Bichon Frise

A Quick Look at the Bichon Frise...

The Bichon Frise is a breed that was first created in the Mediterranean region with Poodle ancestry. It didn’t take long before the popularity of the Bichon Frise picked up all over Renaissance Europe because of their pleasant personalities, size, and attractive puffy white coat. Though it did make its way around the world from that point, it wasn’t until the year 1955 that the very first one arrived in the United States, with the first breeding occurring there a year later.

Here are some fast facts about the Bichon Frise:

Dog Group:
Gun Dog (AKC) Non-Sporting
Recognized By:
Dogs – 7-12 lbs. (3-5 kg)
Bitches – 7-12 lbs. (3-5 kg)
Dogs - 9-12 in. (23-30 cm)
Bitches – 9-11 in. (23-28 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
15 years or more
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

It was during the Fourteenth Century in the Mediterranean region that the Bichon Frise was first developed. The influence of the Poodle in the appearance of the dog is evident, but to result in the Bichon Frise, it was crossed with the Barbet Water Spaniel. The natural elegant and glamorous appearance as well as the friendly, pleasant overall character lead the nobility across Europe to favor this breed, to the point where it was the choice dog among the Sixteenth Century French royal courts. From there, the rest of the population followed, making it a companion dog as well as one of street performance. Today, the Bichon Frise is almost exclusively a family companion or high performing show dog.

Bichon Frise Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - The Bichon Frise may be small but it’s a sturdy, strong little dog. Easily recognizable with its bright white fluffy coat. Only the black nose and brown eyes are not white on this dog. In some dogs, it is permissible for some cream coloring to break the all-white of the fur. This can occur near the ear area or anywhere on the body. The ears and the tail of this dog are left natural. Many owners do have the coats of the dogs trimmed in order to even out the length.

Typical Temperament - The Bichon Frise is well recognized for its bubbly, happy and loving personality. It is often considered to be the perfect companion and lapdog for an individual or a family. Though not a great watch dog, you can count on a Bichon Frise to be welcoming and friendly to guests of all ages. That being said, this dog is very bright and easily trainable for both obedience and tricks alike.

Basic Bichon Frise Care Requirements

Grooming - In order to maintain the gorgeous fluffy white coat, the Bichon Frise will need to be brushed every day, and will need a professional grooming every month to month and a half. There are two main styles for Bichon Frises, including the full, round, fluffy style that is seen at shows, and the closer "puppy cut" which is much easier to maintain for the average owner. By keeping up with regular grooming, the fur and skin are kept clean, and tangles, snarls, and mats are kept to a minimum. The ears can have too much hair on the inside, and the toes can grow too much fur between them; both of these areas should be regularly trimmed. The face will need to be regularly cleaned and trimmed to stop eye discharge from building up or staining the face fur. This is important for appearance as well as to stop infections, allergies, and blocked tear ducts.

Exercise - The Bichon Frise does not have an enormous reserve of energy, making them a very good family pet for people who want to give their dog a bit of exercise every day with a nice walk, but aren’t looking for constant efforts to wear the dog down. Typically, the Bichon Frise will be able to adapt to whatever activity level their families enjoy, as long as there is some exercise every day.

Approximate Food Cost - On a monthly basis, it should cost approximately $10-15 to feed a Bichon Frise. This is assuming that the dog is a typically active, healthy adult, eating around ½ to 1 ¼ cups of a standard dry food.

General Health Information

Typically speaking, the Bichon Frise is a long-lived, healthy breed that is not at a tremendous risk of many congenital or genetic medical issues. They do have a certain predisposition to some health problems, especially among bitches, including bladder stones, kneecap dislocations, and epilepsy.

It is important to keep a regular watch on the coat, eyes, and teeth of the dog in order to ensure that everything is as it should be. This type of consistent eye on the health of the dog helps to minimize the risk of pemphigus and pyorrhea.

Common Illnesses include: Dental problems, bladder and kidney stones, ear mites, cruciate ligament tears, Cushing’s Syndrome, patellar luxation, and skin problems such as atopy (allergies to inhaled substances).

Are You the Right Bichon Frise Owner?

Living conditions - The Bichon Frise can live very happily in just about any kind of home, from an apartment to an enormous house. Ideally, a home with a yard of any size will give the dog the right amount of room to exercise as well as to relax. As long as the family is there, the Bichon Frise can be happy in almost any living environment. It is important to note that the Bichon Frise dog is sensitive to high temperatures, so if an owner lives in a climate that gets very hot, air conditioning is very advisable.

Bichon Frise Training - Due to the many characteristics conducive to training - intelligence, cooperation, and eagerness to please - the Bichon Frise is a very easy dog to train for both obedience and tricks. The key to success in training this breed is using positive reinforcement training and consistency, while avoiding negative training techniques. Verbal praise and/or treats go a long way to encourage a Bichon Frise. The primary training challenge for the Bichon Frise is housetraining. Dogs seem to be easier to train than bitches, though they can both be very effectively crate trained. The earlier obedience training begins, the more effective and easier it is.

Common Problems - The Bichon Frise is quite sensitive to heat, so it is important to keep an eye on the weather before letting him or her outside for a long time on very hot days. Shorter walks or calmer indoor play is recommended on hot days. Use effective cooling techniques, air conditioners, and always leave out fresh clean water for the dog.

Because this dog is highly social, it is somewhat susceptible to separation anxiety. Owners who work all day out of the house should make arrangements for a dog walker or someone else to give the dog some attention during the day.

The bottom line...

The Bichon Frise is a happy, bubbly, charming, and appealing little dog that is enthusiastic to be around people and to please, but that maintains a calm disposition.

These dogs are comfortable additions to families of any kind, including those with children or other pets (canine or otherwise). These highly lovable dogs are loyal and dedicated to their families.

The greatest joy of a Bichon Frise is the time he or she can spend with other members of the family.

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