This lovable Bichon Frise is relaxing at the park.

Bichon Frise

9 - 12"
6 - 11 lbs
Life Expectancy
12 - 15 years
Area of Origin
The Bichon Frise is a joyful and affectionate non-sporting dog that originated in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. Another name for the breed is the bichon à poil frisé, which is French for "curly-haired small dog." Their double coat sets them apart from other Bichons, resulting in the distinctive poufy hair that most people associate with the breed. Because of their infrequent shedding, they may be suitable for people with mild allergies, as long as doctor approved. Overall, this is a mild-mannered, playful, and vigilant breed, making them an ideal family pet. They are natural performers and bring happiness to everyone they encounter.
Energy Level
Friendliness to dogs
Friendliness to strangers
exercise requirements
affection level
friendliness to other pets
Grooming Requirements

Where Is the Bichon Frise From?

The name Bichon is a derivative of Barbichon, which was the moniker given to the breed as descendants of the Barbet.

The Bichon was first reported in Spain, and it is believed that Spanish explorers in the 15th century brought their lapdogs to the Canary Island of Tenerife and left some behind. Over the next century, the breed’s appearance evolved into the Bichon we know today.

The Spanish brought some of the descendants of their pampered pets from Tenerife back to Spain in the 16th century. The dogs were given the name Bichon Tenerife for its alluring quality (and in hopes of increasing the breed’s value). The breed remained popular among Spanish nobility and artists through the early 19th century.

Despite a lull in popularity, the Bichon had a resurgence after World War I, and Belgian and French admirers established a breed standard in 1933. In 1934, the Bichon Frise (as they were now known) was acknowledged by the French Kennel Club and recognized by the International Canine Federation, giving rights to registration in the Book of Origins by France, Belgium, and Italy. The Bichon Frise is recognized as a French-Belgian breed instead of a Spanish breed due to their role in bringing the breed back to prominence.

The Bichon Frise was recognized by the American Kennel Club in the early 1970s.

Caring for a Bichon Frise

What Kind of Diet Does a Bichon Frise Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Bichon Frise Need?

The Bichon Frise should be fed an age-appropriate, high-quality diet. As a natural performer, they may use their tricks to earn extra treats, so monitor snack consumption closely.

How Much Grooming Does a Bichon Frise Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Bichon Frise Need?

The Bichon Frise requires monthly grooming and bathing to maintain their poufy appearance. Ideally, they should be brushed daily or at least twice weekly to prevent mats from forming. They shed minimally, so regular clipping and brushing is essential for this breed.

Are Bichons Frises Healthy?

Are Bichons Frises Healthy?

The Bichon Frise is a healthy dog breed, but does have a few associated health concerns.

Ocular diseases are common for the breed, including cataracts, entropion, and corneal dystrophy. Routine eye examinations by a veterinarian can help sustain a Bichon’s ocular health.

Other diseases associated with the Bichon are neurological diseases (epilepsy and white shaker disease), orthopedic issues (atlantoaxial subluxation and patellar luxation), dermatitis, diabetes, patent ductus arteriosus, urolithiasis, and congenital hypotrichosis. Many of these diseases can be caught during routine health examinations and blood screenings by a veterinarian. Orthopedic issues and diabetes mellitus can be exacerbated by obesity, so try your best not to give this happy little performer too many treats.

The breed has an average life span of 12 to 15 years.

The Bichon Frise is predisposed to: epilepsy, cataracts, entropion, urolithiasis, corneal dystrophy, diabetes, patent duct arteriosus, congenital hypotrichosis, atlantoaxial subluxation, patellar luxation, white shaker disease, and dermatitis.

How Much Training Does a Bichon Frise Need?

How Much Training Does a Bichon Frise Need?

Bichon Frises can be a challenge to housetrain, so early socialization and training is always beneficial. Their eagerness to perform certainly makes teaching them to do tricks and keeping them engaged much easier.

Bichons love being social and may become bored and cause trouble when left alone for long periods of time.

How Much Exercise Does a Bichon Frise Need?

How Much Exercise Does a Bichon Frise Need?

The Bichon Frise is not an overly active breed, but does require a considerable amount of interactive play (due to their social nature). Routine walks can help prevent obesity. Teaching them new tricks will also help keep them happy and motivated.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Bichon Frise?

What Does a Bichon Frise Look Like?
The Bichon Frise is a small, muscular breed with a poufy, curly hair coat. Their double-layered coat is what makes their hair appear fluffy, and sets them apart from similar breeds like the Maltese, Bolognese, and Havanese.
The Bichon Frise Powder Puff Head

The head is the most distinctive part of the Bichon Frise’s body, and is often described as having a “powder puff” appearance due to its luxurious hair coat.

The breed’s eyes, nose, and lips are all black. Their drop ears are entirely covered in fluffy, white hair.

Are Bichon Frises Strong?
The Bichon Frise is muscular, despite its compact size, boasting a wide chest and sturdy frame.
Are Bichon Frise's Tails Curly?
Yes, the Bichon Frise tail curves upwards, allowing their luxurious hair to rest delicately on the back.
Bichon Frise Front Legs
Bichon shoulders are laid back and forearms are straight, with elbows tucked close to the body. They have small, round paws with black pads.
Are All Bichon Frises White?
Yes, Bichon Frises are usually pure white, but some buff, cream, or apricot coloring on the head or body is common.
Bichon Frise Back Legs
Bichon Frises have muscular thighs and a straight, wide stance.

Bichon Frise Facts

Spanish artist Francisco Goya was very fond of the Bichon Tenerife, and painted them on many occasions.
The Bichon Frise is ranked 46th out of 195 in breed popularity by the American Kennel Club.
The Bichon Frise breed was so well treated by their French admirers that it resulted in the development of the term bichonner, meaning "to pamper."

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