Papillons are so named because of their butterfly shaped ears, with papillon being a French translation of butterfly. These adorable dogs have personalities to match, becoming a favorite to those who own or encounter the breed. With all they have going for them it seems as they have no negative attributes. But are they hypoallergenic and can those who suffer from dog allergies spend time in their company without symptoms too? Or is this breed known for shedding? Here is what you need to know.
So, are Papillons hypoallergenic? Papillons are not hypoallergenic, as they are known to shed their long straight coats. They do so regularly throughout the year and also during shedding season (every spring and fall) as they prepare their coats for the change in weather. However, they only shed a moderate amount and not much as some other breeds are known for. This is partly because they do not possess an undercoat.
Papillons are purebred dogs whom have been bred from Spaniels, back as far as the 1600s. Spaniels are not hypoallergenic either, so it’s not a surprise that the Papillon is not.
In fact, no dog can be considered to be 100% hypoallergenic. The term just refers to dogs who shed very little.
Nonetheless, while Papillons may be problematic for allergy sufferers with hyper-sensitive immune systems, there are several other breeds that appear to be more problematic.
Adequate grooming can go a long way in keeping allergens under control.
Thankfully, the Papillon coat is not prone to matting, but it does require regular combing and brushing several times a week to keep the coat and hair healthy.
Many prospective owners are pleased to learn that the Papillons do not have a ‘doggy odor’, and bathing is not required as frequently as in some other breeds.
Let us now take a closer look at why the Papillon breed cannot be classified as hypoallergenic before taking a closer look at their shedding tendencies.
We will also be covering the main grooming requirements for this breed and some tips for those with dog allergies so be sure to keep on reading until the very end!
What Makes A Dog Hypoallergenic?
The biggest factor for a dog to be classified as hypoallergenic is in relation to the amount their coats shed. Hypoallergenic dogs, are those that do not shed very much, if any at all.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the hair that people tend to be allergic to. Instead, it is proteins found in ‘dander’ that attaches to the fur. These proteins are found in a dog’s saliva, urine sweat that are the actual allergens.
Another misconception is that dogs that have hair instead of fur have a higher chance of being hypoallergenic. All living mammals with hair or fur produce dander, yes, even us humans produce dander. An excess of it in humans is known as dandruff.
So, if the dog’s hair is not what causes allergies, then why does it matter how much the dog sheds?
Well, the more a dog sheds, the more chance there is for the dander to spread throughout the household, including on furniture and getting stuck in the carpets. This added dander in the air and on surfaces in the house cause irritation and allergies.
As far as the allergy to your Papillon’s saliva, there’s not a lot you can do aside from not letting them give you kisses, and ensure you wash your hands right away when you need to handle them at all, even if you did not come in contact with their mouth.
Another important aspect if keeping a regular grooming regimen and schedule. The more you can brush the coat and minimize the amount of hair released, the lesser the chance for dander to collect and be deposited around your home.
Do Papillons Shed?
Papillons do shed. This long, straight-haired breed does release its coat, though the length of their hair has nothing to do with their shedding.
Just as it does with human hair, dog hair only grows for so long before it’s reached the end of its life and it dies before falling out. The same occurs in cats and any other animal with hair or fur.
Some fallout is normal for both dogs and people. For people it’s most noticeable in the shower or on their pillow when they get up out of bed.
For dogs, it’s noticeable everywhere. I’m pretty sure my Lab sheds constantly and I’ve even found his hair in areas of the house he hasn’t been in.
Do Papillons Shed A Lot?
Papillons don’t tend to shed a lot, perhaps thankfully, due to the fact that they only have a single coat. Quite often, dogs with double coats will shed more than those with just a single coat.
Papillons are seasonal shedders, meaning that they will shed more during the changing of the seasons, when their coats are preparing for the change in temperature and weather. Dogs with single and double coats can have seasonal shedding.
Even though Papillons have longer hair, the length of a dog’s coat doesn’t factor in when it comes to how much they shed.
Papillons have longer hair and don’t shed very often, outside of seasonal shedding. It may appear that they are losing more hair, just due to the length of each strand.
Much is the same for people with long hair, it looks like they’re losing more hair than normal, but they’re not.
Factors That Influence How Much A Papillion Will Shed
The biggest factor that will influence how much your Papillon will shed has to do with your grooming routine. Regular brushing of your Papillon will reduce the amount of shedding by collecting any dead hair that is preparing to fall out.
If you have someone in your household that is allergic to dogs, or is irritated by them, you may want to brush your Papillon daily.
In addition to helping those allergic, you’ll also notice a lot less fur on you surfaces throughout your house.
Perhaps the other main factor that can impact shedding are any health or medical issues that a dog is experiencing. This can increase shedding, and usually can be observed by a sudden and abrupt change in the amount of hair released.
The truth is, not all shedding is normal shedding, some dogs may shed due do certain nutritional deficiencies, health issues, stress, anxiety and other environmental factors.
If you find that your Papillon is shedding more than they normally do, or more than would be considered normal for the breed, contact your veterinarian.
Parasites, infections, organ diseases (kidney, liver, thyroid) and cancer are just some of the more advanced adverse health conditions that can also result in excessive shedding; so its important to find the route cause as soon as you suspect something may not be right in your dog.
Ultimately, owners need to be aware of shedding season as to not confuse it.
Grooming Requirements For Papillons
Papillons don’t have a lot of grooming requirements. They are not a dog that puts of much odor, so they only need to be bathed every so often when they are dirty.
When bathing, you must ensure you use a product that is safe for use on dogs. A lot of human shampoos and conditioners contain irritants that harm and damage to a dogs coat/skin.
This shampoo designed for dogs from Amazon is ideal; its all natural and the Lavender scent can help an owner keep their Papillon smelling fresh year-round.
The biggest part of your grooming routine will be brushing your Papillon, and that should occur at least twice a week.
This not only keeps up with their shedding and help to prevent matting but will also help to spread the natural oils which will keep their skin and coat healthy.
Using a slicker brush is advised for this breed, like this best seller on Amazon. Its effortless to use, comfortable on your dogs coat and does an excellent job at distributing the natural oils in a dogs coat which are essential for keeping it healthy.
Due to the size and shape of their ears, checking your Papillon once a week is important to stay on top of them as they have a tendency to get infected.
In addition to inspecting and checking them regularly, ensure that they get fully dried after your dog gets wet. Their ears are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Tips for Allergy Sufferers Living with A Papillon
If there is an allergy sufferer in your household there are a few actions that you can take to help keep their irritation down and make co-habitation much better for the allergy sufferer.
- Wash Your Papillon’s Items – Regularly wash your Papillon’s items, this should include things like dog beds, blankets, soft toys, and any other washable item that the dog has regular contact with.
- Brushing Your Papillon – For best results brush your Papillon daily to lessen the chances of shedding and a distribution of dander.
- Grooming Your Papillon – Wash your Papillon with an anti-allergenic shampoo when it does come time to bathing them. This will help cut down on dander and skin irritation.
- Allergy Free Zone – Have at least one area in your house where your Papillon is not allowed to go. This could be the sufferer’s bedroom or a common space. In addition, keep your Papillon off the piece of furniture that your allergy sufferer uses most often.
- Use a HEPA Air Cleaner – Many HEPA air cleaners will destroy dander in the air, helping allergy sufferers. One additional tip for here is to ensure that you change, or clean if it’s not disposable, the filter on a regular basis. Once it’s clogged it won’t be as effective.
- Take Medicine – Taking a regular dose of an antihistamine or getting allergy shots can lessen, or eliminate, symptoms caused by dander and other allergens.
These tips are just suggestions and are not medical advice, nor are they guaranteed to work, but many allergy suffers have found them to work, making it much easier to live with a dog.
In addition, none of these tips can hurt to try and at the very least will just add another level of cleanliness of your home.
While Papillons may not be considered hypoallergenic, they are almost the next best thing, not shedding very much.
That being said, you will notice that your Papillon will shed much more during the change of seasons.
Dander and saliva, not hair or fur, are the big culprits for allergy sufferers. However, shedding hair and fur can transport the dander to different areas in the house and piling up on different surfaces throughout the house.
Papillons have a single coat and quite often, single coated dogs will shed less than double coated breeds.
While Papillons might have a single coat, it’s a long coat of hair. Thankfully however, the length of coat does not play into how much a dog will shed.
Shedding is caused when the lifespan of a strand of hair or fur has reached their end and the hair then falls off. Dogs aren’t the only ones who produce dander and who shed. All animals, including humans, that have hair or fur have dander and shed.
Even though they have long hair, not a log of grooming is required when it comes to Papillons.
They need to be brushed regularly to prevent mats from forming, and dead hair from shedding, but that’s about it. They have a low odor levels, so they don’t require baths often.
Papillons are such great companions and have many positive attributes to them. Don’t let the little amount of shedding that they do turn you off from this gorgeous breed.
If you’re looking for a dog full of personality that you want to have by your side, then the Papillon might be a perfect match for you.
Looking to learn more about the Papillon breed? Check out my guides below!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.