A Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrid, also known as a Tenerife Dog, a Bich-poo or a Poochon, is a cross bred dog that is around the size of a miniature Poodle (i.e. 10 to 15 inches high). Like any hybrid dog, its temperament can vary depending on how much Poodle and how much Bichon Frise is in the mix. Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids can be bred with other Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids, so the mix may not be exactly 50/50.
Bichon Frise and Poodle Temperaments
To get an idea about the sort of characteristics that might be found in Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids, it may be helpful to look at the temperaments of both Bichon Frises and Poodles. Of the two, Poodles are much livelier than the placid Bichon Frises. Bichon Frises are affectionate and love to be around their owner. Poodles are much more highly strung. They are full of energy and love to perform. So there is no way to predict where on the scale a Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrid will fall.
Because a Bich-Poo can inherit a Poodle’s nervousness, it a good idea to socialize a puppy early on. Take it on short car rides to get it used to the car and make sure that it get used to you being away from the house, so that separation anxiety does not become an issue. If your dog gets anxious when you start to leave the home, try leaving a radio or TV on in order to make the home seem less empty. This will make the dog feel more comfortable in your absence.
There are similarities as well as differences, however. Both breeds are highly intelligent and easy to train. They both need a daily walk. Both are susceptible to small dog syndrome, whereby a dog attempts to become pack leader of its human owners, so care must be taken to establish dominance. Since both Bichon Frises and Poodles exhibit these characteristics, it is fairly safe to assume that a Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrid will too.
Health Problems in Bichon Frise/Poodle Hybrids
Common health problems in Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids include eye and ear infections and skin allergies. They are actually less prone to genetic disorders than pure bred Poodles, particularly standard Poodles, which are notorious for their poor health. No known genetic problems have been observed in Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids, but because they are a relatively new breed, it is too early to determine how robust their genetic stock will be in future generations.
To promote good health it is recommended that you clean your Bichon Frise/ Poodle hybrid’s ears out at least once a week and have your vet perform a skin biopsy once a year to detect any skin problems early.
Care and Feeding of Your Bichon Frise/Poodle Hybrid
Bichon Frise/Poodle hybrids are hypoallergenic and do not shed. Nevertheless, they require frequent grooming. Because their coats are so curly, they can become knotted and tangled if they are not brushed every couple of days. They should also be trimmed every couple of months to keep them short, otherwise they can become untidy and wild in appearance.
Bich-poos are very energetic dogs and need a lot of exercise. A daily walk is essential, and you should provide plenty of acceptable outlets for their energy, such as chew toys, otherwise they may resort to destructive behavior, chewing up your property and knocking things over.
Because Bich-Poos have such thick, curly coats, they need a balanced diet that is rich in the nutrients needed to promote fur growth. There are breed specific blends especially formulated for Poodles and for Bichon Frises, though nothing for Bich-Poos as yet. Conversations on Internet forums indicate that Bich-Poos, like Poodles, love chicken more than any other food. Chicken and rice based dog foods seem to be the best diet for them, and several owners say that their Bich-Poos will eat nothing else. Sweet potatoes are another favorite treat for Bich-Poos. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and dogs love the taste of them too.
Keeping a Bich-Poo’s coat healthy also involves the use of a good quality dog shampoo. An oatmeal shampoo is good for promoting a healthy skin and coat. Colloidal oatmeal, that is to say, oatmeal ground into a very fine powder, acts as a gentle abrasive that removes irritants from the skin and also helps heal skin diseases such as dandruff and dermatitis.
Following the tips in this article should help your Bich-Poo stay happy and healthy. We hope you enjoy your new best friend.