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Bichon Frise (pronounced as bee·shaan free·zay) came from the French word bichon à poil fries meaning, small curly-haired dog.
Full of charm in a cloud of curly white hair, Bichon Frise is the Snow White of the dog world and is one of the sweetest dog breeds. Some may call it the living stuffed animal.
Bichon Frise dogs are little but energetic, making them ideal for an active family looking for a small dog to keep as a companion.
The playful trait of a Bichon is what makes them an excellent pet for children.
Despite being a small breed, they are a non-sporting dog, not a toy breed.
If you are the type of person that loves to give affection to your pets, a Bichon Frise dog is a good match for you as they can reciprocate this personality ten times more!
Significant Characteristics of a Bichon Frise Dog
Bichon is the center of attraction. They are popular with royal families and have received a lot of applause from the audience at the circus.
Bichon Frises do not do well when left alone, despite their ability to adapt to their surroundings.
Bichons love to be with their families!
Bichons are highly intelligent and are easy to train. When training them, be as gentle as possible and firm with the instructions – Bichons easily break their heart when being scolded.
Many of the Bichon dog owners train them for rally competitions, agility, and conformity.
Another activity that will bring out the best in them is therapy work. Bichon makes great therapy dogs in hospitals and nursing homes.
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The Appearance of a Bichon Frise
The dog breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for the Bichon Frise is around eyes with a color of black or dark brown. It should be in line with the skull and will look straightforward.
The skin around the eyes should be black or dark brown. Its ears are dropped and covered with long flowing hair.
Its tail is fluffy and must rest on the back.
Bichon Frise has an all-white medium-length coat with a powder puff style. It has a soft and dense undercoat and a curly overcoat.
Both the male and female Bichon Frise dog breed has a height of 9 to 12 inches and 12 to 18 pounds in weight.
Personality and Temperament of a Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise dogs love affections from their humans and are charming to everyone in their surroundings. They are also playful and possess an independent trait.
They love cuddles so much!
Although independent, Bichons hate to be alone because they can suffer from separation anxieties. They become destructive and may tear up anything in the house.
Bichon Frises need to enroll in puppy classes to learn about manners. But no need to worry about them taking these classes because, by nature, this dog breed is teachable and very smart.
Aside from that, Bichons are good with tricks and other canine sports!
Bichons are not guarding dogs, but they will surely alert you if there is a visitor. They will assume that all strangers are their friends.
Aside from all these happy personalities, Bichon Frise can snap at any minute when they are nervous. Early socialization for this breed is a must!
RELATED ARTICLE: Puppy Socialization Checklist
How to Groom a Bichon Frise?
A Bichon dog has curly hair and a short undercoat. They shed less because the hair gets trapped in their undercoat instead of falling to the floor.
Bichons need brushing twice a week and a bath when they get dirty to keep their white coat as clean as possible. Always make sure to keep their coats free from mats before bathing, or else the tangles become impossible to take away.
They need to get a haircut once a month. It is necessary to have it cut correctly around the ears to give proper ventilation and reduce the risk of infections.
Brush his teeth at least twice or thrice a week to remove the build-up of tartar and bacteria. Daily brushing is also advisable to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
The regime will include nail trimming. Ask your trusted groomer to cut it for you if you are not used to trimming his nails.
Bichon Frise is a high-maintenance dog that needs grooming every day. If you are the active type of person, set a schedule with a groomer at least every other day.
Feeding a Bichon Frise
A Bichon Frise dog requires 1/2 or 1.5 cups of high-quality dry dog food at least twice a day.
Never feed human food as a treat because this dog breed is prone to kidney and bladder stones. He needs a special diet and lots of water to prevent any complications.
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The Lifespan of Bichon Frise Dogs
Bichon Frise dogs live longer than large dog breeds. They have a 12- to 15-year life expectancy.
The Bichon Frise dog breed is prone to health complications, e.g., hyperadrenocorticism, allergies, and patellar luxation. These diseases also include cataracts, hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes, and liver disease.
It is best to have your Bichon undergo regular check-ups with his veterinary doctor for any potential risks of diseases and infections.
The sooner the complications are detected, the earlier it gets treatment.
Living Arrangements with Bichon Frise
People are fond of owning a Bichon Frise dog but often hesitate to live in small spaces or apartments.
The good thing is, Bichon Frise dogs can live well in tiny houses because of their size, and they require only small amounts of exercise. They are considered as one of the best dog breeds to live in apartments.
Their high intelligence will need a variety of exercises. They love frisbee and catching!
You can enhance his social skills by taking him out for a walk in the park. Getting him to play with other people and dogs will boost both his physical and mental stimulation.
Bichon Frise dogs have no trouble staying indoors provided that they have enough toys. They also love playing with other family members and other pets in the household.
As long as Bichons have a comfortable space to live and have enough physical activities, they are okay to be anywhere with mild climates – not too hot and not too cold.
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Is It Okay for Bichon Frise to Be with Children and Other Pets?
Bichon Frise dogs love to hang out with children. They enjoy being with the kids, either playing with them or just sitting in their laps.
Bichons have a high tolerance to the noise and commotions of the children. However, adult supervision is still a must to prevent any incidents.
Bichon dogs can become so excited and may jump and startle kids that are smaller than them.
It is a no-brainer that the recommended age for a child to have a pet dog is at least six years old. It ensures the safety of the child when interacting with any dog breed.
Bichons are an all-around dog breed as they can get along with other pets in the household when introduced to them at an early age.
Benefits of Giving a Dog to Kids
Having a Bichon Frise dog in your own house will give many good things, especially when you have kids at home.
- Sense of Responsibility – Owning a Bichon Frise dog will teach children to be responsible in feeding and looking after the dog. They are also responsible for ensuring that your Bichon dog will get enough exercise every day.
- Good for Self-Esteem – A family pet like the Bichon dog is good at boosting one’s self-esteem. Like any other dog breed, Bichon Frise gives unconditional love, which makes everyone happy.
- Teaches Empathy – All dogs teach children to have empathy. The kids will learn how to be sensitive towards their dogs and understand their everyday needs.
RELATED ARTICLE: Raising Your Children with Dogs
History of Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise dogs originated in the Mediterranean. Initially, they are created by crossing a Barbet (large water dog) with a white-coated dog.
This breeding results in a family of dogs known as the Barbichons, shortened to Bichons.
Barbichons accompany sailors on their journeys at sea.
Bichon breeds are in four categories: (1) Maltaise, (2) Bolognese, (3) Havanese, and (4) Tenerife.
The Tenerife, considered the ancestor of the Bichon Frise dog, was developed on the Canary Island of Tenerife, assumed taken by the Spanish Seafarers during ancient times.
Early Days of Bichon Frises
Bichon Tenerife existed in the Canary Islands that was rediscovered between the 1200s and 1300s by Italian sailors. The sailors then brought this Bichon Tenerife back to Europe.
Bichon dogs are popular with noble families and have been part of many historical arts for centuries.
The artist Titan who painted the Portrait of Federico II Gonzaga in 1529, depicts the ruler of the Italian City Mantua beside a Bichon Tenerife.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Spanish painter Francisco Goya made Bichon dogs his medium in many of his works.
During the Renaissance period, Bichons were imported to France by a French Monarch named Francis I, where they began to be loved by the elites.
Another French King, Henry III, had intense adoration for the Bichons, where he spoiled them with pieces of bread, servants, governesses, and even horses!
The Fall of Bichon Dogs
Because of their ties to the royal families, their popularity began to decline during the French Revolution in the 1790s. They then became street dogs.
Street entertainers and circus performers adopted them.
It was the darkest time for Bichon dogs as they are not used to this kind of living.
The difficulties this dog breed had were exacerbated by World War I, as they had been abandoned in the circus owing to a lack of supplies.
Standardization of the Bichon Dog Breed
In 1933, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale established a breed standard for Bichons with a new name of Bichon Frise that we know today.
In 1956, Bichon Frise made its way to America through Helen and Francois Picault. They came to the United States bringing six Bichon Frise puppies.
They regained popularity, leading to the creation of an American Standard for this dog breed.
The Bichon Frise Club of America, based in San Diego, California, was founded in 1964. This organization contributes to the fame of this breed.
In 1971, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Bichon breed and placed them in the Miscellaneous Category.
In 1972, this dog breed was given full status and included in the Non-Sporting Category.
According to AKC, the Bichon Frise is the 119th dog breed and falls to the 43rd spot in the most popular dog breed.
Impressive rankings for a breed that almost went extinct!
Breeding Bichon Frise Dogs
Bichon Frise dogs can produce up to 6 puppies, and the average is four puppies. Due to the small size of the litter, the puppies are easier to sell at a higher price.
Despite being small, they have no birthing problems. As long as the female Bichon Frise dog is appropriately cared for, they can endure pregnancies.
It is still best to have regular consultations with your veterinary doctor to ensure that everything is in good shape.
How To Have a Bichon Frise Dog?
Adopting From a Shelter
Many people feel that the most human way of owning a Bichon Frise dog is through adoption.
The Bichon Frise dog breed and other crossbreeds of Bichon are available in some dog rescue groups. Owners who cannot keep up with the way Bichon dogs live gave them away.
When Bichons are stressed or begin to feel separation anxiety, owners cannot handle their loud barking.
Another is, owners find them difficult to train.
We recommend a trusted rescue group if you want to secure that the dog you adopted is a pure Bichon Frise dog breed:
Good rescue groups and shelters can tell you the complete dog background of the Bichon Frise that you want to adopt. They will inform you about his health and temperament.
Bichon Frises from the shelters are more reserved, but they will eventually feel comfortable around you with enough patience and understanding.
Buying From a Reputable Breeder
The Bichon Frise puppies are highly popular and considered to be an accessory dog breed. Due to this hype, you will expect to pay $700 to $2,000.
The price goes higher if you purchase from an accredited Bichon Frise breeder. They can produce a high-quality and pure breed Bichon dog.
You can check the Breeders Directory made by the Bichon Frise Club of America. They provide a list of legit Bichon dog breeders throughout the United States.
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Are You Ready to Own a Bichon Frise Dog?
Bichons are prone to allergies, so they need special care and regular vet visits. They can be needy as they are prone to separation anxiety.
Bichon Frise dogs also require lots of outdoor and indoor activities every day. Their minds need to be in a healthy condition to prevent the destruction of things.
If you want to own a Bichon Frise dog, you need to provide his necessities and give him the love and happiness he deserves.
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