Bichon Frise

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Tenerife Dog
  • Bichon
Country/Date of origin:
  • Spain
  • 1400′s
  • 9 to 12 inches at shoulder
  • 7 to 12 pounds
  • Happy.  Happy.  Happy.  This breed is Pollyanna in canine form.
  • The Bichon lives to make you happy, too.
  • Loving and lovable.
  • Requires little exercise, so it is quite suited to apartment living.
  • Intelligent, although sometimes exhibits a stubborn streak.

The history of the Bichon Frise is like that of a mysterious and exotic stranger.  Some claim a Maltese as the foundation stock, others see a dash of Poodle or Barbet.  The truth is the breed is probably a mixture of the best qualities of a lot of little lap dogs.  It is an ancient breed at any rate.  Bichons have been the favored playthings of aristocratic ladies since the Middle Ages.  They spread around the Mediterranean region because sea captains knew well the favors they could buy with one of the little canine charmers.  But as royalty’s fortunes declined, so did that of the Bichon Frise.  However, for a dog that was bred to please, it had other ways to make a living.  It literally joined the circus.  For almost a century the little powder puffs have amused audiences as clown dogs or dancing companions of organ grinders.  They remained popular in France but it wasn’t until the 1950′s that they began to attract an international following again.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) gave them full recognition as a member of the Non-sporting Group in 1973.

Body Type:
  • Small, fluffy dog with a poodle-like appearance.
  • Tail curls over the back and is not altered.
  • Narrow ears hang close to the head and frame the face.  They are never altered.
  • An extremely thick, double coat.  Left to its own devices the coat would form short, corkscrew curls.  However, it is usually brushed and trimmed to form a fluffy powder-puff effect.
  • The outercoat is silky and long (two inches or more).
  • The undercoat is soft and short.
  • Hair on the ears and tail is longer than that on the body.
  • Permissible colors are white or white in combination with buff, cream, apricot, or gray.
  • Professional grooming is absolutely required for pets, as well as show dogs.  Plan on once every six weeks.
Health and Wellness:
  • Epiphora.
  • Urolithiasis (oxalate and struvite).
  • Patella luxation.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy.
  • Periodontal disease.
  • Generalized tremor.
  • Mitral insufficiency.
What you should know:
  • The name Bichon Frise means simply little fluffy dog in French.
  • It is pronounced Bee shoan Free say.
  • Bichons were powdered, perfumed, and coifed till Bichon came to mean pamper or make beautiful.
  • Bichons are literally clowns.  They enjoy entertaining people and many of the circus dogs most people think are Poodles are actually Bichons.
  • A high purchase price and monthly professional grooming can make the Bichon an expensive breed to own.
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