The charming papillon was born and bred to be a lap dog. For decades, this silky and slight pup accompanied noblewomen while gracing many European royal courts for centuries. If you visit an art gallery with centuries-old Renaissance portraits, you’ll likely see many royal subjects painted with their trusty canine by their side. Famous artists like Rembrandt, Goya, and Toulouse-Lautrec often included papillons in their work.
Is it any wonder why there’s so much love with such extraordinary features? The papillon was bred between different toy breeds and spaniels to keep the spaniel’s look in a pint-sized frame. A papillon’s hair is long and silky and frames their large ears and animated face. With royalty in their blood, they deserve a look worthy of the court.
Here’s what you need to know about grooming a papillon.
With such long hair, papillons don’t need as much grooming as one might think. Unlike other long-coated breeds, paps don’t have an undercoat. This not only means they don’t shed as much as double-coated breeds, but they are also lower maintenance while grooming.
Brushing out their fur with either a comb or a soft slicker brush every other week or so will keep them looking fit. Papillons walk lower to the ground, and this means they likely collect dirt and other debris in their fur accidentally. Brushing them out periodically will help get rid of debris and avoid matting.
Every couple of months, however, it’s time for a bath! Because papillons are so petite (they only weigh 5-10 pounds max), it’s best to bathe your pup in the sink or shallow water basin versus a larger tub. That way you can keep a better eye on your tiny dog, and they will have less chance of slippage.
When bathing your papillon, using quality shampoo and conditioner helps keep their illustrious shine. Experts suggest using a clarifying shampoo (it helps remove hard water deposits and other impurities) and a lanolin-free conditioner. Lanolin, a wax found in many shampoos and conditioners, can cause skin irritations or allergies.
After you’ve washed your papillon, it’s time to dry. Turn your handheld dryer (one that’s safe for dogs!) on the medium to low setting and evenly blow-dry throughout the body. Because papillons only have a single coat, be extra careful about holding it in one place for too long.
Ready for some top-notch looks? Here are some popular papillon hairstyles.
Long & Luxurious
One of the best features of the papillon is, well, their hair! Leaving it long and well taken care of will showcase this breed’s best features. It’s easy to imagine that this pup was royalty with those silky locks. To achieve this look, keep on top of regular brushing. Slightly trim around the bottom for a more uniform look.
A papillon’s silky locks aren’t just on the torso! When a papillon needs to be show dog ready, groomers pay special attention to the tail and ears. The hair around the ears and tail oftentimes is equal length to the rest of the body.
Having shorter hair on a papillon does not mean shaving it off! Keeping a good amount of hair around their torso is very important to regulate their temperature, considering they don’t have thick fur. But giving a pap a sporty look is perfect for the summer, as they can run and play in nature without you worrying (as much) about collecting leaves and dirt out of their coat afterward.
A Little Trim
Thanks to their delicate features, giving a Papillon’s hair a very light trim will only enhance their dashing good looks. Many Papillon owners love keeping the ears and fur around the face nice and full while trimming the rest of the hair a little shorter. Keeping it shorter has extra benefits too: less chance of matting.
Grooming means going beyond the initial hairdo. Whether you have your dog professionally groomed or are fluffing it up at home, this is the perfect opportunity to clip a Papillon’s nails. Papillons can grow out their nails quicker than the average dog. Because their paws are tiny, it’s important to be extra careful to avoid getting too close to their paw. In particular, it’s important to trim the dewclaw (the one that grows higher on the leg), as that one can curl around and hurt the skin.
This is also a great time to check their large ears for signs of any infections or abnormalities.
Does your papillon need a fresh fluff? Is your dog hankering for a makeover? A groomer can come to your house! Rover offers dog grooming in Seattle, Austin, Washington DC, and Denver. To learn more, please check out our page here.