Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small, stocky dog of balanced proportions. The gently rounded skull features a lightly accentuated stop and well-balanced muzzle. The round eyes are dark brown or even black in color, with a curious yet soft expression. Surrounding the eyes are dark brown to black skin known as halos which serve to accentuate them. The drop ears are high-set and covered with long hair, and frame the face well when the dog is alert. The Bichon’s nose is sensitive and always black, while the lower jaw area is sturdy and strong. A gracefully arche neck leads to a firm and muscular body and broad chest. The plumed tail is level with the topline and curled over the back so that the hairs of the tail touch the back. The coat is one of the most distinguishing features of the Bichon Frise. While the undercoat is thick and soft, the outercoat is more curly and coarse. The texture and look of the coat, especially after grooming, is springy and puffy. While the hair on the body is often clipped slightly, the hair around the face is left longer. Coat color is always white, yet can take on a slight tone of cream, apricot or buff in certain areas.

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Fast Facts

Non-Sporting
13 - 15 years
Mediterranean environs
Antiquity
11 - 16 lb
10 - 15 lb
10 - 12"
9 - 11"
Bichon Frisse, Bishon Frise, or Bichon Freese.
Bichon Tenerife, Bichon a Poil Frise

Bichon Frise Temperament

The Bichon Frise, unlike many other small dog breeds, is not yappy by nature....

They adore the company of humans and make fantastic family pets. The Bichon is smart, affectionate and energetic. Because this breed is so sociable, they shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time. They are great with kids and other family pets, and excel at obedience training. Though not much of a guard dog, the Bichon Frise is a more than respectable watchdog. As is the case with many small breeds, housebreaking the Frise can be trying at times; firm, consistent training should overcome this challenge, however.

Caring For a Bichon Frise

Because of the high maintenance coat, the Bichon Frise should be bathed and groomed monthly....

You will need to trim the body with electric clippers, while the hair around the face can be trimmed with scissors. The Bichon tends to stain around the eyes so care should be taken to keep this area clean. Make sure the ears are free of dirt and mites and the nails are trimmed. These dogs may require a bit of care, but they are ideal for allergy sufferers and people worried about dog hair because they shed very little, if at all. Bichons require a moderate amount of exercise, including a daily walk, and make perfect indoor dogs. The dog sometimes suffers from patellar luxation, Cushing’s, allergies, cataract and canine hip dysplasia.

Bichon Frise History

A Brief History of the Bichon Frise

Known for most of its existence as the Bichon Tenerife, the Bichon Frise originated thousands of years ago around the Mediterranean Sea....

The Tenerife belongs to the Bichon family of dogs, which traces its lineage back to crossings between Barbets (similar to a Water Spaniel) and small white dogs. Each Bichon dog takes its name from the place credited with its development, and the Tenerife is no different, since it developed on the Canary Island of Tenerife. During the 16th century the Bichon Tenerife was brought to France, where its popularity waxed and waned depending on the tastes of those in power; Francis I, Henry III and Napoleon III are known to have helped boost the popularity of this dog. Portraiture from this period often featured royals posing with their puffy white Bichons. The 19th century saw a severe reversal of the Tenerife’s fortunes. Banished from the comfortable parlors of the aristocracy, the Bichon Tenerife now found itself on street corners among street performers and organ grinders, entertaining passers by. In this capacity, the dog was greatly aided by its facility for learning and performing tricks, and it was this skill that preserved the dog until World War I, when it was nearly wiped out. During the 1930s a group of French breeders began an effort to preserve the breed, and in 1933 it was officially recognized under the name Bichon Frise by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. The Bichon Frise was brought to the Untied States during the 1950s and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1971. Since that time, the breed has enjoyed a modest but stable rise in popularity.