Bichon Frise Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Bichon Frise puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

This breed dates back as far as the 14th century. It originated in Mediterranean and shares a common ancestor, the Barbet, or Water Spaniel, with the Poodle and the Maltese. The original breed name was the Barbichon, from the word Barbet, but was later shortened to Bichon.

Their cheerful and easygoing disposition made Bichon Frises welcomed companions. They traveled extensively, often used as items of barter by sailors who traded them for provisions and other goods.

These travels spread the breed from continent to continent. It's believed that Bichons were introduced to the Canary Island of Teneriffe by the Spanish sailors and later, in the 1300s, they were reintroduced to the Continent by Italian seamen.

In those days, the breed that we know today as Bichon Frise was known by two names: Bichon and Teneriffe. The modern name was acquired much later.

Upon its return to Europe, the breed quickly became very popular, first among Italian nobility, and later in France, where it was a favorite of royal courts. It also gained some popularity in Spain. Numerous painters of the Spanish school, including Goya, included Bichons in their works.

But nothing lasts forever and its popularity began to decline in the mid-1800s. By late 1800s it became a common breed, accompanying street performers, performing in circuses, and leading blind.

The official breed standard was established by the Societe Centrale Canine of France in March of 1933. That's also when the breed that at the time was known by two distinct names got its modern name -- Bichon Frise (the "Frise" part of the name refers to dog's soft, curly hair).

While individual dogs made their way to U.S. in the beginning of the 20th century, there are no records of their breeding. The first officially recognized Bichon Frise litter in the United States was produced in 1956 but it wasn't until 1972 that the breed was recognized by AKC.

Physical Characteristics of Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small, sturdy dog that is often mistaken for a white Poodle or a Maltese (remember the common ancestor that I mentioned earlier?).

It has a medium-boned and nicely balanced body with a long neck, wide and well developed chest, and moderately sprung rib cage. The tail is well plumed and curved over the back in such a way that the hair of the tail touches the back.

The front legs are straight. The back legs are well-muscled and spaced moderately wide. Both, the front and back legs are of medium bone. The feet are round, with black pads, and have a cat-like appearance.

The head is slightly rounded and proportional to the rest of the body. The eyes are round, set to look directly forward, and should be either black or dark brown. The
drop-down ears are covered with long hair. The nose is always black.

The Bichon Frise coat is hypo-allergenic and consists of soft and dense undercoat and a coarser and curlier outer coat. It's mostly white, with possible shadings of cream or apricot. But any color in excess of 10% of the entire coat is considered a fault.

    Height Weight
  Male 9- 12 inches 7 - 12 pounds
  Female 9- 12 inches 7 - 12 pounds

Bichon Frise Temperament

Charming, lively, happy, intelligent, and affectionate. These are some of the traits common to all Bichon Frise dogs. They are also self-assured and somewhat independent minded, but don't take these two traits as something negative -- all Bichons enjoy human company and are easy to get along with.

Very sociable, they get along well with other pets, including dogs. They also get along well with children. In fact, their high energy level and playfulness makes them ideal pets for families with children.

I mentioned earlier that Bichons enjoy human company. Well, they not only enjoy it but they need human contact to be happy. This is not a breed to leave alone for extended periods of time. Make them feel like they are part of the family and include them in your activities.

The breed is easy to train. They can even be taught to perform tricks! But similar to other smaller breeds, housebreaking a Bichon Frise can be a challenge.

Also similar to other smaller breeds, without proper rules and limits, this breed may develop a Small Dog Syndrome, a condition where a dog tries to act as a pack leader to his human family. Some behaviors common to this syndrome include excessive barking, growling and snapping, guarding, and puppy separation anxiety.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The Bichon Frise is a very adaptable breed and, with enough exercise, will adjust equally well to a large home in a country and a small city apartment.

This is also a very sociable breed that shouldn't be left on his own for extended periods of time. It needs to be included in family activities and will do best with an owner who will make him feel as part of a family.

Some Bichon Frise breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like other breeds, Bichons require regular exercise to stay physically and mentally fit.

While a lot of their daily exercise requirements can be taken care of with regular play, all dogs need to be taken for a walk and this breed is no exception. At a minimum, take your pet for at least one walk every day.


First, the good news -- this breed sheds very little hair and is good for those who suffer from allergies. The bad news, it requires more grooming and care than many other breeds.

To prevent matting and keep the coat looking its best, daily brushing and combing is required. Daily brushing will remove dead hair that accumulates due to the fact that Bichons shed very little. Start with a pin brush and finish off with a comb.

Some owners bathe their pets several times per month. You will decide how often you want to bathe your pet but be prepared to do it at least once per month. Use a good moisturizing shampoo.

Professional grooming and trimming with scissors is recommended every 4 weeks.

Also check and trim the nails, clean the ears, and brush your dog's teeth.

Health Concerns

Some diseases common to this breed include ear ailments, skin problems and allergies (number one health problem for this breed), bladder infections, Cushings disease, patellar luxation, and eye problems (primarily cataracts). Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health.

Buy only from reputable Bichon Frise breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

In addition to the above health concerns, Bichon Frise is susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Bichon Frise puppies is between 13 and 16 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Bichon Frise rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Bichon Frise Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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