The name “Papillon” is french for “butterfly” and this breed got that name from their butterfly shaped ears. Papillons are spirited little dogs with energy to spare. They love to chase balls and run around the house, though they are happy to take a break to soak up a little love and attention whenever they can get it. They learn things quickly, and are often at the top of their class in obedience and agility. Papillons make excellent family dogs, in that they can keep up with kids who want to play, but know when it's time to relax for a belly rub and a nap. They make excellent companion animals for first time dog owners.
Papillons are tiny, but they have lots of energy. Though they can entertain themselves by running around the house for hours, they should be allowed to play outdoors whenever possible. They also appreciate daily walks, and are very easy to leash train. Their size makes them ideal apartment dogs, though they can be just as happy in a home with wide open spaces.
Papillons are smart and need to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. Playing interactive games with them is a welcome activity, as is agility training. They will soak up the added time with you, and will excel on the obstacle course, as they think quickly on their feet.
Papillons are highly trainable dogs. They possess a strong desire to please and are highly intelligent, often picking up on commands in one lesson. Some can be a little rebellious, so don't think your dog is defective if he's a little rebellious. Food motivates them to do just about anything, and positive reinforcement should always be the method of choice for training sessions.
Once basic obedience has been mastered, many people enroll their Papillons in advanced training with the goal of entering their dog in competitions. This breed is often the grand champion of the toy group in agility and competitive obedience.
Because Papillons love people so much, Separation Anxiety can develop fairly easily. They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time and will bark excessively or break their house training rules if they get too anxious. Papillons are best served by people who work flexible hours, families with a stay at home parent, or active retirees.
Like other toy breeds, Papillons are barkers. They will bark to let you know that someone is coming to the door, someone walked by the door, or someone two houses down opened a door. This makes them excellent watchdogs, but can try your patience and kill your eardrums. Teaching your Papillon commands to stop barking is a must at an early age.