A Complete Step By Step Papillon Dog Grooming Guide

Papillon Dog Grooming Guide

The papillon dog is a long coat breed that flaunts a single coat of silky hair.

Therefore, grooming a papillon dog is much more convenient than its rough-textured, double-coated counterparts. However, coat upkeep forms an integral part of grooming.

In this papillon dog grooming guide, we’ll discuss all the nitty-gritty elements of grooming, so that you can be the proud owner of a beautiful, clean and elegant looking toy dog!


Baths can be a delightful time for both Papillon dogs and their owners as these dogs are not really nervous or fearful of running water. It’s fine to keep the frequency of baths to once in every 3 weeks and any other time that calls for it ( e.g: running into a muddy puddle)

While it’s best to clean young puppies at the kitchen sink, adults can perform well in the bathtub once they get used to the water.

To start off, place a washcloth on the bottom surface of the bathing area. This will allow your Papillon to maintain steady footing and reduce the chance of slipping due to the shampoos and conditioner.

Do test the water temperature before you subject your dog to it. Check it with the inner side of your wrist to ensure that it’s lukewarm. Introduce your Papillon to half the quantity of water first.

Also, have a soft towel ready so that you can wrap your Papillon immediately after bathing. This will prevent him from catching a chill.

Here is a step by step very helpful video tutorial on Papillon grooming by Lisa Christensen:


A) The Pre-Shampoo:
Simply put, the pre-shampoo prepares your dog’s coat for the next round of shampooing. A good quality canine pre-shampoo protects his hairs from getting overly cleansed and breaking under the impact of shampoo. In addition, it detangles the hairs before scrubbing.

B) The Shampoo:
It’s crucial to use only canine grade shampoo on your Papillon. This is because human shampoos have a different ph balance and cause the coat to develop a coarse texture.
Canine shampoos, on the other hand, smoothen the cuticles, gives your Papillon a silky, shiny and soft coat and allows its fringes to fall beautifully.

C) The Conditioner:
Another important aspect of Papillon grooming is a conditioner. A quality canine grade conditioner is a must for maintaining a beautiful, shiny, tangle-free and breakage-free coat. A good conditioner locks moisture in each strand and offers dependable protection from the elements.

D) The Leave-in Conditioner:
Over time, the layer of rinse-out conditioner is sure to wear down, leaving your Papillon’s coat largely unprotected and vulnerable to the elements. This will invariably cause it to accumulate dirty debris and dust. A thin film of leave-in conditioner can prevent all of that. It’ll keep your Papillon’s coat shiny and clean all throughout the day, even after he comes from a long day’s run!

Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pro Tip: Ensure to use a light mist of conditioner only, as too much will only weigh down the coat, causing it to look flat instead of fluffy.

It’s not at all difficult to know how to groom a Papillon dog. The order that should be followed for papillon dog grooming is given below:

  1. Run a comb through the dog’s coat and carefully separate any tangles that you come across. Although this breed isn’t really known for excessive matting, there’s always a chance of encountering tangles during brushing.
  2. Apply a small portion of pre-shampoo to the coat. Allow it to set and prepare the bathing area in the meantime.
  3. Bathe your Papillon in lukewarm water, making sure to rinse out each area thoroughly. Rinse out the soap bubbles nicely. Remember, that any left-over residue of shampoo or conditioner can accumulate on the skin and block air circulation. This, in turn, will result in severe itching and impede hair growth. In addition to that, conditioner, when not rinsed out properly can make the Papillon’s coat look all flat and greasy.
  4. Pat the coat dry. Do not rub it as rubbing causes breakage. It’s also recommended to refrain from hot-air blow drying, as the heat can cause the skin to go all flaky and dry.
  5. After some time, comb the coat and brush it. Follow this up with a cool air blow-dry if possible.


When you begin blow-drying, lift up the dog’s hairs in sections and dry the roots.

Following this, move in a single motion to brush first and then blow-dry in the direction of hair growth. Blow-drying the roots, in the beginning, precludes the coat from attaining a wavy appearance.

Ensure to groom the coat into a downward flowing blanket of long silky hairs.

While drying your Papillon’s ear fringe, begin by focusing the air on the ear’s back first and work your way to the inner side. Always go parallel to the direction of hair growth.

If you see tangles or clumps of the ear fringe, use your fingers to separate them.


Whatever be your Papillon color, you should preserve its coat by brushing it in the proper manner.

A rubber pointed pin brush works wonderfully for this breed, as those slicker brushes cause considerable damage to the hairs. Go slowly so that you don’t end up scraping the skin.

Go section by section, first brushing down and then tugging up and out. Let a particular section fall down, before proceeding to the next.

Ensure to cover all parts of the body, including neck, tail, and legs.

Never brush a dry coat. If you choose to groom without giving a bath, dampen the coat by spritzing it a little.

Here is a video tutorial on ways to groom papillon’s coat, the video is a little bit old but still very helpful:


Unlike a few other breeds, Papillons don’t come with the option of a long or short coat.

These dogs are never meant to be trimmed or clipped down. However, certain areas of the body do have excess hair growth and tidying them up is necessary.

1. The Paws- Hair growth is super quick on the paws. So unless you desire to show off your Papillon or keep him/her at the show-level appearance, make sure to tidy up the paw pad area. Long hair growth in this part can cause discomfort to the Papillon while walking. Use scissors or an electric trimmer to shave off this hair.

2. The Anus- For the sake of the dog’s hygiene, snip off the long hairs of the anus area. If left untended, the feces can stick to these hairs, which of course is not at all desirable. Do not trim this area too close though.

Haircut for papillon dogs

The major areas of a Papillon requiring haircut, are the feet pads and the inner side of the eye.

The degree of hair growth around the ear is different for different Papillon coat colors. The dark-coated ones have more fringing than their lighter counterparts.

For this job, keep a set of tools handy, like tweezers, rounded ear scissors, thinning shears and a wire pin brush.

Now follow these steps:

  • Lift your Papillon on a table and ask your friend to keep him still.
  • Check for tufts of hair on the bottom of his feet. If there are any, snip them off with a round-headed scissor.
  • Next, pluck out the hair inside your dog’s ear cavity with the help of tweezers. Do not touch the hairs on the ear flap, as they play a pivotal role in the identity and success of your toy dog!
  • Trim all the hair from the ankles with thinning shears. To ensure an even cut, brush out all the hair first with a bristle brush.


Summer may seem like a miserable time for your cute Papillon. After all, his long coat and fluffy butterfly ears trap all the heat and drain him of his energy.

Try these Papillon grooming styles as a part of his grooming regimen:

Neat On The Top

You can trim your pap’s hair to keep him cool during summer and simplify the grooming process. Always trust a grooming expert for the haircut as this prevents unforeseen injury to your furry friend.

A Slight Snip of the Ear Fringes

Your pap’s flowy hair doesn’t only make her look like a fluffy butterfly, but also protects her skin from sun damage. So before you decide to snip off a bit from the ear fringes, make sure you compensate for the protection that he’s about to lose. Walk him in the evening and offer him plenty of cool spots to rest.


Papillons are known to be moderate shedders.

Papillon shedding specifically increases during certain times of the year. You’ll notice some dead hairs on the brush when you groom your Papillon.

If you see your Papillon shedding a lot, consider revising his diet plan. Many a time, Paps shed due to underlying allergies or health issues like hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease.

Abnormal amounts of shed hair on carpets or visible patches of missing hair on your Papillon’s coat are all signs that it’s time to visit a vet for an expert opinion on this matter.


To groom your Papillon’s nails, you can either do it at home or have a grooming expert take on this task.

For this job, you’ll need those scissor type clippers. Papillon dogs have small nails, so a quick little “zip zip” is enough to trim the excess part of the nail.

Ensure to keep some septic power handy, to sprinkle on the nail if the center gets clipped off by accident.


It’s absolutely imperative to incorporate dental care in your Papillon’s grooming schedule and that is exactly why we have included this in our Papillon dog grooming guide!

Just like you, your Papillon develops cavities, which can over time, lead to persistent infections and tooth decay.

Since dogs swallow toothpaste, ensure to use only canine grade toothpaste. Also, since Papillons are essentially small, opt for a toothbrush designed specifically for toy breeds. Alternatively, a finger brush works well too and some Papillons even prefer it over the standard brush.

When you rub a finger brush on the tooth, ensure to give equal attention to the back, sides and the front surfaces. Brushing the Papillon’s teeth takes as much as 2-3 minutes. It’s recommended to perform this grooming task daily as it keeps future dental problems at bay.

In addition, a dental checkup with a veterinarian is highly recommended once a year.

Pay careful attention to this grooming element, as almost 80% of Paps end up dying from oral disease when they don’t receive adequate dental care.

To wrap up this Papillon dog grooming guide, it would be rightful to say that a Papillon is one non-fussy and compliant dog breed.
Grooming them is fast and easy. When you follow this guide to the core, you’re sure to have a furry, clean and fluffy friend of a Papillon that rewards with unconditional love and devotion for years to come!


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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