The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Papillon

March 17, 2022

Papillons are a breed of dog that seems to be growing in popularity.  And for good reason – they are amazing little dogs!  Have you ever considered making a papillon a part of your pack?  I’ve been sharing my life with my papillon, Kitsune, for over 13 years now!  In that time, between raising my own papillon and interacting with others, I feel like I’ve gained a pretty good understanding of the breed.  In this post, I’m going to go over five pros, and five cons, of owning a papillon.  Hopefully this, perhaps along with some of my other papillon themed posts, can help any potential new owners decide if this is, indeed, the right breed for you!

Pros Cons Papillon

Pros Of Owning A Papillon

  1. They are super sweet dogs!  Kitsune is the sweetest dog ever.  Pretty much everyone he meets, human or animal, becomes his new best friend.  They don’t call papillons “social butterflies” for nothing!  Because of how friendly and social he is, Kit made an excellent city dog.  I never had to worry about how he was going to react to meeting new people, or dogs, during our walks.
  2. Papillons are crazy smart!  Papillons are ranked as the 8th smartest dog breed!  Not bad, considering the AKC currently recognizes 197 dog breeds.  This means that papillons are generally quite easy to train, and can excel in things like dog sports and obedience.
  3. Papillons have lots of energy!  This could turn into a con in the wrong home, but papillons are typically very high energy dogs.  As adorable as they are, pappies are not purse pups!  They are very playful.  If you’re the type of person who loves to go on adventures outdoors, a papillon might be the perfect companion for you.  My Kitsune, despite also being over 13 years old now, is the best adventure buddy!  We especially love hiking together.
  4. Papillons are a pretty healthy breed.  The average lifespan of a papillon is listed as being between 12 and 15 years.  However, over the years I’ve met quite a few 15+ year old papillons who were still going strong!  Luckily, most health issues commonly seen in the breed can be avoided by going to a reputable breeder who health tests their dogs, and/or by following proper care standards.
  5. Papillons are the best dogs ever, in small, portable packages!  Papillons have it all – beauty and brains!  Not everyone likes small dogs, I know, but pappies have it all in an adorable little package.  Because they are friendly and small, papillons can make great apartment pets.  They can do everything bigger dogs can, and you’ll never have to worry about dog weight limits when applying for apartments or traveling on public transit!  Oh, they are also the perfect size to snuggle up on your lap, too.

Pros Cons Papillon

Cons Of Owning A Papillon

  1. Papillons are crazy smart, and have lots of energy! I know… I listed these things as pros too!  However, in the wrong hands, a high energy dog who is also super intelligent is just asking for trouble.  A bored papillon is a naughty papillon!  Papillons are amazing at finding new and exciting ways of entertaining themselves… aka getting into trouble.
  2. Papillons like to bark…a lot! Probably the biggest con for many people, papillons do tend to be a barky breed.  Dare I say yappy, even?  Thankfully, with how intelligent they are, it’s very possible to train these talkative dogs to keep it quiet.  However, you really have to be willing to put in the work to train them not to bark too much.
  3. Papillons don’t like being left alone. With how social they are, papillons don’t like to be left home alone.  They get very, very attached to their people, and are prone to developing separation anxiety when separated from them.  Once again, you have to be willing to put in the time to work on training them if you want to work towards eliminating these types of issues.
  4. Papillon communities/groups can be toxic.  If you’re the type of dog owner who likes to find community with fellow lovers of their breed, you might not find what you’re looking for in papillon specific breed groups.  Papillon groups are usually some combination of amazing owners, and toxic people who will jump down your throat the second you say or do anything they don’t agree with.  I don’t know if it’s because papillons are such an aesthetically pleasing breed, but a lot of owners seem to only appreciate these dogs for their looks.  That’s always been sad to me, since papillons are SO much more than just a pretty face.
  5. Papillons don’t live forever.  Probably the biggest con of any dog, I’d imagine?  I’d gladly deal with all the other cons of owning a papillon, 100-fold, if only my sweet Kitsune could be with me forever.  He turned 13 last December and out of all the challenges I’ve had to face with my dogs over the years, thinking about loosing them someday has, by far, been the hardest thing for me to deal with.

Papillons Are Amazing Dogs, But Not For Everyone

I’ve loved papillons ever since I first learned about them, in a dog breed book, when I was around 8 years old.  Especially after sharing my life with Kit, this breed will always be near and dear to my heart.  They are such an amazing, versatile breed.  I mean, who wouldn’t want a beautiful ball of fluff that’s the perfect size for snuggling, but also an amazing sports dog or adventure buddy?

But this breed isn’t for everyone.  They are sometimes referred to as “the border collies of the small dog world”, because of how smart and energetic they are.  I think most people who don’t want a border collie understand why!  It’s pretty common knowledge how much of a challenge living with a border collie can be.  But because papillons are small, and very elegant looking, I think their intelligence and energy level often gets underestimated.

Comment below!  Have you ever met a papillon, or maybe even thought about owning one yourself?  What is your favorite dog breed?  If anyone has any questions about this breed, feel free to post them in our comment section below.

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  • Reply Cathy Armato March 18, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    Papillion are so sweet & beautiful but I did not expect that they’d be so high energy! Kit is amazing, I wish you many more healthy years together ❤

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 20, 2022 at 1:21 am

      Thank you! <3 Yes, they can be a very, very high energy breed. It still amazes me how high energy Kit can be, and he's over 13 now. Imagine when he was a puppy!

  • Reply Kamira Gayle March 18, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    I never owned a dog however my husband did years ago. I think one day he wants to adopt another dag. I know he’s interested in small dogs so reading your list of pros and cons for Papillons was insightful. Yes! I can totally agree with that last con! They don’t live forever. I wish our pets lived as long as us. Also, I found it interesting the insight of some community group owners and how they view their dogs from only a “surface/ appearance” standpoint. Just wow!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 20, 2022 at 1:20 am

      I’m not sure if the whole valuing their dogs on appearance is just a papillon thing or what. I get that they are a very visually appealing breed to many people, but there is SO much more too them than just their looks. I haven’t found the same level of focus on looks alone in other breed groups I’ve been a part of, although I’m sure it does exist elsewhere (sadly).

  • Reply Robin March 18, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    Papillons are such beautiful dogs! I can understand how being intelligent is both a pro and a con. I have a very smart cat and he can be a handful. The smarter they are, the bigger a problem bordem causes. It’s not always easy to keep those powerful minds busy 24/7.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 20, 2022 at 1:16 am

      For sure! The smart ones are always SO good at finding new and interesting ways of getting themselves into trouble. A good sense of humor helps when you have a super smart pet, whether cat or dog lol. Sometimes you just have to laugh at some of the creative ways they find to entertain themselves.

  • Reply Beth March 18, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    We think my daughter’s dog may be part Papillon. She seems to have all the traits you’ve listed.
    My husband really prefers small dogs, so I know he would be open to having a Papillon rescue in the future.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 20, 2022 at 1:14 am

      There are a few papillon breed rescues if you really are interested in adopting one in the future. 🙂 They are amazing little dogs, as long as you are prepared to meet their needs.

  • Reply Marjorie Dawson March 19, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    Papillons look the cutest pups ever and if you are a work from home parent I reckon they would be ideal. The smart and needing engagement should be a warning sign to the lazy dog owner. I like you give honest pros and cons. Having a cute dog is only one step on your journey together isn’t it?

    I read that in our valley one woman had her dog taken from her by animal control because it barked constantly. In spite of warmings she did nothing so they rehomed the dog to a more responsible person. I actually know the lady at Animal Control and I know she is very pro-active about keeping dogs happy and in their homes so this was one lazy owner.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 20, 2022 at 1:13 am

      Papillons for sure are not a good breed for a lazy owner! Thankfully, they are so smart that any major issues you come up against with them, such as excessive barking, you can work with them on. You really do have to be willing to put in the time, though. They’re such a high energy breed, I don’t think many of them would be happy in a home where they’re not getting lots of mental stimulation and exercise.

  • Reply Terri March 20, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    I didn’t realize that Papillons are so high energy or are barkers. That is new to me. I love knowing that they are social butterflies. My rescue dog, Henry (we think he’s a cockapoo) is a social butterfly as well. I’m certain he’d LOVE playing with your Kitsune. Although, Kitsune may wear him out in short order, which I would LOVE.

    I have met several Papillons. Of course, I immediately knew each was a sweet dog and very smart. I just was not aware of all the other traits. This was very informative.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 22, 2022 at 4:42 pm

      Yes! They are high energy for sure. They make amazing little sports dogs, and often excel at things like agility. The barking can be an issue, for sure, if you don’t take the time to work with them on it. I bet Henry and Kitsune would be great friends!

  • Reply Ruth Epstein March 20, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    Kit is so so cute and thanks for teaching me about his breed. I have always rescued as I love mutts but also love learning about small breeds. Kit you are the best

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 22, 2022 at 4:44 pm

      Aw, thank you! Maybe someday you’ll come across a rescue papillon or papillon mix. They used to be quite rare to find in shelters, but the breed seems to have become a bit more popular and they do (sadly) once in a while turn up in rescues.

  • Reply jana rade March 21, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    It’s always good to learn as much as possible about any breed one might want to introduce in their life. Misconceptions and poor understanding are at the root of people abandoning their dogs.

    We always loved Rotties. As we got old, we need to consider something smaller–I wish we could find a breed that is just like Rottweilers but about half the size 🙂

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack March 22, 2022 at 4:45 pm

      I agree. It’s SO important to know what you’re getting yourself into when you select a dog breed, and to find the right breed for you and your lifestyle. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with Rotties to recommend a small dog that might be similar. Maybe you could keep your eye out for a smaller Rottie mix in the shelter/rescues near you.

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