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The Biton is a designer dog breed that is the adorable cross of the bichon frise and Coton de Tulear. This bichon frise mixed breed was created to combine the wonderful traits of the two parent breeds.
With its small size, adorable fluffy coat, and happy-go-lucky personality, the Biton is the ideal family dog that is easily trained and has modest grooming needs. For the cherry on top, a Biton’s coat is generally hypoallergenic, making it the ideal dog for folks with allergies!
Biton (Bichon Frise x Coton de Tulear Mix) History
There is little known about the origin of this designer dog breed, but the origins of the parent breeds are much clearer. The bichon frise and the Coton de Tulear are AKC-registered pure breeds and descendants of the Barbet, a breed found in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Spanish or Portuguese sailors brought the barbichon to the Canary Islands, which is where it would evolve into the bichon frise. Until the late 1800s, the bichon frise was very popular with the royal houses of France, Spain, and England, making its way around the upper class and royalty as the perfect lapdog. As the status of the bichon frise as the favorite royal pet grew, the breed became circus performers and guide dogs for the blind.
Following World War II, the French wanted to preserve the breed and they named it the bichon or Tenerife. This translated to ‘bichon with the curly coat’, or as commonly known by the anglicized version, the bichon frise. In 1956 the Bichon Frise was brought to the United States and became recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1971.
As for the Coton de Tulear, this barbichon breed was brought to the Mauritius and Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean. Here, the breed developed a long, cotton-like coat in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the time the breed was commonly known as the Coton de Reunion. Merchants, sailors, pirates, and officials treasured the Coton de Reunion on their ships.
In the 17th century, the Coton was brought to Madagascar, where the Marina tribal royalty adopted it as the royal dog. In the 1970s the breed was taken to France and the U.S, where the “cotton dog from Tulear” became the Coton de Tulear, and earned AKC recognition in 2014.
These two parent breeds were beloved by royals and can be seen depicted in early paintings. The cross of the bichon frise and Coton de Tulear created the adorable Biton, which combined the wonderful and lovable traits of both the parent breeds.
Biton Appearance, Coat, Size, and Weight
The adorable Biton retains the many characteristics of its two parent breeds – the bichon frise and the Coton de Tulear. Bitons are proportionate, sturdy dogs with adorably soft round eyes. Their floppy ears hang down the sides of the head, and their sweet faces are framed by a short snout and black noses.
Similar to the bichon frise, Bitons can have fluffy thick coats, or take after the curly coat of the Coton de Tulear. The coat can be shades of apricot, gray, or cream, often speckled on a white base coat color. As both parents are hypoallergenic dogs, a Biton is going to have a low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat.
Depending on which parent the Biton takes after, the pooch will stand 9 to 11.5 inches at the shoulders, and weigh about 8 to 18 pounds.
Biton Maintenance, Activity, and Space Requirements
A Biton is not a difficult dog to have, but like any other dog, a little bit of TLC won’t hurt and adds to the valuable bonding time that you will have with your pooch.
The Biton has moderate to high grooming needs compared to other breeds. The nature of their coat means that they need daily brushing to prevent mats or tangles from forming in their beautiful coats. In addition, both parent breeds have long coats that need an occasional trim and haircut, as their coats don’t stop growing.
A weekly or bi-weekly bath should be enough to keep their fur looking luscious and smelling good. If you bathe them too frequently, the oils of the skin can be stripped and they can develop dry skin and other skin problems.
Like any dog, the ears and eyes should be regularly cleaned to remove dust and debris and prevent infections.
Their nails should be trimmed every two weeks or so, while their teeth can be brushed daily or every other day with a dog-friendly toothbrush and meat-flavored toothpaste to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects over 80% of dogs over the age of three, and left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and other severe problems like heart and liver inflammation.
Outside of high grooming needs, the Biton has high social and attention needs. This breed is very energetic, attached to its family, and loves to entertain. Bitons love to be around people and be the center of attention.
These pups make great family dogs, and would thrive in a home where people are around more often than not. Left alone for long periods, they may be prone to separation anxiety and other behavioral problems.
The Biton is a relatively small dog with moderate energy levels. They do not need a large amount of space to be happy and will be well-suited for folks living in apartments. On average they need around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise and will do well with a short daily walk a day and plenty of playtime in between.
There is no need for a large yard, and they can be more than happy with walks, playing inside, and cuddling up with their pet parents afterward.
Biton Temperament and Intelligence
Bitons are typically happy-go-lucky, loving dogs that can get along with most other dogs and humans. Being people-pleasers, they are usually a breeze to train and teach tricks.
Bitons are commonly known to be energetic, cheerful, and full of character. They have a large personality in a little dog’s body and love to show that off.
Intelligent, eager to please and highly trainable, the Biton is a friendly and loving breed that is wonderful for all kinds of owners including families with children, inexperienced dog owners, and seniors. With proper introduction and socialization, they have been known to get along with all kinds of other animals and pets.
Bitons can be prone to some behavioral issues such as:
- Separation anxiety: Because of their extreme attachment to their family, Bitons can be prone to separation anxiety. Social attention is very important for Bitons and they do not enjoy being left home alone all day. They do best in a household where a member of a family is around for most of the day, if not at all times.
- Territorial behavior: Like all dogs, they might display territorial or guarding behaviors, especially at home. While a quick bark or two to warn you of something amiss is normal, excessive barking should be curbed.
- Anxiety and nervousness: Their diminutive size might have them behave nervously outdoors, especially when encountering a much larger dog. However, with proper socialization and desensitization, they can be well-balanced, confident pooches.
Training a Biton
Overall the Biton is a breed that enjoys training sessions, is typically a quick learner, and loves learning new tricks to show off.
They are people-pleasers that are known to listen and obey commands readily. Bitons are sensitive dogs that will take terribly to punishment, so use positive reinforcement methods only. They have moderate attention spans and are not easily bored.
Bitons love the attention, so make training a fun time for the both of you!
Biton Health and Lifespan
Hybrid crosses tend to take after the positive genetics of both parent breeds and be less prone to health issues compared to the pure breeds. However, they might also take over the genetic disposition of either, or both of the parent breeds. Some of the health concerns for Bitons include minor genetic problems like:
- Deafness or auditory loss, especially when aging
- Eye problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Hip dysplasia
- Luxating patella
- Skin allergies
- Urinary stones
- Urinary tract infections
There are also some more concerning genetic problems to keep in mind including:
- Blood-clotting disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Spinal disc disease
Since the Biton is a crossbreed, the inherent genetic problems are very much dependent on the two parent breeds.
As they are small dogs, they can become overweight relatively quickly in comparison to other breeds. It is important to avoid feeding them table scraps or overdoing their treats, especially when looking into those gorgeous round eyes!
During training sessions, it is a good practice to subtract calories from treats from that out of their normal meals to prevent them from gaining unhealthy weight. Unnecessary weight can lead to obesity and cause various health problems, putting unneeded stress on a dog.
Any high-protein food specifically formulated for small breeds is great for the Biton. It is always good to consult a veterinarian on food choices for any pup, but the Biton generally has low dietary requirements.
It is always good practice to spay or neuter pets for a variety of reasons. When spayed or neutered, your pooch is less likely to plan an escape from your home in search of a mate, reducing the risk of traffic-related accidents or injury by other animals.
These procedures also lower, and at times, eliminate the risk of serious diseases such as testicular, uterine, and ovarian cancer. Neutering also can curb some aggressive behaviors in male dogs and decreases the likelihood of developing tumors or prostate problems. In female dogs, spaying prevents messy spotting and mood swings while they are in heat and the likelihood that they will try to escape to mate.
3 Biton Fun Facts
Did you know that:
1. The Bichon Frise’s History as Circus Dogs
The Biton inherits one of the most endearing traits of the parent bichon frise breed. The unique array of tricks and entertaining personalities associated with the Biton comes from the bichon frise’s history. After falling out of popularity with royal families, bichons were used as circus dogs, and while they are not anymore, the love for performance in the Biton is still very apparent.
2. The Coton de Tulear’s Genetic Mutation
The coat type that the Biton gets from the Coton de Tulear is actually a result of a genetic mutation. When the breed was first developing, one single gene mutation might have been because of the beautifully unique coat associated with the Coton de Tulear and the Biton.
3. The Bichon Frise and Coton de Tulear Might Be Related
The bichon frise and Coton de Tulear may have descended from the same breed of dog. In fact, the Coton de Tulear is often considered to be a bichon-type dog just like the frise.
By crossing these two breeds to create the Biton, the litters tend to be more consistent in their looks, unlike other hybrids that could take after either parent breed. By breeding purebreds that are related, it increases the chance that the puppies will have more overlapping traits.
Is Biton the Right Breed for You?
The Biton is a wonderful breed of dog, but before adopting one, make sure this is the right breed for you. There are a few main things to consider to know if a Biton is the right breed for you:
- They have modest to high grooming needs and will need a daily brush and an occasional visit to the groomer
- They are prone to separation anxiety and will do best in a home where a family member is present at all times or most of the time
- They are moderate barkers
- They do well in apartments but will benefit from a daily walk and many play sessions
- They are happy-go-lucky dogs that are not prone to serious behavioral issues but like any dog, will benefit from basic obedience training
- They are natural-born performers and love to learn tricks
With that, you should know everything you need to in order to decide whether the Biton is a suitable option for you or not.