Immortalised by such noted painters as Rubens and Boucher, the “Butterfly” dog comes down to us from history as a tough and loyal little dog. Not for him the labels of a lap dog though he will settle amicably to that task as well. He is quite the outdoorsy type and will weather most climates whilst hunting out the odd rat or two, worrying it till it succumbs.
I have many friends with Papillons and have observed over the years their happy and alert little personalities and their easy loveable nature. I have had them visit and stay, have had to groom and assist preparation, and, formed a quiet attachment and admiration for them. The coat standard calls for a fine, silky texture with no undercoat. It should appear abundant, flowing and straight. Thus, one needs to keep the fluffiness out of the coat looking for that nice polished appearance to the texture of most of the body coat except for the chest frill which is to be profuse and needs a bit of lift and poof.
The Papillon though appearing delicate of bone is quite a little livewire dancing around the grooming table & it can sometimes be a case of catch if catch can. I do like a neck noose hold and a belly band set up when grooming this breed. I am too lacking in patience to go chasing dogs around a table. Train them early to stay on that table and get accustomed to the dryer. Some like to cage dry dogs but I like to specifically target areas that may need attention and my eye tells me that - can’t do that in a crate.
Every dog is different and can be at various stages in their coat development so an individual eye each time is important. Learn to evaluate your dog and what it is you would minimise and maximise and then apply the grooming technique which best suits this outcome. This dog you don’t sculpt with the scissor, just your eye and clever lifting and flattening.
Having decided what is the primary focus for the coat - shine, pearly white, condition, smoothness etc select the appropriate shampoo. Most tend to go for the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo which doesn’t bleach or lighten but rather tones the coat to give a pearly finish to whites and enriches the tones of the coloured patches. Always dilute the shampoo for ease of application and evenness of effect. Use at a ratio of at least 3:1 up to 10:1 for maintenance. That is, 3 parts or 10 parts water to one part shampoo. You don’t need masses of froth and bubbles when bathing a dog. Little low bubbles and you will get less static and flyaways in the coat.
If the coat needs shine then use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo and if softening is the quest then use the Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo all at the same dilution rates as listed above. I don’t foresee too many times when one would want to body build this coat but perhaps there are occasions when one needs more lift though this is likely just the chest frill area and breeches, and there are other ways to achieve that without having to use two shampoos.
You do condition this dog but do it lightly. Use Plush Puppy SilkProtein Conditioner. A really nice, nice conditioner this one. Use watered right down at around 10:1. You just want a slurry through the coat to keep the ph slightly acid and not to drag it down heavily. You can oil this coat too between shows if your Papillon does chase critters outdoors. No point having all that profuse flowing coat on ears and body if he snaps it off in the bushes at the bottom of the garden. Lightly oil with Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil ½ tspn to 1 quart/1lt of water and leave in. Great maintenance regime!
So having bathed & conditioned it is time to dry your showman for the big day. If the coat is too boofy or puffy, then use Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream on those areas you want to flatten or soften. You can either use direct or as I prefer for evenness, dilute 1 tspn to 2 cups water and spray or sponge on to the specific part of the dog. For straightening lengths and a light flattening to the coat use the Plush Puppy Swishy Coat at a dilution rate of 1/2 tspn to 1 - 2 cups water depending on the abundance of coat. Dry with your fingers or Plush Puppy Metro Anti-stat oval cushioned brush on the short areas of the coat and switch to the Plush Puppy Pin Brush to ¾ dry the longer lengths. Finish them off with the Metro Brush till fully dry. This give you the smooth, straight, silky finish you need for the furnishings. Never use a bristle brush on really wet coat as the coat is in a vulnerable state when wet and is prone to over stretch and thus break or split. By ¾ drying with the Pin Brush you are waiting till the coat is in a stronger position before attempting to really smooth the coat which the Pin cannot do well enough.
For the profuse chest frill and breeches you may want more substance to this area so you can use the Plush Puppy Volumising Cream at 1 dspn to 1 cup water. Most times I recommend this product at 1 tbpsn to 1 cup water but for the softer appearance of the Papillon coat I personally like less . However you choose for your dog as they are all different. Spray or sponge onto the chest frill and blow dry as mentioned above with the Pin and switch to the Metro Brush.
For titivation on the day, you can use the Plush Puppy Coverup Cream for those areas that need a white makeup. Apply with a barely damp sponge in a light dabbing motion allowing each application to dry before applying a further layer. Tap on a small amount of chalk to fully dry and leave for 5 - 10 minutes before brushing excess off. This does provide good cover and does not seem to wear off during the day.
For those windy, dry days, use the Plush Puppy Coat Balm which is a great anti static to use just prior to going in the ring. A small amount onto the hands and wiped over the lengths of the coat to keep the snarls and tangles from the lengths works a charm. You can keep reapplying throughout the day without fear of the coat appearing greasy or separating.
For a light polish and shine on the day, spray at a good distance as this is a fine coat texture, the Plush Puppy Shine & Comb and allow the mist to fall onto the topline. Smooth your hand over the body and then lightly brush or comb. You may like to try this by spraying onto the brush and then applying but the mist approach is a good one and I don’t like extra products apart from the Coat Balm onto the lengths at this point. Your hard work has been done and it ought to be perfect anyway.
You can add a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the chest frill and pants and I do mean a light dusting. The Glitter Fairy is not what we want right now, just a beautiful glamorous Papillon with a light glint and hint of shimmer. Don’t forget to make him smell good too with the Plush Puppy Odour Muncher as dogs do get a kennel/crate smell after overnighting and I believe judges do use all their senses when judging.
So, your dog looks good, you look good and you have perfected your ring craft to become a magical performance. The crowd turns as you enter the ring and you know, you and your little Buttterfly friend are just the Ants Pants. It’s a great thing to feel and acknowledge you have done your best and put in the hard yard when others sometimes don’t. Your friend and ring partner is descended from those owned by kings and queens - he now looks the part - a regular little Prince among dogs.