Their long silky hair, cute little butterfly ears, and beautiful billowing tails are begging to be pet, touched, and snuggled! Of all the toy breeds Papillons may be the most underestimated. They are easy to care for, fairly low maintenance, and are great family dogs. But you might be wondering is this the dog for me if I want a cuddly breed? Well, I asked real owners and this is what I found out.
Not all Papillons like to cuddle, but most do like to cuddle with their owners with whom they have built a special bond. Out of 217 people surveyed 57% of owners said that their Papillons love to cuddle with them, and 26% liked little to no cuddles.
Why do some Papillons like to cuddle and others don’t? Is it something their owners have done, or is it their personalities? Is there anything you can do to encourage your dog to cuddle with you? Keep reading to find out!
Are Papillons Affectionate?
Similar to the Maltese (Check out this article I wrote about what Maltese are bred for) Papillons were anciently bred to be lapdogs for royalty. They can be found in portraits of many famous queens and noblewomen such as this Bolognese Nobile women. Because of their affectionate and loving nature, they made great companion dogs for royal women who were often left alone while their husbands attended to their duties.
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Papillons are very loving and affectionate dogs. I asked a group of Papillon owners how much their dogs liked to cuddle with them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most cuddly to 1 being not at all and got some interesting results. 71 people said that their Papillons where a 10 on the cuddle scale and another 40 didn’t think 10 was high enough. They gave answers such as 10000, 10++++, and descriptions such as my Papillon wants to be up in my face all day long!
Over 65% rated their Papillons 5-10 on the cuddle scale.
With that being said, those who said their Papillons didn’t care to cuddle rated them pretty low, with 2/10 being the most popular rating on the low end of the spectrum. 37% rated their Papillons a 3 or lower on the cuddle scale.
Why Papillons Like to Cuddle
When a Papillon has established a bond and trusts it’s owner then it is likely to show that trust and affection by wanting to be with and around their owner at all times. Even owners who told me their Papillon didn’t like direct cuddles and affection still said that their Papillon followed them around and preferred to be close to them even if not in their laps.
Papillons like to cuddle with their owners to show them love and affection and receive that love in return. Science has proven (link to US National Library of Medicine Study) that when owners and their dogs are engaged in activities like cuddling and showing each other affection both of them receive a surge of Oxytocin, the hormone dubbed as the LOVE hormone. It makes both our little pooch and us feel happier, more calm, and loved.
This bond can be reinforced or strengthened if you allow you Papillon to sleep in your bed with you. Before you decide to do that though I would encourage you to read this article first!
Papillons cuddle for warmth. Papillons don’t normally grow to be more than 10 pounds, and because of their small size, they can easily get too cold fairly quickly. It’s instinct for any dog to find its pack and huddle up together for warmth when feeling too chilly, but especially so for the tiny toy Papillon.
Papillons Cuddle for Protection. Papillons are normally very social and curious about their environment, but when wanting to relax and get some shut-eye they feel a lot more comfortable about drifting off if they feel safe and secure while doing so. Again this is where instinct kicks in and their desire to turn to their pack or their Alpha for safety and protection.
Papillons cuddle because it’s instinct. Newborn puppies need to cuddle closely with their mothers as a way to survive. They need the life-giving milk that they provide as well as the protection and warmth.
This survival instinct goes back to the beginning of time even before dogs were domesticated. This instinct has even grown stronger as humans and dogs have begun to build such strong emotional attachments with each other.
Why Papillons Don’t Like to Cuddle
There are many things to think about when trying to figure out why your Papillon may not like to cuddle with you.
It could be too hot. Unlike us, our dogs can not sweat through their skin. The only way they can cool themselves off is through their nose and the pads of their feet, as well as panting. Because of this, they are much more sensitive to temperature changes. If it’s very warm your dog my be avoiding your snuggles because it doesn’t want that extra body heat.
They have been abused or had bad experiences in the past. If you have a rescue or your dog has had negative experiences with cuddling or humans in general in the past, then this normally loyal trusting breed could be struggling with trust issues. It’s possible to regain its trust and have a strong bond with your dog, but it will take a lot of time and patience and they may not ever warm up to the idea of super close snuggle time.
Their personality will have a lot to do with whether or not they want to cuddle up to you. Some dogs are naturally more energetic and inquisitive and don’t want to slow down enough to relax and snuggle. Some dogs just prefer to have their space.
In my survey results, I noticed that males may tend to be a tad less cuddly than females, but more informtion is needed before that can become any sort of generalization.
Your lifestyle and home dynamics can play a big part in whether or not your dog is super cuddly and affectionate. If as a puppy you spend a lot of time snuggling on the couch and holding your dog in your lap then it will naturally lead them to be more snuggly. If you are a very active family and are on the go exploring and moving around a lot your dog will tend to follow your lead.
Can I Teach My Papillon to Cuddle
You can train a dog to do many things including learning how to lay down and sit still, whether that be in your lap on next to you it’s possible to help your dog learn to be closer to you and share some of the same space. However, you should never force your dog to cuddle with you or be more affectionate than it’s comfortable with.
It’s important to learn your dog’s cues and body language so that you can come to a mutually respected and beneficial agreement on what you would both like as far as cuddles go.
Most dogs do not like hugs in the traditional sense. It can make them feel agitated and stressed. Kisses and getting into your dog’s face can also be upsetting to them and possibly dangerous for you.
For some great tips on how to encourage your dog to cuddle with you check out this article I wrote called “Can I Teach My Dog to Cuddle.”
Are Papillons Clingy?
Of the small breed dogs, Papillion’s are not as clingy as some. They can definitely grow an attachment to their owners and follow them around everywhere, but their inquisitive and playful nature helps them explore new things and step out of their comfort zones without always having to have their owners near by.
Papillon’s were not only bred to be lap dogs but to chase and kill small rodents as well. Because of this and because they have some Spaniel in their blood they may be more lively and playful which will lead them to explore and find things to do on their own, but beware if left to their own devices this could be problematic.
As with all dogs, it is possible for Papillon’s to develop separation anxiety. This can mostly be avoided if they are well socialized and trained as puppies to spend small parts of the day alone and entertaining themselves with toys, napping, or treats.
So next time your little pooch gives you those moon dog puppy eyes it may be a good time to sit down and snuggle, after all there’s a reason our furry pups are dubbed as “Mans Best Friend”
Tuesday 9th of February 2021
So insightful. These are beautiful dogs.