Bichon Frise vs. Scottish Terrier: Which Breed to Get?

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Bichon Frise vs. Scottish TerrierA responsible dog owner must do their research before choosing their future companion. A dog is a long-term commitment, and some breeds are best suited for specific lifestyles or preferences. If you found yourself here, chances are you are wondering whether a bichon frise or a Scottish terrier is ideal for you.

Continue reading to find out how the two breeds compare and which – if either – is better suited for you.

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Bichon Frise vs. Scottish Terrier: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start by comparing the two breeds around a few different criteria.


Bichons frises and Scottish terriers have unclear origins. Most people believe that bichons frises originated in the Mediterranean region and were bred as lap dogs, thanks to their cute, fluffy appearance. They are one of the few different bichon-type breeds.

Scottish terriers, on the other hand, can be traced back to the Scottish Highlands, where they were bred for hunting and farming purposes.


The appearance of the two breeds is as different as it can be.

Bichons are puffy, cloud-like with usually white double coats. Their hair is curly and soft, and some pups may be cream, gray, or apricot. They have drooping ears, and they usually reach about 11-12 inches and up to 18 pounds when fully grown.

Scottish terriers have a distinctive look with a wiry, rougher long coat that can be black, grey, or brindle. They have a short and muscular body that may reach up to 22 pounds and 10 inches in height. With long eyebrows and a full beard, Scottish terriers are well protected in bad weather. Their ears are thin and erect.

Aging Profile

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

Bichons reach their full size at around 6 months old but continue developing until about 1 year old. Scottish terriers also reach maturity at the same age but may continue growing up until about 18 months old.


Cheerful and happy, bichons frises are adorable lap dogs. They are friendly and outgoing and are sociable with everyone – including your neighbor’s cat, kids, and other pets. This is not the same in the case of a Scottish terrier, as its hunting instinct may cause distress to other pets.

On the other hand, bichons are not very good guard dogs, so perhaps not the right choice if you need someone to protect your family. The small Scottish terrier is smart and a lot more fearless and bold than its size may indicate. It tends to be aggressive with other pets, but friendly with other humans in your home. Thus, if you have a pet-free household, this pup may adapt very well.

Both breeds love to be around their human friends, so they do not do well when left alone for a long time. Bichons frises may suffer from separation anxiety, while Scottish terriers could develop damaging behaviors, such as digging, but are less prone to separation anxiety.


Terrier and bichon breeds are very intelligent, but they can also be quite stubborn, which makes training a bit difficult. Compared to bichons, Scottish terriers may be even more independent since they were bred by farmers and hunters, so they had to be able to figure out what they needed to do to protect their owners.

For first-time dog owners, professional training may be required regardless of the breed. Both breeds do well when training sessions are kept short, diverse, and full of positive rewards, such as praise and treats. These dogs are smart enough to pick up inflections in your voice and understand quickly when you are angry at them, so it’s best to use good behavior and lots of patience.

Social Skills

Another aspect that’s quite different between the two breeds is their ability to behave around strangers and pets. Bichons frises are friendly and playful, so they can become best friends with just about anyone as long as they are treated with care and love.

Scotties, on the other hand, are not very friendly with strangers and other pets. You may need to teach them how to socialize at an early age to avoid problems later on. However, keep in mind that they will not be as sociable and friendly as a bichon. They will always prefer to spend time with their owner rather than other people.

Exercise Requirements

Scottish terriers are hunting and farming dogs, so they require consistent exercise to keep them healthy. Brisk walking and indoor or outdoor playtime are sufficient to fulfill their exercise needs – so you don’t necessarily need to go for a run to keep them happy.

Bichons frises are less active but also need daily exercise. Daily walking and some light playing will be enough for this cheerful lap dog. It’s recommended to take your pooch on a daily walk for about 30 minutes per day. They are less energetic than Scottish terriers, so better suited for people who do not have a very active lifestyle.

Grooming Requirements

If you have plenty of time and daily brushing doesn’t bother you, a bichon frise is a great choice. Many first-time owners may want to opt for professional grooming services as the bichon’s skin is very sensitive and their double coat is prone to matting. On the good side, bichons frises are hypoallergenic as they do not visibly shed as much as other breeds.

If you prefer a lower-maintenance dog, Scottish terriers may be the better one to consider. Their coat is long, but not curly as a bichon’s, so you only need to brush them weekly, and they are also low shedders. You need to pay extra attention to the beard and eyebrows. Alternatively, you can choose to clip the terrier’s coat, which means that maintenance will be even easier. Regardless, you should still schedule weekly grooming to brush the coat and keep it free of tangles.

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

Choosing a breed may now be down to your personal preferences. Scottish terriers are slightly more active than bichons frises, but they will still be happy with brisk walking and some intense indoor playtime. Both breeds are considered hypoallergenic because they don’t shed too much – even though the Scottish terrier has a long coat. Another advantage is that you don’t need to be worried about loose hair around your home.

If you already have pets, especially cats, you may want to opt for a bichon. The Scottish terrier is bred as a hunter, so it’s not very friendly with other animals or strangers. Despite this, they are not too aggressive, but they will make for excellent watchdogs.

Both breeds tend to bark a bit too much, so you may want to train them not to bark if you live in a small apartment. Otherwise, they make for great pets regardless of the size of your household.

If you stay at home most of the time, getting a bichon frise may turn out to be the best decision. A Scottie, on the other hand, is less prone to develop anxiety when left alone, so it will be able to wait for you calmly without destructive behaviors – but do make sure your Scottie has enough food, water, and interesting toys to play with while you’re out.

Lastly, if you can’t decide, you might also want to consider getting a Scotchon, a mix that combines the best of both worlds.


Finding the best pooch for your household is not an easy task. Scottish terriers and bichons frises have numerous advantages and disadvantages.

In general, if you want a playful lap dog, a bichon frise will go along with you and the whole family, and it can adapt very well to any type of household. If you prefer spending time on your own, a Scottish terrier may be the best choice – and it will always protect your home from intruders, whether they are other people or a stray cat.

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 | Pug | Samoyed | Schnauzer | Shetland Sheepdog | Shichon | Shih Tzu | West Highland Terrier | Yorkshire Terrier

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