Differences between the Poodle and the Bichon

Dog sit inside a dog bed

Even though the Poodle and the Bichon are two completely different breeds, they are often confused. This is because they have a few physical characteristics in common, notably the Miniature Poodle and the Bichon Frisé. In this article, we will go over the main differences between these two breeds and help you decide which of these breeds is more suitable to your lifestyle!

A short comparative history of the Poodle and the Bichon

Let us begin by retracing the origins of these two dog breeds.

The Bichon: from companion of philosophers to rat hunter

The origins of the Bichon date back to the ancient times. They can be traced back to ancient Egypt, when they were already appreciated as companion and ceremonial dogs. They then spread out around the Mediterranean Sea, until they became the privileged companions of Greek philosophers and Roman courtesans. Closer to the Renaissance period, their agility when it comes to hunting rodents and pests was noticed. They started their “career” as voyagers in the holds of merchant ships and then spread around the Mediterranean basin.

A variety of crosses brought to existence the Bichon Frisé, Havanese dog, and Bolognese dog.

The Poodle: from duck hunting to the court of kings

Considered to be one of the most famous and recognizable dogs in the entire world, the Poodle originated in France according to a theory confirmed by the FCI. Younger than the Bichon, the existence of the Poodle dates back to the Middles Ages. At the time, these dogs were used to hunt ducks. This is also where their name comes from. It references the splash that these dogs make when they come out of the water with their prey. They were later adopted by nobles as companion dogs and luxurious accessories, until they became the favorite dog breed of Louis XVI.

Several variations of the Poodle breed exist: the Toy Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the large Poodle which is called the Royal Poodle.

Dog walk outside in grass
This is a cream Maltese puppy.

Similar behavior and attitudes

Now let’s take a look at the character traits of the Poodle and Bichon.

Bichons and Poodles: two breeds that are known for their intelligence.

The Poodle is officially recognized as the one of the most intelligent dogs. Even though the Bichon is not known to be as intelligent as the Poodle, they are not far down the ranking. This intelligence can be noticed in daily life: through their behavior, their way of playing, understanding situations, and learning. These two dog breeds are great guide dogs and are perfect for small children, with whom they love to play.

A common gentleness and vivacity between these two breeds

The similarities between the two are noticeable when it comes to their personalities. Both of these dogs are energetic and vivacious. In their daily life, the Poodle is just as mischievous and playful as the Bichon. With that being said, despite their vivacity, they are excellent inside dogs, notably thanks to their mastering of their behavior and the delicateness of their movements.

They quickly bond with their owners and cannot handle being alone for too long. Whether you choose to adopt a Bichon or a Poodle, it is important to keep in mind that it is best to take them with you on vacation rather than leave them with someone else. They will, of course, be treated well, but they will miss you terribly.

The main differences between the Poodle and the Bichon

Now that you have seen their origins and their behavior, here are the characteristics that differentiate these two breeds.

Notable physical differences between the Poodle and the Bichon

It is difficult to establish a true list of physical differences between the two breeds. Nevertheless, there are a few details that allow these two breeds to be differentiated.

Most importantly, the Bichon is the smallest of the two, with their size ranging from 20 to 25 cm at the withers and a maximum of 4 kg ( 8.8 lb) for adults. A Poodle, depending on whether they are a Toy or Royal, measures between 25 and 60 cm at the withers, with their weight reaching up to 25 kg ( 55.1 lb). Therefore, a difference of size and weight helps to differentiate the two. If the dog is larger than 25 cm and 5 kg ( 11 lb), they must be a Poodle.

Another useful way to differentiate them is to look at the proportions of their head and their body. The Bichon has a large head, which gives them a cute look. The Poodle, on the other hand, has a thinner head, that is almost triangular, and small when compared to the body.

The Bichon’s ears are triangular, while the Poodle’s ears are long and flat. They also have much more fur on them.

The tail is one of the other notable difference between the two. Bichons have a tail that is large at the base and thinner towards the end. Poodles have a tail that is attached high and falls. Some Poodles have a tail that is slightly docked, even though this practice is done less and less. It has been proven that without this appendage, it is much more difficult for dogs to communicate through their body language. The tail shows other dogs how another dog is feeling. Therefore, docking it can lead to interpretation problems.

Small dog held in arms
This is a fawn Toy Poodle.

Grooming and care differences between the Poodle and the Bichon

Despite what many people mistakenly believe, Poodles do not require much grooming. It is enough to brush these dogs regularly to keep their coat clean and in good condition. In addition, the Poodle does not shed. Unlike the Bichon, it is just important to check that their fur is not bothering them. As it grows without shedding, it is possible for the fur to grow long and cover their eyes. If this happens, a short visit to a dog groomer would solve this problem.

When it comes to the Bichon, they need to be groomed regularly and frequently. With that being said, their fur should not be trimmed until they are at least six months old.

It is important to keep an eye on the ears of both of these dogs. If they are taken care of regularly, this will prevent ear infections, which on top of being painful, can be dangerous for them as well.

Keep in mind that the Bichon’s eyes are more sensitive than that of the Poodle. They might need a few drops of eye drops from time to time.

Different physical activity requirements

A worthy heir to their hunting ancestors, Poodles need to exercise much more than the Bichon. While these two breeds appreciate regular walks, the Poodle needs to run, jump, and get enough physical activity to be tired every day. They are also more robust than Bichons, who do not like the cold. When going for a walk with a Bichon in the winter, it is important for them to wear suitable clothing.

Both Poodles and Bichons have a relatively high average lifespan of about 13 years. Smaller breeds tend to live shorter lives.

It could be difficult to choose which of these breeds is right for you. Just as cute, gentle, and noble as the other, when choosing one to adopt, you should keep in mind one thing: a Bichon will be much happier in an apartment than a Poodle. Poodles needs much more space to exercise. No matter which of these breeds you decide to adopt, make sure to give them the love that they deserve.