The Bichon Poodle mix is a cross between a Bichon Frise, and a Poodle. Usually a Toy Poodle. Bichon Poodles are also called Bichpoos or Poochons. They are cuddly, affectionate, long-lived companions.
Bichon Poodles are great dogs in the right kind of home. They need families that have plenty of time for social needs, play, and grooming.
In this article we find out if a Bichon Poodle mix is perfect for you.
Bichon Poodle: Breed At A Glance
The Bichon Poodle mix is part of a huge trend for designer dogs. Designer dogs are those with two pedigree parents from different breeds. Let’s sum them up:
- Popularity: On the rise
- Purpose: Companion dog extraordinaire
- Weight: 4 – 18 lbs
- Temperament: Devoted, animated, clever
Designer Dog Debate
Like all mixed breed dogs, Bichon Poodles divide opinion.
On the one hand, hybrid puppies may have a lower risk of suffering some inherited diseases, and may live longer.
On the other, their looks and temperament might not meet their new family’s expectations.
Bichon Poodle Breed Review: Contents
Here’s what’s coming up in this article:
- History and original purpose of the Bichon Poodle
- Bichon Poodle appearance
- Bichon Poodle temperament
- Training and exercising your Bichon Poodle
- Bichon Poodle health and care
- Do Bichon Poodles make good pets?
- Finding a Bichon Poodle puppy
- Pros and cons of choosing a Bichon Poodle
History and Original Purpose
Mixed breed dogs have been gaining popularity ever since the Labradoodle burst on to the scene in the 1980s.
To get a proper feel for what Bichon Poodles are like as pets, it helps to go even further back, and find out what kind of dogs their parents are like.
Bichon Frise History
The Bichon as we know it today has existed for hundreds of years. It was once the favorite companion dog of the European nobility.
It’s thought that they started out on the small island of Tenerife. But their lovable nature caused a surge in demand throughout mainland Europe in the 13th century.
They’ve come close to extinction more than once since then. But they have always been pulled back by their loyal fans, thanks to their winning personalities.
Since the overwhelming demand is for small Bichon Poodles, their Poodle parent is usually either a Miniature or Toy Poodle.
Miniature and Toy Poodles are also career companion dogs. But they were created from working dogs much more recently – in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Mini and Toy Poodles are popular across Europe and America as pets. But their working roots mean a small number are still employed for jobs like truffle hunting.
Bichon Poodle Appearance
Bichon Poodles are often called the ultimate teddy bear dog.
And whilst some designer dogs surprise their owners by growing bigger than anticipated, or moulting when they were supposed to be non-shedding, the Bichpoo’s appearance is often reassuringly predictable.
Most small dogs end up somewhere between their parents in size.
Purebred Bichon Frises are 9.5-11.5 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh 12-18 pounds.
Miniature Poodles are 10-15 inches tall. They weigh 10-15 pounds.
That’s not very different. So, Poochons with a Miniature Poodle parent will often grow to about a foot tall, and weigh 10-18 pounds.
What about Poochons with Toy Poodle parents?
Toy Poodles are tiny. Show-quality Toy Poodles are never more than 10 inches tall. They weigh just 4-6 pounds.
This means Poochons from a Toy Poodle could weigh anything between 4 and 18 pounds.
If you’re hoping or counting on a dog near the top or bottom of this range, there’s also a greater risk of being disappointed.
Bichon Frises all carry a very specific mix of genes which means they have a white, or mostly white, coat.
Poodles on the other hand come in a dazzling range of shades. Including:
Poodles can also carry genes for white patches in their coat. This is known as ‘particoloring’.
Thanks to the diversity of coat color genes on their Poodle side of the family, Poochons come in a wide range of colors too.
Coat texture is an area in which Bichons and Poodles happily align.
They both have curly, non-shedding fur.
This kind of coat sheds very little, but requires daily brushing, and frequent clipping.
Despite what you might have heard, it’s not hypoallergenic.
Bichon Poodle Temperament
Bichon Poodles live for company and companionship.
Both of their parents have been selectively bred from the friendliest dogs in each generation.
So the Bichon Poodle is also an attentive and loving little dog.
Which is lovely. But bear in mind that it may also mean they struggle to cope with being left alone.
Dogs which are specifically bred to seek out and thrive on human interaction are more likely to suffer separation anxiety if they’re forced to spend a lot of time alone instead.
Mental Stimulation Needs
Bichons and Poodles are also both playful, fun-loving dogs.
The Poodle has a working background. So a Bichon Poodle mix dog might also need activities like advanced obedience training or agility to fully meet their need for mental stimulation.
Training and Exercising Your Bichon Poodle
Bichon Poodles need a surprising amount of activity every day.
They need up to an hour of outdoor exercise, walking or playing fetch.
Due to their small size, they’re not much good as a companion for runners, cyclists, or long distance hikers.
They might enjoy swimming though, thanks to the Poodle’s background as a water retriever.
At home, they will enjoy having a variety of toys to explore. Keep a stash of different toys, including rope toys, balls, interactive toys and plushies. Rotating them in and out of use will help to keep a Bichon Frise enthusiastic about them for longer.
Training a Bichon Frise starts from the moment you bring them home.
Bichon Frises are generally easy to train. Traditionally it would have been desirable for them to be well behaved. But owners probably would have indulged and excused them quite a lot as well!
They respond well to positive reinforcement training, but may take a little longer to learn than other breeds.
The Poodle meanwhile is still just as clever as the working dogs it descended from. It is easily motivated and quick to learn new commands.
A Bichpoo may be super smart like a Poodle. Or slightly slower on the uptake like a Bichon.
Either way, a novice trainer will still be able to take them on, with a bit of preparation and commitment.
A note on toilet training
This also means a longer period of broken sleep and getting up in the night with them while they’re young.
Bichon Poodle Health
Bichon Frises and Poodles, like all pedigree dogs, are at increased risk of some hereditary diseases which occur at a higher than average frequency in their breed.
They can pass these on to all their puppies, including crossbreed puppies.
It’s important to be aware of these health risks. Breeding dogs can be screened in advance for many of them if you know what to ask for.
And because some of them can result in a lifetime of expensive veterinary bills, and increased insurance premiums.
Around 1 in 12 Bichon Frises are diagnosed with hip dysplasia. This is an anomaly of the hip joint which causes painful inflammation and lameness.
Between 3% and 4% of Bichons have luxating patellas. This is a condition where the kneecap doesn’t sit in place correctly, and which needs surgery to fix.
Bichons are also prone to problems with their teeth and gums. This is due to having a standard doggy number of teeth, but in a very small set of jaws.
Some breeding lines are also associated with an increased risk of a progressive neurological disease called degenerative myelopathy.
Around 1 in 8 Poodles are diagnosed with hip dysplasia. But, this figure doesn’t differentiate between the size of Poodle. Since larger dogs tend to be more at risk than smaller breeds, it might be that the frequency in Miniature and Toy Poodles is lower.
Miniature and Toy Poodles are also prone to:
- luxating patellas
- dental problems
- heart disease
- thyroid disease
- and the skin condition sebaceous adenitis.
Some breeding lines also carry the gene for dwarfism.
Bichon Poodle life expectancy
Canine life span is inversely linked to size. So, small dogs generally live longer than large ones. It’s not surprising that the Poochon is a long lived mix.
Most Bichon Frises live 9.5 to 15 years. Some even reach their late teens.
Miniature and Toy Poodles are among the most long lived breeds.
They consistently live for at least 11 years, and regularly keep going until their 18th, 19th, or even 20th birthdays!
Do Bichon Poodles Make Good Pets?
Bichon Poodles are a mix of two dogs with a very long tradition of giving people companionship.
They crave human company, and love to play and engage with their two-legged family.
The flip side of this is that they are more likely to suffer from separation anxiety when they’re left alone.
That anxiety can manifest itself as unwanted and destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, scratching or chewing.
So, they are happiest in homes where someone can keep them company for most of the day.
Who They Can Suit
Since they don’t need huge amounts of exercise, they are well suited to older people.
Poochons don’t have a high prey drive. So they can often live happily with cats and other small pets.
They generally like children. But it’s important to remember that very small Bichon Poodles, especially those from Toy Poodle parents, are fragile.
Finding a Bichon Poodle puppy
Mixed breed dogs from two different pedigree parents are growing in popularity.
Unfortunately that makes them a target for puppy farmers.
Puppy farmers keep non-health tested dogs in awful conditions then sell the puppies for the highest sum possible, to make maximum profit.
These puppies are more likely to have lifelong health problems and behavioral problems.
Tips for Finding a Breeder
To avoid the heartache of finding out your Poochon has been badly bred, always:
- Insist on seeing health certificates for their parents.
- Insist on meeting the puppies with their mom, in the place where they’re being raised.
- See if their mom responds to her name, and interacts affectionately with the owners.
- Sign a puppy contract, and get your puppy checked by a vet within two days of collecting them.
Pros And Cons of Getting A Bichon Poodle
There’s been a lot to digest in this article. So let’s sum it up:
- Prone to separation anxiety
- May take a long time to toilet train
- May be fragile
- More likely to encounter bad breeders
- Good match for people who can’t offer hours of exercise over long distances
- Excellent at providing company
- Low prey drive
- Long lived
Perhaps the Bichon Poodle isn’t for you after all.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of other small cuddly crossbreeds to consider:
- Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
- Pomeranian Shih Tzu Mix
- Corgi Pomeranian Mix
- Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
- Dachshund Corgi Mix
Do You Already Have A Bichon Poodle?
Why did you pick this mix?
Have you enjoyed your experience with them?
Let us know in the comments box down below!
References And Resources
- Adams et al. Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 2010.
- Meurs et al. Myxomatous mitral valve disease in the miniature poodle: A retrospective study. The Veterinary Journal. 2019.
- Nilsson et al. Heritability of patellar luxation in the Chihuahua and Bichon Frise breeds of dogs and effectiveness of a Swedish screening programme. The Veterinary Journal. 2018.
- Official Standard of the Bichon Frise. American Kennel Club. 1988.
- Official Standard of the Poodle. American Kennel Club. 1990.
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal. 2013.
- Serpell. The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People. Cambridge University Press. 2016.