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Male vs Female Bichon Frises: What are the Differences?

Nicole Cosgrove

The adorable white furball known as the Bichon Frise has captured your heart and you’re considering purchasing one, but you’re not sure if you want a male or a female. While there are not many physical differences between male and female Bichon Frises, there are some personality differences that might help you make your decision as to which sex you want to bring home. Males tend to be bolder and more playful, while females tend to be more reserved and independent. If you’re committed to bringing home a fluffy Bichon Frise, you’ll have to ask yourself what sex seems right for you and your family. We’re here to help you make this important decision so read on to learn more about this breed.divider-dog

Visual Differences

Male vs Female Bichon Frise - close up
Image Credit: Male Bischon Frise, jnowlinsimonton, Pixabay, Right: Female Bishon Frise, grategf1, Pixabay

At a Glance

Male Bichon Frises
  • Average height (adult): 9½ – 11½ inches
  • Average weight (adult): 12 – 18 pounds
Female Bichon Frises
  • Average height (adult): 9½ – 11½ inches
  • Average weight (adult): 12 – 18 pounds
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Bichon Frise Pet Breed 101

bichon frise
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock

The Bichon Frise has a fluffy, white hypoallergenic coat with a poof of rounded hair on its head. It has large eyes and usually black noses and lips. The most common colors of this popular pup are white, white and apricot, white and cream, and white and buff. To keep their coat looking their best, you should brush them 2-3 times a week at least, but brushing every day will keep the coat luxurious and soft. They shed very little and will need a bath and nail clipping about every four weeks or so.

They are generally healthy dogs but need proper dental care to avoid gum infections and tooth loss. Good breeders will screen for common ailments, such as bladder infections, allergies, eye diseases, and luxating patella. They enjoy moderate exercise and respond well to training despite being notorious for having trouble with housebreaking.

If you are getting your dog from a breeder as a puppy, it’s best to spend some time with the puppies to see which one fits best with your family. There are no discernible physical differences between the male and female sex of this breed unless you get up close and personal to look at their sex organs. You will need to choose your puppy based on personality and Bichon Frises are well-known for being playful puppies full of funny antics. If you’re adopting or rescuing one of these loveable furballs, it would also be a good idea to spend time with the dog, whether male or female, to see if they would be a good fit for your family.divider-dog

Male Pet Breed Overview

bichon frise dog_Antranias_Pixabay
Image Credit: Antranias, Pixabay

Personality / Character

Male Bichon Frises have the reputation of being more playful and loving than the female of the breed. They love to please their owners and are known to be clingy, following their owners around the house so they’re never alone. They love to entertain their families with their silly antics but will gladly settle down for a cuddle session with their loved ones.

Training

Male Bichon Frises may be a little easier to train than females because they are such people pleasers and want to show their owners their love for them. They respond well to positive reinforcement training using prized treats or food. The male Bichon Frise will be delighted to learn new skills in socialization classes and dog training courses.

Health & Care

The Bichon Frise dog is a generally healthy breed. Like all male dogs, the male Bichon Frise could develop cryptorchidism, which is when the testes do not descend and can cause pain or tumors.  They can develop some serious health issues that are not dependent on sex. Cushing’s Disease is a serious illness that occurs in both male and female dogs when the adrenal gland secretes too much cortisol (stress hormone). This disease causes other illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney issues, bladder stones, high blood pressure, and more. Cushing’s generally affects dogs between the ages of 7 to 12 years old, so it’s something to watch for as your dog ages.

Breeding

Male Bichon Frises are like most male puppies and can reach sexual maturity at around 5 months. Many male dogs don’t reach full sexual maturity until they’re fully grown, usually around 12 to 15 months of age. They can sire puppies year-round if you choose to breed your dog. They can develop some aggression due to their testosterone levels so you should watch for signs of this if you do not intend to neuter your dog.

Pros
  • Playful and silly
  • Loves cuddles
Cons
  • Can have trouble with housebreaking
  • Could develop some aggression if not neutered
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Female Pet Breed Overview

Personality / Character

The female Bichon Frise is more independent and reserved than the male of the breed but enjoys spending time with their families. They tend to have a more dominant personality, letting their likes and dislikes being known. They enjoy cuddling as well but will move away when they have had enough and want some time alone, which has led to a bit of a reputation for being aloof.

Training

There doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between males and females when it comes to training. Females that have a bit of a dominant streak may be a little stubborn when training, but overall, they respond just as well as the males to positive reinforcement training. Females will also enjoy training classes geared toward training and socialization.

Health & Care

Female Bichon Frises are generally healthy, but there are some female reproductive issues to watch for as your pet ages. Mammary cancer occurs more often in female dogs that have not been spayed. After three heat cycles, the risk of mammary cancer increases by 26%. If you are not planning on breeding your female Bichon Frise, it’s best to spay her before her first heat, which lowers the risk to 1% for mammary cancer. Spaying also reduces the risk for uterine cancer to practically nil.

Breeding

Bichon Frise puppies are like most dogs and reach sexual maturity somewhere around 6 to 9 months of age. They usually enter their heat cycles around twice a year. She will lick her vulva area and there will be a red discharge for around 10 days or more. If you are interested in breeding your Bichon Frise, you should speak with your vet about the process to ensure a healthy breeding cycle for your dog.

Pros
  • Loves to play
  • Independent
Cons
  • Needs some alone time
  • Unspayed females may mark their territory
Bichon Frise
Image Credit: Antranias, Pixabay

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Which Bichon Frise is Right For You?

Male and female Bichon Frises don’t have that many differences as they look and act alike for the most part. Males have the reputation of being a bit more playful and cuddlier. The females can be a bit more independent and will wander away when they are done with cuddle time. Both the sexes respond well to positive reinforcement training and will be eager to show off their new skills to their families. The breed as a whole is fun-living, playful, and incredibly loyal to its owners. Now that you know more about the differences between male and female Bichon Frises, the decision is up to you as to which sex you choose for your next furry friend. Heading to a breeder and spending time with some puppies will likely make your decision for you as we’re sure you’ll fall in love with a particular furball, and your choice will be made for you.


Featured Image Credit: 1 – Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay   2 – Eudyptula, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.