This lovable Bichon Frise is relaxing at the park.
This lovable Bichon Frise is relaxing at the park.

Bichon Frise

avatarAlanna Mallory, BS, LVT, VTS (SAIM)

Height9 - 12"
Weight6 - 11 lbs
TypeNon-Sporting
Life Expectancy12 - 15 years
Area of OriginSpain

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

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

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

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.

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.

Care

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.

Caring for a Bichon Frise

What Kind of Diet Does a Bichon Frise Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Bichon Frise Need?

Are Bichons Frises Healthy?

How Much Training Does a Bichon Frise Need?

How Much Exercise 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.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Bichon Frise?

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 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.

The Bichon Frise is muscular, despite its compact size, boasting a wide chest and sturdy frame.

Yes, the Bichon Frise tail curves upwards, allowing their luxurious hair to rest delicately on the back.

Bichon shoulders are laid back and forearms are straight, with elbows tucked close to the body. They have small, round paws with black pads.

Yes, Bichon Frises are usually pure white, but some buff, cream, or apricot coloring on the head or body is common.

Bichon Frises have muscular thighs and a straight, wide stance.

Bichon Frise Facts

1

Spanish artist Francisco Goya was very fond of the Bichon Tenerife, and painted them on many occasions.

2

The Bichon Frise is ranked 46th out of 195 in breed popularity by the American Kennel Club.

3

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."

Other Breeds to Explore

Maltese
Havanese
Coton de Tulear

References

  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.
  • Bichon Frise Dog Breed Information. American Kennel Club, 2021.

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