Thinking About Getting a Bichon Frise?
Bichons are wonderful, funny, loving, happy, playful, smart dogs, BUT they are NOT for everyone!! Bichons have some special needs and certain habits, which people need to be aware of before deciding if this is the breed for them.
Did you just see/hear about a Bichon for the first time today? This week? Or within the last few weeks? And because they are so cute (just like a stuffed animal), now you have to have one? Or you have to get one for your child, your significant other, or your parents? Or you have to get one for Christmas or for someone’s birthday or anniversary which is coming up very soon?
A dog should be a companion for life! It is similar to adopting a child. This dog is now a member of your family and must be considered for all situations. Always look at it like you have a child, and along with getting this dog, a huge amount of responsibility comes with getting your new Bichon.
You should never get a dog as a present for someone who is not aware of what you are doing. Also, you should not get a dog for yourself or anyone else unless you and/or that person have taken the time to evaluate your/their lifestyle and financial resources. Furthermore, before deciding on a Bichon, have you researched the many different breeds that are available? You might be surprised to find that another breed would be a better "fit" for you, or it may confirm that a Bichon is the perfect breed for your lifestyle.
Some Things to Think about if You are Considering a Bichon
Concerning grooming, when compared to many other breeds, the Bichon should be considered a high maintenance dog. The Bichon is a white dog that has a "double" coat when adulthood is reached, and will most likely want to be on your lap, your sofa, and your bed. Because of this, your Bichon generally will require frequent bathing and grooming. You will probably be bathing the dog every 2 weeks or so depending the time of the year, and how frequently you groom your dog, which depends on how you want your Bichon look. Frequent bathing may not be good for your dog’s skin, so you need to be very careful when bathing your dog. I bathe mine about every 10-14 days depending how dirty they are. In the winter they don’t get as dirty. In the spring and summer they could use a bath every other day, but obviously I am not going to bathe them that often. For an adult Bichon, bathing, drying, brushing and combing can take about 1 hour. You will have to use a professional groomer for this breed of dog. The cost of one visit to the professional groomer, which should be done about every 6-8 weeks, will cost around $25-$30
Can you afford this expense? If not, then the Bichon is not for you. The double coat of an adult Bichon not only requires more "complicated" grooming than some other breeds, but you will need to have the time ability to brush/comb the dog about every 2-3 days depending on the length of coat. If the dog’s coat goes unbrushed for a lengthy period of time, the coat can become matted and then you have to have your dog shaved. This is extremely unpleasant for the dog. If you don't think you have the time and money for the higher grooming requirements of a Bichon, you should consider other breeds which will be much easier to maintain. You may think that you will just keep the Bichon shaved down all the time to help make the maintenance easier, and this is probably okay if this is done at a certain time of year (i.e., summer), but What was it that attracted you to the Bichon? Was it the "powder puff" look of the Bichon?" I don’t believe that people who have Bichon’s should have to keep them in longer "show" coats, but they should be allowing enough hair to grow and provide the proper grooming so that the Bichon looks like a Bichon.
While I personally do not believe this breed has a "problem" with housetraining, I have heard enough of other owners' complaints that I will admit that some Bichons may be more difficult to housetrain than others. But, I absolutely do believe that the problem with most housetraining issues can be traced back to the owners! This breed is a slow maturing breed. Therefore, in general, you do have to be aware that it could take a longer time for a Bichon to be able to be physically and mentally housetrained. This does not mean that you wait to train your puppy; it means you may have to work even harder and longer at training your Bichon puppy. "Crate" training is an absolute must for this breed. This does not mean that you just put your puppy in a crate and there is very little work on your part! You are going to have to take your Bichon puppy out when he/she first wakes up, right after he/she eats, every few hours, and then before you go to bed. You may even want to set you alarm and get up once or twice during the night to take the puppy out (your puppy may wake you up if he/she is sleeping in your bed). Even after all of this, there are going to be "accidents." Consistency is the key in potty training your dog. They want to make you happy and constant praise and giving him/her treats after they go outside, will encourage your Bichon to continue to go potty outside. I will give you some information on potty training and crate training.
While the Bichon does not go through a cyclical shedding process like some other breeds, all dogs lose hair. Frequently brushing your dog will help capture much of the hair that is falling off. But, if you think you won't ever see some white hair on that navy blue suit pant or skirt, you will. But it is not nearly as much as a dog that sheds.
All dogs chew and Bichons are certainly no different. Again, it is up to the owner to monitor and train a dog. It is not the dogs fault if they chew the bottom of your sofa, the leg of the antique dining table, the baseboard of the utility room, your shoes, or anything left out that your Bichon may find and pick up. Even with monitoring and training, there still could be some "incidences. Always provide your puppy with things he can chew on, such as toys and bones.
All dogs do tear, but with a white dog you may notice tearing and staining under the eyes more. Some Bichons tear more than others. Excessive tearing and staining can be a result of the actual structure of the eye and eye socket being blocked or partially closed. Irritation of the eye can be caused by hair, hormonal changes in the dog, allergies, and certain types of diets. Some excessive tearing can be controlled through medical treatment. Also, you can minimize the staining through more diligent daily maintenance such as cleaning and wiping the area under the eyes. I have known some people that are very much "turned-off" by any tear staining. While, as mentioned, there are ways of keeping tear staining to a minimum, if you are one of these individuals where it really may bother you, then I would suggest that you might want to consider a breed where you may not notice the staining as much.
Bichons, like all breeds, can develop and suffer from health problems. While you can hopefully limit the chances of health problems occurring by obtaining a Bichon from a reputable breeder, who performs general and specific health checks on the sire and dam (i.e., father and mother) before they breed them. There is no guarantee that your Bichon will not develop some health condition that could require ongoing (and potentially expensive) treatment. It appears that many Bichons suffer from skin "problems." In general, most Bichons are particularly sensitive to fleas (flea saliva/bites). Also, Bichons can suffer from allergies related to air borne allergens, as well as ingredients that make up the diet. Some other known health problems appear to be bladder (and kidney) stones, patellar luxation (i.e., loose kneecaps), juvenile cataracts, excessive tartar/tooth decay, and hip dysplasia. While hopefully, when you decide to get a Bichon, he/she will live a long and happy life without much additional veterinary care, you should be aware that health problems may occur. Make sure you have the financial resources to be able to provide the proper care for your Bichon if health problems should arise. If you purchase your Bichon from me and find that you are not able to provide the health care needed because of the expense then I would prefer you return the dog to me. I do not ever want one of my Bichon’s to end up in a shelter. If for some reason, and at any time you find you just do not want your Bichon any longer, please return it to me and I will release you from the contract you signed at purchase.
What to feed your Bichon:
I feed all my dogs a natural dog food. There are so many kinds of dog food out there. The ones with the fancy packaging are the worse ones to feed your dog. When picking out your dog food, look at the first 5 ingredients. If it is corn, that would be fine if you were feeding a pig. Other poor grade ingredients are ground wheat, soybean meal, beef and bone meal (that is ground up bones), corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, poultry by-product (which means chicken beaks & horse hoofs) meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, dried beet pulp, chicken liver flavor, animal digest, (other animal intestines, yuk!) Do you really want to feed your beloved pet these ingredients? You want the first 5 ingredients to read something like this: beef, chicken, white rice, potato, lamb, oatmeal, sweet potato, fish or fish meal, poultry fat, barley. All these ingredients are human grade, which means they are good enough for a human to eat. If you spend a few more dollars on each bag of dog food, and feed your pet a better food, your dog will be healthier, and their coat and skin will be in great condition. Don’t you love your pet enough to take the best care of him? I feed “Chicken Soup for the Puppy/Adult lover’s soul”; you can buy it at Parmer’s Market and it costs about $43 for a 35 pound bag. If you really want to get me going on something, ask me about dog food. My family will tell you that I go crazy with people that don’t read labels and have no idea what they are feeding their dog.
Why I think Bichon’s are the best dog to own:
I love to take my Bichon’s for rides with me in the car and they love to go, but sometimes I have to leave them home. I always keep my Bichon’s in a kennel while I am gone. This keeps them safe, and it assures me that there will be no accidents when I get home. When I finally get home, my dogs are so happy to see me. I love coming home knowing that I have someone waiting to see me that is so excited and happy. It takes about 10 minutes of me sitting down and holding them and greeting them before I can get back to the things I need to do.
Bichons love to go for a walk and I walk mine most every day. Since they are an inside, lap dog, they do need their exercise. They get very excited when they get to go for a walk. This also helps with potty training. It is also important to have a fenced in yard or outside kennel. They love to be outside, but please never leave your dog outside when you are not home. It is easy for them to get under the fence and then disaster can happen.
When I am sitting in my chair, I always have a white dog on my lap. If you don’t like a dog sitting on your lap or going to bed with you, please choose another breed. I can’t stress to you enough that these are very needy dogs, but they are most amazing, loving, and devoted pet you will ever have. What these dogs do best is: love you. All they want to do is make you happy. They are an amazing breed with the best personality. Please set up a time to come and visit my Bichon’s and see if this is the breed for you
If you have the time, patience and resources to cope with all of the above, you will not find a better dog to be your best friend!
If you have any questions please call;
Danielle M. Robinette
806 Superior Street
Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
906 632 9449 or 906 440 2930