The prospect of deciding that the time is right to have a dog and choosing a breed that you like is a very exciting time but actually finding the right puppy can be quite daunting. If you've found this page then you have hit the World Wide Web. and I bet you are going round in circles!
Bichons are fabulous little dogs!...they are funny, loveable, affectionate, cuddly and game for anything....they don`t moult ( good news for allergy sufferers), they adore children and they look so beautiful....what more could you want!!!!!!
BUT........Please think long and hard before purchasing any puppy , the saying that a dog is for Life ...not just for Christmas is very relevant . Bichons can live for up to sixteen years which can be quite a commitment for any family. Your Bichon puppy will need lots of care and attention which can prove demanding and very time consuming, if you are already stretched with caring for a young family, will you really cope with training a puppy as well?.
Decide carefully with the full co-operation of the rest of your family (who will be sharing their home with your dog after all) if the Bichon Frise is indeed the right breed for all of you.
To do this you must gather all the information you need to make an informed decision.... based on much more that just fancying a fluffy white dog like the one you may have just seen on the television or in the park.
Bichons NEED attention. They are companion dogs, and house dogs and do not thrive and develop well when left alone for long hours in a kennel or home alone while mum and the rest of the family are out of the house all day.
Bichons require a lot of grooming regularly to maintain their beautiful white fluffy appearance. the powder puff look doesn't just happen on its own and they can look a pretty sorry state when the coat is just left to become stained and matted which can lead to all sorts of problems if this allowed to happen. Many owners are happy to leave the coat in its natural state with regular grooming and bathing done at home and occasional scissoring to keep the length in check. This is acceptable as this is how Bichons were always presented and still are in some countries in Europe.
Some people find regular trips to the grooming parlour ( every 4-6 weeks) a chore and even a financial burden at times, this must be a major consideration if you are unlikely to be able to bath and trim your Bichon yourself.
A pure bred Bichon Frise is a delightful breed but very careful breeding is necessary to preserve breed characteristics like the black pigment, the happy character and out going personality. Bichon puppies that have been bred indiscriminately can still look really cute as an eight week old puppy but will often bear little resemblance to the breed standard and the pretty toy showdogs that you will see featured on this site ( and on those sites that are linked) when they are fully grown. Big heavy dogs with coarse coats and long narrow faces are quite commonplace among the "pet only" breeders so beware. Please buy your Bichon puppy from a genuine exhibitor/breeder or from someone who has been recommended by one of the breed clubs.
Price is no longer a reliable guide, some very shoddy breeders can demand really high prices and yet some of our countries "top breeders" ( breeders of Champions.....see my UK champions page) will often charge less for really carefully bred puppies, because for them, placing puppies into the right, caring homes with the correct information about diet, welfare and support has a higher priority than breeding a litter just for any financial gain.
There is a whole chapter devoted to choosing a puppy in my book..its worth a read and also available from many libraries. However...if you are after advice about where to look the advice I often give is this :-
Start with the Kennel Club website...looking for a puppy.......always start with the list of accredited breeders in your area.
These are the breeders who have joined a Kennel Club scheme that guarantee your registered puppy`s parent fit all the criteria set by the KC. Their premises have also been inspected by representatives of the KC.
I also recommend choosing a puppy from someone who breeds a litter with the hope they breed a puppy that will do well in the show ring and has usually shown the dam in the past and has used a high quality stud dog to Sire the litter.
Great care is taken to produce high quality puppies . To do this they must be sound, healthy and be typical of the breed.
A breeder who is not breeding for the show ring is under little pressure to comply with any guidelines. Hopefully everyone knows by now to stay away from commercial "puppy farms "...but there are just as many unscrupulous people who will breed a litter just to pay for next years holiday. Its a free country and people are at liberty to do this if they want to but quite often the puppies or indeed the parents are not registered and there is often a reason for this.
The KC will not register more that four litters from one bitch, or if the bitch is under a year old or over seven years old. This will be inconvenient to the uncaring breeder. Excuses for not registering are extensive and often these puppies are a little cheaper. But buyer beware ......breeders who are just producing a litter just for financial gain are unlikely to invest in health checks, veterinary care, and extensive nutritional needs of the expectant mum & and her babies.