What Other Dogs Are Similar to the Bichon Frise?

By Jane Meggitt

The bichon frise scores pretty high on the adorable scale, with his curly white coat and dark, shoe-button eyes. When full-grown, the bichon frise stands between 9 and 11 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 7 and 12 pounds. He's not without competition in the cute companion dog department, and some of it comes from his canine relatives. Like some of those breeds, the bichon frises' roots lie in the Mediterranean. Ancient traders also fell for sweet, cuddly little dogs.

The Poodle

Although the poodle isn't actually related to the bichon frise, a white miniature or toy poodle may be mistaken for the breed. Both share similar tightly curled, nonshedding coats. Although the coat clip types for the two breeds are quite distinct, those dogs sporting a "puppy cut" look much alike.

The Havanese

Although the Havanese is named for the Cuban capital, he shares ancestry in common with the bichon frise. Like the bichon, he doesn't require a great deal of exercise, and he's loaded with charm. Similar in height to the bichon frise, the Havanese appears in any color. However, many of these long-haired, shaggy-coated canines are solid or predominately white.

The Maltese

The Maltese is smaller than his bichon frise cousin, weighing a maximum of 7 pounds at maturity. One of the oldest of breeds, the Maltese has enchanted his human companions for millennia. While the long coat of the Maltese requires significant amounts of grooming, keeping a nonshow dog in a puppy clip cuts down the coat maintenance. For all the hair, shedding is minimal.

The Coton du Tulear

The Coton du Tulear looks like a bichon frise with a straight, white, cottony coat, or a taller and longer version of the Maltese. He was once known as "the Royal dog of Madagascar." The American Kennel Club describes him as "bright, charming and happy go lucky," and those adjectives also fit the bichon. The Coton du Tulear is similar in height to the bichon, with the breed standard permitting an extra pound or two. The Coton du Tulear may have light gray or tan ears, and small amounts of tan on the body. The breed standard states that the shadings are "tolerable but not desirable."