Frequently Asked Questions

The Bichon, descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel, from which came the name

The Bichon were divided into four groups: the Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, the Bichon Havanais, and the Bichon Tenerife (Frises).
All originated in the Mediterranean area. Frequently offered as barter, they were transported by sailors from continent to continent. Spanish sailors are believed to have introduced the Tenerife (Bichon Frises) to the island of Tenerife, of the Canary Islands; there, in the 14th century, Italian sailors found them and returned them to Europe. The breed enjoyed four centuries of favor from royalty and the new middle class, especially in France in the late 16th century, when King Henry III carried the little dogs in a basket attached to ribbons around his neck. They appeared in paintings by Francisco de Goya, but the late 19th century, aristocratic fancies had turned to other dogs, and Bichon Frises performed in the circus and with organ grinders, or were pets belonging to commoners. French breeders began breeding them after World War I; in the 1930s, renamed "Bichon Frises," they become recognized as show dogs. 

How is this breed with children?
Since this is a non-aggressive breed, they make a wonderful family pet. They are never nippy. They will tolerate a lot of handling by a child/children, however children need to be taught to respect the right of the puppy and when the puppy needs a timeout. 

I have heard this breed is hard to house train. Is this correct?
I personally have not found this to be true. Given firm and proper training from the beginning, this breed is completely house trainable. However, they are not like a Golden Retriever, who may be penned up for 24 hours and would wait until you let them out. The Bichon has a smaller bladder and is less capable of holding off the call of nature. I have, under the worse circumstances, had to leave my dogs unattended for 10 hours with no access to the backyard; this included a young puppy, 14 weeks old. I did not arrive home to my worse nightmare, or go through a roll of paper towels cleaning up after them. This is not a normal routine that I would challenge my dogs to meet on a daily basis. Bichons do well with a routine, and do well within the parameters that you set. Vastly change the scenario, and they’re not sure of what you expect from them. They are definitely people pleasing dogs 

How much grooming is required?
Approximately every five weeks, the dog should be taken to a professional dog groomer to be bathed and trimmed. In addition to this, the groomer will also cut the nails and pull the inner ear hairs and secrete the anal glands. These additional grooming items are important to ensure a healthy and happy dog. If you are not actively showing the dog, you may chose to have the dog cut in a “pet cut.” This cut is easier to maintain. Brushing your dog at a minimum of every other day is recommended not only for the prevention of matting, but also to give you and the dog additional time to bond. The more you handle your dog the easier it will be to recognize and identify the first signs any health issues that may develop. 

What is the difference between Pet and Show Quality?
Pet Quality: Basically this means that the puppy/dog does not meet one or more of the Breed Standards as defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This does not mean that there is necessarily anything wrong with the health of the dog. Not meeting standards can be something as little as a low tail set or an offset bite. The pedigrees and upbringing of these puppies are the same as for show puppies. However, because these puppies do not meet the AKC standard, the sale contract will include a spay/neuter clause. As a breeder is trying to better the breed, this trait(s) would not want to be perpetuated in the gene pool. They will still make excellent companions and exhibit the positive temperament commonly associated with the Bichon Frises. Show Quality: This means that the puppy exhibits all the characteristics and traits of the AKC standard. Show potential is generally established by 8 weeks of age. However, just because a puppy is deemed to have show quality potential, there is always a possibility that with growth and maturity, it may development traits that do not meet the AKC standard, thus making the dog not of show quality. If you want a puppy that is guaranteed to be of show quality, you must wait until the puppy is at least 6 months old. Anything younger will always be considered to have show quality potential 

What is entailed in owning a Show Quality dog?
When you purchase a “show dog”, you will sign a contract committing to show the dog to championship under the requirements of the American Kennel Club (AKC). You will generally begin showing the dog once it has matured (usually at 18 months). This may take up to three months under the care of a professional handler at the owner’s expense, even if the dog is co-owned. You may also be require to stud/breed the dog once they have received their Championship Title – This requirement will vary from breeder to breeder. Other benefits include the increased camaraderie with other owners of the breed. You tend to develop a social relationship with your breeder, as you will keep closer contact during the time you are actively showing the dog. In addition to this, there are numerous social events that occur concurrently with the different dog shows & specialties. You become one of the family. Information and knowledge is freely shared between seasoned and new owners of the breed 

Why you should go with a reputable breeder?
If you are looking for a puppy to love and bring into your home, here are a couple of reasons to go with a reputable breeder versus a “backyard breeder.”

1. A reputable breeder does not breed dogs for personal financial gain. Most have started breeding due to their love of the dog and the betterment of the breed itself. They study the standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for the breed, diligently keeping those criteria in mind. 
2. A reputable breeder will study and research information to produce superior puppies. They screen all breeding stock for genetic problems that could affect the immediate offspring and future generations. They will also warrant the puppies to be free of any known genetic defects, which would prevent the dog from living a normal life. 
3. A reputable breeder will develop a life long kinship with the families of their placed dogs, making themselves available to answer any questions or concerns. They will be willing to assist you with information on feeding, training, grooming, etc. They are happy to just hear about any developments or achievements. 
4. A reputable breeder will always be willing to take the puppy/dog back should the family be unable or unwilling to continue to care for the dog. They will ask for “Right of Refusal.” Most reputable breeders are actively involved in Rescue Programs for their breeds. 

Before a puppy is placed, all potential homes are carefully screened to assure the puppy will be placed in the best possible environment. Breeders will take the time to learn about the family. 

Crate Training Your Puppy
The easiest way to house train a puppy (or an adult) is to use a crate. This is gentle and humane and dogs, being animals, like their crates because it is "home". The most important rule in the house training is consistency. Set up a schedule and stick with it for as long as it takes (and a week or two longer, just to be sure). The puppy is to be in his crate at all times unless he is (a) being fed or (b) being exercised. Only after he has "gone" can he be let out to play and then only for a brief period. Puppies like to eat and sleep so they really don't need to be out for long periods. They should always be crated at night and when you are to be away from home. This protects both the puppy and the furniture and carpets. 

1. Puppies should be able to sleep all night in their crates without an accident by 3 months of age. He is to go outside immediately when he wakes up. Stay with him until he goes, praise him to the extreme and give him a small treat (piece of kibble, cheerio or bit of dog biscuit), then bring him back inside. 
2. Use a high pitched voice for praise and a low pitch for scolding if you are present when the accident occurs. To scold him, pick him up and look him in the eye, then take him outside. 
3. Feed the puppy when you bring him in and then take him back outside within 15-20 minutes of his meal. His crate is a good place for him to eat without the cat or the baby getting into his food. Continue to take him outside at least every two hours until you determine his schedule for relieving himself. This may involve all members of the household keeping a chart so that you can understand how often he needs to be outside. Obviously he must go out just before bedtime. 
4. Anytime during the day when you cannot give the puppy your full attention, he should be in his crate. This means when you are on the phone, cooking, cleaning, dressing, playing, eating, sleeping, etc. If you are successful, you must be about to watch him when he is not crated. If you must leave the puppy longer and do not want to crate him, use a small confined area free of dangerous electrical cords or anything that can be chewed. Provide his crate with the door open for easy access. However, crating is the better method for housetraining and should be done as much as possible. 

What about paper training? 
This is a decision you must make early on. If it is a male, he probably should never be paper trained. Females can learn to go outside as well as on papers and this can be useful in parts of the country with bad winters. The papers must - from the start - only be placed in an area where they will continue to be permissible, usually a laundry room. The earlier a male is neutered, the less likely he is to lift his leg, so do this around 6 months of age. If you do have a problem with a marker, a PP Cumberbun will be a big help. They can be purchases from Nu-nee at
Portable exercise pens can be purchased for dog supply vendors and are useful if you do not have a fenced yard. This is both a safety feature and a sanitary one. If your Bichon is a jumper or a digger, do not leave him unattended in either a yard or a fence. Electric fences are not good for Bichons, in part because it offers them no protection from other dogs, dog nappers or other unsafe conditions.