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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Poochon
Average Cost to keep/care for a Poochon
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Poochons are a crossed between a pedigree Bichon Frise and a pure bred Miniature Poodle, although sometimes a Toy Poodle may be used in a breeding programme. Since these little dogs first appeared on the scene back in the nineties, they have become one of the most popular modern cross breeds to have appeared on the scene and for good reason. The Poochon has inherited the intelligence of their parent breeds and they have also inherited their charming looks and loyal, affectionate natures too which in short, means they make wonderful companions and family pets in household where the children are slightly older.
Poochons are also very social little dogs and they tend to get on with other animals and being so smart and eager to please, in the right hands and environment they are easy to train and learn new things very quickly. They love being entertained and to entertain their owners which is why they have become such popular companions and family pets in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
The Poochon first appeared on the scene in Australia during the late 1990's when breeders wanted to produce a robust, low shedding dog suitable for people who suffered from pet allergies. They also wanted to create an affectionate dog and one that would behave nicely around children. They are a cross between two pedigree dogs being the Bichon Frise and either a Toy or Miniature Poodle.
First generation Poochons are a cross between two pedigree breeds, namely the Bichon Frise and either a Toy or Miniature Poodle. Over the years, these charming little dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people throughout the world thanks to their adorable looks and the fact they boast being highly intelligent and fun-loving little dogs. Another reason why Poochons have become so popular is because they have low shedding coats which makes them the perfect choice for house proud people and anyone who suffers from allergies.
For the moment, Poochons are not recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club or other international breed clubs around the world, but they are recognised by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club as well as the International Designer Canine Registry. Many local breed clubs have also been established in the UK to ensure that breeders continue to produce healthy and robust dogs that boast affectionate, kind and loyal natures.
Height at the withers: Males 22.86 - 35.56 cm, Females 22.86 - 35.56 cm
Average weight: Males 2.72 - 8.16 kg, Females 2.72 - 8.16 kg
Poochons can vary quite a bit when it comes to their looks because it depends on which of their parent breeds they have thrown to. Puppies in the same litter can be quite different with some dogs having tight curly coats whereas other have wavier, looser coats, but the majority of Poochons boast having nicely proportioned heads with clearly defined stops. However, some dogs can have shorter muzzles than others and their ears can be shorter in length too. They usually inherit lovely, round and dark coloured eyes which are set nicely apart on a dog's face adding to their endearing looks.
Noses are usually black or brown in colour and Poochons have strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long and slightly arched. Shoulders are well laid and chests are wide with dogs having straight, strong front legs. They have straight, strong backs and nicely rounded loins with their bellies being moderately tucked up.
Hindquarters are usually strong and well-muscled with dogs having strong back legs. Their feet are round, compact and well covered in hair. Paw pads are firm and nails are strong. Their tails are set high which dogs carry gaily when excited or alert and lower when resting or relaxed.
When it comes to their coat, Poochons generally have curly, soft coats thanks to their Poodle ancestry and having low to non-shedding coats, they are hypoallergenic too. With this said, Poochons have moderately long coats that can be quite coarse or soft in texture with the one consistent being that their coats are profuse. The most commonly seen colours include the following:
When Poochons move they do so with in a jaunty, energetic way. They always give the impression of being alert and eager to please.
Prospective Poochon owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or conformation and that extra-small Poochons often come with many health issues so they are best avoided. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce are of a good size and conformation and would avoid breeding extra small dogs for these reasons. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Poochon is a lively, energetic and highly intelligent dog and one that is always ready and eager to please. They are also incredibly loyal to their owners and form strong ties with their families which although very endearing can often lead to dogs suffering from separation anxiety when they are left on their own for too long. As such, these charming and clever dogs are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. They are a good choice for first time owners providing they have the time to dedicate to such intelligent and lively dogs.
They can be a little boisterous at times especially when still young which is a trait they have picked up from both the Poodle and the Bichon Frise. They are also known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young to prevent any excessive barking becoming a real problem later in a dog’s life. Because they are always so alert, Poochons are quick to let an owner know when there are strangers about and when something strange is happening in their environment.
It's very important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Poochon is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of a dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
If dogs are allowed to “rule the roost”, a Poochon could quickly develop a condition known as “Small Dog Syndrome” which sees dogs becoming neurotic and stressed out most of the time which can make life difficult for both dog and owner.
Poochons are the perfect choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. They are particularly good with slightly older children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times. Care should however, be taken when they are around toddlers and very young children.
Poochons are very social by nature and even though they have working and hunting dogs in their lineage, they do not have a very high prey drive. However, this is not to say that a dog would not give chase to a smaller animal when the mood takes them and this includes squirrels and the cat from next door whenever they get the chance.
Poochons have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a Poochon quickly learns how to wind an owner round their little paws which often sees them get away with things and being so intelligent, Poochons like to test the limits and boundaries from time to time.
Poochons are highly adaptable little dogs being just as happy living in an apartment in town as they would be living in a house in the country providing they are given enough physical daily exercise combined with lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, bearing in mind they are energetic, active and highly intelligent little dogs.
As previously mentioned, Poochons form extremely strong ties with their owners and as such they do suffer from separation anxiety when left on their own for any length of time which is why they are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Poochons are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which should make them great watchdogs, but they tend to bark for the sake of it and greet everyone they meet because they are so social by nature. Excessive barking is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them before it turns into a real problem with dogs barking at the slightest thing whether real or imaginary.
Most Poochons love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Poochon off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing.
Poochons are not natural watchdogs although as previously mentioned their love of "barking" for the sake of it can often mean a dog often cries "wolf" a little too often which is why barking and yapping for the sake of it should be gently but firmly nipped in the bud when dogs are still young.
The Poochon is a very smart dog having so much Poodle in their DNA. They are quick learners and love nothing more than to please. However, the downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good which is why their training must begin early and it has to be very consistent and always fair throughout a dog's life so they understand what's expected of them. Poochons are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things. They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact they have with their owners when they are competing.
The key to successfully training a Poochon is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps keep a dog more focused on what they are being asked to do bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored. They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick-witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved making sure that a dog is never given too many to prevent too much weight gain.
Poochons puppies will always test the limits and boundaries often just for the fun of it which is why their education and socialisation must start early and it should always be consistent and fair. The first commands a puppy should be taught right from the word to are the following:
Poochon are known to be good around children, but they are best suited to families where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around smaller and very lively dogs. As such any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with a dog being injured.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together too. However, a Poochon would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care has to be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets just in case. As such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Poochon is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
As previously mentioned, first generation Poochons tend to be the healthiest and are therefore less prone to inheriting any congenital or hereditary disorders that are known to affect the Toy and Miniature Poodle and the Bichon. Second generation and further generations tend to be more predisposed to suffering from the health issues that affect their parent breeds. Bichons are known to suffer from the following conditions:
Poochon puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old. Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons.
Some Poochons can gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older Poochons too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart.
Poochons are prone to suffering from allergies and sebaceous adenitis so it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if there's a flare up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Poochon breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
For Toy Poodles, the recommended tests are:
For the Miniature Poodle, the recommended health tests are:
For the Bichon Frise, the recommended tests is:
Poochons are not Kennel Club registered (September 2017), as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place, but prospective owners should always make sure puppies have been well bred and that parent dogs were Kennel Club registered and tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues.
What about Assured Breeder Requirements?
There are no Kennel Club Assured Breeders for the Poochon because they are not a KC recognised breed.
As with any other breed, Poochons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition, bearing in mind that some dogs are prone to suffering from a condition known as sebaceous adenitis and allergies. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Poochon puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to arrange to pick puppy up when people in the home are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Poochon puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Poochon puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Poochon puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Older Poochons need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a Poochon will start to have a greying muzzle, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Poochon in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Poochons need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older Poochons is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Poochons don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Poochons can have soft, curly coats which they have inherited from the Poodle or they can have slightly coarser, longer coarser coats too. They are also low shedding which makes them a good choice for people who suffer from pet allergies although it's worth bearing in mind that it's the dander a dog sheds that can also trigger an allergic reaction. They are quite high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats looking good and tidy. As such they need to be groomed several times a week and they also need to be professionally clipped or trimmed several times a year with the good news being it makes it easier to keep their coats looking good in between visits to a grooming parlour.
Because they have quite profuse whiskers and beards, their muzzles need to be cleaned after a dog has eaten to remove any food that may have got stuck in the longer hair around their muzzles. It’s a good idea to wipe a dog’s eyes to remove any tear stains which tend to show up a lot more on lighter coloured dogs. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Poochon is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 20 to 40 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Poochon would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Poochon puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Poochon puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Poochon puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Poochon must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Poochon can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Poochon, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Poochon in northern England would be £22.60 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £47.41 a month (quote as of September 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Poochon and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Poochon would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred, healthy Poochon puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Poochons are an extremely popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Poochons there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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