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The Happy-Go-Lucky Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

If you are looking for a sweet, happy go lucky small dog then the Bichon Frise might be the dog for you. 

The name, Bichon Frise is pronounced BEE-shon Free-ZAY. A very popular small purebred dog, the Bichon is ranked number 38 on the American Kennel Club's 2013 breed list.

Their fluffy, powder puff coat with their large dark eyes make them an irresistible choice for a small dog companion.

They do require a commitment to grooming, at least a good comb every other day, but their exercise requirements are minimal. 

These little guys can be barkers and may be hard to housebreak, but they make up for it in their friendly, responsive, and affectionate nature. 

Quick Facts about the Bichon Frise Dog

Quick Facts about the Bichon Frise


Affiliation:  AKC:  Non-Sporting, UK:  Companion, CKC: Non-Sporting

Size

      Height:  9.5-11.5 inches

      Weight 10-16 pounds

Coat Type:  Very plush, curly, double coat, more hypoallergenic

Colors:  White (some have shades of cream or apricot)

Country of Origin:  Canary Islands/ France

Activity Level: Moderately Active

These dogs make great lap dogs, but they are definitely not lazy.  The Bichon is an active breed but can get most of their exercise needs with a daily walk or vigorous romp around the house or yard.  They can get bursts of energy where they will run wildly around the house.

Life Expectancy:  12-15 years

Good with Children:  Yes

Good with other pets:  Yes

History

Bichon Frise Puppy

Originating in the Mediterranean area, its main function from the very beginning was that of a companion dog and a performer.

Having first descended from the Barbet or Water-Spaniel crossed with the poodle, it was divided into four different types: Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, the Bichon Havanais, and the Bichon Teneriffe. 

The Bichon that we know today came from this last category.

This spunky, playful breed developed on the Canary Island of Teneriffe, possibly after having been brought there by ancient Spanish sailors. 

In the 14th century, Italian sailors visiting the island brought the dog back to the mainland where they became a favorite pet of the upper class and nobility. 

After several French invasions of Italy in the 16th century, they became popular with the French as well.   

It was during the Middle Ages that the breed developed often being called the Tenerife Bichon from the location where it was first discovered. 

Around the 1800s, the Bichon became popular with the common people and were used by peddlers and organ grinders to perform tricks for money. 

Nowadays they have become a favorite family pet, eager to cuddle, play or give affection.

Personality/Temperament

Bichon Frise

Gentle, affectionate, playful, cheerful, intelligent, bold, lively, and clownish are words that describe the Bichon Frise. 

They are great with families, children, and other animals.  They make great apartment dogs due to their small size and low exercise requirements. 

Bichons are considered to be a very intelligent breed, but may not always be cooperative with house training. 

Most Bichon puppy owners will confine their dog in a small area while away from the home and put them on a regular schedule. 

Crate training is also recommended.  This breed bonds quickly to his new owner and is eager to please. 

They love to be the center of attention, a real show off and can learn to do tricks easily.  He will keep you entertained.

Coat and Grooming

Bichon Frise Show CoatThe beautiful coat of a Show Bichon requires extensive grooming, much more than the average person can do.

Many people fall in love with the gorgeous thick curly double coat of the Bichon.

But with this coat comes a little time commitment and financial outlay if you are planning to use a professional groomer. 

If you are considering a Bichon, be prepared for daily or at least every other day grooming. 

You will never find their hair shedding on your furniture, but rather it sheds into itself creating mats if not combed and brushed regularly. 

They require brushing and combing at least every other day to keep the lovely powder puff look sans the mats. 

Bichons also need clipping or trimming every two months with a bath or two in between.

If you plan on keeping your dog in a shorter coat, you may need to budget for grooming every 6 weeks. 

 Eye stains can be a problem, so a daily face wash is recommended. 

Nails also need to be clipped and ear hairs plucked from the ears. 

Hair also grows between the pads of the the Bichon Frise's paws and needs to be trimmed. 

Most of these tasks are done by the groomer.

Health Concerns

Bichon Playing in the SnowPlaying in the Snow

This is a relatively healthy breed, but certain health problems do exist. Most of the problems that the Bichon might face are common in small breed dogs.  

Patellar luxation,

Allergies,

Cataracts,

Hip dysplasia

These conditions are all seen in many different breeds and will need attention by a veterinarian but are not life threatening.  Another common concern of owners is blocked tear ducts which causes the runny eyes and tear stains. 

Pros of Living With a Bichon Frise

  • Wonderful personality, playful, affectionate, great family pet
  • Great with children and other pets
  • His coat does not shed
  • Good apartment pet
  • Relatively health breed

Cons of Living with a Bichon Frise

  • Difficult to housebreak
  • A little stubborn
  • Requires frequent grooming

Did You Know...

The Bichon is in the same family of dogs as the Maltese, Havanese, Bolognese and Coton de Tulear, but is the only one with a double coat?


For More Information on this breed, visit the Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc. Page


Love the Bichon?  Thinking about Getting One? 

Need more information before deciding on this breed? 

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Milo was bought by our daughter in law at Christmas. Poor Milo was unwanted within a very short time due to his non-stop barking. Milo was living in …

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