The bichon frise is so adorable that it might be mistaken for a stuffed animal. These small, cheerful dogs are happy and enthusiastic, eager to please, and a joyful addition to any family. They love to play and soak up as much attention as possible but do not care for being left at home alone for long periods. These companion dogs are a good match for new dog owners and do well in apartments. If you have the time to give them enough love and attention, a bichon frise is a loyal, doting companion.
Bichon frises are known for their cheerful demeanor and often look like they have a smile on their face. They're charming and eat up as much attention as they can from their owners, the neighbor, the vet, or someone walking by on the street. That said, they are independent dogs who like to do their own thing. They're very intelligent and can get into trouble if left at home alone for too long. These dogs experience separation anxiety and can be destructive.
Bichon frises are a pretty healthy breed. They can live as long as 15 years, though this is much more likely if you get your bichon from a reputable breeder and know that they come from a healthy line. There are some health problemsthis breed is more at risk for, including bladder problems like infections or stones. They may have contact and food allergies and are especially sensitive to flea bites.
Because they are so willing to please, bichon frises are pretty easy to train. That said, you have to make sure you use the right approach. Be firm and consistent, but not overly harsh. Positive reinforcement is the best approach to training these pups. Bichon frises make great therapy dogs because they're so gentle and affectionate. Some owners also train their bichon frises to compete in agility and obedience competitions, which is a great way to bond and expose the dog to new experiences.
A lot of people think that bichon frises do not shed, but that's not completely true. This breed has a white double-coat that soft and dense underneath and coarse on the top. When hair sheds, it's trapped by the undercoat instead of falling out all over the floor. This might create the illusion that the dog doesn't shed, but problems can develop of the dog isn't properly brushed. The hair will continue to buildup, eventually matting and tangling, which can lead to skin issues.
Bichon frises need significant grooming. In addition to regular brushing, they need haircuts every 4 to 6 weeks or so. Most owners take their bichons to a professional groomer, but there are resources available to learn how to do it at home. Keeping the hair around the face neat and tidy is important to prevent mucus and discharge from building up around the eyes. Tearstains are common and may be a sign of a problem. Check their ears regularly, too, to make sure they're clean and free of redness, wax, and foul odors.
In addition to being great companions, bichon frises are also wonderful family dogs. They love children and enjoy playing games with them or cuddling. They're also very good at dealing with loud noises and rambunctiousness. Young children should never be left alone with a bichon or any dog to prevent any unintended aggression. As far as other pets go, a bichon can get along with other cats and dogs, as long as they still get enough human attention.
One of the biggest issues with owning a bichon frise is separation anxiety, so it's important to know how to recognize it. Symptoms include your dog following you closely before you leave the house, whining when you leave, or having accidents in the home despite being housetrained. Other signs are excessive salivation, chewing up furniture or other personal items, licking or biting themselves excessively, or an exaggerated greeting when you return home. Bichons benefit from doggy daycare. This is an infinitely better option than letting them be at home alone for large portions of the day.
One of the great things about this breed is they're pretty adaptable. As long as they have their family and a lot of love, they're happy living just about anywhere. They're small enough to do well in an apartment, but they do have a lot of energy and require daily walks and time to play. Bichons are not a toy breed and are much hardier than a lot of people give them credit for. It's easy to be overprotective of them, but a responsible owner tries to instill confidence in their bichon by helping them learn how to deal with new situations.
Generally, bichon frises needs about 30 minutes of exercise every day to burn off steam and stay healthy. This can be accomplished in many ways, like taking one long walk or breaking it up into several play sessions throughout the day. Making sure your bichon gets enough exercise is important for controlling their weight and may help calm some bad behaviors. John Marshall / Getty Images
This breed does not bark for no reason. If a bichon frise starts barking uncontrollably, it's a sign that either something is wrong or that they want more attention. It's very important not to overwhelm them by yelling or punishing them when they bark excessively; instead, try to get to the root of what is causing the barking. This behavior can be trained out of a bichon pretty quickly.
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