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The Beauty Of A Bichon-A Great Family Dog

Updated on June 24, 2012

My MiraBella


You Can Say Any Foolish Thing To A Dog, And The Dog Will Give You A Look That Says, "My God, You're Right. I Never Would Have Thought Of That" Dave Barry

The Bichon is a lovely little dog with a fluffy white coat and huge dark eyes that are incredibly expressive. The average weight is 15 pounds but many are much smaller. My own lovely MiraBella is 9 pounds of pure love. No matter the size, this dog is a great addition to the home.

The American Kennel Club 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." That description is accurate and indicative of this playful dog’s personality.

While Bichons are very intelligent, they can be stubborn. They can be difficult to housebreak and if dealt with harshly or meanly can be spiteful and sneak off to pee! The crate technique is most effective. Never, ever, strike the dog. It does not teach anything but fear.

This dog displays very human emotion and while mostly happy and carefree becomes attached to his owner and can become depressed and anxious if left alone too long. They are very small so they love to climb on top of something so they can observe more easily and feel part of the action. I leave the drapes open when I am gone from home so my Bichon can keep an eye on the neighborhood happenings. It keeps her entertained and alert.

The Bichon is a great barker also and makes a great watchdog. By allowing yours to see outside, you have a burglar alarm. The bark is high pitched and sharp, easily heard and sometimes painful to the ears. With training, your Bichon will not be a yappy barker but an alert and protective security guard.

At the same time, this adorable creature is a clown and makes people laugh at the antics he gets into. The Bichon is the perfect size to dress up and stores like Pet Smart and Petco carry many outfits that fit them well. I have found some great clothes for my girl at local pet stores and they are easy to sew at home also. Patterns can be found online with a quick Google search. One of my favorite sites is: MiraBella has a huge trophy she won at a show for being the best dressed. Many find it silly to dress up a pet, but we find it fun and when your dog looks extra cute, you will take it with you when you go out.

This is a perfect time to state that you must NEVER leave your Bichon or any animal in the car for more than a few minutes and sometimes never at all. On a 72 degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise to 95 degrees with only an 8 degree outside change. A study from Stanford University shows that even on comparatively cool days, such as 72 degrees, a car's internal temperature will rocket to 116 degrees within 60 minutes. And keeping the windows open a crack hardly slows the rise at all. Go to: and access studies on this. Many, many animals die of heat exhaustion every year in this horrific manner.

Some Bichons are not good with small children. Being small, the dog may become frightened if handled roughly and bite to protect itself. Mine has never even growled and tolerates anything as long as she is getting attention. Children should be reminded that this is a live and real animal, not a toy. Injuries to children or animals should receive immediate attention.

The Bichon’s coat is curly and requires a bit of care. It can become knotted and matted, however just a few minutes a day of combing will prevent this. Since the Bichon does not shed, mats can cause skin sores and other issues. The Bichon loves attention and a great grooming time is in the evening when the two of you are spending time together, watching television. Just keep a comb handy and give a few gentle runs over the soft coat and watch as the hair expands and becomes a cotton ball.

Create a regular bathing routine and your Bichon will grow to enjoy the bath and will remain compliant during this ritual. After bathing my Bichon MiraBella with regular dog shampoo, I finish with a blue shampoo that makes her coat almost sparkle. It removes any yellowness and her coat is white as snow. There are blue shampoos made especially for dogs, but I use one found in the local beauty supply store. As with any product, take care to protect those big, beautiful eyes from the soap.

Of course there are hundreds of grooming salons that do a great job with the Bichon and when cut in the official AKC style, they are adorable. This look is very hard to maintain though as well as expensive. I scissor clip mine because the clippers frighten her. Also, she looks like a puppy again when her hair is short.

A bathed and groomed Bichon is a pleasure to look at and your four legged friend will draw attention and admiration. These tiny performers will preen for the observer and the owner can potentially make new friends from these encounters.

The Bichon is a joy to live with and is quick to learn and intelligent. He will play games and learn tricks to please the owner and earn treats. These dogs are very fast runners and love to play chase with anyone, two or four legged. Use extreme caution when allowing your Bichon to run loose. These are very small animals and the driver of a vehicle may not see them dart into the street.

Exercise is beneficial for owner and dog. The Bichon requires a walk every day or time in a fenced yard so he can run and stretch his legs. Throw a Frisbee or ball to encourage your dog to exercise. He will also easily learn to climb short ladders. A child’s play set is great for your little friend. He will enjoy a small slide and you will love watching him do his tricks. Just remember that this is a small dog and he will tire accordingly. Do not force him to do more than he is able.

Bichons are quite peaceful and get along with everyone, including other pets. Introduce him to other animals at an early age so he will feel comfortable around other animals. He may be shy at first especially around larger dogs. A self confident Bichon will befriend anyone he meets, human or canine. My Bichon gets along with cats and my cockatiel flies free sometimes and MiraBella never bothers him. These dogs like others around.

Overall, one could not choose a better friend and companion than the Bichon. I highly recommend one. And there are many wonderful Bichons in rescue groups all over America and probably the world. The more animals rescued and not purchased from breeders, the fewer live in misery. Utilize rescue resources before getting any kind of animal at all. There are some great breeders so if you decide to purchase a Bichon, do your homework first and buy responsibly.

Edith Wharton said, “My little dog-a heartbeat at my feet.” This is so true of the Bichon. Enjoy your new friend. Because I know you must have a Bichon now!

All photographs and text on this site are protected under United States and international copyright laws-© Brenda Barnes.


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