Bichon Frise History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Bichon Frise Dog

The Bichon Frisé, also known as the Bichon à poil fries, the Bichon Tenerife and the Canary Islands Lap-dog, descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel in the Mediterranean region. This breed is most well-known for its white powder-puff appearance and affectionate, merry temperament. Throughout history, the Bichon Frisé has been beloved by Italian, French and Spanish royalty and painters alike, and today they remain an extremely popular house dog. The breed was accepted for entry into the Miscellaneous class of the American Kennel Club in 1971. Bichons were admitted to registration in the AKC Stud Book in 1972 and to regular show classification in the Non-Sporting Group in 1973.

The preferred Bichon Frisé stands 9 ½ to 11 ½ inches tall at the withers and weighs between 7 and 12 pounds. Males or females under 9 inches or over 12 inches are disqualified from the AKC breed standard. While Bichons do not shed excessively, their fluffy double coat requires daily brushing and frequent trimming. It is acceptable for them to have shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or in very small areas elsewhere on the body. A cheerful attitude is the hallmark of this breed.

Bichon Frise Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level 4/5
Apartment Friendly 5/5
Barking Tendencies 4/5
Cat Friendly 4/5
Child Friendly4/5
Dog Friendly4/5
Exercise Need 2/5
Grooming Needs 5/5
Health Issues 2/5
Intelligence 4/5
Playfulness 4/5

Bichon Frise – Appearance & Grooming


Bichon Frises are small dogs with a unique “powder puff”appearance. They are usually completely white, with thick coats that stand away from the body in loose curls. In the show ring, Bichons are trimmed to look round, while home bound Bichons may be clipped a little shorter. They have dark, expressive eyes and black noses which contrast the bright white fur. Their tales are plumed and hang over the back.

Size and Weight

Bichons are small dogs, standing only between 9 and 11 inches at the shoulder and weighing in between 7 and 12 pounds.

Coat and Color

Bichons come in one color variety: all white. Some dogs may have shocks of cream or buff hair around the ears or on the body. They sport double coats that combine to give them a distinct texture. The undercoat is thick and soft, and the topcoat is coarse. Their hair does not lay flat against the body, but rather “puffs” outward giving Bichons a cotton ball appearance.

Some people think that Bichons don’t shed because they don’t leave a lot of hair around the house. This is a misconception – Bichons do shed, but hair gets caught in the undercoat and doesn’t drop to the ground. Regular brushing to remove the dead hair is important so that the dog does not develop tangles, matting, or skin infections.

Grooming Needs

Bichons are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming, and they are prone to skin problems and allergies, so good grooming habits are a must. Brushing is required at least twice per week and their white coats get dirty quickly, so baths are very common. Brushing should always be done before a bath, because the hair naturally tangles in the water. Tangles and mats that are present before a bath will be nearly impossible to remove and have to be cut out. The coat will need to be trimmed every six weeks to maintain a good length. Most owners keep a standing appointment every four to six weeks with a groomer to keep up with baths, trims, nail clipping and ear cleaning as grooming a Bichon is not for the faint of heart or for those pressed for time.

Bichons are prone to eye tearing which can stain the face. Veterinarians can recommend eye wipes or solutions that can reduce the tearing, relieve discomfort for the dog and help keep their white faces clean.

Bichon Frise – History and Health


The history of the Bichon Frise began centuries ago in the Mediterranean, where they became prized for their friendly dispositions. They frequently were offered as items of trade, transported by sailors from continent to continent. They are believed to be descended from the Water Spaniel and as a breed spread rapidly throughout Europe, finding much early favor in Spain. In the 1300s, this lovable little breed became favorites with Italian nobility. In the 1500s, they were favored in France, and their popularity in Spain continued throughout these eras. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the breed flourished on the Canary Islands off the northwestern coast of Africa. In the late 1800s, the Bichon Frise lost its aristocratic popularity in Europe and became more of a common dog, running loose in the streets of Europe and performing with organ grinders and in circuses and fairs. After World War I, a few fanciers in France and Belgium began reestablishing the breed through careful and controlled breeding programs. The official breed standard was adopted in France in 1933, and the Bichon Frise was admitted to the studbook of the French Kennel Club in 1934. The Bichon Frise was introduced to the United States in 1956, and they debuted in the Non-Sporting Group at American Kennel Club dog shows in 1973.


The Bichon Frisé has an average life expectancy of 13 to 16 years. The breed is predisposed to congenital patent ductus arteriosus, as well as several dermatological and ocular conditions. They also may be predisposed to intervertebral disc disease and certain kidney disorders. Dental problems, ear infections, patellar luxation and allergies are also seen in this breed.

Bichon Frise – Temperament & Personality


Official AKC standards describe the Bichon Frise perfectly. They call this breed, “a white powder puff of a dog whose merry temperament is evidenced by his plumed tail carried jauntily over the back and his dark-eyed inquisitive expression.” Bichons are little puffs of personality. They love people of all ages, play well with children and are always a joy to be around. Easy to live with, Bichons bring smiles wherever they go – and they love to go places. A Bichon will happily accompany his people on walks, runs, or Sunday drives around town.

Activity Requirements

The small Bichon doesn’t need too much activity, a few walks a day and a little time to play are all they need. Bichons are especially good companions for elderly people and have been known to brighten the homes and disposition of recent widows and widowers. Apartment dwellers can have a happy Bichon since they don’t require vigorous exercise.


The Bichon Frise is easy to train. They love to please and take well to positive reinforcement and treats. They are not a dominant breed, so force is not necessary, and in fact can damage the psyche of these people-pleasers. They do well in a formal training setting, and can be taught advanced tricks to entertain friends and neighbors.

Behavioral Traits

Bischon Frises are excellent dogs for first-time owners. They get along well with other animals, love people, and can be trusted not to run away. However, house training is notoriously difficult. Fist time owners may want to have their breeder house train a Bischon before bringing him home because this process can be long, difficult and messy.

Separation anxiety is common in Bichons. They love, love, love to be with people and if left alone too long become anxious. This can result in chewing, barking, crying and even relieving themselves in the house. Proper exercise and training can prevent some of this, but Bischons are happiest in homes where they aren’t left alone for long periods of time.

Bichon Frises are barkers, and they have a high-pitched bark that is often described as shrill. Their bark is not aggressive, they just like to let everyone know that a new person is arriving, the mail has been delivered, someone is coming down the stairs, there is another dog outside, or just to hear themselves bark. Their barking can’t be trained out of them, but a stop barking command is important and should be taught early on.

Photo Library Of Bichon Frise

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