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The bichon frise is extremely adorable, but is it a lap dog? If you want a lap dog but are unsure if the bichon frise is the perfect choice for you, check out the following sections.
We’ll also offer you a few other alternative breeds that you can consider.
What Is a Lap Dog?
A lap dog is officially defined as a dog whose size is small enough to fit in a person’s lap. In general, they are characterized by a calm and loving personalities. They live for attention, thus they take pleasure in sitting with their owners most of the time. As such, a lap dog is not a breed per se, but rather a descriptive phrase that may refer to any small-sized breed with a friendly, loving attitude towards their human family.
Many other breeds share these traits, but it’s also true that any dog can be a lap dog – sometimes, even large ones. For instance, Great Danes love spending time with their owners, and might even knock you over trying to get into your lap. Love comes in all sizes and shapes!
4 Traits That Make the Bichon Frise a Lap Dog
If you’re wondering if a bichon frise is a lap dog, check out the following sections to find the top traits that make this breed the perfect companion for you.
1. Small Size
With full-grown bichons frises reaching 12 to 18 pounds and 9.5 to 11.5 inches in height, they are not only cute and adorable but will also surely fit into your lap even at maturity.
Also, the small size means that your bichon frise gets tired quickly, so it has a moderate energy level. In general, they have short energy spurts – one moment, your bichon will run and leap around, then the next moment will cuddle into your lap to get some rest.
2. Loves Cuddles and Attention
The bichon frise was specifically bred to be a “companion” dog, thus they love cuddling and snuggling all day long. This breed (and its ancestors) found the way into royal laps throughout the history, so if you want a dog that loves cuddling with you, picking a bichon ,which has a long history of being the perfect companion, is one of the best choices.
If you want a lap dog, you may be wary of developing allergies or being concerned that you’ll end up covered in fur. Thankfully, bichons are nearly hypoallergenic dogs that do not shed much, so you don’t need to worry about this aspect. All the loose hairs get trapped in the thick, curly coat, so they don’t fall – rather, you need to brush the dog to get rid of them.
This means you won’t need to worry about loose fur all over your clothes or your home.
4. Loyalty and Involvement
A bichon frise is the right choice for anyone who wants a loyal companion. This adorable breed is curious and wants to be with you all the time and involved in whatever you do. This trait makes these pups excellent lap dogs – since you won’t need too much convincing just to hang out together for a while.
5 Lap Dogs You Can Get Instead of the Bichon Frise
In case you are not sure if the bichon frise is the perfect lap dog for you, make sure to consider some other breeds as well. Below are some of the best alternatives.
Smaller than a bichon, a Pomeranian is also bred as a companion dog. It reaches up to 7 pounds in weight and 11 inches in height. It is a so-called “toy” dog thanks to its size and the teddy bear-like fluffy coat.
In general, younger pomeranians are more active, and they tend to turn into real lap dogs as they grow older. These friendly pets are loyal and smart, but they may need some serious training as they are quite stubborn and are inclined to excessive barking that can be reduced to a minimum with training.
Similar to bichons, Pomeranians get very attached to their families. They have a guarding behavior as they used to be guarding the sheep in ancient times, so they will most likely be very protective towards you and the rest of the family members. However, keep in mind that this tiny dog is not as robust as bigger ones (including bichons), so kids must treat them with care and attention to avoid accidentally hurting the pet.
If you want a lap dog puppy, getting a Pomeranian may not be the best choice, but as it matures, it can turn into a great companion as long as you make sure that they burn all the energy via training or other activities.
For more information, read my detailed Pomeranian vs. bichon frise comparison.
2. Shih Tzu
Despite the name that translates to “little lion,” the shih tzu is actually a little loving ball of fluffiness. Similar to other lap dogs mentioned so far, it is a companion dog with plenty of love to give. If you want a dog that follows you everywhere and its favorite activity is lap naps, then a shih tzu is a great option.
Shih tzu is a small dog that will join you for cuddling at any time. It makes friends with anyone, including kids and other pets, and is extremely adaptable. These dogs thrive in a small apartment in the city or on a large farm with lots of other animals.
Yet, keep in mind that shih tzus may need crate training as housebreaking can be quite a challenge. It’s also not a good choice if you live in a very hot area, as the small and flat nose doesn’t allow efficient cooling of the air as they breathe, so they may suffer from a heat stroke if kept outside when very hot or in a house without air conditioning.
For more information, read my detailed shih tzu vs. bichon frise comparison.
The Pekingese is another flat-faced royal dog popular in ancient China, just like the shih tzu. In fact, they used to be “sleeve dogs” rather than lap dogs because royal owners used to keep them inside their sleeves. Back in ancient times, stealing this dog used to be punished with the death penalty.
Similar to other flat-faced breeds, the Pekingese is exposed to several health issues as a result of the shorter skull that gives it the specific looks.
In terms of temperament, the Pekingese is a lovely lap dog. It’s loyal and extremely loving, but also an independent dog – just like shih tzus, it may be quite difficult to housebreak. Because of the shorter skull and the flat nose, Pekingese cannot breathe as easily as other breeds. This is why it’s not recommended to take your pet for intense exercises – light walks are enough to keep your pup healthy and happy.
You might also want to consider the Peke-A-Chon – a mix between the bichon frise and Pekingese.
4. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin is not a very energetic breed, which makes it an excellent lap dog. It loves playing outdoors, but not for long – it soon comes to your lap searching for cuddles and attention. The dog reaches up to 11 inches in height and weighs between 7 to 9 pounds, making for the perfect small-sized lap dog.
This breed is excellent if you love interaction and you want a loyal buddy, but keep in mind that it’s not likely to become best friends with kids as it is not a big fan of rough handling. It is also not ideal for allergic people as it tends to shed quite a lot.
A mix between the bichon frise and Japanese chin is a good option too.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Another charming lap dog is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Bred as a companion dog, this little fluff looks royal and has a similar size to bichons – about 12 to 13 inches in height and 13 to 18 pounds. They love interacting with children, and are loving and smart.
While these dogs are also playful, they adapt easily to your habits. Whether you want to sleep all day or be active, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will join you nonetheless. It loves cuddling and has been a lap dog since the 1600s – when it used to warm up all the royal laps.
If you want a lap dog, the bichon frise is perhaps the best choice you can make. They are fluffy, adorable, and their small size and hypoallergenic coat will make it easy for you to spend time together. This breed loves your attention, is loyal, and is the perfect snuggly pet.
However, no matter what lap dog you choose, you need to keep in mind that all dogs require daily exercise to stay healthy. The level of intensity depends on the chosen breed but, in general, small dogs need about 30 minutes per day of moderate or low physical activity. This ensures that they retain a healthy weight and avoid problems as they age.