The Papillon: A Complete Guide

Last Updated:

If you are looking for a dog that has often been portrayed by many famous, old painters, and a dog that is a cuter version of a toy Spaniel, the Papillon might be your best choice.

This is a breed that is well known for being a great competitor in obedience and agility competitions, due to its unbelievably high energy levels.

One thing is certain, everyone who meets this dog will immediately fall in love with him!

But, before making the final decision on buying a Papillon puppy, you need to do your homework. And, you are in luck because we did it for you.

Our guide will give you a wide insight into all the traits of this dog, as well as how to find that perfect pup that comes from a reputable breeder and with excellent genetic heritage.

There are a lot of questions you should be asking before you become a Papillon owner, but we will start with the first, most obvious one, what do you need to know before buying a Papillon puppy?

The Papillon Puppies – Before You Buy…

A Papillon with a red scarf
The Papillon is a well-mannered doggie companion.

As with any other breed, before making the big decision, there are certain things you should be aware of. For example, is the puppy’s price range suitable for the budget you planned?

Also, can you find a reputable breeder and have a guarantee that you are getting what you paid for. And finally, are you capable of living with, in this case, a Papillon puppy?

Here are the answers to these important before-the-purchase questions so that you can make sure you are making the right choice in the end.

What price are the Papillon puppies?

The price range for a purebred Papillon puppy from a reputable breeder and with proof of parent health test clearances, on average goes from some $500 to $800.

However, if you want a superb-quality puppy that can breed and win medals at dog shows, that higher end of the range cab goes up to $1500.

How to find reputable Papillon breeders?

Finding a reputable breeder can be a complicated task, but it doesn’t have to be if you know all the important things.

For example, if you spot a puppy selling ad that is available throughout the year and always has many pups for sale, you are probably looking at a puppy mill and you should not walk away from such deals but run as fast as you can.

The pups that are born in such conditions are in most cases unhealthy and carrying a plethora of genetically inheritable health conditions.

Another red flag is when you meet the breeder, and he seems like he doesn’t know much about the breed or isn’t interested in offering advice on the whole puppy choosing process.

In this case, you are dealing with a backyard breeder that just wants to cash in some money on his dog and doesn’t want to spend the profit on high-quality food for the pups, not to mention health tests for parents.

His pups might be healthy in the beginning, and might not even have complicated genetic health issues, but they will most likely not fit the breed standard when their temperament is concerned and you just might end up with a stubborn, aggressive dog.

A reputable breeder, on the other hand, will be very welcoming and will tell you everything there is about the breed.

Also, without even asking him that will be the first thing he does, he will show you the complete medical history of the entire bloodline.

This way, you can be sure that the puppy you buy from him is completely healthy, and without any hidden genetic issues.

Also, he will give you advice on how to take care of your pup, as well as how, when, and what to feed him with. And, we recommend you stick to that schedule, at least until your puppy gets into his teenage years.

3 Little-known facts about the Papillon puppies

A small Papillon with its hair blowing in the wind
The Papillon is not known for being shy nor anxious.

And now, it’s time to get more familiar with the puppies and what comes with living together with them.

  • Avoid puppies from nervous parents

Some Papillons can be nervous, even though this is not a trait associated with the breed.

Therefore, before buying a puppy, you should first ask to see the parents, so that you can check that they don’t have such issues.

  • They are “All eyes on Me” dogs

The Papillons are not known for being happy in a home where the family members don’t have much time for playing with the dog.

They want to be noticed by their human family all the time and can get quite annoying if you ignore them.

  • They are fragile

The Papillon puppies are not sturdy and they should not play with small kids.

Kids tend to be unaware of their strength and they can easily hurt the Papillon puppy without even wanting to.

Physical Traits of the Papillon

This is the section of the guide where you get to know how big will your Papillon be when he fully matures, as well as how many years can you expect him to be your trusty companion.

How big is a full-grown Papillon?

This is not a big breed, and as we mentioned it, they are characterized as a lap dog.

The average height range with this breed goes from some 8 to 11 inches, while they can have from 4 to 9 pounds of weight.

Like with all other dog breeds, the males tend to be on the higher end of both the height and the weight ranges.

What is the life expectancy of the Papillon?

As for their life expectancy, the Papillons are in it for the long run. Their lifespan goes from some 13 to 15 years of age, assuming they’ve had a proper diet and exercise during their lives.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Papillon

A brown and white Papillon in a lake
The Papillon is a very energetic breed.

This breed is officially categorized as a lap size breed, but don’t let that fool you, they are so much more than a dog who just wants to sit in your lap and cuddle.

In fact, they might be everything else but that, and if you want a dog that will relax in your lap while you are both watching the TV, this is not the best breed for you.

With a Papillon, you are more likely to see him hunting rodents around your backyard, or always finding a way to stay busy.

This is a dog that takes his role of the family protector quite seriously, despite his miniature size. He is a big dog in a small dog’s body and comes with an amazing alertness level, which makes him an excellent watchdog.

But, he is not quite aware of his size and in most cases, he will get into trouble for trying to be the big, mean protector.

Furthermore, you should also be aware that these dogs are meant for owners or families with an active lifestyle because they have plenty of energy to spare.

Also, they are quite outgoing and if properly socialized, they won’t have a problem with licking all your friends when they come to visit you.

Likewise, these dogs are highly intelligent, which makes them perfect for training and they will be very successful in dog sports such as rally or agility.

They can also be stars in the obedience ring, as well as ace competitions such as the toy breed obedience.

And, training your dog obedience is highly recommendable if you don’t want to end up with a spoiled small dog that thinks he is in charge of everything and everyone.

If not trained on time, they can become stubborn, and once they get used to such behavior, it will be hard to change their minds.

But, with early training, your Papillon will become a lovable little pooch that is easy to please and has an unbelievable thirst for learning new tricks.

They can also get along quite nicely with other animals and dogs, as well as children, but you should never let them play without supervision.

With all taken into consideration, and if everything is done properly, you will have a wonderful family member for years to come.

Papillon Diet

When it comes to how to feed your Papillon, while he is still a puppy, he will benefit from toy/small breed formulated dog food, or even all stage dog food if the puppy one isn’t available.

The same goes pretty much for an adult Papillon.

Once he reaches maturity, your Papillon can eat toy/small dog formulated food or all stages of dog food.

However, if you decide to feed your dog with homemade food, make sure you consult both the breeder you bought the puppy from and your dog’s vet.

How much Exercise does a Papillon need?

This is a relatively active dog breed and they do need exercise.

While still a puppy, your Papillon will need just some 10 to 15 minutes of light walking. He is still developing at that stage and you don’t want to stress his joints and bones.

Once your dog is fully developed, he will need around half an hour of walking and exercise, some two or three times a day, each day.

And, regardless of age, you will know when your Papillon is tired because he will refuse to keep walking.

The Papillon Health and Conditions

Even though they are generally healthy dogs, the Papillons can suffer from certain health problems.

The ones you should be aware of are:

  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Open Fontanel

These are the conditions you should ask the breeder to provide the health test clearances for.

My final thoughts on the PapillonThe Papillon smiling

We have reached the end of our Papillon guide.

By now, you should have a much better idea if this is the breed you want as a companion or not.

If you still have some doubts, read our short summary of what we talked about today.

This way, you will be positive that you are making an informed decision in the end.

After all, you will be living with that dog, so make sure you are completely ready.

In general, this is a very energetic breed that loves playing with the family and loves exercise.

Despite their size, they have no problems with taking long hikes with his human companion or even standing up to much bigger dogs if needed.

And, unlike most toy dog breeds, the Papillon is not known for having shyness or anxiety attacks.

The Papillon is highly intelligent, and one of the best toy-breeds for training and obedience competition.

They are gentle and playful and in most cases excellent with kids.

But, the kids need to know how to properly play with a dog so that he doesn’t get hurt.

If socialized from the early pup days, your Papillon will also get along just fine with other dogs and even other species pets, such as cats, for example,

All in all, with a Papillon, you get a well-mannered doggie companion that loves spending time with the family and isn’t afraid of returning all the love sent his way.

Thank you for sticking to the end! If you liked our article and think that more people should find out how awesome these little dogs are, feel free to share the guide on social media.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3