Breed Category: Toy
Country of Origin: France
Average Size: 23-29 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 6-10 kg
Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Grooming Requirements: High
Exercise Requirements: Low

History

The Bichon Frise is a small dog with history dating back to the 13th century. Until the 20th century the Bichon Frise was known by two names: the Tenerife and the Bichon. In the 1930s they adopted their current name, which pays tribute to their wavy fur, as frisé is French for curly. Bichon is derived from the French word for a small dog with long fur. The breed is thought to have descended from the Poodle and the Barbet Water Spaniel, two larger, curly-haired breeds.

This breed first gained recognition in the 13th century, as they proved to be joyful companions for early sailors exploring the world. Though the Bichon Frise originated in France, they were introduced to other countries such as Spain and Italy during these expeditions. The breed became popular in France’s Renaissance period of the 16th century and then faded from the limelight for several centuries.

By the mid 1900s, the Bichon Frise had become a common household pet, not only in France but across the world in Australia and the United states as well.

Appearance

The Bichon Frise is small in size, but full of personality. They average 23-29 cm in height and 6-10 kg in weight. They are most commonly seen with a white coat, though they may also come in apricot or gray colours. The Bichon Frise has a double coat with a coarse outer coat a soft, thick undercoat.  Its curly fur sheds very little, making them a great choice for those with dog allergies.

In order to keep the coat healthy and free of tangles, regular brushing and grooming is required. Monthly grooming will also help maintain the traditional Bichon Frise cut and prevent the fur from becoming overgrown.

The tail is naturally long, full-bodied and carried on the dog’s back. It has dark, close-set eyes, a short muzzle and a small black nose. The Bichon Frise’s head and body have a full, round shape.

Temperament

The trademark of the Bichon Frise’s personality is its cheerful and friendly disposition. In its early days, the breed provided companionship and comfort to explorers who sailed away from home for months and years at a time. Their energetic and lively personalities helped ease the tedium involved with sailing and these same traits make them beloved still today.

This is a very affectionate and sociable breed that enjoys human companionship. They prefer to always be in the company of their owners, delighting in playing with children and other dogs. They are known for sudden bursts of energy, affectionately called the “Bichon Buzz,” wherein they run at high speeds around the home or yard for several minutes until they have thoroughly exhausted themselves.

The Bichon Frise is an intelligent breed that is highly capable of training, but it relies on its owner to provide leadership and direction. Without such guidance, it may be prone to behavioural problems including separation anxiety and biting.

Though a majority of its exercise needs can be taken care of indoors, a daily walk is important in maintaining this breed’s physical health. They are not prone to excessive barking, which makes this a great breed for life in a big city or flat.

Health

This breed is susceptible to a number of health conditions, some of which are very serious in nature. These include autoimmune hemolytic anemia, liver shunts and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia.

Conditions that have the potential to be less serious include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, kidney infection, cataracts and skin conditions.

The average lifespan of a healthy Bichon Frise is 12-15 years or longer, which is typical for a dog of this size.