Bichon Frise vs Poodle: What’s the same, what’s different?

Have you ever wondered about the differences between a bichon frise and a poodle? What makes them alike? Let’s dig into both breeds and see what we can find.

Poodles come in a wider range of sizes and colors and are more expensive than the bichon frise. While Poodles come in three sizes (toy, miniature, and standard), the Bichon Frise is similar to the miniature poodle stature with both breeds averaging 9-15 inches tall and 12-18 pounds in weight.

Today, we’ll be exploring the main differences between the two breeds, as well as other similar breeds to these pups. We’ll also take a look at some interesting facts about the breeds that you may not know about.

Poodle Vs. Bichon Frise Attributes at a Glance

This chart provides a quick glance comparison of these wonderful breeds:

PoodleBichon Frise
Kids FriendlyYesYes
GroomingHigh maintenanceHigh maintenance
TemperamentAffectionate, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent, Instinctual, Loving, Loyal, Playful, TrainableSweet, Peaceful, Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Friendly, Intelligent, Loving, cheerful, Social, Stubborn, Playful
Coat ColorsBlack. Sable, Silver, White, Black and White, Brown, Apricot, Red, Cream, GreyWhite
Life Span12 – 19 Years12 – 15 Years
Energy LevelMedium-HighHigh
Breed Avg. Height/WeightToy Poodle– 10 inches tall and weighs 6 to 9 pounds
Miniature Poodle– 11 to 15 inches tall and weighs 15 to 17 pounds
Standard Poodle– 15 to 22 inches tall and weighs 45-70 pounds
9 to 12 inches tall and weighs 12 to 18 pounds.

How Is A Bichon Frise Different From A Poodle?

 Like most breeds of a similar type, the bichon frise and poodle share many traits. However, there are a few key factors that are not the same between these wonderful dog breeds.

The main difference would have to be the size. The bichon frise will often be the smaller-sized dog. However, this will depend on which type of poodle you are comparing.

The poodle has three main breed sizes, standard, toy, and miniature:

  •  The standard poodle is the largest of the sizes and is often between forty to seventy-five pounds and an average height of fifteen inches or higher, from the ground to shoulder.
  • A miniature poodle is the medium size of this breed, tends to be around eleven to fifteen inches tall and could weigh fifteen to seventeen pounds.
  • The toy poodle is the smallest iteration of the breed. They are normally ten inches or under weighing in at nine pounds or less.

A Bichon Frise will be closer to the miniature poodle in height and weight with both breeds averaging between 9-15 inches tall and 12-18 pounds.

The bichon frise is also often less expensive than the poodle overall to purchase as a puppy.

This chart gives the average high-end and low-end cost averages for the two breeds:

Low-End Average Cost High-End Average Cost
Bichon Frise$250-$600$1000-$4000

Similarities Between Poodles and the Bichon Frise.

The poodle and bichon frise both have substantial grooming needs due to their fur type. Additionally, both the bichon frise and toy and miniature poodle varieties are considered to be companion breeds.

This means these breeds do not work and generally only provide companionship. The poodle and bichon frise are generally known to have a sweet disposition and even temperament

The poodle and bichon frise are most popular with the elderly or as a family dog for families with older children.

As they are a small breed, many prospective owners are advised to refrain from getting a poodle or bichon frise if they have small children due to being a bit fragile in comparison to a larger dog breed.

While similar to each other, the bichon frise and poodle are only loosely related by a common ancestor breed. The bichon frise is believed to be descended from the poodle and either the barbet or a water spaniel breed. Over time, and with careful breeding, the poodle and bichon frise have developed their own breed standards separate from each other.

What Other Breeds Are Similar To The Bichon Frise?

The Maltese and bolognese are two breeds that have shared traits with both poodles and bichon frises, given that they also share a common ancestor. 


This breed is a small breed with the standard and teacup sizes, where the teacup is barely larger than six pounds as a full adult. The standard is, on average, an eight to twelve-pound dog. 

This breed originated in Malta, as a companion for royalty. They are a white color and are long-haired, however many owners may opt to have their puppy shaved for comfort rather than allow the hair to grow long for styling purposes.

With a loving and truly affectionate personality, many times, a Maltese is found as a therapy animal for those with medical needs. Sadly with all the cuteness and loving personality comes severe genetic defects from a long history of interbreeding to perfect the Maltese breed that we see today.

Health Problems

Of the many conditions, this breed falls prey to; rapid onset diabetes is fairly common. Anxiety is rather common in small or toy breeds, and this can lead to a barking issue that may be hard to overcome. This barking problem is the most common reason we see the breed in animal shelters or breed-specific rescues.


Originally found in Italy, the bolognese is a breed known as a bichon type, as it is very closely related to the bichon frise. This breed is a small breed of dog mostly used as companions due to their naturally playful and loyal disposition and calm temperaments.

Typically weighing between five to nine pounds and measuring in at nine to eleven inches, this breed is fairly small.

The Bolognese is a rather old breed that is historically documented as being given as gifts to royalty and nobles.

Prone to separation anxiety, this is not a breed that is suggested by the AKC for individuals with busy lives. This is a breed best suited to someone with a flexible schedule who can devote large blocks of time to their Bolognese. 

Health Problems

Some genetic issues common to this breed are eye diseases and joint conditions located in the knee. If you get your puppy from a reputable breeder, odds are you have a very healthy dog. A good breeder tends to test for health issues prior to breeding any dogs together. This is to give as much information about the possibility of medically fragile puppies as possible.

 If two dogs are set to breed, and they are both carriers of a genetic condition, a responsible breeder with not allow the mating. Unfortunately, not all breeders are ethical in their breeding practices. When you are looking to purchase any puppy from a breeder, always do your research to make sure the puppy is healthy and from a reputable breeder.

Facts About The Companion Dog Breeds

  • The average life-span for a companion breed is fourteen to eighteen years old.
  • The Maltese were originally bred to fit inside the robes of the royalty of Malta.
  • Poodles, Maltese, and bolognese are hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t cause allergic reactions.
  • Companion breeds are often used as therapy animals for people who have undergone trauma when they testify in a legal case. 

Bichon Frise Breed Information

The bichon frise is a loyal companion dog breed. This dog is a hypoallergenic animal that is regularly used as a therapy service dog for medically fragile people. With the smaller size and fluffy texture to their fur, these dogs are often equated to living stuffed animals.

The breed standard for the bichon frise is a playful chipper demeanor with vast intelligence and a need to please their owner. These dogs are small but not minuscule with a white fluffy coat. They need consistent grooming to maintain their health and wellbeing. 

Poodle Breed Information

The poodle originated in Germany but gained popularity in France, the country of which it is most well known. This breed is also well known for its intelligence as well as being hypoallergenic. 

The standard poodle has, in recent years, been bred with a labrador retriever to create the new designer breed the Labradoodle. Those with mental illness who seek the comfort of an animal are often drawn to the poodle as a companion. The poodle breed is utilized in nursing homes as individuals within often enjoy its gentle personality.


While they share many wonderful traits, the poodle and the bichon frise are, in fact, their own specific breeds. Both breeds require extensive grooming to maintain their health and pretty complexions. While they are both highly intelligent breeds, the poodle responds better to training. 

The poodle and bichon frise are distantly related by a common group of ancestors. However, with careful control of genetics by the hands of humans, we have been gifted the unique breeds of today.  A poodle is more expensive to purchase from a breeder than a bichon frise. Overall, both breeds are wonderful additions to any family.

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Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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