Male vs. Female Papillon: Which Is Better?

Male Papillon and female Papillon outdoors

After deciding the dog breed, the next difficult choice that a dog enthusiast has to make is to choose whether to get a male or a female dog. Aside from appearance, some breeds’ temperament and behavior vary with their sex just like the Papillons.

The main distinction between male and female Papillons lies in their temperament and behavior. Male Papillons are considered to be the better companion because of their affectionate and clingy attitude. On the other hand, female Papillons are more independent and more self-sufficient.

Aside from their differences in behavior, male and female Papillons also have some significant variations in their appearances, trainability, health issues, and compatibility with people and other pets.

If you want to be sure which sex is perfect for you, then you should continue reading this guide. Buckle up as I present to you the differences between male and female Papillons.

Does Gender Really Matter When Choosing Your Papillon?

When it comes to Papillons, I must say that gender has a lot to say. Although the two sexes are both considered to be good house dogs, one of them will be better depending on your preference and lifestyle.

A study has found out that most male dogs tend to be more aggressive and bolder than female dogs. They also have lower levels of sociability skills.

Subsequently, females were observed to have better social skills and tend to be more cooperative than male dogs.

In choosing your Papillon, you must also consider which gender you will get. The gender of a Papillon can tell what you should expect from it in terms of behavior, growth, needs, health condition, and trainability.

If you are planning to get a Papillon, you should understand that male Papillons are quite the opposite pole of female Papillons.

Same-sex aggression is also one of the reasons why you should consider which sex you will choose. Male Papillons can become aggressive towards other male dogs to assert their dominance over the territory.

This sex-related aggression can also be observed with female dogs especially during their heat cycle.

If you already have a male dog at home and you are planning to get another, you should choose a female Papillon to avoid this kind of undesirable behavior.

The needs and attention in taking care of a male and a female dog also vary.

Due to their differences in biological composition and hormonal fluctuations, females could be more needy and aggressive during their heat cycle while males could be more possessive and aggressive if an in-heat female dog is around.

To conclude, gender does really matter in choosing not just your Papillion but any breed of dog. Understanding the behavior and needs of each gender will help you in deciding which sex matches your lifestyle and preference.

Physical Differences

Portrait of male and female Papillon dogs

The elegant and composed appearance of Papillon is evident for both sexes. The signature butterfly-like ears are sported by male and female Papillons.

At first glance, you might not be able to see the differences between a male and female Papillon, but there is a slight variation between the two.


The standard height and weight range of Papillons as per the American Kennel Club (AKC) are the same for male and female Papillons. The height should be 8 to 11 inches while the weight should range from 5 to 10 pounds.

However, according to most Papillon breeders, males are seen to be heavier and slightly bigger than their female counterparts.

Although both sexes have elegant-looking coats, most male Papillons also sports coats that are better than the females.


Female Papillons also sit on the 8 to 11 height range and 5 to 10 pounds weight standard. When they exceed the 12 inches mark, they are usually disqualified in dog events.

When it comes to the coat, females exhibit an elegant coat along with their signature butterfly-like ears just like males although most breeders say that the latter has a better coat.

Female Papillons can become in heat twice a year. Their fertile cycle can last up to 17 days. During this period, you will observe vaginal fluid secreting from its reproductive organ which signals that she is ready to mate.

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Temperamental Differences

Temperament is one of the major factors that you should consider before owning a Papillon – or any dog.

Some dogs have cute little bodies and angelic faces yet are quite aggressive and territorial (I am not saying that these are Chihuahuas!). The same is true with Papillons.

To guide you in choosing which of the two varieties suits you, here are the differences between male and female papillons regarding their temperament and behavior.


Male Papillons are considered to be better companions than their female counterparts. They are more loving, more affectionate, and more cuddly to their owners.

If you are looking for a dog that would please you, follow you everywhere, and give you the cuddles anytime you want, then you better get a male Papillon.

These little guys also love to be babied by their owners. Oftentimes, they would ask their owners to carry them during a walk and would even sleep with their owners under the same blanket.

Male Papillons are also gentle when it comes to treating their pet toys. Most male Papillon owners even call their little fellas “prissy” due to their gentle demeanor.

Nonetheless, male Papillons could also become aggressive. When there is a fertile female dog around, the instinct of male Papillons kicks in which makes them possessive and protective.

Intact male Papillons also tend to mark their territories by peeing. This marking behavior could be lessened by neutering the dog once it matured.

Due to their “owner pleasing” traits, male Papillons could also be more loyal than females.


The female Papillons are the complete opposites of their male counterparts. They have the tendencies to be independent, aggressive, and bossy. Unlike the male Papillons, females do not live to please their owners.

But this doesn’t mean that they are not affectionate. It’s just that they can easily get bored when playing with their owners and would sometimes prefer being alone.

When it comes to affection, females have a different meaning for it. If male Papillons are born to please the owner, the females are born to be pleased by the owner. They have this moody attitude that could be troublesome sometimes.

Although they love being independent, there are periods where they would like to be babied or pet by their owners – and when they do, you should give them the affection they want if you don’t want them to sulk in a corner.

Female Papillons are natural teasers. Sometimes, they bully other pets for fun. During their heat cycle, you will notice slight changes in their behavior due to hormonal fluctuations. Just like males, they tend to mark territories that could be lessened through spaying.

Same-sex aggression could also be observed with female Papillons. They are considered to be more aggressive than their male counterparts. The moody and independent traits of female Papillons prevail even after they are spayed.

Trainability Differences

Female Papillon dog agility training

Papillons are intelligent and they love to please which makes training them easier. They have proven their value not only as companion dogs but also as show dogs.

Just like with other dog breeds, early socialization is important to develop their behavior and interaction towards other animals and strangers.

Since they are bred as companion dogs, they should not be left alone for long periods as they may develop undesirable behavior.

Here are the differences between male and female Papillons when it comes to trainability:


Male Papillons are easier to train compared to female Paps. Their natural pleaser attitude makes teaching them tricks faster and less challenging as compared to their female counterpart.

They will easily follow their owner’s commands because they like to make them happy.

Because of these traits, male Papillons are more commonly trained as show dogs rather than females. They are also more sensitive to their owner’s emotions and actions which is a plus point for their trainability.

Just like with other dogs, socialization is important even for male Papillons.

Although they are natural pleasers, they still tend to develop undesirable behaviors especially when their training is neglected. Young male Paps can be potty trained to reduce their marking behavior.


Most reputable breeders testify that female Paps have the attitude that befits the term used to refer to female dogs (it’s the “b” word!). Their bossy attitude and independent characteristics make training them difficult.

There are times when they won’t respond to their owner especially when they are busy playing. They can also act like cats – secluding themselves from the family and acting as independent female dogs.

However, females can still be trained just like males. Owners of female Papillons just need more patience and effort if they want to make them more obedient.

Early socialization and training are the keys to developing a good demeanor among female Paps. Those who are exposed earlier to strangers and other pets are proven to have better interactions when they grew up.

During their heat cycle, training female Paps could be harder than it is already. Their hormonal fluctuations can cause behavioral changes which could last for 17 days. Potty training could also be done to lessen their marking behavior.

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Health Differences

A lot of people are asking whether sex has something to do with the health of dogs. Here is the answer: some diseases are exclusive for specific genders due to the body systems they have.

Reproductive system-related illnesses vary from male to female Papillons because they have a different set of organs and hormones.

Aside from that, genetics, behavior, and physical characteristics of both male and female Papillons could affect their health. Here are some of the differences between male and female Paps in terms of health.


Sadly, male Paps are prone to hernias. This happens when the abdominal organs of the dog push through a soft spot in the muscle wall causing the area to bulge outside.

For Paps, it is usually seen in the area between the anus and the belly. This disease could be congenital – meaning acquired from birth or caused by a traumatic injury.

Prostatitis is a disease that male Papillons could also acquire. It is the enlargement of the prostate glands due to bacterial infections.

Along with this disease are the other diseases related to the male reproductive system which are prostate cancer, phimosis, priapism, and enlargement of the testes and epididymis.

Most of the above-mentioned illnesses could be prevented through proper neutering. However, it should only be done once your Paps have matured.

Improper and premature neutering can cause damage rather than health benefits to your dog.

Paps who have undergone improper neutering have a higher risk of developing obesity, hypothyroidism, and other serious illnesses.


Patellar luxation is a common disease for Papillons but is more observed in females – especially during their heat cycles. This disease is caused by the dislocation of the knee cap as a result of a traumatic injury.

You might notice a Papillon hop and sway one of its feet after it runs to fix its dislocated knee cap. Cases could vary from minor to serious ones which affect the dog’s quality of life.

Unspayed female Papillons can also suffer from reproductive system-related illnesses. Because the mammary glands of female Paps are more active compared to males, they are more prone to mastitis.

This disease is the information of the mammary glands that commonly occurs after giving pregnancy.

Pyometra is another female reproductive system-related illness that develops in unspayed dogs. It is characterized by the inflammation of the uterus due to hormonal changes.

Most of the reproductive system-related issues can be prevented through spaying or the removal of the ovaries.

However, the proper procedures should be followed in spaying to avoid severe complications. Better consult a veterinarian before having your Paps undergo surgery.

With Other Dogs and Pets

Female Papillon with a Miniature Pinscher

With early exposure to socialization and obedience training, Papillons can live very well with other pets. They can even behave well around strangers and new pets if they are trained at a very young age.

Nonetheless, the way male Papillons interact with other dogs and pets differs from the way female Paps do. Here are differences in how male and female Papillons interact with other pets:


Males Paps go well with other pets especially if they were raised together since they were pups. However, just like with other dog breeds, same-sex aggression could be observed from male Pups when another male is around.

Males are more friendly and outgoing compared to female Paps. But don’t be complacent all the time. Their protective behavior also kicks in when an intact in-heat female is around. During such times, he can be aggressive to anyone who goes near the female dog.


Females are more aggressive than males. They won’t hesitate to show their fangs, especially to other female dogs. Some breeders even observed the bully attitude of female Papillons. They would bully other pets and dogs for fun from time to time.

Because of their moody personality, they can become aggressive even to the pets they have been raised with.

With Children

In general, Papillons are naturally bred to be house companions. The traits that are selectively bred are focused on making them good family pets. However, between the two genders, one stands out in being a companion dog.

Usually, breeders don’t recommend Papillon puppies to families with small children. Papillon puppies are too small and sensitive that they can die even with the slightest injury.

However, if you are decided and would own the responsibilities in taking care of the pup, then you must know which between the male and female Papillon is good with children.


Males Paps would give the same affection to each member of the family. They would please anyone they treat as a family. The well-behaved and cuddly attitude of male Paps suits children very well.

Male Paps also love playing with their owners. They can also interact with other children and strangers because of their outgoing personalities. Since males are sociable, they make good buddies and playmates for kids.


The independent and self-sufficient attitude of females would not cause any harm to children. However, their unpredictable aggression should be monitored if you are planning to get one for your kids.

Papillon mothers can also become overprotective of their puppies. After pregnancy, they might become more aggressive especially when other people go near their puppies.

Though there are only a few cases where a pet has bitten its owner intentionally, you still don’t want to take the chance and let your children or dog get harmed.

Are Male or Female Papillons Better Guard Dogs?

Firstly, Papillons are not bred to be guard dogs. They are meant to be friendly and good companion dogs.

Due to their size, Papillons are not well suited to become guard dogs – considering the worst-case scenario where they should fight other (larger) dogs and strangers.

However, when it comes to protectiveness and watchfulness, Papillons could even rival the guarding traits of a Bulldog. Their courage in protecting their owners befit the characteristics of a guard dog.

They would bravely stand their ground to protect their owners from any potential harm they sense.

When it comes to gender, female Papillons could prove to be better in alerting and guarding their owners as they are more aggressive and more protective than males.

The friendly and behaved personality of male Papillons do not suit a guard dog’s duty.

Are Male or Female Papillons Better Family Companions?

Male and female Papillon family dogs

Both sexes are bred to be lap-pooches and family companions. The answer to the question, are male or female Paps better family companions, lies with the lifestyle of the family.

Owners who are after cuddly and affectionate Paps would find the males better. While those who are more into independent pets would prefer the female Papillon.

Nonetheless, most owners say that male Papillons are better family companions as they can go well even with beginner pet owners.

Which Gender Should You Choose?

You should base your decision on your lifestyle and preference. If you are looking for a playful and affectionate pet, the male Papillon should be your pick. Male Paps are born to shower their owners with love and attention.

However, you should also be willing to give the attention they need as males tend to be needy of affection sometimes. If you left them alone for too long, they might develop undesirable behavior.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a Papillon who can be independent and self-sufficient, then you should go for female Papillons.

They seldomly require much affection from their owners. However, their moody behavior could be of trouble if left unattended for too long.

Nevertheless, may it be male or female Paps, the very thing that matters is the loyalty and companionship that they will offer to you.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the gender differences of the dog you want to own will help you in choosing the perfect dog for you. The information I discussed in this article can also serve as your guide in taking care of your Papillon based on its gender needs.

However, you should also bear in mind that gender is only one of the factors that could influence a dog’s behavior, temperament, trainability, and health condition.

The differences I presented to you in this article are the generalities observed in the majority of male and female Papillons.

The environment where they are bred and the training they have undergone could also greatly affect the overall personality of dogs.

These factors contribute to the unique characteristics and behavior of individual dogs. Though one thing is for sure.

You will have a lifetime loyal companion once you decide to own a Papillon no matter what gender you will choose.


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