A lapful of charm in a cotton-ball cloud of curly white hair, the Bichon Frise is one of the sweetest and most affectionate of dog breeds. He loves to be the center of attention, which isn’t surprising given that he used to be adored by royalty and performed tricks to the roars of the circus crowds. His dark eyes sparkle with mischief, but like his cousins the Havanese, the Maltese, and the Coton de Tulear, he pretty much uses his powers for good. Letting his have the softest bed and just one little bite of your dinner makes you both happy. But don’t expect a Bichon to be “perfect” from birth – the Bichon is not a wind-up toy: he can be a challenge to housetrain and needs to learn his place in the family.
The fact that Bichons were born to cuddle doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise and training; they do. Suggesting that you never indulge your Bichon is pointless, but make sure that your training on the important matters — such as nipping, snapping and barking — is gentle and consistent. Don’t turn your bold, happy dog into a yappy tyrant.
While the Bichon can be a wonderful family pet, this may not be the right breed for families with young children or rambunctious older ones, especially if you have one of the smaller Bichons. They can easily be injured if play is too rough, or even snap at a child if they’re frightened.
You may have heard that the Bichon’s non-shedding coats make him a “non-allergenic” breed, but that’s not true. It’s a dog’s dander – flakes of skin – that triggers allergic reactions, not the coat. The non-shedding coat means less dander in the environment and sometimes fewer allergic reactions. But Bichons still produce dander, and can still cause an allergic reactions. Any breeder who tells you their dogs are “non-allergenic” should be avoided.