What Is the Difference Between a Toy Poodle & Bichon Dog?

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The American Kennel Club recognizes both a toy poodle and a bichon frise as purebred dogs. A similarity between the two includes approximate size. All other aspects of body proportions, coat color and texture, expressions and tail types are different between the two breeds.

Body Proportions

A toy poodle is about as long through the body length as he is tall. A bichon frise is one-quarter longer than his total height at the withers, giving him a more elongated body than a toy poodle. The height of each breed of dog is similar with a toy poodle being 10 inches or less tall and a bichon frise standing at 9 1/2 to 11 inches tall at the withers.

Coat Colors

The American Kennel Club recognizes several coat colors in toy poodles, including cream, apricot, cafe-au-lait, brown, silver, gray and blue in varying shades. Apricot coats should have liver noses, lips and eye rims with dark amber eyes, while the other colors have black on these same parts with dark eyes. The bichon frise is primarily white but may have shades of cream, apricot or buff on less than 10 percent of the total body's white color or around the ears.

Coat Textures

Toy poodles have dense, curly hair with a naturally harsh texture on the entire body. It is corded, hanging in tight, long curls that are longer on the head, ears and mane with shorter cords on the foreleg puffs, bracelets on the hind legs and pompom on the tail, if he is groomed in the traditional show cut. The bichon frise is double-coated with a soft and dense undercoat and an outercoat that is coarse and curly. Petting a bichon is much like touching velvet with the coat springing back outward after a stroke.

Tail Types

The toy poodle carries his tail up high over his back in an erect shape, as a proud mascot with a flag. Toy poodles have docked tails that compliment a balanced outline, according to the AKC, though pet poodles who are not show dogs may not have a docked tail. The bichon frise has a tail with lots of fringed hair that curves gently over his back. The tail length should be at least halfway to the withers when it is stretched out.

Heads and Expressions

Toy poodles have dark, oval eyes that are set far apart with an intelligent expression. Their ears are set at or just below the eye level and are long and wide with thick feathering that hangs close to the head. Bichon frises have round, dark eyes that are set on the forward part of the skull and appear alert in their expressions. Their drop ears have long hair that reach halfway to the front of the muzzle when you extend them forward.