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.