The Characteristics of a Bichon Frise Poodle Mix

By Jane Meggitt

Physically, the toy or miniature poodle and the bichon frise resemble each other. When crossed together, the resulting hybrid is known as the bichpoo or poochon. Both breeds are French. A dog who's any color other than white can't be a bichon frise, but among curly-hair white pooches, it can be hard to distinguish a poodle from a bichpoo.

Hybrid Dogs

A hybrid dog, also known as a designer dog, is a mix of two purebred animals. Among hybrids, poodle parents are popular because of their low-shed coats. A cross with a golden retriever results in a goldendoodle; a cross with a cocker spaniel cross is the cockapoo. The thing about hybrids is, you can't know what to expect when you mate two purebreds to create a hybrid. Puppies may be any combination of any of the characteristics found in the parents' genetics.

You can expect a curly coat with a bichpoo: The bichon frise's white coat is curly, and the poodle's is tightly curled whatever its color. At maturity, the bichon frise stands between 12 and 9 inches tall at the shoulder, males taller than females. Toy poodles can't exceed 10 inches in height at the shoulder, miniature poodles are 11 to 15 inches at the shoulder, and standard poodles are 15 inches or higher.

General Appearance

Subtle differences -- such as rounder head shape and slightly longer ears -- might tell you a dog is a bichpoo rather than a poodle. If your bichpoo has a toy poodle parent, expect a smaller dog than one with a miniature poodle sire or dam. Most bichpoos will range between 9 and 15 inches tall at maturuty, weighing between 10 and 20 pounds. It's unusual for a breeder to mate a bichon frise and a standard poodle, but it's possible. In that case, expect a taller, rangier and more active dog -- possibly 15 inches high or larger, and weighing twice as much as a typical bichpoo. No matter which side of the family your dog takes after, his curly coat requires visits to the groomer.

Bichpoo Temperament

Expect your bichpoo to play well with others, whether others have two or four feet. Bichon frises were bred strictly for companionship, so they like attention. Although both parent breeds are affectionate and love their people, poodles are more athletic and active than bichons. Since poodles are among the smartest of canines, and bichons have happy dispositions, your bichpoo should be a bright, cheerful little dog.

House training can be a challenge with bichons, but is generally easier with the poodle, so hope your dog takes after his poodle relatives in that department.

Health Issues

Watch out for eye issues with your poochon pet, as both parent breeds are prone to eye diseases. Small dogs in general often suffer from dental disease and slipped kneecaps. Poodles are prone to hypothyroidism as they age, while bichons tend to develop allergies. These result in hair loss, and ear and skin infections. Expect a bichpoo with strong hereditary lineage to share your life for 15 years or so.