With Flynn, an adorable Bichon Frise, winning "Best in show" at the 2018 Westminster Dog Show over 2,800 other dogs, it's hard not to consider adopting one of these doggies yourself. Watching Flynn trot around at the dog show made him seem like the perfect kid-companion, but watching one dog on TV does not really speak for the whole breed. It can certainly make you wonder though, are Bichon Frises good dogs for kids? Because the requests are coming in.
Called the "powder puff" dog for their white, fluffy hair, the American Kennel Club (AKC) described Bichon Frises as "10 to 20 pound, four-legged cotton balls." The name Bichon Frise (pronounced BEE-shon Free-ZAY), means "fluffy white dog" in French, and their size and temperament make them good choices for families with children. The AKC says a Bichon Frise is, "easily trained and carries a charismatic, cheerful, and curious disposition," which sounds like a wishlist of pet characteristics. If you have kids with allergies, this can be an especially good choice, as the AKC says that they have been bred to be hypoallergenic and don't shed much.
Frank D'Andrea, owner of D'Andrea Professional Dog Services, calls them "rock-solid and cute as hell." D'Andrea told Romper that Bichons are easy to train and they like to please, which makes them a good option for families.
Melanie Pellegrino, Director of Rescue of Bichon Frise Rescue of Northern New Jersey, describes Bichons to Romper as "great family dogs who are playful, fun, funny and they love to give kisses." Pellegrino says they used to be used as street performers and circus dogs because they can walk on their hind legs. Training them to do tricks can be hours of fun for your whole family.
It's not all perfect and easy though. There are few things to keep in mind if you are thinking of bringing a Bichon Frise into your family.
They Require A Lot Of Attention To Grooming
Bichons don't have fur or coats — they have hair. Because of this, their grooming needs are really specific and really high maintenance. Really high maintenance, like, needing to be cut (not sheared) in a very specific way every 4 weeks by a professional groomer. This can set you back approximately $60-$70 each time and takes two hours to do. D'Andrea says you need to cut and brush the dog daily or, as Pellegrino describes, it'll become a knotty mass of hair, especially if they jump in the pool.
Get Them Neutered By The Time They Are 6-7 Months Old
Pellegrino warns that if you don't neuter the males by 6 to 7 months old, they will become "leg lifters" and mark their territory with their urine all over your house. The breed has the reputation of being hard to house train, according to Your Pure Bred Puppy.
They Have Really Small Bladders
This is not the dog you want if you go out for long stretches of time, or work outside the home and don't want to pay a dog walker. Bichon Frises need to empty their bladders every 3 to 4 hours during the day, according to Pellegrino. So unless you are willing to get a wee wee pad to keep indoors or a belly band (which are basically washable doggy diapers), Bichons might not be your best choice.
If You Get One, Your Best Bet Is Probably A Puppy
D'Andrea feels very strongly that much of what determines a dog's behavior is not his breed, but his breeding. If you work with your puppy and train him young, he will be much more gentle with children. However, you need to be careful. A puppy that is pulled at, stepped on, dropped on his head by your little one can start biting, which, D'Andrea points out, really isn't the dog's fault. Pellegrino says that 99 percent of Bichons are fabulous with kids, but the ones who aren't are often older rescue dogs who may have been abused or mistreated.
As Pellegrino says, Bichon Frises, treated right, love to be with their people. Now that we've seen how beautiful Flynn and other Bichons can be, they seem like a great breed for families to explore when looking for a dog.
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