30 Questions То Consider Before Getting A Bichon Frise
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on November 24, 2021
They may look like plush toys, but Bichon Frise dogs are much more than that. Beneath that fluffy white coat, however, there is a fiercely loyal and loving dog that enjoys running around and playing with its humans almost as much as it loves sleeping next to them on the couch.
A part of the broader Barbichon breed group, the Bichon Frise is one of the most famous of these dogs. A huge draw of the breed is its signature coat but said coat also requires quite a bit of maintenance. The dog itself also needs a not-insignificant amount of care too although the breed is still recommended for first-time dog owners.
To find out if this dog is right for you, check out the 30 questions to consider before getting a Bichon Frise below.
1. Do Bichon Frise make good pets?
No - Bichon Frise dogs make fantastic pets. Friendly, playful, smart, and loving, these little dogs have almost everything you’d want in a family pet.
2. How smart are Bichon Frise?
Very much so. Even though the Bichon Frise is a toy dog, it boasts an intelligence level typically associated with retriever and shepherd breeds. And there very well may be a connection there as some speculate the Bichon is a descendant from retriever water breeds like the Barbet.
And, even though this isn’t confirmed – and is even contradicted by some other factors – it’s undeniable that Bichons are smart little cookies. They are intelligent enough to learn various tricks and training routines as well as clever enough to try and trick you too.
3. Do Bichon Frise like to cuddle?
Of course, they do – they are a toy dog breed after all. Bichons are, perhaps, a bit too energetic and playful to be considered a lap dog breed but they still love to cuddle with their humans while they tire out from playing around the house.
4. Can a Bichon Frise be left alone?
Not if you value your furniture. These dogs love to both give and receive attention and they get quite distraught when they can’t do either. Separation anxiety is no joke with Bichons so you’d do well to keep them occupied. There are several ways to avoid getting your dog anxious, restless, depressed, and outright destructive due to separation anxiety:
- Work from home
- Have a family member home if you have to be away for work
- Get your dog with you when it’s appropriate
- Hire a dog walker or a dog sitter
- Arrange playdates with other dog owners
- Exhaust your Bichon with playtime before you leave for work
- Get lots of new and interactive dog toys regularly
- Separate the Bichon from your most precious furniture via dog gates when you’re out (do not just close your dog in a single room or a crate!)
- Get a second pet to keep your Bichon company
If absolutely none of those is an option, this breed may not be for you.
5. Are Bichon Frise difficult to train?
Not at all. The high intelligence and people-pleasing personality of the Bichon make this dog a joy to train and interact with. Their attention span can be a little short but they are very easily motivated with treats and positive reinforcement. So, obedience training is quite easy with these dogs. Avoid negative reinforcement and punishments as you’ll turn this loving pup into a disobedient and depressed dog.
6. Are Bichon Frise hard to potty train?
Potty training is the only type of training Bichon Frise dogs struggle with. This will require quite a bit of patience on your part, frequent walks outside for toilet purposes, and lots of praise and pets for each success. Again – avoid negative reinforcement as it simply won’t work on these dogs.
7. Are Bichons aggressive?
Bichon Frise dogs can have the famous “Small dog syndrome” or Napoleon Complex. This is typical for most small dogs, however, and it’s usually characterized by barking and growling toward strangers and perceived threats. The problem can be fixed with adequate training and socialization, however.
8. Do Bichon Frise tolerate guests and strangers?
That depends on their socialization. If you’ve gotten your Bichon used to (and happy with) having guests or having positive interactions with your neighbors and people at the dog park – then your dog will grow up loving everyone it meets. If, however, you skip your pup’s socialization, it will likely grow into an anti-social grump.
9. Can Bichon Frise live with other dogs?
Bichons are considered a very dog-friendly breed. The only reason why a Bichon might not get along with another dog is poor socialization and a botched introduction of the two pets.
10. Do Bichon Frise get along with cats?
As they lack a particularly strong prey drive and they are gentle and social overall, Bichons can easily become best friends with most cats. The much more deciding factor here is whether the cat has been socialized well and would accept a canine friend. But Bichons are one of the best breeds for a cat-owner to try regardless.
11. Are Bichon Frise good with kids?
They are excellent with kids. The Bichon Frise has everything you’d want from a kid-friendly dog breed – small size, affectionate and gentle nature, and playfulness. Just make sure that the kid is similarly dog-friendly and doesn’t torment the little Bichon by pulling its tail, poking its ears, and so on.
12. How big do Bichon Frise get?
The standard height of Bichons is 9 to 11 inches at the shoulder (23 to 28 cm) and 7 to 12 pounds of weight (3.2 to 5.5 kg).
13. How long do Bichon Frise live?
Typically, a Bichon will live up to 12 to 15 years on average. With good care, however, a healthy pup can live well beyond that as well and even reach 20 years with some luck!
14. Are Bichon Frise a healthy breed?
Bichons are quite a healthy breed, hence their long lifespan. However, if you get your pup from a pet store, a puppy mill, or an irresponsible breeder – or if you’re just unlucky – you may end up with a dog that has any or some of the issues below. To avoid those and other problems you should always get your pups from reputable breeders who offer health certificates for their dogs. Or, of course, you can adopt and just ask the shelter or rescue about the dog’s health.
- Hip Dysplasia
- Anesthesia sensitivity
- Patellar Luxation
- Bladder problems
- Vaccine sensitivity
15. How much exercise do Bichons need?
Not much, at least not much outdoor exercise. A couple of 20-30 minute walks outside are enough for Bichons as they’ll get all the other exercise they need indoors.
16. Do Bichons need a yard or are apartments enough?
Bichons really don’t need a yard. If you have one, these dogs would be happy to have a jog through it or play a game with you. However, they’d also be equally happy to play at home.
17. Do Bichon Frise run away?
While energetic, Bichons don’t have much of a wanderlust drive. This doesn’t mean that you should just let them roam, of course.
18. What type of coat do Bichon Frise dogs have?
Bichons have a gorgeous double-coat that offers them excellent protection against summer heat and winter cold. The outer coat is coarse and thick, and the undercoat – very soft but also thick.
19. Are Bichon Frise always white?
Yes, Bichons don’t come in any other color. They can get yellowish marks under their eyes over time if their tear ducts are leaking. Good eye care can help prevent that or slow it down.
20. Do Bichon Frise shed a lot and how easy are they to groom?
They do and they don’t. Bichons shed quite a bit, however, the vast majority of their shed hair is caught up in their thick coats.
So, on the one hand, there isn’t too much dog hair flying around. On the other hand, however, hair matting can be an issue. So, frequent brushing and combing (daily, if possible) are strongly advisable.
21. Are Bichon Frise hypoallergenic?
No, but they can be easy on people with allergies as little of their hair (and the attached dandruff) gets in the air. Just brush and comb your Bichon regularly and everything should be all right.
22. Are Bichon Frise related to Malteses dogs?
Both Bichons and Malteses (also known as Bichon Maltese) are a part of the Barbichon dog group that also includes the Havanese, the Bolognese, and Coton de Tulear.
23. Do Bichons like water?
Despite speculations that Bichons may be coming from larger water dog breeds, most Bichons absolutely hate water. You’ll need to start trying to get your pup used to dipping their toes in the water from a very early age if that's important to you.
24. Where should Bichon Frise sleep?
If you ask them – in your bed, with you. You can teach them to sleep in their own bed, however. Still, it’d be best for these social dogs if their bed is still in your bedroom.
25. How expensive is it to own a Bichon Frise?
A Bichon Frise pup will usually cost between $700 and $2,500 to purchase, depending on where you get it from. After that, the upkeep is pretty low as these little dogs don’t eat or need much. Especially if you’ve paid extra for a healthy pup your medical expenses will be very low down the line as well.
26. Do Bichons bark a lot?
Only if they are poorly socialized. Otherwise. Bichons are pretty friendly and outgoing.
27. Why do Bichons stink?
A Bichon would stink if you haven’t maintained its coat properly. That’s why we emphasize regular grooming.
28. Why do Bichons cry?
These dogs are so affectionate that they may start whining and crying for attention if you ignore them too much.
29. Do Bichon Frise get fleas?
They can, like any other breed. As you’d imagine, however, getting read of their fleas can be a bit more frustrating than it is with other breeds with lighter coats.
30. What is bad about Bichon Frise?
Not much, really. Their gorgeous coats need some care and the dogs themselves need a lot of love, time, and attention. However, those two “drawbacks” come with their corresponding benefits – beauty and an awesome character.
Bichon Frise dogs sure are a special breed. There are many reasons why these dogs are so special today, after all. At the same time, however, they are still not for everyone. As awesome as Bichons are they do come with a few quirks you’ll need to be ready for such as the amount of attention they need and the maintenance their hair requires. Potty training can also be a pain with this breed.
If you’re up for those few challenges, however, a Bichon Frise dog can be a fantastic companion for you and your family.