Are Papillons Cuddly?

August 20, 2022

I fell in love with papillons when I was around 8 years old.  I first learned about the breed in one of my sister’s dog breed books!  Of course reading about a dog breed in a book and actually living with one are two different things.  I made sure to do lots of research before finally deciding that yes, papillons are the right dog breed for me!  Before getting a papillon of my own, there were a lot of things I wanted to learn about these special dogs.  While most dogs are friendly, especially with their people, I really wanted to know whether or not papillons are cuddly!  Small dogs often get categorized as companion, or lap, dogs.  But in reality, not all small dog breeds like to snuggle.

Papillons are a high energy breed!

papillons cuddlyPapillon owners sometimes refer to these dogs as the “border collies of the small dog world”.  Not only do they have a lot of physical energy, but papillons are also the 8th smartest dog breed in the world!  That amazing combination of energy and smarts means that papillons are always on the go, go, go!  They need ample amounts of both mental and physical exercise.  At least they do if you have any illusions of keeping them out of trouble.

One of the many things that originally drew me to papillons is what amazing adventure buddies they can make.  I love spending time outdoors, hiking or otherwise just enjoying the great outdoors.  I wanted a dog that would enjoy adventuring with me, but, for many reasons, preferred a small breed dog.  Papillons seemed to fit the bill.  But the breeds energy level left me wondering whether I’d be able to enjoy doggy snuggles during our downtime.

What do I mean by “cuddly”?

papillons cuddlyI think most people would have a similar definition of what makes a dog cuddly, although I suppose peoples’ perspectives could differ.  Dogs can be affectionate without being snuggly.  To me, a snuggly or cuddly dog is one that enjoys laying in my lap or next to me, receiving attention, for an extended period of time.

Does “cuddly” mean the same thing to you?  I’d be interested to hear if other people would define a cuddly dog differently.

My personal experience with my own papillon…

My papillon, Kitsune, is super snuggly!  Ever since he was a puppy, he’s loved cuddling up with my partner or I, ideally both of us at once, while we relax and at night.  Yes, Kit sleeps in bed with us.  Kit loves to cuddle so much that he’s very much earned the nickname “the snuggle king” around our house!  In fact, if anyone at our house sits down, even just for a few minutes, chances are it’s not going to take long at all before Kitsune is in your lap.  He is an equal opportunity snuggler!

But that doesn’t mean that all papillons are cuddly.

Of course my account of my one papillon being cuddly doesn’t really answer the question of whether or not members of the breed in general like to cuddle.  I thought it would be interesting to poll some other papillon owners to see what they said about their own dogs.  These were the results…

papillons cuddly

48.7%, almost half, of the papillon owners I surveyed said that yes, they also have cuddly papillons.  13.7% said that their papillons were more independent, and don’t really like to cuddle.  What surprised me the most was that a whopping 37.5% of owners couldn’t definitively answer yes or no, and said that “it depends”.  Most of the people who answered this way said that their papillons are sometimes cuddly.

The biggest factors that these people reported that influence whether or not their papillons were cuddly included their dog(s) mood, and the time of day.  Apparently, it’s quite common for papillons to enjoy snuggling with their owners in the mornings and evenings, but not as much during the day.  I wonder if this could have to do with papillons’ high energy levels.  It makes sense that they may be more likely to cuddle during more relaxed times of the day, while the rest of the day they work on burning off all that energy!

Other factors to take into account

papillons cuddlySome other things I took note of while discussing this topic with fellow papillon owners was that, in general, owners reported that their male papillons are more snuggly than their females.  However, this was not consistent across the board.  A few owners even reported the opposite; that their females were more cuddly.  Also, in general, people with younger papillons were much more likely to report that their dog(s) didn’t like to snuggle due to their high activity levels.


My personal experience has been that papillons are, indeed, a very cuddly breed of dog.  However, that is not true across the board.  Not all owners report that their papillons like to snuggle, and for many dogs whether or not they cuddle with their owners seems to depend on factors such as their mood, activity level, and the time of day.  Younger papillons seem to be less likely to stay still long enough for a good cuddle, which makes sense.  Papillons are a high energy breed, especially when they’re young.  Like most things when it comes to dogs, whether or not your dog likes to cuddle may just come down to their unique, individual personality.  While it does seem like a majority of papillons do enjoy snuggling with their owners, not all of them do.  This is something potential owners should keep in mind when deciding whether this breed is right for them.

Comment below!  Do you prefer cuddly dogs, or dogs who are more independent?  Does your dog like to snuggle?  Have you ever had the honor of snuggling with a papillon?

papillons snuggly




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  • Reply Vicki Sowa August 20, 2022 at 9:40 am

    I currently have 3 papillons, and I had 2 prior to this. All of mine can be cuddly at times, as long as they’re tired…with the exception of “Don’t Touch me Toby.” You can guess why he earned his nickname. My girl is actually more clingy/cuddly (and demanding) than all the boys have been. They all cuddle on their own time and in their own way. Some like lap-sitting, some don’t. None have ever liked hugs, and some really need to be worn out prior to cuddles.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack August 20, 2022 at 7:10 pm

      Aww “Don’t Touch me Toby”! It’s interesting how different they can each be. It’s part of why I love this breed so much. They have so much personality, and each one is a bit different. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Reply jeff August 21, 2022 at 10:55 am

    even a dog,yes a dog,even needs a little show of affection,and yes to cuddle is a sure way for the dog to get it,nice job,keep up the good work Michelle, love ya Dad

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