Have you seen the tiny and adorable, all-white dog out on walks with their owners? If so, you’re looking at the Bichon Frise (Bee-Shawn Free-say). Bichon Frise, loosely translated, means Bichon (toy dog) Frise (curly-haired).
Bichons Frises are one of the most well-known and hugely popular lap dogs, not just in America but worldwide. They have a happy and playful nature and are incessantly curious; whether you’re retired, single, or a family, the Bichon Frise could be the perfect doggy addition.
Personality: Playful, feisty, affectionate, lovable, sensitive, cheerful, and gentle
Life Expectancy: 14 to 15 years
Size & Weight: 12 to 18 pounds and up to 9.5 and 11.5 inches in height
Exercise requirements: 20 to 40 minutes each day
Features: Naturally floppy ears
Coat: Medium length, curly
Colors: White with shades of cream
AKC (American Kennel Club) group: non-sporting group
AKC Popularity rank: number 46 of 197
Bichon Frise History
The Bichon Frise roots date all the way back to the 13th century in the area of the Mediterranean sea. Most people assume that Bichons are French dogs, but Spanish sailors would bring the tiny dog on board their ships to trade the dogs for goods; the personality and temperament of the little Bichons meant they were pretty desirable. Bichons Frises are a member of a group of dogs known as the Barbichon family, other dogs related to the Bichon are Havanese, Maltese, and the Bolognese.
Once sailors had introduced the dog, his popularity spread, and soon the nobility of the time was taking notice and adopting the tiny Bichon as companion dogs. Some historical accounts claim that the English king Henry 111 carried his Bichons everywhere with him and even had a unique carrying basket made for them.
The French Revolution abruptly brought their popularity and unique position in life to a swift end, where the common folk of France had more than enough of the nobility. However, you can’t keep a fantastic little dog down, and the Bichon gravitated towards being a street and circus performer.
French breeders adopted the Bichon Frise standard after the Second World War, and the dog was imported into the USA in 1950, being officially recognized by the AKC in 1972.
Bichon Frise Size And Look
Bichons Frises instantly hit the cuteness meter at a resounding 10 out of 10. The dog always sports a white curly coat, although a bit of off-white can creep in, with dark eyes and a black button nose; the eyes and nose jump right out of their face with the white fur background.
Bichons virtually have a non-shedding coat, but it’s not hypoallergenic (no dog coat is). However, even if you have dog allergies, the Bichon might make an excellent choice for you if you’re adamant you want a furry pup in your family. Their double coat will collect any dead or loose hair from falling, and they’re not a dog that drools.
The coat is high-maintenance, though, and requires regular brushing. Grooming your Bichon is where you might get a runny nose and have a few sneezing bouts; if you can get a family member to do the brushing outside for you, I doubt you’ll experience any allergy symptoms.
Bichon Frise Temperament And Personality
Bichons are undoubtedly a happy-go-lucky breed of tiny dogs. They can be silly and playful, with a tendency to get a little over-excited at times. Even allowing for their diminutive size, they are still pretty good watchdogs because they enjoy hearing themselves bark – a lot. But there’s nothing untoward aggressive in this little dog. He’s friendly to everyone and every dog he meets.
Sometimes his devil-may-care attitude can get him in trouble with bigger, more aggressive dogs. Owners beware and be cautious when you’re out and encounter a big dog, your little Bichon will happily run up to say hello, and that could bring some highly unpleasant consequences. Bichons Frises have only one occupation, which has been the case for most of their history, and that’s as a companion dog. So if you’re not into dogs attaching themselves to you wherever you go, then a Bichon is not the correct choice.
These dogs hate being left alone and suffer from pretty severe separation anxiety. The upside to that is because they’re so tiny you can take them with you to most places you’ll likely go, and that’s just wonderful because who doesn’t want to take their furry family member with them.
Bichons are fantastic little family dogs; they’ll worship the kids just as much as anyone else in the family. Kids can have hours of fun playing with their Bichon in the garden or on walks because they are high-energy little dogs and have a natural playfulness about them. But they will tire and shouldn’t be over-exerted. Another thing is their size, young children might not appreciate just how fragile tiny bones are, and the dog can get injured with rough play.
Bichon Frise Exercising
Bichons make excellent apartment dogs, but still, they need a reasonable amount of exercise or playtime to burn off the energy. If they happen to live with a family with a house and a yard, they’ll happily burn the energy themselves running around and checking everything out.
If you don’t have a house with a yard, you’ll need to give your Bichon about 40 to 50 minutes of quality exercise each day.
Bichons are intelligent little dogs and can be difficult to potty train when young. They don’t like cold weather and, if it’s raining, will fight tooth and nail not to go outside. But you have to be firm and persist. Bichons have a sensitive nature and will not respond well to harsh training methods; they’ll take it to heart if you raise your voice.
Bichons Frises learn best from owners that offer masses of praise and plenty of the Bichon’s favorite treats. Ensure you’re consistent with their training and don’t give in to them because they’re smart they can also be a little bit crafty and try it on with you.
Even though Bichons are small dogs and can simply be picked up if there’s any problem or issue when you’re outside with him, it’s still crucial that you socialize him correctly. If you intend to take your Bichon with you when you’re traveling, etc., it’s so much better getting him started on early socialization because it creates a much calmer dog and less likely to be hyper or over-excited.
Bichon Frise Health
It’s pretty standard for most dog breeds to have inherited health conditions that they seem prone to, and the Bichon Fries is no exception. If you’re particularly interested in a puppy, thoroughly researching breeders in your home area or contacting Bichon clubs for breeder referrals is a necessity. There are so many irresponsible breeders that want only money they could care less about the welfare of their puppies or the parents. When you find a breeder you feel is professional and responsible, you need to visit them and check them out. If they’re reputable, the breeder will want to do due diligence on you also.
Assuming all of this is okay, you want to ask the breeder for specific health clearances from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals); the clearances should cover hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease (a hereditary blood-clotting illness), and hypothyroidism. If you research as we suggest and check all the health clearance certificates, then any puppies should be healthy with no hereditary illnesses. A healthy Bichon Frise will live between 13 and 15 years.
Bichons Frises need regular dental care; small dogs are especially prone to issues with their teeth. Allowing a Bichon to suffer from gum disease or tooth decay can have severe consequences to their health. So from a young puppy, get your Bichon accustomed to you cleaning their teeth regularly. Of course, puppies will lose their first set of teeth; your aim here is to get your puppy to simply accept teeth cleaning as the norm.
Bichons are susceptible to overeating and becoming obese; this is another risk factor you should avoid at all costs. You must measure your Bichon’s food at every mealtime. You should never feed dogs of this size one meal each day. Whatever the daily allowance is for your dog’s weight, divide that figure into three smaller meals. We would advise against filling the food bowl and leaving it down to eat as when they feel like it. Try to create a routine and feed your Bichon at the exact time three times each day, with a measured amount.
You should also monitor treats and snacks; no more than 10% of the allowable daily calories should be treats and snacks; deduct the 10% from the overall calorific total. Should you have more family members that might offer your Bichon snacks and treats, ensure everyone knows the rules regarding treats. Treats might appear small and insignificant, but they add up quickly, particularly if three or four family members give snacks.
The Bichon Frise is a fantastic little dog, perfect for singles, retired people, and families. Bichons are companion dogs and love nothing better than to curl up on your lap. They are sensitive and require firm but kind handling. They will remember any harsh treatment, and while they might ultimately forgive you, they will be distraught. Bichons are happy-go-lucky little dogs with a playful and outgoing personality.