The Bichon Frise, affectionately known as the Bichon, is an adorable pup that looks like a little white powder puff or a cloud. These dogs are playful and smart, and they love to sit in the laps of their owners. This breed was often found in the French royal courts during the 16th century, and it carries itself with class and grace. However, they are also little comedians who love to play and romp around. The Bichon is also the dog that was often found in circuses, as they love the spotlight and are easily trained.
Since the Bichon Frise is small, it is a great option for those who live in an apartment, and they don’t require a ton of exercise, either, but they are active. They are considered a great pet for a family, as they get along pretty well with kids, and they are also good with other pets, including other dogs and cats. The reputation of the Bichon is that they are easy to train and housebreak, and they are also known for their loyalty.
If you are considering adding a Bichon into your home, you are making a great choice, but with any breed, there are caveats to keep in mind. For the Bichon, it is very important that you understand they have substantial grooming needs, and not every Bichon is going to be easy to train. Though they don’t bark very often, the Bichon will certainly let their owners know if something is amiss. Are you considering adopting this breed? Here are 10 things you should know before owning a Bichon Frise.
10The Bichon Almost Disappeared
You almost didn’t have a chance to ever own a Bichon, because during this breed’s history, they almost disappeared. We can trace this breed back to the Mediterranean, where it was part of a dog family known as the “barbicans,” which was later changed to “bichons.” There were four types, and one of them, known as the Tenerife, eventually became the Bichon Frise.
The Italian upper crust began keeping these as pets during the 14th century, and when the French invaded Italy in the 1500s, they brought the dog to France. As mentioned, the French royal family loved these dogs, and they were also popular in Spain, but most of the rest of Europe was uninterested in this breed.
By the time World War I hit, the Bichon was all but totally lost. They had lost favor in the French royal family, and not too many people were interested. However, a small group of breeders decided to work to bring the Bichon Frise, and by 1933, a breed standard was established. By World War II, however, the breed was almost lost again, but in the 1950s, Mr. and Mrs. Francois Picault came to the US with their six Bichons and began to breed them. They established the Bichon Frise Club of America in the 1960s, and the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1972.
9The Bichon is a Great Family Dog
If you are looking for a dog that is great for families, kids, and other animals, the Bichon Frise would be a great choice. These dogs are very happy and cheerful, which makes them a perfect fit for a family. They are also not as fragile as other smaller dog breeds, so they are a good fit for children, who might not always be as gentle as they should. Though keep in mind that children and dogs should be always watched, as at the end of the day, a dog is an animal with instincts, and if they get scared, agitated, or nervous, they could snap.
The Bichon is also easy-going and adaptable. They are pretty good at entering new environments, too, so they are easy to adapt without too much worry. They tend to quickly bond with their new family, too, because they are affectionate and want to be part of a pack. They also get along great with other animals, so they will fit right in with other pets in your home.
Though the Bichon Frise is very adaptable when you first bring one home make sure that you ease them into being along for long periods of time. These dogs love their owners, and they might get sad when you leave, so it’s very good to take it slow when first bringing your Bichon home. Your dog will love to be the center of attention, so when you bring the dog into your family and it gets a lot of attention, they will love it.
8The Bichon is Very Curious
Another thing that you should know about the Bichon Frise is that they are very curious pups, plus they are quite intelligent. When you bring these two great traits together, you get a dog that you have to keep an eye on because they will require close supervision. If you aren’t going to be home with your Bichon, you should put him or her in a crate or secure room, so your doggy doesn’t get in trouble.
Since this breed is so curious, you will certainly want to dog-proof your home. One of the best ways to do this is to look at your house as your dog will. Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees and look for things that could be tempting for your dog to explore. Examples of this include plants, electrical cords, garbage cans, or even small toys. Pick these things up off of the floor and offer your dog an alternative object, such as a dog toy. If you do notice your Bichon getting curious about these objects, give the dog a firm “No.”
Another thing you should watch out for when owning a curious Bichon is that their curiosity breeds a sense of adventure, and they will likely take the opportunity to see the great big world that lies outside of their home. So, when the door is open, expect that they will run. To stop this, teach your dog to sit and stay, and build a fence around the yard. Not only will this keep your dog safe, but it might also even save its life.
7The Bichon is Good for Allergy Sufferers
If you have allergies, but you still want to get a dog, a Bichon Frise might be a great option. This is one of the dog breeds that are categorized as “hypoallergenic.” This means that the Bichon will shed less than other dogs, so if you are part of the 10 percent of the population that is allergic to dogs, or part of the 30 percent who have asthma, a Bichon could work great for you.
It is important to keep in mind that even if a dog is hypoallergenic, they will still shed. You can keep the hair at bay by taking care of a few of the dog’s hygiene needs. For instance, you should bathe your Bichon about once a month and also trim their hair and nails. Blow their hair dry and brush it out. Because of the gorgeous hair that the Bichon has, you will also have to comb their hair daily to keep it from getting into the hair. All of this helps to keep the dog’s anger under control, and then removes any stray hair that can get into the air.
Many Bichon owners take their dogs to a professional groomer to do all of this, and even if you do, you must take care of some other things at home. For example, a Bichon is well known for developing red or pink tear stains around the eyes. You can take care of this by using a mild shampoo or soap or start adding vinegar or even lemon juice to the dogs water. Don’t worry…your dog isn’t sad and crying. This breed has very round eyes, and because of this, a small amount of the tears that should go into the tear ducts actually end up on the face.
6The Bichon Can Have Behavioral Problems
Up until this point, things have been very positive about owning a Bichon. However, as with every dog breed, there are some issues that you should be aware of before you get one. First, the Bichon can be difficult to housebreak. You should begin the process as soon as you bring your Bichon home. It can help to use crate training methods and puppy pee-pee pads.
Another behavioral issue that a Bichon is likely to have is separation anxiety. We have already mentioned that the Bichon loves to stay around his or her family, and they are very affectionate. So, when you are not near your dog, it can get anxious and worried, and in that situation, the dog can become destructive.
You also should look out for the tendency to bark. The Bichon is also known to be a bit of a barker, and some of them have a high-pitched bark that can grate on your nerves. So, if you can’t deal with that, you should probably choose another breed.
5The Bichon Can Develop Small Dog Syndrome
Another thing that you should be aware of before you own a Bichon Frise is that these dogs can develop a condition called Small Dog Syndrome. This is a condition that is often seen in small dogs where they take on the lead role in a home. This might include behaviors like not obeying commands, jumping on people, chewing things they are not supposed to, constantly barking, and other types of bad dog behaviors. Small dogs, like the Bichon, will try to compensate for their smaller size by acting tough, and this is especially the case when they feel scared, nervous, threatened, or intimidated.
Many small dog owners want to protect their pooches, but in the process of that, they encourage these bad behaviors. Here’s an example. If you have a large dog and a small dog and you carry the small dog around, the small dog is more likely to feel as if they are in control. Then, we validate the bad behavior by rewarding them, i.e. you carry them around.
It’s very important if you have a small dog like a Bichon that you start taking on the lead role. You should not allow your dog to show aggression, for example, and you shouldn’t encourage barking for no reason. By taking the lead role, however, will give your dog a sense of security, and in turn, a more relaxed and stable state of mind.
4The Bichon is at Risk of Developing Health Issues
Another thing that a potential Bichon owner should consider is the fact that this breed is prone to a few health issues. Though the Bichon Frise is generally a healthy breed, there are certain health conditions that you want to keep an eye out for.
The first is general allergies, which can cause your dog to be allergic to things like grass, fleas, pollen, and even shampoos, which Bichon’s need a lot of. The main reaction that the Bichon gets when dealing with these allergies is itchy, red, and painful skin. This causes them to scratch at these areas, and in turn, they make their skin even more red, itchy, and painful. Sometimes, they itch so much that the skin begins to bleed, and their beautiful coat may even begin to fall out.
You should also be aware of a condition called patellar luxation. Essentially, this is when the dog’s kneecap becomes dislocated. This is a very common condition in small dogs, and you might notice limping or skipping, and eventually, they might stop using the leg. You also might notice the dog holding the leg up, as this will help the kneecap fall back into place. This is a genetic condition, so there is not much you can do about it except for to watch the signs and get it diagnosed by a vet. There isn’t a great cure to this condition, though surgery is sometimes done in extreme cases.
3The Bichon Might Not Look Like the Puff Ball
Unless you are willing to put in the work and the money, it’s unlikely that your Bichon will naturally look like the powder puff dog that you probably picture when thinking of the Bichon Frise. Grooming is a major part of having a Bichon, and it can be difficult to keep up with it on the best of days. We have already mentioned that a Bichon Frise does best with a daily brush, but you also have to get them clipped and trimmed about every month or so. If you don’t, the coat will only continue to grow, and it easily can become matted.
When you consider all of this work, you might think that your dog is going to look like a show dog from the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. However, you should come to terms with the fact that this won’t happen. On top of that, these dogs probably can’t do anything like play outside or run around with the family as their hair can easily get dirty.
Instead, you should consider clipping the hair of your Bichon short instead of allowing it to grow out to look like a puffball. If you keep it short, it will be a lot easier to keep up, and you will have a dog that looks like an adorable Bichon puppy throughout its life.
2The Bichon Sometimes Like to Chase
Though the Bichon is a pretty good dog behavior-wise, they are a dog, and all dogs have an instinct to be a predator, and this breed is no different. Fortunately, the Bichon is a pretty small dog, so even if it starts to chase another animal, most of the time, it’s not going to catch it. However, keep in mind that if you have kittens or small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, or other pets, your dog might start to chase them, which could lead to a terrible disaster.
If you notice that your Bichon begins to chase other animals, you need to redirect the dog as soon as possible. The faster you can redirect the behavior, the easier it will be to stop this from happening. Bichon’s are very smart dogs, so they should catch on pretty quickly. You should also look for signs that the dog is about to chase something. He or she might whine, wiggle, or perk their ears up.
After stopping the behavior, you should consider some type of “time out” for the dog. Don’t put them in a crate as a punishment, though you might want to put the dog in a quiet room for a couple of minutes. Once you do this a couple of times, the dog will learn the lesson. The other thing that you want to do is try to keep any animal the dog is chasing confined, if possible.
1The Bichon is Not A Good Watch Dog
Finally, you should know that a Bichon is not going to be a good watchdog. Though some might bark at strangers, and they will certainly alert you if someone is coming up to the door, most of them will consider other people as simply friends who they haven’t met yet.
If you are looking for a dog that will bark and alert you to danger, the Bichon is not it. They bark at people out of excitement of a potential new friend. Barking is a very natural thing for dogs, and if you don’t like it, you might want to consider another type of pet. That being said, barking is their main way of communication. Many people mistakenly believe that dog barking is always bad, but it’s really just a way to communicate with other dogs and a way to release their emotions.
It is certainly possible for you to change your dog’s behavior. However, if you believe that the dog is barking due to anxiety, fear, or aggression, you should make sure that you seek out help from a professional, as this is not normal behavior. This could cause the dog to lash out and start biting, and even though the Bichon is small, those teeth will hurt if they pierce the skin.
To put a stop to this behavior, you can start by ignoring the barking so that the dog doesn’t get any response. Then, you should teach the dog the command “quiet.” When the dog understands this, make sure you reward them.
If you have been thinking about adopting a Bichon Frise, you now know everything you need to know about this breed. They are small and friendly, cute and fluffy, and they are amazingly cuddly and lovable. The Bichon is a sturdy, agile dog that has an affinity for people. They will fit in perfectly in a family, and they get along well with other animals, including cats. The coat is soft and white, but you have to take care of it by brushing it daily and trimming it about every month. This is something that is not negotiable when you own a Bichon because if the hair gets too long, it will become matted.
When you choose a Bichon Frise, you are getting a happy, playful dog that is funny and adventurous. They are easy to train, and they love to do tricks, but might have issues with housebreaking. The Bichon also wants to be close to its owner, and they don’t do well when separated and alone. If they are left like this, they are prone to destructive behavior and excessive barking.
Since the Bichon is small, it must remain indoors and not live outside. You also have to make sure that you exercise the dog daily, as they have a lot of energy. You might want to take your Bichon for a walk to even play with the dog in the yard. The Bichon doesn’t shed a lot, and they are considered to be hypoallergenic. The Bichon is a wonderful dog who is great for families. They will snag your heart from the moment you bring them home, and they are sure to bring happiness to your life for many years to come.