Standing ringside recently a
newer Papillon exhibitor asked me, "how do I grow fringe on a Papillon?" I
said, "it is rather easy." The exhibitor said, "No, Really!" “What are
your tricks to growing fringe? No one will share any tips or secrets with
me on how to grow fringe or give me any information on conditioning my
dog's coat." I replied, "Keep your dog clean, brushed out, don't let them
play with the other dogs too much and if your dog has the genetics to grow
ear fringe, then your dog should grow some ear fringe." I thought how
unfortunate it is if an experienced Papillon fancier will not take a
little time to help a new fancier when they are seeking simple grooming
information. So I said, "lets have dinner and we'll chat about the breed."
We did and we had a delightful time.
The following is what I explained to her about fringes on a Papillon. Not
all Papillons can grow long curtain fringe. Some Papillons, although they
have a nice texture of coat, simply don't grow length to their coat.
Through the years I have seen this tendency to be in some of the older
American lines, where soundness of body and movement were the breeders
biggest concern and coat and fringe were down farther on the list of
Unfortunately, many years ago the breeders and fanciers before us did not
have the wonderful products of today such as shampoos, grooming tools, or
a quality kibble to offer their dogs.
Back in the 80's and still today, American breeders began importing
Papillons from Europe where they had developed the lovely long ear, tail
and leg furnishings as well as long, draping, silky, yet nylon coats.
However, many of these dogs did not have the same type and body soundness
that the Americans sought out in their own dogs. What some of these smart
breeders found out is by introducing stud dogs whom carried a little
European coat lineage to their plain, but sound American bitches it gave
them a mixture of the best of both continents. That being Papillons of
correct coat texture and length with nice
fringing which vastly improved the look of the butterfly ears of their
dogs. With this they also had to learn how to properly care for the
fringes they had been blessed with on their dogs.
Black and White, Black, White and Tan and Dark Sables with black to tan
banded fringes are much easier to grow fringe on than Red and White
Papillons. Red and White Papillons who carry little or no sable hair can
be difficult to achieve nice length of fringe and sometimes the fringes
may never grow at all. A Papillon's red fringes are a very fine soft coat
which can break easily and once the fringe breaks, on some dogs, these
fringes may never grow back. I consider myself fortunate to have been
allowed to acquire or breed to some dogs in the early 90's which gave us
the vivid red dogs our Forevr Papillons are known for, but in addition to
their lovely red colors they seldom grayed. We also had red and white dogs
with the ability to grow lovely long ear fringes.
During the years I have tried
many methods of fringe conditioning from oils to sprays, shampoos, pin
brushes, slicker brushes, elastic bands, Vet wrap yadah yadah yadah.
Today my preferred method of keeping ear fringe in good condition goes
back to the beginning of this article so I will repeat myself and say, "
Keep your dog clean, brushed
out, don't let them play with the other dogs too much and if your dog has
the genetics to grow ear fringe, the dog should grow some fringe."
This regimen was developed with
the help of my husband Danny, whom bred Maltese in addition to Papillons
prior to our marriage. Danny brought in some good ideas on coat care as
well as keeping great fringes with the knack of untangling coat with
little hair loss.
I do need to add, keeping your dog parasite free and feeding a good kibble
also helps with growing coat.
Keep your dog clean: Clean coat promotes hair growth. A show dog should
at least a weekly bath and blow dry.
Brush out: Running a quick brush through your dog's fringes and coat on a
regular basis will keep mats at a minimum. Use a sprits of water before
brushing or your favorite conditioning spray. Never quickly rip through a
coat or fringes. If you find a tangle set down your brush and start
untangling the coat with your fingers, much like you would do to
remove knots from a spool of thread that had come unwound. Hold the mat in
both thumbs and fore fingers and gently pull. Using your brush, lightly
brush the mat and repeat until the mat becomes loose. Then brush the mat
the rest of the way out. Be patient with the mat and in most cases at
least some fringe can be saved unless it is felted to the skin.
Experiment with what brush
works best for you. In most cases we prefer to use a medium size pin brush
for maintenance grooming. However, there are times when a natural bristle
brush works well on ear fringes. I tend to not use a natural bristle brush
in dry cold weather since it promotes static electricity.
Playing with the other dogs: Paps love to play with each other. This play
must be supervised. Many Papillons will bite at each others fringes, tug
on their britches or pull on tails. The acidity in the dogs saliva will
break down the coat. It is as simple as this: Don't let your Papillons
chew on each other if you're growing fringe on a lovely show dog. At
minimum, put a snood on your dogs while they are playing. A snood is a
tube like scarf with elastic sewn in both ends which slips over the
Papillon's head and ears. Long fringe can be tucked into the snood.
Now for a more detailed account of fringe growing.
Static electricity breaks off coat. If your dog is going to a show and
needs to look its best, use a Static Spray to calm down the hair that
stands on end. Make sure the spray you use doesn't weigh down or coat the
hair with a sticky feel. Some static products can make a Papillon's fringe
appear oily or clump the hair making the fringe look dirty. During travel,
consider using a snood to keep the fringe protected on those days which
may bring on
On a weekly basis I like to bathe my Papillon with a good quality shampoo
and conditioner to remove any product build up that may be on the coat
from the weekend before. While the dog is still wet I apply a light
coating of Vellus Satin Crème on the dog's fringes, tail and furnishings
and then I dry my dog as normal with a dryer and a pin brush. I prefer the
Satin Crème over oils and lanoline. The Satin Crème penetrates and
nourishes the hair follicle, thus making the fringe stronger and
conditioning dry ends. It is
our opinion using oil may keep your dog fringe in condition, however oil
attracts dirt and if not watched closely this too will break off ear
Between shows and baths some people will use a conditioner/water mixture
in a spray bottle as a daily brush out. We use Vellus Static Stablizer or
Satin Crème in warm water to spray on as a daily brush out spray. Do not
brush out a dry coat. This too can break off a Papillon's fine fringes.
For show days we bath and dry with Vellus Shampoo concentrate and
depending on the dog's coat, texture, and the atmosphere on the day, we
may or may not use conditioner on our Papillon's fringe.
So there you have it! Our method at Forevr Papillons for growing fringe on
our Show Paps.
Please feel free to write us for answers to any
additional questions you may have about this article. There are other
Papillon articles on our showpaps.com website. Also if you do not have a
mentor, consider joining our email list at Papillon-edu.com where there is
a group willing to help with show and breeding discussion or our other
co-owned email list which has a more international crowd and shares many
pictures and brags, Papworld.org. Don't groan, both these list are
friendly and are moderated to remain that way.
Ruth Ann Ford - Forevr Papillons