Bichon Frise vs. Pug: Which Breed to Get?

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Bichon Frise vs. PugChoosing a dog breed can be a difficult process, especially when there are so many to choose from. The good news is that, if you’re here, you’ve perhaps already narrowed it down to bichons frises or pugs.

In the following sections, we will compare the two breeds and focus on the most important aspects that new owners should be aware of before making this commitment.

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Bichon Frise vs. Pug: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s get into it and compare the two breeds in terms of a few different factors.


The exact history of the bichon frise is relatively unknown, with different specialists having different opinions. Some of the most popular ones state that bichons are related to the Barbet dog, as it is now a part of the Barbichon family – the bichon, the Havanese, the Bolognese, the Maltese, and the Coton de Tulear.

All of these puffy pups look similar and are considered to have originated in the Mediterranean.

While the bichon is thought to have appeared in the 13the or 14th century, pugs date back to about 206 B.C. Just like bichons were beloved by royal families in Europe, pugs were favored by the emperors of China and had luxurious lifestyles.

Some pugs in ancient China were even guarded by the army. Pugs were introduced to Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries and they quickly conquered the hearts of many royal families, including in Holland where they became the official dog of the House of Orange.


Pugs and bichons frises are quite similar in size and height, mature dogs reaching about 12 inches and up to 18 pounds. But, their appearance is quite different. The fluffy and cuddly bichon frise has a long, white double coat, round black eyes, and its body is longer rather than taller.

Pugs usually come in three colors – all black, silver, or apricot. They have a sturdy, muscular body with a large round head. Unlike bichons, their hair is very short, and they have deep wrinkles on their face, along with a flat face and nose.

Aging Profile

Both breeds have an average life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years.

Pugs reach maturity quicker than bichons, at about 9 months old, but may keep building muscle until 1 year old. The bichon mostly grows until 6 months old but is considered fully mature at 1 year old.


Bichons have a merry attitude and are bred to be lap dogs. This pooch doesn’t need much space to play around, so it’s suitable for both large houses and small apartments. It’s a great choice for single people or families with kids, they are quite active, and require all of your attention and love. Their coat is prone to matting, so you need considerable free time to brush and comb it every day.

Bichons can easily perform tricks for your amusement, but pugs are the clowns in the dog world. They are very playful, so you need time to play games and cuddle. Just like bichons, pugs do not like spending time on their own.

In terms of temperament, pugs are very happy dogs, but sometimes a bit mischievous. Also, they tend to make a few loud noises that some people might find disturbing, such as snorting and snoring. Pugs tend to be quite inactive, so they don’t mind sitting on your lap for most of the day – but they are equally happy to play with you from time to time.


Both breeds are intelligent and a bit stubborn, which could make training a bit difficult, especially if you don’t have experience as a dog owner. In that case, you may want to consider a professional dog trainer.

When comparing the two breeds, bichons are slightly smarter than pugs. Your goofy pug may need a day or so to learn a new command, but bichons frises are well-known for the ease with which they perform tricks, especially when this earns them praise and a tasty treat.

It’s best to use training with positive rewards and keeping the training sessions different, short, and interesting. It’s simply a matter of finding the right motivators for your pup to behave in a certain way, and starting training as soon as possible is a great way of ensuring that your pup develops good traits.

Maintenance Requirements

Grooming needs are important when deciding what dog you should get. This means you need to consider how much time you’re willing to dedicate to maintenance and whether you will really enjoy brushing and combing your pup every day.

From this perspective, pugs’ short coat is best if you are not willing to deal with mats and daily brushing, but you need to keep in mind that their deep wrinkles tend to accumulate dirt and you need to clean them daily to avoid infections and other skin problems.

Also, pugs are not suitable for very hot climates. The flat face and nose make it difficult for them to breathe, so it’s best to limit their time outside when the temperature is high. Similarly, the bichon frise can be quite sensitive to extreme temperatures and their skin can easily get sunburnt.

Pugs and bichons are quite sensitive breeds. There are prone to different skin, ears, and eyes infections if you don’t clean these areas properly.

For instance, bichons are prone to staining around the eyes, while pug’s large eyes are highly likely to be injured or irritated if in contact with chemicals like soap. Both breeds have sensitive ears that must be cleaned periodically, while the pug’s deep wrinkles must be thoroughly dried after bathing and kept clean and dry between baths.

Bichon Frise vs. Pug: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

Both pugs and bichons are ideal for almost any type of household, including senior owners. If you are active and you can handle a high-maintenance dog, a bichon frise will surely bring a sparkle of happiness to your home. If your lifestyle is less active, then a pug will love cuddling with you all day and you don’t need to invest as much time in grooming.

Both breeds are ideal for apartments and have a moderate need for physical activity. Thanks to their small size, some light walking every day and indoor playtime will be sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. Pugs are not a very good choice if you live in a hot or humid climate, but you can still accommodate this pup as long as you keep it mostly indoors and always supervised when outdoors.

If you suffer from allergies, bichons are a better choice as the double-coat will trap all the loose hairs that you need to remove when brushing – they are hypoallergenic to a large extent. Pugs may have short hair, but they shed massively, especially during the hot months, so you may have to handle frequent cleaning of your home.

For people with kids, pugs may be the better choice. They are friendly just like bichons, but the latter breed is more sensitive. Pugs have muscular bodies that may handle rough playtime; however, it’s always recommended to supervise your kids when playing with dogs.

Lastly, if you still can’t decide, maybe you should consider getting a Pushon – a hybrid that combines the best of both worlds.


All in all, both pugs and bichons are adorable breeds, but there are a few key differences between them. If you love a cuddly, happy dog, make sure you train it as a puppy and choose a responsible breeder.

A good pug owner may also want to invest in some high-quality earplugs as pugs usually snore – especially if you are a light sleeper. At the same time, future bichon owners should make sure that they can handle the intensive grooming routine to health issues.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

See how bichon frise compares with: Beagle | Bolognese | Boston Terrier | Brussels Griffon | Cavachon | Cavalier King Charles Spaniel | Cavapoo | Chihuahua | Cockapoo | Coton de Tulear | French Bulldog | German Shepherd | Golden Retriever | Goldendoodle | Havanese | Labrador Retriever | Lhasa Apso | Maltese | Maltipoo | Papillon | Pomeranian | Poochon | Poodle | Samoyed | Schnauzer | Scottish Terrier | Shetland Sheepdog | Shichon | Shih Tzu | West Highland Terrier | Yorkshire Terrier

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