Are Bichons Frises Good for First-Time Owners?

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Are Bichons Frises Good for First-Time Owners?Bichons Frises are incredibly cute and cuddly dogs that are very popular across the globe and have been for quite some time. They have a lot of great traits and make for excellent pets.

They’re great for solitary owners or families, but are they good pets for first-time owners?

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Are Bichons Frises Good for First-Time Dog Owners?

Bichons Frises are often considered to be one of the best breeds for first-time owners for a few reasons.

They’re reasonably intelligent, a good size for those who haven’t managed a dog before, and they are very friendly dogs. Add to this that they’re fairly common and so there is a lot of advice and information out there, and it is easy to see why many people would happily consider a Bichon Frise for their first pet.

5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Bichon Frise as Your First Dog

If you’re wondering what makes a Bichon Frise so suitable for first-time dog owners, then look no further. There is a myriad of reasons to consider a Bichon Frise as your newest family member, such as:

1. They Are Playful

Bichons Frises were bred to be companion dogs, and so they are always happy to play with you or with your children. This can really make a difference, especially if you are seeking a pet due to loneliness or a lack of things to do.

With a Bichon Frise in your home, you will always have a friend to play with, whether that’s a game of fetch at the local park or a game of tug of war on the sofa. In fact, one of the first things you should do after you get your dog is to get some toys. In a separate article, I wrote about the best toys for Bichon Frise.

2. They Are the Perfect Size

As aforementioned, Bichons Frises are relatively small dogs. They have a lot of energy at times, but with their size, this is incredibly manageable. They’re well suited to live in smaller apartments or larger homes, and won’t pull your arm off whilst lead training.

For those who haven’t handled or owned a dog before, their size will make training and grooming them significantly easier.

3. They Can Create Strong Attachments

The Bichon Frise is known for its sensitive temperament.

This can sometimes be difficult to handle, but it also means that your Bichon Frise will form strong attachments to you and your family, and will be incredibly loyal to you all. The breed has a reputation for being affectionate, and if you work on forming a bond with your pet as soon as possible, you’re guaranteed to have a cuddle buddy for life.

4. They Are Relatively Easy to Train

Bichons Frises respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement. They’ll do pretty much anything if they know there’s a treat at the end of it. On top of this, they’re also reasonably intelligent dogs, which makes them pretty easy to train. For a first-time dog owner, this is important.

Failing to train your dog can make living with them a nightmare, so it is crucial that your first dog is one that will listen to you and work with you, not against you.

I wrote more about training a Bichon Frise here.

5. They Have a Long Life Expectancy

It is a general rule of thumb that smaller dog breeds live longer than larger dog breeds, and with this breed, it is definitely the case. The Bichon Frise has an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, meaning that you will have a friend for much longer than with some larger dog breeds.

4 Things to Be Aware of Before Getting a Bichon Frise as Your First Dog

As always, the breed does have some traits that can be hard to manage, especially for a first-time dog owner, so it is important to make sure that you consider these traits fully alongside the positives.

1. They Are Prone to Separation Anxiety

Bichons Frises, and many of the dog breeds related to them, are particularly prone to separation anxiety. This can manifest as misbehavior, unlearning toilet training, anger issues, and even a change in personality.

This predisposition to separation anxiety often means that Bichons Frises cannot be left alone for long periods of time. A small trip to the grocery store might be fine, but a day at work is likely to cause issues, especially if done regularly.

2. They Are Not Cheap Dogs

Bichons Frises are not cheap to buy at the moment, with an average cost of up to $2,000. Since the dogs are also not low maintenance when it comes to grooming, owners can also expect to fork out cash for that on a regular basis too.

Whilst dogs are not a cheap purchase regardless of the breed, Bichons Frises can be one of the pricer breeds to invest in.

That said, you can always consider adopting too.

3. They Are Picky Eaters

Many Bichon Frise owners have reported that their dogs are particularly fussy when it comes to dinner time. People have reported that their Bichons will only eat one type of food, or will regularly turn their nose up at treats for seemingly no reason.

This can result in more money being spent, and can also lead to stress regarding whether or not your pet is eating enough.

4. They Are Prone to Health Issues

All dog breeds are particularly susceptible to a few health concerns. These can often be worked on with a vet, allowing the owner to provide the right amount of care to ensure that their pet avoids any health conditions. Sometimes, however, they are unavoidable, and the conditions have to be treated.

The Bichon Frise is particularly susceptible to Legg-Calves-Perthes disease, hyperadrenocorticism, allergies, allergies, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and cataracts. Like other small breeds, they can also suffer from dental problems.

3 Other First-Time Dog Owner Breeds to Consider

If a Bichon Frise isn’t the breed for you, then there are some other very amenable first-time owner-friendly dog breeds out there. These breeds are suitable for first-time owners for a range of reasons, but remember that each owner and family is different!

1. Boxer

The Boxer is a medium- to large-sized dog breed with boundless energy and an incredibly playful nature. They want to be everybody’s friend and are always up for a laugh, a run, and a play. They’re great with kids and have very minimal grooming needs.

2. Labrador Retriever

A staple family dog, the Labrador Retriever is a popular and common medium-sized dog breed. They are very adaptable and loyal and are happy to cuddle up with you or go and play. Whilst they are slightly larger than some first-time owner-friendly breeds, they are sweet-natured, so their size should not be a concern.

I compared the Bichon Frise and the Labrador Retriever in detail here.

3. Papillon

The Papillon is a happy and bubbly little dog breed that gets on reasonably well with children and is happy to live life as a lap dog or as an exercise buddy. The breed loves to play and loves attention, and has relatively low maintenance grooming needs, despite having relatively long fur.

I compared the Bichon Frise and the Papillon in detail here.


Whilst a Bichon Frise is a sweet, playful, and affectionate dog that would be well-suited to any first-time owner, they do have a sensitive side that may be tiresome for those who have not owned and cared for a dog before. Their costs and their emotions might make them unsuitable for new owners, especially those who need to work away from home.

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