When it comes to the toy breeds, only two really stand out, the Toy Poodle and the Papillon. The Papillon’s intelligence and ability to accept training is legendary. Exhibitors in the obedience and agility segments, who are looking for a dog that exhibits all the necessary qualities and comes in a small bright package, very often, pick the Papillon as the dog of choice.
Papillons or Continental Toy Spaniels (as they are also called) have a distinct look. Their outstanding physical feature is their ears. These are shaped like a butterfly, hence the name. Papillon is butterfly in French. They are considered the eighth most intelligent breed of dog.
The Papillon is a quick learner. The best training methods to use when training them are the positive training methods. Praise and food as rewards are very effective in instilling whatever you want into them. Some Papillons, though will try to wiggle out of training by using their “charm” to manipulate the owner. Be firm with them. With very keen senses, they respond to stimuli in the environment, which can lead to some barking but they are far from yappy dogs.
The most important thing to remember about the Papillon is that socialization is the key to getting them properly adjusted. For these dogs to develop a confident attitude, socialization is the main tool in the owner’s armoury. Training classes solve two (2) problems, at once. Proper training and socialization. Some Papillons are overly sensitive to touch and this can lead to very unwanted consequences when there are small children who play and roughhouse with the dog. The Papillon and small children can be a bad combination.
What surprises many owners of Papillons is the realization that their dog is not the submissive type and will indeed try to exhibit possessive tendencies and try to boss around much larger dogs. This can quite often leads to a very dangerous situation as the small Papillon does not stand much of a chance when attacked by much larger dogs.
The Papillon is a lovely dog to own and are very good at adjusting to their environment. Whether you have a lively, busy family or lead a quiet life, these dogs adapt well. They can be calm one minute and then ready to go the next.
Papillons are one of the best toy breeds and are not as popular as a poodle, for instance. For this reason, they are not typically readily available and reserving a puppy in advance, is recommended.