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Given the physical resemblance between these two breeds, it can be challenging to determine whether a dog is a Poodle, or a Bichon Frise. We will provide you with the keys to identifying the differences between Poodles and Bichon Frise, allowing you to distinguish between these two small dog breeds. By observing these guidelines, you can also determine if a Bichon Frise or a Poodle is purebred:

  • Main differences in physical appearance.
  • Differences in behavior.
  • Differences in coat type.
  • Key difference in color.


While the Frise and the Poodle have very similar physical appearances, you can differentiate them based on two subtle physical aspects:

  1. The main difference is that the Poodle has a longer muzzle than Bichons.
  2. On the other hand, the Bichon Frise tends to have a longer body than the miniature Poodle.
  3. The truffle or nose of the poodle is the same color as its mane, while the truffle of the bichon frise is always black.
  4. The ears of the poodle are wide, while the ears of the Frise are droopy.
  5. The poodle’s tail looks fluffy and raised, the bichon frise’s tail is straight.

Behavioral differences between poodles and bichons

Regarding behavior, a Bichon’s character may be more affectionate and less independent than that of a Poodle; both are playful and affectionate. However, these aspects are not entirely reliable because individual dogs within the same breed can have variations in character. Additionally, when acquiring a puppy, it can be challenging to determine whether it will be more or less attached or independent.

Differences in Coat Type

To differentiate between Poodles and Bichon Frise, we’ll observe the characteristics of the coat in both breeds. According to the standards set by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), we can identify these differences in purebred dogs.

Poodle Coat

The Poodle’s coat, as per the FCI, is dense, fine, and woolly. It is curly in tight curls and resists hand pressure. It also allows for the corded Poodle variety, which has abundant, fine, woolly hair, tight and corded.

Bichon Frise Coat

As for the Bichon Frise’s coat, the FCI’s standard states that it has an outer coat with loose spirals and a soft, dense undercoat. It also specifies that the Bichon Frise’s coat should never be straight, corded, woolly, or tangled.


Key Difference: Coat Color

Lastly, an indisputable indicator is the coat color. According to the FCI, Poodles can be black, brown, gray, fawn, or white, while Bichon Frise can only be white. It may have some traces of beige in the first 12 months, but it should never be more than 10% of the dog’s coat.

In summary, make these observations to differentiate between the Bichon Frise and the Poodle:

  • The Poodle has a longer muzzle.
  • The Bichon Frise has a longer body than the miniature Poodle.
  • Poodle’s temperament is more independent, while Bichon Frise is more attached.
  • Poodle has tight and fluffy curls in its coat, while Bichon Frise has loose spiral curls.
  • The coat color of Bichon Frise is white.
  • Poodles can be black, white, fawn, brown, or gray.

IMPORTANT: White coats, if not well cared for, can yellow and become discolored. To ensure that your Bichon’s coat stays white, use a specific shampoo like this:

To ensure the breed and purity, it’s ideal to have an expert examine your dog. The breeder should provide you with pedigree certificates to confirm the dog’s lineage and exact breed.

At Itsmylittledog, we encourage you not to overly prioritize whether a breed is purebred or not. What’s important is that the dog is in good health. Our pets bring joy to our lives and are special, whether they are purebred or the result of crossbreeding.

Whether your little dog is a Poodle or a Bichon Frise, both breeds are friendly, affectionate, and great companions.

If you want to know the complete file of the bichon frise or other bichons, such as the small Maltese, and the poodle, here you can learn about their history, characteristics, temperament, care and everything you need to know about both breeds; so you can compare and choose the one that best suits your lifestyle. For additional information about these breeds, take a look at our article surprising curiosities about the poodle.