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The Papillon Information Center       
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Papillon Shedding

This breed is considered to be a moderate shedder.  All throughout the year, there will be a slight shedding.

You will notice that when you groom your Pappy, that there are some dead hairs that the brush picks up.  

You may notice some white stray shedded hairs on dark clothing or a few darker hairs on light colored carpeting; however it will not be overwhelming nor difficult to keep up with.  

Two times per year, the Papillon will enter a shedding cycle, however the degree to which this happens is contingent upon several elements.
This is sometimes referred to as ‘blowing the coat’.  This does happen even though this breed does not have an undercoat (inner layer of dense fur).  For some owners, the vacuum cleaner and a lint brush will become essential tools.

This will often occur during times of temperature change, therefore for those that live in seasonal climates, this will often happen when during the beginning of spring and then again at the onset of autumn.  If a Papillon is taken outside every day for his daily walk (which is recommended for good health) an unexpected temperature change can bring about an earlier shedding cycle.  For example, an unusual cold spell in late summer or an abnormally warm spell toward the end of winter.  If this happens, it will not affect the overall sequence of shedding twice per year.

However, since many of us live in cool air conditioned homes in the summer and of course have warm, heated houses in the winter, a Papillon may not shed in the springtime or fall.  For those who do not experience extreme seasonal changes, the dog’s body will fall into its own particular cycle, and this may be at any 2 points in a calendar year…or it may not.  When a Pap lives year round with only small incremental changes in temperature, the 2 cycles may be barely noticeable and for some, the body compensates by only minimally shedding year-round.  

For those that do enter cycles, the shedding can be quite heavy during this time and steps should be taken to keep both the coat and skin healthy during this time.  One will want to brush at least once per day, removing dead hairs from the brush as needed (which may be with every stroke on some days).

Grooming is very important during these heavy shedding times, since not all dead hairs will fall to the floor.  A good amount will become trapped in the coat if not removed via brushing. If left to accumulate, they will block air circulation to the skin.  If this occurs, skin can develop yeast infections.  Itching and/or a musty odor are signs of this.  Be sure to brush all areas of the body, from head to toe.  No area should be left un-brushed including the tail.

Puppy to Adult Coat

Papillon puppies younger than 6 months do not shed. The fur is too short and there are no new strands coming in that push out older strands. However this all changes soon. The coat of a puppy is different than that of an adult.  Sometime between 6 and 9 months, there will be accelerated hair growth as a Papillon puppy’s adult coat grows in.

It will reach its full potential between 9 and 18 months.  It is after this point that the Pappy will begin to have normal shedding cycles.  This changeover from puppy to adult coat is more noticeable with some Papillons than others.  There is no certain color Pappy that sheds more than another; it is a matter of the color of the hairs versus the color of one’s carpeting, clothing, sofas, etc.   

For those waiting for fringes to grow in, this will often happen after this puppy-to-adult process.   A puppy coat is shorter and softer, after this phase, the adult Papillon will be able to grow a longer coat, often with fringing developing and the fur will have a silkier texture.


Shedding may appear to be worse right after a bath is given. This is because the act of scrubbing the coat often loosens hairs that due to shed off.  Despite this, stay on schedule with baths and all grooming routines, bathing your Papillon once every 3 weeks.  

Avoiding bath time will not stop the shedding process, as the hairs will fall out at any rate and offering baths more often in an effort to speed up the process will be detrimental, since shedding will happen as the body and nature dictates and extra baths can dry the coat and skin, as essential natural oils are lost during the process.

Abnormal Shedding

Bald spots or a coat thinning enough for skin to be visible is not a normal part of the Papillon shedding process.  If you notice any patches of missing coat, exposed skin, an oily slick, a bad odor or any other element that makes you question if it is normal or not, please take your Papillon to the veterinarian for a checkup.  There are many health issues that can cause hair loss including hypothyroidism, mange and cushings disease.   In addition, allergies can cause itching which can be so intense it leads a dog to scratching and chewing on fur which causes patches of missing coat.

Females VS Males

Due to hormonal changes in the body, an un-spayed female may shed a moderate amount directly before or after a heat cycle.  Additionally, many females have a heavy shed (again referred to as “blowing her coat”) after pregnancy and giving birth.

Speeding Up the Process?

As we discussed above, extra baths will only serve to dry out the skin, however during routine bath times, hairs that are already loose will fall off.  While grooming, the brush will pick up any dead fur and it will pull out any fur that has loosened enough to shed.

Therefore, grooming aids in keeping the coat and skin healthy during this process, it removes old fur to allow new fur to grow in.  This is important to maintain air circulation and prevent a dense matting of dead fur to accumulate.  Bathing and brushing will not, on a healthy coat, pull out any strands that are not ready to shed off.