If you've decided to take a Papillon to dog shows, the most important advice you can receive would be to find clubs, fellow Papillon trainers and dog show veterans in the area to talk shop with. Ideally, there would be an experienced Papillon show dog owner in the area whom you can recruit as a mentor of sorts to show you the ropes and share their experience with you. Short of this, though, the following should at least give you a good idea of what judges are looking for in Papillons, so that you can formulate a plan with regards to what you need to learn in to train and groom a winning show dog.
There are, of course, a handful of things that cannot be helped, these are things that rely entirely on lucky genetics and are pretty much out of the trainer's hands. These are things that judges might reward or will disqualify or penalize the Papillons for. It's unfortunate that the article you now read should start off on a bit of a sour note, but it would seem necessary for the sake of keeping a Papillon owner from wasting any time pursuing a future in dog shows when, unfortunately, their dog will not be allowed to compete.
An instant disqualification will result in the event that a Papillon is either completely white, or lacking any white at all. Symmetrical patterns are a judge's favorite, as these patterns lend to the Papillon's butterfly like appearance. Also earning the Papillon instant disqualification would be a height of more than twelve inches, their delicate appearance being another requisite of champion show Papillons. Most preferred would be roughly symmetrical coloring and a size between eight and eleven inches.
Moving on to a less disheartening subject; a show Papillon's posture. The stomach is to be held in, the back straight and the tail arched elegantly over the back with long hair hanging on either the left or right side of the body. The head should be held high and level and it is recommended by some that the ears should move "like a butterfly's wings", but simply "held erect" will probably do. A Papillon with dropped ears should be carried drooping and hanging all the way down.
The dog's build should be evenly and sufficiently developed, not too heavy or small in any one part of another. The dog should move with ease, grace and a spring to their step. Stiffness or a sense of laziness to the way that he or she moves will be heavily penalized.
And finally, not to be overlooked is grooming. In addition to their regular brushing and bathing schedule, a Papillon will need a thorough groom the day before the show. This will include clipping the nails, trimming the hair and shampooing and conditioning on top of the daily grooming routine.