The Bichon Frise looks enough like a teddy bear comes to life that most people automatically think this is a great dog breed for families with young kids.
This is not a wrong assumption. However, what many aspiring Bichon owners overlook is that you need to take an active role in teaching your kids how to handle and play with such a small dog breed like the Bichon.
This means there are no guarantees that your Bichon Frise will be good with your kids. Rather, you need to make sure your kids are old enough to remember to handle your dog carefully and teach them to do so.
In this article, learn much more about how to give your kids and your Bichon Frise the best chance of becoming the best of friends.
Are Bichon Frise Good With Kids?
The answer to the question of whether Bichon Frise dogs are good with kids is not black or white. Rather, the answer to this question depends on large part on you!
Bichon Frise dogs as a breed are known to be friendly, people-loving dogs. However, they are also very small dogs that cannot tolerate rough play or handling.
If your kids are taught how to play gently with your Bichon Frise, you will likely find your Bichon is a wonderful companion canine to your kids. However, if your kids handle your Bichon roughly or tease and roughhouse with your dog, they may get nipped or bitten and your Bichon may learn to fear kids and behave aggressively.
Learn About the History and Personality of the Bichon Frise Dog
In this short YouTube overview of the Bichon Frise dog breed, learn about how the Bichon Frise breed got their start.
Also find out about the personality and temperament of the Bichon Frise, including the likelihood that this dog will get along well with kids as well as other family pets.
4 Main Reasons Why the Bichon Frise May Be a Good Family Dog for You
As Family Education points out, the Bichon Frise has three major traits that recommend them for families with kids.
Bichon Frise dogs only have one job to do
The first is that this dog has been bred down through the centuries to be a people-focused dog breed and a lap dog.
In other words, the Bichon Frise never had a “job” to do such as hunting, herding, guarding, or protecting. Their main job has always been to be a companion to their people.
Bichon Frise dogs are said to be “hypo-allergenic”
As the esteemed Mayo Clinic explains, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet (dog or otherwise).
This is because the actual protein that triggers pet-related allergy symptoms is present on a dog’s skin and in their saliva and urine. The protein then gets transferred to the fur when a dog licks or grooms themselves or urinates.
The allergic reaction then arises when the person with the allergy comes into contact with the protein by cleaning up dead, shed hair.
But because of the way the Bichon Frise dog sheds, these dogs can be a better choice if anyone in your family suffers from a pet allergy.
The reason is simply that Bichon Frise dogs shed in such a way that the dead hair gets trapped in the dog’s surrounding fur rather than falling to the floor.
So there is a lower likelihood of ending up getting covered in shed hair with protein allergens all over it.
Bichon Frise dogs are adaptable and outgoing
The third major pro that Bichon dogs have to recommend them for families with kids is that they tend to adapt readily to a more hectic daily life where no two days seem quite alike.
Dogs and animals, in general, prefer to stick to a daily routine, but the Bichon Frise has a more adaptable nature if that daily routine gets changed up for any reason, as so often happens when there are kids in the household.
Bichon Frise dogs will live happily indoors in smaller spaces
If you live in an apartment or any place with little or no outside area, this will not bother a Bichon Frise one bit.
They do enjoy daily walks but can do very well with indoor playtime otherwise.
4 Main Reasons Why the Bichon Frise May Not Be a Good Family Dog for You
However, before you start scouring the internet to find your family a Bichon Frise puppy or rescue dog, it is important to recognize that there are also some drawbacks to bringing a Bichon into your kids’ lives.
Bichon Frise dogs are high maintenance dogs
The Bichon Frise coat is what makes so many people fall in love with these dogs long before they know anything about the breed itself.
All that fluffy white fur with those cute button eyes make these dogs look like snuggly, huggable treasures – which, of course, they are.
But as you just learned in the previous section here, the way a Bichon Frise sheds out their dead hair means that coat is going to need a lot of brushing to avoid developing painful tangles and mats.
As well, unless you have the time and interest in learning to trim your Bichon’s coat yourself, you will need to make time and invest the money into having your dog professionally groomed on a regular basis.
All of this plus the Bichon Frise people-centric personality combines to explain why many breeders claim these dogs are more high-maintenance than any other breed.
Bichon Frise dogs are delicate and need gentle handling
The Bichon Frise may be as social as can be, but they are still a very little dog breed.
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, the typical Bichon Frise weighs between 12 and 18 pounds in adulthood and will stand less than 11.5 inches tall.
On the surface, pairing a little dog with little kids might seem like a win-win. But little kids that are too young to learn and recall how to play gently with a little dog may end up on the receiving end of a nip or even a bite.
If your kids are too young to understand how important gentle handling and play is to a tiny dog like the Bichon Frise, this may not be the right time to add a Bichon Frise to your family.
Bichon Frise dogs are slow to learn potty training
While all adults tend to be busy, adults with kids tend to be even busier. This means it may not sound like any fun at all to have to potty-train a Bichon Frise puppy while you are potty-training your kids.
Bichon Frise, like many small dog breeds, takes longer to house train. This is because small dog breeds have small bladders and colons and often simply cannot “hold it” as long.
As WebMD for Pets explains, there are definitely some extra steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that your Bichon will potty inappropriately inside your house.
But even so, you will likely be letting your dog out more, doing more potty training and reinforcement, and dealing with more accidents for a longer period of time than you would if you chose an adult dog or a larger dog breed.
If this doesn’t sound like something you have any extra room in your schedule for, then a Bichon Frise may not be the best dog breed choice for you.
Bichon Frise dogs hate being left alone – ever
The Bichon is known to suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. However, this breed doesn’t even tolerate being left alone for short periods of time very well.
Busy parents may not be able to cope with a dog that insists on following them everywhere, sitting on their laps and jumping on their face to wake them up, especially after a sleepless night up with the kids.
Socializing and Training the Bichon Frise With Your Kids
Aside from the three major pros and cons associated with the Bichon, there is an element that only you can control, and that is training and socialization, like the Bichon Frise Club of America highlights.
Here, it really boils down to how well you can train and socialize your kids to handle your Bichon Frise dog gently and appropriately.
Bichon Frise is lively, athletic dogs, as VetStreet explains. Older kids often adore teaching these highly trainable dogs new tricks that they can then show off to their friends.
But younger kids who are not yet mature enough to pitch in with training and caring for a Bichon Frise in gentle, positive ways may encounter a very different dog that is nippy, aggressive or fearful.
Now you have the information to decide if a Bichon Frise is right for you.