Breed Introduction: Bichon Frise
A Bichon Frise is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. The Bichon Frise is a member of the Non-Sporting Group of dog breeds in the United States, and a member of the Toy Dog Group in the United Kingdom. Bichons Frise is a cheerful, small dog breed with a love of mischief and a lot of love to give. With his black eyes and fluffy white coat, the Bichon looks almost like a child’s toy.
Despite their diminutive size, they’re not classified as a Toy breed by the American Kennel Club. Instead, they are members of the Non-Sporting Group. Bichons have a reputation for suffering from separation anxiety! Bichons don’t just like to be with their families, they need to be with their families. They adjust well to a variety of lifestyles, as long as they don’t have to spend too much time alone. Because of their small size, Bichons are good pets for people who live in apartments. But they do have a lot of energy, and they need daily exercise, including walks and games!
The earliest records of the Bichon Frise breed date from the 14th century, when French sailors brought the dogs’ home from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. It is thought that Bichon Frise dogs had been taken there by traders who used the Phoenician trade route and that the Bichon Frise originally developed in Italy.
Interest in the Bichon Frise remained strong during the rule of Napoleon III, but then the little dog fell out of favor with royalty until the late 1800s. By that time, it was considered a common dog, sometimes owned by organ grinders or circus performers and sometimes trained to help lead the blind. Had it not been for the Bichon’s intelligence and appeal, the breed probably would have become extinct during this period.
Bichons Frises were first brought to the United States in 1956. The breed became eligible to enter the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in September 1971 and was admitted to registration in the American Kennel Club Studbook in October 1972. In April 1973, the breed became eligible to show in the Non-Sporting Group at AKC dog shows. In 1975, the AKC recognized the Bichon Frise Club of America.
Males and females stand about 9 to 11 inches tall and weigh 7 to 12 pounds.
A cheerful attitude is the outstanding trait of the Bichon’s personality. This dog loves to be loved, enjoys being the center of attention, and is adept at charming his family, neighbors, groomer, or veterinarian with his winning personality.
Bichons are active dogs, but do well as apartment dwellers with proper exercise and play — and they live to play. Don’t leave your Bichon alone for long periods of time. To prevent destructive behavior, the wise owner leaves the Bichon in a crate when leaving the house for even a short time.
The Bichon Frise is a double-coated breed, and is always white. The soft and dense undercoat and course outer coat combine to create a soft but substantial texture. The coat stands away from the body, giving it a powder-puff appearance.
Bichons have a reputation for not shedding. With double-coated Bichons, however, the shed hair is caught up in the undercoat instead of falling to the floor.
Bichons are good family dogs and wonderful companions for children. They enjoy palling around with kids, joining in their games or sitting in their laps. They’re very tolerant of the noise and commotion associated with children.