Choosing a Puppy

puppyBefore you Buy

Firstly do you have the time for a puppy? Are you at home most of the time? A puppy is like a new baby, and requires a lot of time, it will have to be fed four times a day for four to six weeks after it arrives, and then there is the toilet training. It is better if you tackle these questions before you buy your little bundle of fur, because if you do not it is the puppy who will suffer. I have on occasions had to rehome puppies because people have not thought this through properly. Your garden will have to be puppy proofed with a wire fence all around tall enough not to be jumped over and well into the ground, it has been known for pups to work at a particular area until they are out. Fencing should be checked on a regular basis. Bichons are a house dog they should never be put into a shed or garage, they love human company , and thrive on being your friend.

Where to go?

If you have the time you now you need to know where to go, I suggest that you start by contacting a reputable breeder, the Kennel club in London or the Irish Kennel club in Dublin , they will be able to give you names of Clubs and registered breeders. It probably would be a good idea to visit a dog show where you will be able to see quality Bichons with their owners and you could discuss with them any aspects of the breed which you might be unsure of and when they might have some puppies available. Puppies are not born for Christmas Valentines day or birthdays, and most good breeders avoid breeding for these times.

Dog or Bitch?

When you have the names of some reputable breeders and you are going to see some puppies the first question is do I want a dog or a bitch. They should both have the same temperament and basically it comes down to girls have seasons and boys chase girls. Also boys take a little longer to housetrain.

Which pup?

haloDo not buy a puppy less than eight weeks of age. Always ask to see the mother with the puppy, at the time of purchase this will enable you to evaluate what your pup will be like when it is an adult. It may not be possible to see the father as the breeder may have gone to another breeder for the mating although you might be able to see a photograph of him.
A puppy should be bright alert and full of fun, if a puppy is frightened, or nervous of you or its owner it is either ill or has not been socialized, and you may be buying a bundle of trouble. By the same token if a puppy runs around the room in circles and goes wild it has more than likely been kept in cramped conditions and may never recover from the physiological damage this may have done. Healthy, well kept pups are playful and inquisitive. Another way of recognizing a healthy puppy is that it should have a slight garlicky smell off of its breath also until the pup is about three months old his eyes will have a slight bluish tint to them. The eyes will be clear and alert, almost mischievous.


The coat should be clean shiny and free of parasites these can be detected if the skin is mottled with tiny red dots. The puppy coat is a bit like down soft and fine it may also have light brown patches on it this colouring will disappear before eighteen months of age, around the age of 10 months the adult coat will start appearing and the finer coat will fall out. This is the only time that your Bichon will lose large amounts of coat it usually comes out in little balls.

Getting started

You should receive with your puppy a pedigree, breed standard, feeding guide and a copy of any inoculations or worming programs that may have been started with the puppy. Some breeders also give a little food with the pup and a piece of bedding in order that it may settle quicker for its new owners. It is wise to purchase a few necessary items before taking a pup home, for instance a dog carrier to take the pup home in a slicker brush, comb and feeding bowls. The most practical bed is a dog carrier, this should be large enough for an adult Bichon to stand up in and turn around. When the pup is small you can put paper at the front and bedding at the back. Most dog carriers also come apart into two halves for cleaning and storage. A puppy pen is another good idea because pups get bored easily and will chew everything in sight. They do not know the difference between their toys and your shoes.


Puppies generally start to get their first teeth around four weeks of age and the second when they are six months, by twelve months of age the teething process is over. The breed stand for Bichons states that they should have a scissor bite, and although they may have when you purchase occasionally the bite changes when the second teeth come through.

Feeding guide

It is important to divide the daily food allowance into several smaller meals, as puppies have small intestines and cannot absorb large amounts. As they get older the food can be increased according to their body weight allowing for growth and exercise. A sample feeding guide is as follows for an eight week old pup; Breakfast. Half a weetabix or readybrek, with milk preferably semi-skimmed, or a small portion of scrambled egg. Lunch: A top puppy food whichever food the breeder advised soaked in water. Dinner. Same as lunch. Supper. Bonio or similar biscuit. Always have fresh water available. At twelve weeks you can remove one of the meals probably lunch, although some pups decide to stop breakfast by themselves. By six months two meals a day is best, and by twelve months one.

However some dogs prefer to have two smaller meals than one large one. Bichons survive better on low protein diets less that 18%. Try to keep your pup on the diet the breeder has suggested, however if this is not possible it is best to change the diet slowly thus avoiding a digestive upset.

Feeding and water bowls must be sturdy as puppies chew everything chewable and can carry light objects around, members of your household might not appreciate a large pool of water on the kitchen floor. It is important that you remove food not eaten immediately, this will ensure that the food does not become contaminated by flies or temperature changes in the room.

Visit the vet

You should take your pup to a Vet as soon as possible after purchase preferable within twenty-four hours. He will then be able to examine the pup and advise if there are likely to be any medical problems. This is also the time when your vet will set up a worming and inoculation timetable. The pup should not be allowed to leave your home until the inoculation period is over by five days. Nowadays pups can be inoculated at eight and twelve weeks.


Grooming is a very important part of owning a Bichon and so it is best to start a grooming regime as soon as possible with yours so that it will accept this as an every day occurrence. Running a comb through a pup takes at most five minutes, but you will reap the benefit of this when it is older. Teach the pup to stand to be groomed, always praise your pup when he does what you want. A Pet Bichon usually needs to go to the Grooming parlour every 6 weeks, however I am self taught and if you don't want a show trim it is easy to run a pair of scissors over the dog to keep it in a short coat.


The most important thing to train first is the pup’s name. Toilet training will almost certainly have been started by the breeder however a pup has to learn what is expected from it in its new home. The best way is to put newspapers down at all doors to begin with gradually taking them away until only one door is left the door to the garden. When the inoculation period is over by at least five days you should start to take the pup outside, staying with it until it is finished and praising it when it has. The best time is after feeding and shortly after waking, a pup always sniffs around before relieving itself.