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The phrase ‘good things come in small packages’ immediately springs to mind when looking at the Papillon dog. They are energetic, playful, super intelligent and easy to train, friendly, and much more. These sassy little pups love to be loved, and their small size makes them suitable for different living situations.
So, we’ve established that Papillons have a personality and character that’s well and truly larger than life, but what about the practicalities of owning one. These Dogs certainly look cute in their beautiful coats but are they easy to maintain? What about their grooming needs. To better understand these topics, let’s start by answering a simple question.
Do Papillons shed? Yes, they do. Luckily, their shedding is usually on the lighter side, although it can be more in some Papillons and during certain times of the year. The amount of shedding will also depend on other factors such as age, diet, health, etc. While you can expect to find some fur around your house when living with a Papillon, their shedding is quite manageable.
All dogs shed, and it’s an important part of the natural hair growth cycle, which allows them to get rid of old, dead hairs and grow new, healthier ones.
Today, we take a closer look at the Papillon, including how much they shed, when do Papillons shed, what it takes to keep their coat in good condition, what can cause excessive shedding, and much more. So, keep reading until the end, so you know what to expect in terms of shedding and decide whether or not it’s the right breed for you.
How Much Do Papillons Shed?
Despite their long, flowy locks, you’ll be glad to hear that Papillons are low to moderate shedders. They shed pretty less than several breeds for a couple of reasons. First, their fur is genetically geared to grow long, meaning it takes more time to reach full-length than short-haired breeds.
All dogs go through a hair growth cycle to get rid of old, dead hairs and regrow new ones. Long-haired breeds like the Papillon don’t shed as regularly as other dogs because their hairs take longer to reach full length.
The second reason Papillons don’t shed as much is their coat type. As single-coated dogs, Papillons only have one layer of fur compared to double-coated breeds with two layers of fur. Needless to say, they have less hair to shed. Lastly, given their small size, they have a small surface area and, therefore, less hair to shed in the first place.
Shedding may vary from one Papillon to the next, depending on several factors such as diet and overall health. You will notice some fur dropping throughout the year, with seasonal shedding ramping up towards summer.
Why Do Papillons Shed?
The first step to understanding shedding in Papillons is to learn the life cycles of dogs’ hairs. Fur grows in a cycle that consists of four different stages:
- Anagen: This is when the hair starts to grow
- Catagen: The length of a dog’s hair is genetically pre-determined, which is pretty long in the case of Papillons. The catagen stage is when the fur reaches its genetic length, and no further growth occurs.
- Telogen: This is the resting period
- Exogen: At this stage, your dog will lose old, dead hairs so the growth cycle can begin again
In short, shedding is a natural process in a Papillon’s life to get rid of old hairs and regrow new, healthy ones.
If you have a Papillon puppy, you may notice a significant shedding when they are around 7-8 months old. Puppies are born with fragile coats and will shed them to grow more robust adult coats.
Aside from these natural causes of shedding, your pup may also shed due to an underlying problem, often referred to as unhealthy shedding. There are several reasons for this, so keep reading to find out. But I will say that if something seems out of the ordinary, take your furry friend to the vet.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
The American Kennel Club categorizes this breed as a seasonal to frequent shedder. Papillons’ shedding can go from infrequent, to seasonal, to more frequent during certain times of the year. There are two times in a year that most dogs shed the most.
Papillons will grow thick, warmer coats towards winter and thinner coats towards summer to help keep them cool. The problem is they can’t grow more fur in addition to the existing ones or reduce some; instead, they shed the entire coat and grow a much-suited one for the upcoming season.
Seasonal shedding mostly occurs in double-coated dogs, but single-coated breeds like the Papillon will also experience increased shedding in fall and spring. You can expect to find fur all over your house, though not as much as you would in double-coated dogs.
Most of this breed’s shedding is completely normal, but as mentioned earlier, there can be cases where hair loss occurs. This is not the same as shedding, as an underlying issue often causes it. Stress is the first cause of fur loss in dogs, so take a keen look at their environment to see if anything is upsetting them or causing discomfort.
Medical issues could also potentially cause unhealthy shedding, including allergies, hormonal imbalances, dietary deficits and intolerances, parasitic infections, hypothyroidism, cancer, etc.
If you notice any odd or sudden changes in your Papillon’s shedding, it would be best to visit the vet so they can do blood tests and rule out any medical cause. This breed is described as a low to moderate shedder, so any heavy shedding should signify that something is amiss, especially if it occurs outside of the shedding season. Other signs of unhealthy shedding you should be aware of include:
- Bald spots
- Dry skin or fur
- Matted fur
- Dull coat
- Open sores
- Increased licking and scratching
What Type of Coat Does a Papillon Have?
Papillons are single-coated dogs with just one layer of fur, unlike double-coated dogs with two layers of fur. The lack of an undercoat plays a big part in making them low to average shedders. But on the downside, undercoats help dogs regulate their body temperatures.
Because Papillons don’t have that, they have nothing to protect them from the elements, leaving that job to you, the owner. You’ll need to keep a close eye on them, so they don’t overheat or get sunburned in summer. And in winter, you’ll have to help them stay warm by providing a doggy coat or jacket.
This dog has long, silky, elegant fur that is typically white with various brown, gray, and black color patterns. The hairs are pretty fine and a couple of inches long when fully grown. But the long, thin fur can easily become matted; hence the need for regular grooming.
How to Manage and Reduce Papillons Shedding?
After learning how much do Papillons shed, it only makes sense to know how you can manage the situation and keep shedding to an absolute minimum. No one likes their house full of fur; plus, a lot of shedding can be risky for allergy sufferers.
I don’t recommend taking measures to keep a canine from shedding, like shaving. It’s a temporary solution, and you may damage the fur. Shedding is a natural and important part of a dog’s life, and if they are not shedding properly, it could be a sign of an illness, not to mention it’s unhealthy for their skin. That being said, there are ways you can make your life with your furry friend fur-free, and it all comes down to two things: grooming and providing a proper diet.
Papillons do shed, and while it may be an average amount, they still have high grooming needs due to the long coats. Brushing is the first grooming tip to help keep the fur clean and reduce shedding by picking up loose hairs on the dog’s coat before they land on your furniture and floor. When brushing, you can massage your dog’s skin, allowing their natural body oils to spread to all parts of the skin, which keeps the fur healthy and less prone to shedding.
Brushing your Papillon 2-3 times a week should be enough to keep their coats clean and healthy, but you may need to brush daily during seasonal shedding to keep up with the increased shedding.
Using the right tools is also fundamental in the grooming process. I recommend a slicker brush as it can brush through Papillons’ long fur and detangle them gently yet effectively.
You know that dogs need a well-balanced diet to keep them healthy, but did you know that nutrition plays a huge role in maintaining these animals’ coats? Good quality dog food filled with vitamins and nutrients will ensure healthy coats that shed only when necessary. Fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are also known to encourage healthy coats and minimize shedding.
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain foods. If that is the case, your Papillon will start itching and scratching, leading to hair loss. Always take note of your Papillon’s diet to know if they are allergic to any food.
Another grooming tip to minimize shedding is occasional baths, like every few months. Like brushing, bathing allows you to capture loose fur before it gets a chance to fall out and spread all over the house. Avoid frequent baths or using human shampoo as these can lead to skin dryness and irritation, which can actually increase shedding.
Some people believe dogs should receive supplements to fulfill certain nutritional requirements, while others don’t find this to be a helpful method. But one thing you can’t deny is supplements play a huge role in managing and reducing shedding.
Adding fish oils and other omega fatty acids supplements to your Papillon’s diet can help improve coat health. That being said, every dog’s nutrient needs are different, so ensure you talk with your vet first about the best supplements for your particular canine.
Are Papillons Hypoallergenic?
When people search for information about how Papillons shed, it’s usually to know how much cleaning and grooming they’ll have to do. But most importantly, they want to know whether the dog can affect their allergies. The truth is, all dogs shed, and all can cause allergies. But the thing about hypoallergenic dogs is they produce fewer allergens, making them less likely to cause allergies.
Papillons are not hypoallergenic because they shed significantly, especially during seasonal shedding. These dogs also shed dander, the biggest culprit of canine allergies. That being said, Papillons are average shedders. Together with their small size, this means they produce fewer allergens than double-coated, large dogs.
A Papillon may still be a good choice if you have mild allergies, but only if you’re committed to regularly grooming them and providing a proper diet. We’ve seen earlier that these two strategies go a long way toward minimizing shedding. You can also reduce allergens in your home through regular vacuuming and investing in a HEPA air filter.
I would recommend more allergy-friendly breeds like the Maltese, Poodle, Affenpinscher, Basenji, Bichon Frise, and Miniature Schnauzer for those with severe allergies.