella
luxation. It is imperative to work with a reputable breeder when looking for a
Papillon in order to insure a happy, healthy addition to the family. Many
Papillons live active, healthy lives for 15+ years.
Grooming a Papillon
in a pet home is a relatively easy task that requires only regular baths, nail
clipping & brushing. That regime is
enhanced for Papillons that are in the show ring. Dental care is very important for Papillons
as it is with all dogs & especially toy dogs.
The temperament of
a Papillon should be happy, alert and friendly. They have a zest for
life & want to share that with their owners. They are very adaptable
dogs & can be fickle. "If they
can't be with the one they love, they love the one they are with," is
general rule that Papillons live by.
That being said, breeders are very careful with placement of Papillons
in homes with large dogs, as Papillons can never be convinced that they are toy
dogs. Papillons can be injured during play with a bigger dog or when they
decide the other dog's toy must be theirs! Breeders also strongly access
the placement of a Papillon in a home with small children. Children
like to play with their dogs and that interaction can prove to be too rough for
a Papillon. Since Papillons are fine-boned dogs, owners must be keenly
aware that certain play or activity could lead to an injury.
Papillons are not the
right dogs for everyone, but for the right owners they make wonderful
companions that will add joy to a home for many, many years.