The American Kennel Club recognizes the toy poodle and the bichon frise, but it doesn't recognize a cross between the two dogs. The American Canine Hybrid Club does however, calling the result a poochon. Both breeds can trace their roots back to the barbet, a French waterdog. They have many similarities, including size, intelligence and personality.
An Active Little Fellow
It's no surprise that one little dog plus a second little dog will give you another little dog, which is what happens when a toy poodle and bichon frise get together. The poochon, or bich-poo as he's sometimes called, usually weighs between 6 and 15 pounds and stands between 9 and 12 inches at the shoulder. Both breeds are active guys, with the bichon known for his quick spurts of energetic running. A couple of good walks during the day is usually sufficient exercise for a poochon, helping him keep his fine form.
Training for Good Manners
The poodle and bichon frise are both considered to be intelligent dogs, so chances are your poochon will be pretty smart, which will be helpful when it's time to start a training program. The bichon can be challenging to house-train, so get started on this important piece of business early, using positive rewards, such as treats and praise. It's important to be consistent with your training because the poodle part of him may act out a bit from his inherent stubborn streak. Make sure your pup is well-socialized to enhance his interaction with other people and pets. Your efforts likely will be rewarded with an affectionate and loyal pup.
Life In the House
Part of the training for your poochon should include "hush," as both breeds have a tendency to be barky. It makes them good dogs for alerting you to company -- welcome or not -- but it may annoy your neighbors, particularly if you live in an apartment. If you have small children, a poochon may not be the best bet as he may be hurt from rough child's play. A poochon, like his bichon and toy poodle parents, is not suited for outdoor living. He is too small and vulnerable to live outside.
Part of the appeal of a poochon is his soft, curly coat. Both breeds are known for their low shedding properties, so you won't have to worry about finding hair all over your house. That's not to say you'll never have to groom your pup; count on brushing your pal every day. A poodle's coat is fine and curly, matting easily, while the bichon has a double coat that requires daily grooming to keep him from developing painful mats. If your poochon is pure white in color, be prepared to wipe away the tear stains that will show on his cute little face.
To His Good Health
Every dog, regardless of breed, requires routine veterinary care. As a small dog, the poochon is vulnerable to luxating patellas, a condition where the kneecap may pop out of place. Other ailments common to both breeds include Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and hip dysplasia. According to Dr. Mary Fuller of VetStreet.com, mixed-breed dogs are still susceptible to the same genetic disorders purebred dogs are. That doesn't mean your poochon will develop a luxating patella, but it does mean he's vulnerable to the condition and should be monitored for it. If you go to a breeder for your poochon, ask for verification that the dog's parents have been health tested.