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I am looking for a reputable breeder of small Bichons and Bichon-poos. I have done a lot of research online, but have found no breeders close enough to visit. Well, I have found two within a day's drive, but both have definite "puppymill" red flags, so I have decided against them. I know all of the questions to ask, and like what I see on several online sites, and am satisfied with "conversations" (both email and phone), but how can I know what is real online?

I just saw an article about a puppy mill that was busted this week, and decided to look up their website. Their website looked great! Parent dogs had all the right certifications and health checks, pictures of the parents and their living spaces looked ideal, offered AKC registration, pedigrees and 5 year health guarantees on all puppies, and they had great answers to all of the questions. People who talked to these guys over the phone said they sounded great! When they purchased puppies from this place they received papers and pedigrees and vet health forms - all fabricated. the pictures on their website were all fabricated. The true dogs and puppies were living in deplorable conditions and had many health issues.
This made me think that all of my online research has been in vain. I would have thought this place credible, and obviously would have been VERY wrong.

Many "puppy mills" aren't necessarily horrific in the dogs' living conditions, but still many are less than honest about parentage, health, types of health checks, breeding too young and too often, etc.

If there is no breeder near me to go and see for myself, how can I know if a breeder is reputable? There's got to be a place where I can ask people. I can't go to the local shows of out-of state breeders, so how do I know what to trust? The info online is only as good as the breeder's honesty. I would be willing, if I needed to, to fly to pick up a puppy, but cannot afford to fly to check out various breeders.

Can someone help me find a reputable breeder of small Bichons or Bichon-poos. (Yes, I know, it is a mixed breed, and a "real" breeder would not mix breeds, but I like them.)

Thanks in advance for any help...
 

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A start can be to look up the dogs on OFA to make sure they really have their health tests. You can search by their show name and see any records they have. It is optional for breeders to make results public, but the way I see it- good breeders have no reason not to show results because they should have nothing to hide. I can't think of a reason a breeder would choose to hide good results, anyway.

I wouldn't buy a puppy from a breeder I hadn't visited, but I know there are people on here who have, so I'm sure they will pipe in and give you some tips. The only thing I can think of is if perhaps you know someone near the breeder who can go look for you.

PS. If you tell us your area (if you're comfortable with that) people on here might know some good breeders or be able to find some. It's unlikely that they'll know any breeders of bichon-poodle mixes, but they might know Bichon breeders. You can also start here looking for Bichon breeders http://www.bichon.org/breeders.htm
 

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if you want a small bichon or a bichon mixed breed (call it a poo, same thing), then look into petfinder to find a puppy that looks like that sort of thing and off you go. Most breeders who breed for other than the breed standard will use a mix of dogs and call the pups what they look like or what will sell - they might not be a bichon poodle mix but some poodle mix that fits the bill and gets your money! I'm on a dog breeder email list and they talk about doing that with dogs, not something I'd do but apparently they're ok with it.

If you want a bichon bred to be a bichon, look into breeders that show their dogs, the link above is a good start. Expect to wait and give a window of six months of when you'd like a pup, and tell them about yourself and why you're a great home. That way they have an idea of if they want to respond or who you should talk to.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Man! I hate it when I take the time to write a reply, and then hit the wrong button and watch it disappear before my eyes! Ugh!

Anyway, Thanks for your thoughts.

Elliebell -I didn't know you could check health tests on OFA. When I decide on a breeder, I will check that out to be sure. And I know I will need to (and want to) go to a breeder's place to check it out, but am hoping to only do that to pick up a puppy (and then walk away if it is not a good situation). I have checked on bichon.org, and there are no clubs of breeders listed in my state, which is Utah, or within a day's drive (and I mean a day's drive one-way). However, I DID find one in another state that is a couple of hours away from my parents' home, and can go check it out when I go there this summer. I have emailed the breeder, and they plan to have puppies this fall. Someone told me of one in Southern Utah, who looks good on the website, but i am waiting to hear back from the breeder herself.

And Borderman - I like petfinder, but how do I know if they're reputable? I am stuck with puppies far away, and while I like the shipping option, I am wary of those breeders who will readily ship to me without screening me first.

It is crazy that it is this hard to just get a puppy. To be honest, I don't need a purebred dog, just a great one for my kids, one where the parents have been tested and there's a good chance my dog will be healthy. I know that some people have strong feelings about mixing breeds, but honestly, If I could get a small dog with all of the great Bichon traits, but a more manageable coat, that would be great! (and that is what a Bichon-poodle mix does). I hear a lot of comments about how no reputable breeder would ever mix breeds, but I think that sometimes there is a good reason to mix for a particular reason, and that the breeders who do it can be reputable and responsible. i just don't know how to find them, so I will likely go with a purebred Bichon.
 

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Why is a Poodle/Bichon mix's hair more manageable? I always thought the 2 breeds have very similar coats.

Petfinder isn't a breeder's site. It's for rescue organizations. Rescues in some areas have a lot of small mixes. You do have to careful to check out whether a rescue is reputable or not, and a lot of them won't ship. But there may be some in your area. . .worth looking anyway.
 

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You're right Willowy, I was confusing petfinder with puppyfinder. I look on petfinder every few days to see if there is something that fits us. There is usually no way to know the dog's history (parent's health, etc.) so we would just have to take it as an unknown. I took all of my kids with an unknown though, so I think we can handle it. :) A couple of times we saw one that looked interesting, but they got snatched up pretty quickly.

A bichon-poodle mix usually has a coat that does not mat as quickly as a Bichon, and skin that is not as sensitive to allergies. The coat is usually looser curls and needs to be brushed and groomed less often. Plus, I hate eye staining, and if I got a Bichon-poodle mix, which I probably won't, I could get a tan-colored dog, or mixed-colored, so it would be less of a problem.
 

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You're right Willowy, I was confusing petfinder with puppyfinder. I look on petfinder every few days to see if there is something that fits us. There is usually no way to know the dog's history (parent's health, etc.) so we would just have to take it as an unknown. I took all of my kids with an unknown though, so I think we can handle it. :) A couple of times we saw one that looked interesting, but they got snatched up pretty quickly.

A bichon-poodle mix usually has a coat that does not mat as quickly as a Bichon, and skin that is not as sensitive to allergies. The coat is usually looser curls and needs to be brushed and groomed less often. Plus, I hate eye staining, and if I got a Bichon-poodle mix, which I probably won't, I could get a tan-colored dog, or mixed-colored, so it would be less of a problem.
A bichon-poodle mix could display nearly all the traits of a bichon, nearly all the traits of a poodle or something in between. The coat could vary widely, even within the same litter. The dog could easily be MORE allergic than a well bred Bichon or Poodle (I am reading that as a dog with sensitive skin; rather than a dog that doesn't affect a person's allergies).
Basically, any mix breed is a toss up of traits and because there are few-to-no breeders breeding mixes AND doing health testing and carefully planned litters, there is a higher likelyhood of poorly bred dogs, health problems and misleading information (selling puppies that look like whatever breed, but could really be any similar breed as puppies look a lot alike when young).

Try finding a breed specific rescue and discussing transport with them. Some rescues run regular transport, others may have someone coming your way or willing to meet you half-way. The rescue might arrange for a home visit to be done by another rescue in your area that they trust. (as in, no reason someone from a GSD rescue can't check things out for them before you get a small breed from a different rescue)
 

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you wont find a reputable breeder if youre going to purchase a mixed breed, which is all a bichon poo or whatever you want is. theyre mutts, go to a rescue to get something like that. plus you never know what you are going to get purchasing a mixed breed. they are not an established breed and therefore can very greatly in what they look like. tear staining will happen even if its tan.... and tear staining can be cured with the right diet and health care. tear staining doesnt happen just because its a little white dog. their coats will matt just as quickly, the grooming habits will be the same for a bichon or bichon/poodle. its like when people sell these freaking doodles and tell people their low-maintenance.... yeahhhhhh.... almost every doodle i see is matted. basically everything you believe to be true about this mixed breed is false.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
GreatDaneMom - I guess it depends on your definition of reputable breeder. And you don't know that "everything you believe to be true about this mixed breed is false" because you don't know me, or what I believe. And I am sorry that every doodle you see is matted. Mine won't be, and the people I know who have "doodles" don't let their dog's fur get all matted. A cross breed is not the same as a mutt, or mixed breed. There is a very big difference. I never said this dog would be low maintenance. I am not an idiot, no matter what you think.

I found one that meets MY definition of reputable: Does all of the breed-appropriate testing on both parents (and grandparents in this case) - and gives me copies of tests and pedigrees and registrations, shows her dogs, breeds each dog only once per year, and only 3 litters per dog, allowed us to come see her facility and spend time with the puppy and parents, talk with her vet, She mostly breeds purebred Bichons and purebred miniature poodles, but does one bichon-poodle mix litter every year or two, and she called MY references.

And yes, shell, I know it could go either way, or somewhere in between, especially since it's an F1 litter. But I liked both parents. And I loved the light coloring of the puppies (which I also know could darken or lighten as they grow up).

Well, it went MUCH faster than I thought, but a friend had a neighbor who was getting a Bichon puppy, and said her puppy's breeder had a litter of Bich-poos. She does not advertise them, she just does one litter per year upon request, and there was one baby girl left... So we checked her out, and although one can never be 100% sure, it seems like a really good thing. Funny thing is, after I sent the deposit, I talked with my youngest child's therapist and he said that she REALLY needs a dog, the sooner the better. Fate? Maybe just coincidental timing, but it is what it is, and the puppy will be here in 2 weeks! (at 10 weeks old)
 

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4 years ago I found my girl sophie , a poochon , on puppyfinder.com . I paid a fortune for her, mostly in shipping but I had no choice since I live in Alaska and there are very few small dog breeders up here. She has been a joy to have but be prepared , bichons can be very stubborn and still difficult and time consuming to groom. Sophie is GREAT with kids, actually protects my g randkids from me lol for one check the registration of both parents, one should be poodle and other bichon. Ask for references of people that have purchased from the breeder. I started with a HUGE list and slowly narrowed it down till I chose Sophie. I am not sure where you are but the breeder for Sophie is in Oklahoma. cost of the pup 400.00, shipping 425.00 including a puppysitting fee for her 8 hour layover in dallas texas.
 

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Actually you are wrong on this point !! Alot of breeds have recently been mixed especially with poodle type dogs to make a non alergetic animal. Also a Bichon is actually a mix of a terrier and poodle from over 500 years ago , bred in france as lap dogs ! ANY dog with hair , not fur, is going to be a challenge to groom but they dont shed . I have a poochon who has been a joy but is horribly hard to groom due to a bad experience with a groomer a couple years ago . I dont consider my Sophie a mutt, she is a designer breed !! puppyfinder.com has a huge list of these designer dogs. but be prepared to pay for it
 

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A bichon-poodle mix usually has a coat that does not mat as quickly as a Bichon, and skin that is not as sensitive to allergies. The coat is usually looser curls and needs to be brushed and groomed less often. Plus, I hate eye staining, and if I got a Bichon-poodle mix, which I probably won't, I could get a tan-colored dog, or mixed-colored, so it would be less of a problem.
Im sorry. But thats wrong. Both breeds need regular grooming. Both can have skin issues. The coat is normally the same. and tear staining can happen on any colour. its about keeping the face clean, daily. Im a groomer, and see many bich/poo mixes. all have tight curls and need regular groomng to prevent matting.
 

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I dont consider my Sophie a mutt, she is a designer breed !! puppyfinder.com has a huge list of these designer dogs. but be prepared to pay for it
Yeah, puppyfinder has a huge list of "designer" puppymills. And Oklahoma is one of the major puppymill states. I'm sure Sophie's parents are, right now, sitting in a tiny cage with no mental stimulation, pumping out as many puppies as physically possible. If they haven't been killed for non-production by now. Supported by the people who are willing to pay the puppymills to do this.

OP, I'm glad you were able to find a breeder whose breeding ethics you can support. That's why it's so important to SEE the breeder's dogs and set-up. Of course we'll need pictures!
 

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A cross breed is not the same as a mutt, or mixed breed. There is a very big difference.
Wrong. Oh so wrong. Make all the excuses you want, but Mix=mutt. Cross breed =mutt.

My Pepper (rescued from a puppyfinder fancy schmancy backyard breeder) is supposedly a very expensive "breed" - a Morkie (maltese/yorkie).

He has malformed paws which will cause him nothing but pain as he ages. He is missing teeth. And while he is otherwise healthy as far as I know, he is a mutt that was bred for no other reason than to make money for the breeder. And there are people like you that will cough up thousands for some made up breed that is nothing more than a mutt. And believe me - there is nothing wrong with a dog that is a mutt. I love Pepper to pieces, but lets call a spade a spade.

I hope you have a fund set aside for the health problems your mutt may have.
 

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Alot of breeds have recently been mixed especially with poodle type dogs to make a non alergetic animal. I dont consider my Sophie a mutt, she is a designer breed !! puppyfinder.com has a huge list of these designer dogs. but be prepared to pay for it
1- just because its mixed with poodle it is NOT hypoallergenic. this is a common misconception. they shed less, but allergies are caused by dander. they STILL have dander.
2- of course you see her as a designer breed. thats what gives this low life "breeders" and puppy mills leverage to produce these mutts.
3- puppyfinder.com is full of puppy mill dogs.... congrats. im glad you support that.

GreatDaneMom - And you don't know that "everything you believe to be true about this mixed breed is false" because you don't know me, or what I believe. A cross breed is not the same as a mutt, or mixed breed. There is a very big difference. I never said this dog would be low maintenance. I am not an idiot, no matter what you think.
1- everything you stated to be supposedly true about this breed has been false
2- it IS a mutt. there is nothing different between this and mutts. a mix is a mix, youre just paying for an expensive mix.


i wish people who buy into this hype could walk into a shelter and look at all the "designer breeds" they have there. or walk into a puppy mill and see where their so totally cool "designer breeds" are created and what these dogs suffer through.....
 

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Lol. No such thing as a reputable mix breeder. Why because they don't have show standards?

As to lisa's last statement one should have $ set aside for a pure bred as well. It's not like they have superior health.

Secondly your dog came from a byb. So more likely to have problems vs a responsibly bred dog like the OPs pup will be.
 

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I know the OP has already chosen a pup (congrats!), so this is more for anyone else who may stumble across this thread. I'll divide this into points:

1. I believe that you can find a responsible breeder of mixes, but it's going to be more difficult. Most good breeders I know really frown on mixing breeds. That said, I have heard of it happening (mostly for sports, but I know that people do mix for companion dogs as well). I would look for a breeder who does everything you'd expect a good purebred breeder to do, short of showing -- they should have health testing done on both parents, offer a multi-year health guarantee, take the dog back at any point in its life if you can't keep it, not overbreed, etc... what you consider "reputable" is going to be somewhat subjective, but basically, just hold them to the same standards that you would a breeder of purebred bichons. (And personally, with a companion breed, I'd prefer if the parents were shown and proven as well, even if their mixed offspring couldn't be.)

2. "Designer dogs" are mixed breeds, or mutts. It's not a dirty word. But it doesn't make them somehow special; there's no reason for them to be worth more than any other mix or purebred. If you are buying from a breeder who health tests and does all of the proper prenatal and puppy care, then I'd expect to pay more (good breeders don't make money; they need to charge more to cover their costs), but I'd run from anyone who charges, say, $800 for their pure bichons and $1000 for their "bichon-poos" because they're trying to act like the mix is somehow special.

3. Not all mixes are hypo-allergenic. In this case it should be fine, as both bichons and poodles are considered hypoallergenic, so a mix should be as well. (Note that "hypoallergenic" means "slightly allergenic" -- no dog breed is truly non-allergenic.) But just for future reference, if you mix a hypoallergenic breed with a breed that's not (for example, if you mix poodles and golden retrievers), you can get pups that run the gamut as far as hair type and dander production goes, as some pups will take after one parent more than the other.

4. Like Tankstar said, a bichon/poodle mix's coat, tear staining issues, allergy issues, etc. aren't going to be any better than a pure poodle's or bichon's. As mentioned, a mixed puppy could look much more poodle, much more bichon, or be a 50/50-looking mix with the worst traits of both just as easily as it could end up with the best traits of both.

5. Puppyfinder.com is a terrible way to get a dog. As this Consumer Affairs page says, it's "the eBay of dog sales" and the worst of the "e-mills." I know that some people consider puppies they get from mills to be rescues, but those people are kidding themselves. Read this.
 
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