The Bichon Frise is a small and sturdy dog with dark, round, inquisitive eyes and a prominent black nose. The breed is sometimes compared to a cotton ball due to its white, powder-puff coat. These dogs have a textured, curly outer coat and a soft, silky, and dense undercoat. There may be some shadings of cream, buff, or apricot, especially around the ears, and the breed has a plumed tail that is carried over the back. Bichon Frise dogs measure 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 10 to 18 pounds. They live up to 15 years with proper care and nutrition.
These dogs are famous for experiencing short bursts of energy that cause them to run around the yard, house, or park while barking and growling. This behavior generally last 30 seconds to several minutes, after which the Bichon will quickly lie down and rest.
A gentle and playful breed, Bichon Frise dogs are excellent companions for people of all ages. They are gentle, playful, and active, and they are known for their merry personality. This breed is also a good choice for allergy sufferers because Bichon Frise dogs do not shed. Although dander, and not hair, is responsible for a dog's allergenic status, shedding causes more dander to be released into the environment. The Bichon Frise's hair grows continuously.
These dogs are famous for experiencing short bursts of energy that cause them to run around the yard, house, or park while barking and growling. This behavior generally last 30 seconds to several minutes, after which the Bichon will quickly lie down and rest. These episodes are sometimes called "Bichon Blitzes."
Bichon Frise dogs are very affectionate and playful and get along great with cats and dogs. They are also good with older children. Because these small dogs are easily injured during rough play and are prone to snapping when frightened, they are not the best choice for homes with young children.
These happy, playful, and smart dogs are known for their clownish antics and silly personalities. They love to be the center of attention and seek affection from their human companions. In fact, the Bichon Frise is one of the most affectionate dog breeds around.
Although some Bichons are territorial, most are very friendly with strangers. The breed's small size makes them a great choice for apartment living, and these dogs are sweet and adaptable and can find happiness in any setting. The breed is famous for its short bursts of intense energy that often result in growling, barking, and racing around in circles. This unusual behavior should be considered before placing these dogs in extremely small homes.
The Bichon Frise breed is prone to a number of potentially serious health conditions that may reduce quality of life without treatment. Hip dysplasia, a condition that can lead to arthritis and loss of mobility, is common in the breed, as is luxating patellas. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a disorder of reduced blood supply to the head of thigh bone, is another problem that affects Bichons. The first sign of this disorder is usually limping at 5 to 8 months of age. Legg-Calve-Perthes is treatable with surgery.
The breed is also prone to several eye problems, including cataracts, which can cause blindness as early as 2 years of age. Allergies, bladder stones, and certain autoimmune diseases, such as immune mediated hemolytic anemia, also affect these dogs. Primary ciliary dyskinesia, which is congenital condition that affects the respiratory system, is also a concern. Additionally, like other small dogs, Bichons are at increased risk for severe dental problems.
Despite being at risk for certain health problems, Bichon Frise dogs are generally healthy and long-lived. In fact, with proper nutrition, regular activity, routine vaccinations, and regular veterinary care, these dogs often live 15 years or longer.
While Bichon Frise dogs are very smart and learn quickly, the breed is difficult to housetrain. Crate training puppies may be of benefit, and a lot of patience is necessary.
Although these dogs are fairly well behaved, they may develop problems with snapping, barking, and nipping. Gentle and consistent training can help minimize these negative behaviors. Training sessions should be kept short and fun. These dogs respond best to positive reinforcement techniques that involve treats and praise.
These dogs have a lot of energy, but they are also quickly exhausted. In most cases, there's no need to schedule play or exercise sessions, as regular play and the breed's famous "blitzes" are generally sufficient to relieve pent up energy. When human companions are not available for play, giving the Bichon Frise a canine playmate can help. An animal companion will also help reduce separation anxiety, a common problem in this breed.
Daily brushing is necessary to maintain the Bichon Frise's coat, which grows continuously. Regular and extensive grooming is required to keep mats under control; otherwise, a professional groomer is needed to manage the coat. In addition to brushing, trimming must be done regularly in order to maintain the powder puff appearance the breed is famous for having. The coat should be trimmed to highlight the natural outline of the body, with care taken not to remove too much length.
The coat of Bichon Frise dogs does not fully develop until one year of age. However, this does not mean grooming is unnecessary before the first birthday. Beginning grooming early in life ensures these dogs will tolerate the process later on.
In addition to regularly brushing the coat with a pin brush, frequent bathing will help the hair stand off the body. The nails should be trimmed as needed, and the teeth need regular brushing to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay, two problems common in smaller dogs. Rust-colored tear stains are removable with commercial tear stain removers. Avoid products that contain antibiotics. The ears should be checked weekly for wax buildup, as well as for redness, odor, discharge, and other signs of infection.
Bichon Frise dogs descended from Water Spaniels. The breed has been around for more than 2,000 years, although not always with the same name. The dogs were traded by sailors from Spain and moved from continent to continent by boat, eventually becoming a favorite in the French royal courts during the 16th century. They were also a popular breed among Spanish painters, and many of these dogs ended up starring in paintings during this early period.
The breed worked as circus dogs for a while, and some performed on the street with their human companions. Their merry personality, friendliness, and clownish ways made them a hit with both adults and children.
In 1956, a French family moved to Michigan and brought their Bichons with them. This was the breed's introduction to America. These delightful dogs are now are kept strictly as companion animals, which is what they were originally bred for.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bichon Frise in 1972.