Although the breed name is French, it is believed that the modern Bichon Frise descended from similar dogs that were present in Spain as early as the 14th century. At around this time, Spanish sailors may have introduced the dog to the Canary Islands.
Over the years, their popularity waxed and waned.
The first Bichon Frise arrived in the United States in 1955. They were registered with the American kennel club in 1971 as a miscellaneous breed.
In terms of popularity they are ranked 40th by the AKC. They are listed 45th in the ranks of intelligent dogs
Origins Of The Bichon Frise
As with many dog breeds, the exact origins of the Bichon Frise are not certain. It is known that similar dogs were brought to France from the port of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
They gained immediate popularity in the French court. They later became popular in the English and Spanish courts.
After the rule of Napoleon III, the breed seemed to fall out of favour in the royal courts. By the 1800s, it was a fairly common dog in France - often used in circuses and by travelling entertainers.
After World War One the breed became popular again and French breeders worked to preserve them. A breed standard was introduced in France in 1933.
The Bichon Frise is a small dog which is always snow white in color. Their tail is carried like a plume over their back.
They have dense curly hair with little shedding.
Males and females are similar in size and are 9 to 12 inches tall at the withers. They weigh between 10 and 20 pounds.
The Bichon Frise makes an ideal family pet. They enjoy accompanying the family on outings. They get on well with other pets and children.
However it should be noted that any dog will occasionally become snappy with small children who treat them too roughly or try to take their food away. Also, these are small dogs which can be injured if handled too roughly.
They are easy to train but don't respond well to scolding or punishment. Positive reinforcement is the way to go - with a treat or some praise to reward them when they do well.
They can be difficult to house-train and crate training is recommended.
They get on well in apartments but don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time.
Bichon Frise Health
Bichons are healthy dogs and are relatively free from genetic diseases. Dislocated knee cap is a problem which can afflict all small dog breeds and the Bichon Frise is no exception.
They can be bothered by skin diseases and allergies to fleas, ticks, pollen and dust.
Their ears need to be kept clean to avoid any problems.
Heart disease and diabetes are quite common.
They can also suffer from cataracts.
Grooming And Care
The Bichon Frise needs a lot of grooming. Any prospective Bichon Frise owner should reconcile themselves to the fact that they will be brushing the dog at least 3 times a week. Daily is best.
The occasional grooming session with a professional groomer is beneficial.
Their nails should be trimmed regularly, and their teeth kept clean to avoid gum disease and other problems.
Bichons have participated in obedience and agility competitions. They can run quite fast and are classified as “somewhat active”. A lot of their exercise can be provided by playing games, but regular walks will do them good and you good.
Bichon Frises As Pets
The Bichon Frise makes a good family pet. They are relatively inexpensive to keep and are fun additions to the family. They are always up for a game or to join in any other family activity.