The only commonly reported problem with the Papillon, in regards to temperament, would be the breed's slight tendency towards timidness. In training, this timidness can make housebreaking a bit of a challenge, though far from an insurmountable one. Of course, unless this is countered early on, the Papillon will sometimes opt to mark spots of the house as their personal territory. This is definitely a setback, as the breed really is not capable of living a healthy life as an outside dog and absolutely must be housebroken for the sake of the owner's peace of mind. Luckily, this is the only common major hurdle in training the breed and most trainers will be able to stop the problem in its tracks without too much extra hassle.
The Papillon is known as an intelligent dog of a high, but manageable, activity level. A Papillon that is brought up in an environment that allows him or her to flourish will be friendly. Specifically, the Papillon needs to be socialized in the first months of life, or else the aforementioned tendency towards timidity will result in the dog being less than comfortable around cats, children and strangers.
There is some debate as to whether or not the breed has a tendency towards a sort of "big dog" attitude. Some owners insist that the Papillon can show signs of aggression towards larger dogs, as well as possessiveness of their owners and they can even become competitive with other pets in the house. Others claim that the Papillon is invariably respectful of larger dogs and less possessive. The truth lies somewhere in between. A Papillon can develop an extreme personality in either the direction of aggression or timidity. Proper training and socialization is the key, of course, to helping the Papillon to develop a balanced, well rounded personality.
Something of a lap dog, the Papillon has a natural tendency to insist upon receiving regular cuddling, constant petting and scratching behind the ears. The breed is also known to answer nearly every unexpected sound, whether soft or loud, with an immediate, top-of-the-lungs barking fit. Normally, the breed is far from hostile, and this is not a show of aggression, but the dog's way of announcing the arrival of company or simply an involuntary reaction to being surprised.
The breed has a reputation for obedience and can often be found winning contests centered on this quality. They are also known for being great trick performing dogs. They certainly have a sense of wonder, loving new experiences and viewing every new event with attentive bemusement, regarding these experiences as if it were all a show put on for the sake of the Papillon's entertainment.
While the above may seem to suggest a dog that is a bit on a hyperactive side, the reader would be misled to come away with such an understanding. While the dog prefers to be on the move and receiving attention more often than not, the dog is also employed from time to time in watch dogging, a task requiring more patience and alertness than energy, speed or stamina. Trained properly and brought up in a healthy environment, the Papillon is nothing if not versatile.