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Papillon: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

Many people dream of getting a dog. Because personal taste or living conditions are often decisive, the choice often falls on a small, uncomplicated dog. There are many of these, but not every breed may be as varied and easy to train as the Papillon. Originally from France and Belgium, the continental spaniel belongs to the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) group 9 of companion dogs.

Papillon dog breed

Size: 20-28cm
Weight: 05/02/2017 kg
FCI Group: 9: Companion and Companion Dogs
Section: 10: Continental toy spaniels
Country of origin: France
Colors: red-white, brown-white, sable
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Suitable as: Companion, family, and guard dog
Sports: agility, dog dancing
Personality: Friendly, Alert, Energetic, Happy, Hardy, Intelligent
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential: low
The thickness of hair: rather low
Maintenance effort: medium
Coat structure: Shiny, wavy, strong, silky with no undercoat
Child friendly: medium
Family dog: yes
Social: rather yes

Origin and breed history

As a variety of the Continental Toy Spaniel breed, the little dog, nicknamed Papillon, can be proud of its hundreds of years of existence. Lovers of small dog breeds see the little dog with its protruding, large ears depicted in old paintings from France from the 13th century. Italian and French nobles liked to feast on the dog, whose unusual ears resemble a butterfly. The spaniel was not only at home at the French court, but also in the British royal family. The butterfly dog was a valued companion in aristocratic circles, especially among women.

The continental miniature spaniel is called Epagneul Nain Continental in French. His illustration on what is probably the oldest pictorial evidence comes from the famous painter Giotto di Bondone. That does not mean, however, that its history begins with this age. There is a high probability that the animal has been around for over a thousand years. After the small toy spaniel came to Russia from its countries of origin France and Belgium, where it was called Russkiy Toy, it was officially recognized in 1990 thanks to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The pedigree animal, also known as the squirrel dog, was originally bred together with its brother Phalène (moth). The smooth transition to the British dog breed King Charles Spaniel lasted for a long time until the strict separation of Papillon and Phalène.

Essence & Temperament of Papillon

Dog owners describe the Papillon as an ideal companion dog, or in short: small but mighty. The size may hide what is actually in the dog with the butterfly ears: spirited, cheerful, intelligent, and easy to train – character traits that bring life into the house. On the other hand, the joyful disposition also shows empathy and gentleness.

Due to his alertness and enormous willingness to interact with people and other animals, he is well suited to living with multiple family members. As a fully integrated member of the family, the animal needs a lot of attention, because occasional jealousy is quite possible. It is cuddly and leaning towards its loved ones, but reserved towards strangers.
Even as a guard dog, those interested in dogs should not underestimate the size of the Papillon. His character is characterized by a high level of vigilance. He confidently faces his sense of danger and reacts to unfamiliar noises by reporting them unmistakably. You can always rely on his unerring intuition.

Although the varied four-legged friend likes to be pampered, he is still no diva. Adaptability is also one of his character traits. If you don’t have a house and garden, you can still get a Papillon. With enough going out, a cozy and cozy atmosphere, and lots of love, he will find his favorite place in every home.

The appearance of the Papillon

The papillon grows to an average of 20-28 cm, with males usually being slightly larger than females. They are among the very light dogs and weigh between 1.5 and 5 kilos – depending on their size.
The coat colors are quite varied: in the breed standard, the colors white-black, reddish-brown and tricolor with spots are allowed. The coat itself is usually long and very fine and this is what the dogs are known for. The physique of the small dog is rather delicate and delicate. Papillons have black beady eyes.

When is a papillon fully grown?

Most papillons are fully grown when they are 12 months old. The shoulder height can then be 28 cm for both females and males.

Upbringing & husbandry of the papillon – this is important to note

Whether house and country or city and apartment, dog owners can keep the Papillon in any residential area, as long as the animal is allowed to enjoy its daily exercise in nature. Its adaptability makes the butterfly dog ​​very uncomplicated at times. Dogs are very attached to their owners, and this breed is no different. The presence of the master or mistress is enough for the spaniel to feel comfortable. The little creature has fun like any other dog on an exciting dog course.

Because his nature corresponds to an extremely uncomplicated nature, he is the ideal family dog. Children enjoy his temperament and vice versa. Nevertheless, the puppy needs consistent training and guidance from a young age. In this respect, it is no different than with other dogs. His intelligence and temperament are components that will challenge the owner.

Despite his liveliness, he is not stubborn. His even-tempered and gentle nature makes him a loyal companion dog for beginners. Those who are still inexperienced usually have to get used to the role of the pack leader.

How much exercise does a Papillon need?

The papillon needs daily exits, at least twice a day the owner should take him for a long walk.

Feeding of the Papillon

A healthy diet is not only the be-all and end-all for humans, but also for pets. The nutritional requirements of the papillon depend on certain nutritional factors. These include, for example

  • age
  • weight
  • size
  • general health
  • any allergies

Whether dry or wet food: high-quality food for the Papillon should be made from whole ingredients and cover the respective needs. Depending on the condition and age of the dog, the food can be calculated exactly. This is important because nutritional needs will change over time. For example, a puppy will present a different nutritional requirement than an adult Papillon dog. They need at least two meals a day.

For a balanced diet, the feed should contain omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, nutrients and sufficient minerals. Preservatives and artificial ingredients should be removed from the list. The feed recipe depends crucially on the physical and health condition of the small dog. In addition to special food for papillons, the four-legged friends also like fresh meat. The more the feed is tailored to individual needs, the better it is for the animal. The owner does not have to worry about stomach problems in his dog.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

If you get a papillon, you can count on a long life expectancy (12 to 15 years) if the weight is not less than 2.5 kg. The butterfly pooch is usually a healthy breed of dog. The prerequisite is that they are not bred too small.
Patellar luxation (PL) of the kneecap falls under a breed-typical disease. This kneecap dislocation also occurs in other small dog breeds. In this context, it is considered the most common cause of lameness occurring in young adult Papillons. When the kneecap is dislocated, the kneecap shifts by jumping out of the groove. The result: impairment of free movement. When buying a puppy, the buyer should make sure that the parents are free of diseases or PL.

The dog generally does not tend to be overweight. However, an improper diet can cause obesity. Cardiovascular diseases can be the result.

With regard to cold and heat tolerance, it depends on the dog breed. Not every dog reacts to cold and heat in the same way. The continental spaniel lacks a correspondingly warming undercoat. It is more exposed to the cold than other dog breeds with an undercoat. For this reason, he should not leave the house without protection during the cold season.

How Old Do Papillon Dogs Get?

The life expectancy is 12 to 15 years with a healthy, balanced diet and animal welfare.

Care of the Papillon

The spaniel is characterized by ease of care. Nevertheless, dog owners should brush and comb their fur every day. This breed of dog can shed, but it doesn’t have to be the case. On a walk through nature, the little nose likes to sniff away from the path. Small branches or other dirt can quickly be found in the fur. This can happen especially with the fur fringes of the butterfly ears. Here, too, there must be no carelessness.

Papillon – activities and training

The continental spaniel does not need any special activities. However, the owner should not take this as an opportunity and completely refrain from dog sports. If the dog lover and his dog enjoy certain sporting activities, this should also be used. Sports such as agility are suitable for the Papillon. Movement skills and intelligence are trained in an obstacle course. And people don’t miss out on this fun either. Sports like these also promote interaction and thus the relationship between humans and dogs.

Good to know: special features of the Papillon

The suitability of the spaniel as a city dog should be particularly emphasized. In addition, it is a very old breed of dog that a dog owner can be proud of. In addition, he is ideally suited for beginners, since he always wants to please and is usually easy to train.

How much does a papillon dog cost?

A Papillon dog can cost up to $1500. Do not trust bargains or cheap offers when buying. These are not available from a reputable breeder.

Disadvantages of the Papillon

Although the dog breed attracts a lot of sympathy, there are also disadvantages. Because the little four-legged friend likes to speak up, the frequent barking may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For this reason, consistent training is all the more important. The furry creature has a certain temperament that both mistress and master should not underestimate. If the upbringing is not as it should be, carelessness can quickly have a negative impact. The bundle of energy then does what it wants. Absolute no-gos should be made known to the dog at an early stage. The distribution of roles must be clear. The owner leads the dog and not the other way around.

In addition, jealousy scenes can occur if the animal does not receive sufficient attention. The need for daily grooming can also be stressful, even if the coat is generally easy to groom. Here the owner should show discipline. This should also be there when the working day and desire for the couch instead of grooming.

Does the Papillon suit me?

If you are about to buy a dog, it must not be a spontaneous act. This applies to people who already have experience with dogs as well as to beginners or those who are interested. Families should also be aware that a dog is not a toy, but a living being with individual needs and feelings.
Information about certain character traits can be very helpful. As a rule, the interested person is already looking for certain character traits or he sympathizes with them.

The Papillon suits you if you are a character type yourself who can well accept the varied character traits of this breed. The future dog owner does not have to do without cuddliness or gentleness. Especially in the cold season, some pet owners only go out with their dog for the most necessary time. The papillon is therefore also suitable for the frostbite among us.

At home, however, the dog is by no means a lap dog. His performance is always energetic and cheerful. Because he doesn’t have much physical size, there is enough space in an apartment for him to let off steam. The Papillon may be well suited for active seniors who like to move and are not subject to any restricted mobility. As a family dog, he is one of the best companions.

But singles can also look forward to this companion dog. This raises the question of whether the single person can free up enough time to meet the dog’s need for attention. If there is no one else who can look after you, you should possibly do without a dog. When purchasing, you should therefore always plan ahead. Anyone who gets an animal must also be able to take responsibility for it. This includes the availability of time.

Once you have decided on a papillon, you should buy from a reputable local breeder.

How long can a Papillon stay alone?

The spaniel needs a lot of attention and a companion to play with. Like all dogs, this breed is very owner-centred.

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