The Bichon frise is the 29th most popular dog breed in the UK, and one of a number of petite, fluffy and white dog breeds that many people have trouble telling apart at a glance!
However, all dog breeds are different, and similar appearance traits don’t always translate to similar personality traits too, and if you’re considering getting a new dog to join your family then making the right choice is vital.
If you’ve decided that a Bichon frise might be right for you or if you’re trying to choose between a few small breeds that are similar looking at a glance, this article will provide you with some information to get you started.
Read on to learn ten things you need to know about the Bichon frise dog breed, before you go ahead and make a purchase.
First of all, as you might expect the Bichon frise is a toy dog breed, which means that they’re classed within the Kennel Club’s toy dog grouping for showing purposes.
Bichons are naturally a small breed, standing up to around 28cm tall at the withers at a maximum, and weighing up to around 5kg. They’re petite and quite delicate, although also quite feisty!
Bichon frises are quite economical to buy in terms of their average asking prices, which means that most people who would like to own one won’t be priced out. The average asking price for pedigree Bichon frises is around £610 each, and for non-pedigrees, around £510 each.
They’re around the middle of the pack in terms of the average costs to keep dogs of the breed too, and their small size means they only need the smaller versions of things, which tend to be cheaper!
Small dog breeds usually live for rather longer than their larger counterparts, and the Bichon is, across the board, one of the longer-lived small breeds too.
Their average lifespans range from around 12-15 years when appropriately fed and cared for, and it is not really unusual for dogs of the breed to live well into their late teens either.
The Bichon frise coat is white and distinctive in terms of its texture, which is tightly curled and tends to grow out sideways rather than straight down! Because the coat is comprised of tight coils of fur, when shed fur is lost, it becomes tangled up in the rest of the coat and is not dropped prolifically around the home.
This means that it spreads less dander around, and in turn, may mean that the Bichon won’t be as likely to trigger allergies in people sensitive to dogs.
Ironically, Bichon frises as a whole tend to suffer from more than their fair share of allergies, with skin and coat allergies or dermatitis being quite common and food allergies coming next.
By no means all or most Bichons suffer from allergies, but this is something to bear in mind if you’re considering buying a dog of the breed.
Because the Bichon coat doesn’t shed much of the fur it loses, they need regular brushing and grooming to remove this for them, and to keep their skin and coat in good condition.
Many Bichon owners arrange regular appointments with professional groomers for bathing and trimming, so factor in the cost in both time and money of caring for a new Bichon’s coat.
Bichons are not dogs to consider if you’re out at work for most of the day, and they are fairly intolerant of being left alone at home for long. They like to have company and soon become anxious if left, and whilst the presence of another dog can help with this, they do need human company for most of the time.
Bichons are fairly high maintenance dogs in terms of the demands they place on your time, and they like to be close to their owners and can be quite clingy. They often follow their owners from room to room and will make a fuss if left or ignored; this can be annoying for many people, and they are also usually quite vocal dogs too!
Bichon frises are around the middle of the pack when it comes to canine intelligence, and they are perfectly capable of learning and executing a reasonable number of training commands. Whilst they’re not usually capable of undertaking higher level training for things like canine sport, they’re not stupid dogs, and need an adaptable, sympathetic trainer.
Bichons are moderate in terms of their exercise requirements, generally fairly tolerant of kids, reasonably straightforward to train, and not prone to a huge number of health issues. This all means that they’re a good fit for many different types of homes, including the first-time dog owner who does sufficient research into the breed first.
However, you do need to be able to commit to being able to spend plenty of time with your dog, and not expect a Bichon to entertain themselves for very long.