Small, fluffy and white, with a playful, gentle and affectionate nature, the Bichon Frise is an excellent and popular companion dog and gets along well with people of all ages. These cute friendly little dogs thrive in a variety of living conditions, but it is not a dog that should live outdoors. He is too small to be a guard dog, but he will happily announce strangers with a quick round of barking to attract the attention of everyone in the household.
The Bichon loves human company. It has an independent spirit, is intelligent, bold and lively, and has a self-assured, happy temperament that is easy to live with. These bright little dogs are easy to train and just plain old love everyone. They need people to be happy. They are naturally sociable and are happiest when they are part of a family that takes them everywhere. This sociable trait also means that they are fine in the company of other dogs and pets and are excellent with children.
The Bichon is an active dog and needs daily exercise. However, his exercise needs can be met with a lively indoor game, a play in the back garden, or a short walk on the leash. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe, open area off lead, such as a large fenced-in yard.
The Breed Standard calls the Bichon Frise “a white powder puff of a dog whose merry temperament is evidenced by his plumed tail carried jauntily over the back and his dark-eyed inquisitive expression.
The Bichon Frise is easy to live with, a cheerful, pleasant house dog who enjoys playing games, snuggling into laps and pillows, and perching on the back of the sofa so he can peer out the window. Bichons are peaceful with everyone, including other pets. There is timidity in some lines, so early socialization is important to develop their confidence.
Though he does have an independent streak, the Bichon Frise is not a dominant dog and responds well to non-forceful training. He prefers learning tricks to formal obedience and is especially bright-eyed when food treats are offered as rewards.
The three most common behavioral issues with the Bichon Frise are:
- Housebreaking: Bichons can be difficult to housebreak.
- Separation anxiety: most Bichons are so sociable and dependent on human companionship that they don’t do well when left for long periods.
- Some Bichons are barky - and some have a high-pitched bark that can set your teeth on edge.
More traits and characteristics of the Bichon Frise
Grooming. To keep their coat free of mats, Bichons require regular brushing and combing, and also clipping and trimming every six weeks. Clip your Bichon’s coat short so that brushing and combing is minimized – an additional benefit is that he will look like an adorable puppy throughout his life.
Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, the Bichon Frise needs a great deal of companionship and does not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking.
Barking. Like most small dogs, the Bichon Frise is often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop your Bichon from turning into a barker.