Bichon Frise Dog Breed Information Profile
All about Bichons. Learn all about the Bichon Frise dog breed. Includes photos and videos, as well as detailed information on the history, appearance. temperament, health, care, grooming, training and suitability of this popular small white fluffy breed of dog.
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Bichon Frise Dog Breed Facts
Origin: The Mediterranean
Height: 9-12 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 7-12 pounds average
Exercise Needs: Moderate
Grooming Needs: High
Life Expectancy: 15+ years
Good With Kids: Yes
Common Misspellings: Beeshon Freese, Bichon Freese, Beeshon Frise, Beachon Frise, Beachon Freese, Bishon Frise
Alternate Names: Has also been known as the Bichon Teneriffe, the Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, and the Bichon Havanais
All About Bichon Frise Dogs & Puppies
Originally developed in the Mediterranean, the Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Barbet, a variety of Water Spaniel that was common to that area. While he was first called the “Barbichon,” his name would eventually be shortened to “Bichon” and, originally, this unique little dog was divided up into four different categories: the Bichon Teneriffe, the Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, and the Bichon Havanais.
Regardless of what number of names he was known by, he would eventually come to be one of the most popular breeds of small dog in the world. How was it that this little powder puff of a dog came to be so widely-known? Most Bichon fans will tell you that it’s all about the personality.
How To Adopt a Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise History
The Bichon Frise are generally very happy and cheerful individuals, and they seem to have a great love of traveling. Quite often, sailors would barter with these little white dogs, using them as trade items as they traveled across the seas and from continent to continent. It is believed that it was the trading practices of the Spanish sailors that first introduced the Bichon Frise to the Canary Islands, but as far back as the early 1300’s, Italian sailors claimed to have discovered this unique little island-bred dog and they eagerly reintroduced it back to the Continent. In no time, they became a favorite of the Italian nobility and, amongst those that frequented the courts, the Bichon Frise was often clipped in a fashionable style, resembling a lion.
In addition to their popularity in Italy, the Bichon also remained a favorite of the Spanish Infantas, and the painters of the Spanish school frequently painted the Bichon Frise in many of their works. During the Renaissance, this adorable little white dog also captivated the French, though it wasn’t until the court of Henry III, that the Bichon truly gained a place amongst the French nobility. Of course, as court fashion came and went, it wasn’t long before the powder puff Bichon was set aside for something else that was new and exciting.
The Bichon Frise would enjoy a brief popularity peak while Napoleon III ruled, but he would soon become known as the “common dog” and was then left to the peasants, where he ran loose in the streets or performed in local fairs and circuses. Popular amongst the organ grinders from Barbary, this happy-go-lucky white dog enjoyed his place in the spotlight and eagerly learned new tricks that endeared him in the hearts of many. Common dog or not, he was determined to make his mark in the dog world.
In 1933, the Societe Centrale Canine of France adopted an official standard for this fluffy white dog. At this time, they were known as either the “Bichon” or the “Teneriffe,” so the president of the International Canine Federation proposed that a single name would be decided, that would identify the traits of this unique little dog and, with that, so he was named the Bichon Frise (“Frise” making reference to the breed’s soft and curly hair).
What does the Bichon Frise look like?
The Bichon Frise stands between 9 and 12 inches at the shoulder and is well known for his incredibly curly, soft coat. With their only variety being white, they are quite often referred to as powder puffs, simply because of their fluffy appearance.
Coupled with a plumed tail which is always carried happily draped over his back and very dark, inquisitive eyes, the Bichon seems to radiate exuberance and a willing nature.
Temperament and Character of the Bichon Frise Dog Breed
The Bichon is best described as a very open and "happy" dog, full of personality andgenerally friendly to all. Rarely are Bichon Frise suspicious or aloof dogs, and skittishness is something that few Bichon will ever exhibit. More likely than not, a properly-socialized Bichon Frise puppy will greet everyone at the door with a happy attitude and acting as if they are long-lost friends – even if he's never met them before!
Bichon are usually very friendly with other pets, including cats and other dogs. Children are especially favored, particularly if they are big enough to play a gentle game of tug-o-war, but old enough so as to know better than to pull ears and tails.
Unlike many purebred breeds, the Bichon Frise does not suffer from a long list of various maladies. Nevertheless, there are some various conditions that can affect your Bichon puppy and it’s best to be educated on the subject. Bichon Frise health concerns include, but are not limited to:
- Dental problems
- Bladder infections
- Eye Disease
- Patellar Luxation
- Skin conditions
- Ear infections
Training Bichon Frise Dogs
The Bichon Frise possesses a very keen mind and sharp wit. More often than not, he is quick to learn obedience commands, as well as tricks.
Provided he is properly encouraged and his good behavior is properly reinforced, the Bichon owner is sure to discover that her four-legged friend will learn a wealth of tricks.
Just beware that the Bichon Frise enjoys playtime and is not adverse to playing the clown, if he thinks it will make his humans happy. His lack of seriousness can sometimes grate on the nerves of the more serious dog trainers.
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Bichon Frise Dog Breed Care
While the Bichon Frise are playful and outgoing little dogs, they do not require a great deal of exercise. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to go for lengthy walks, but isn’t adverse to a short trip to the park or you enjoy a light game of tug-o-war or fetch in the living room, then the Bichon Frise may be well-suited to you.
While not a lazy dog, those short legs have to cover twice as much ground as that of their human counterparts, and can quickly get worn out, making them a good match for the elderly or for those who do not have a fenced in yard and enjoy taking the dog out for an afternoon walk
For many, this is the deciding factor on whether or not to get a Bichon Frise puppy; with their soft and wooly coat, they easily fall into the high-maintenance pooch category. Requiring either a thorough brushing at least every other day or a couple of trips to the grooming salon, every week, this is often far too much for a person with a busy lifestyle to even consider taking on.
In addition to this, pale colored dogs can get rust-stains at the corners of their eyes or the hair around their muzzles can get dirty when they eat. In addition to bathing the Bichon Frise, responsible owners also have to take the time to dry their furry companions, particularly if the weather is cool.
If you’re considering taking a look at some Bichon puppies, be sure to keep in mind just how much work one of these little dogs will be, and weigh that into your pros and cons.
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Bichon Frise Nutrition and Feeding
- Royal Canin Bichon Frise Adult dry dog food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of purebred Bichon Frises 10 months and older
- Exclusive kibble shape helps Bichons easily pick up and chew their food
- Reinforces the skin barrier with essential nutrients to support healthy skin and a shiny, white coat
- Aids digestive health and promotes optimal stool quality with high-quality proteins and prebiotics
- Promotes weight control with an appropriate calorie content to help maintain an ideal weight
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The Bichon is a wonderful companion animal and is generally happy and friendly. Rarely snappish, they are a favorite amongst the elderly, as well as with those who are allergic to most dogs, due to the fact that they don’t shed like many breeds. Bichon also love children and tend to get along, very well, with cats and other dogs as well.
There are three main concerns to keep in mind, if you’re thinking about getting a Bichon Frise puppy. The first of these is the amount of time that you have to spend with your puppy; Bichons are companion animals and they enjoy company. While they can be taught to stay in a crate happily, they dislike being left alone for long periods of time, and they do love to travel. The second and third concerns have to be the safety issues within your home – do you have larger, more aggressive dogs? If you do, you may want to have them meet on a more neutral territory and make sure that they get along.
The last and one of the most important concerns has to deal with children. While the Bichon Frise is an excellent family dog, and is very good with children, be wary of getting any puppy until your child is over the age of 5 years. Puppies are very fragile creatures and can easily break bones if they are dropped, kicked, or fallen on. Be sure to protect your baby Bichon, just as you protect your own baby.
For more information on the Bichon, or to examine whether or not a Bichon Frise will do well in your home, contact your veterinarian or local breeders and be sure to ask lots of questions. If you decide on one of these adorable little dogs, discuss with the breeder, ahead of time, what will be needed for your new puppy. You definitely won’t regret having such a warm and happy individual cross paths with you!
Frequently Asked Questions About the Bichon Frise Dog Breed
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