The bichon frise is a popular breed of dog--37th on the 2010 American Kennel Club registration statistics. It is a friendly, cheerful dog that is hypoallergenic for some people with allergies to dogs. In the end, the pros and cons of a bichon frise will shift sides, depending on what is important to you. It is a good dog for families with all but the youngest children, as well as for couples or singles. It's a loving breed that will require a lot of attention to be happy.
The bichon frise has hair that grows continuously, like human hair, instead of shedding and growing new short hairs. This trait is a positive if you don't like shedding or if you have allergies. Some people with allergies are not allergic to bichons. However, the soft, long, wavy coat can be a lot to manage, requiring frequent trips to the groomer or a long, involved grooming and clipping session at home. If you let a groomer handle the big job, you'll still be required to brush your bichon daily.
The bichon is a relatively healthy breed with few major health problems. Allergies are the most common breed-related problem. Because some breeds commonly have life-threatening, costly heritable diseases, this trait is a big plus for the bichon. Small dogs generally cost a little less at the veterinarian. If the small dog is healthy and free of inherited illnesses, the lower veterinary costs can balance some of the higher grooming costs.
Training and Temperament
Bichons generally have an easygoing, cheerful temperament, although they can sometimes be a little terrierlike, with stubbornness and small dog syndrome causing some behavior issues. These problems are more likely caused by poor breeding or poor handling; it's not the breed's natural demeanor. They are generally good with kids but, considering their small size, kids must be taught to be very gentle. Some people think bichons are difficult to train. They are a difficult compared to a golden retriever, but they respond well to positive reinforcement.
Food and Exercise
A bichon will require less exercise than a big dog, but it will still need a daily walk or two and some time to romp off leash. Of course, the food requirements aren't as much for a small dog. Your bichon will want to be near you all the time, so that is another positive if you like a dog on or near your lap.