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Bichon Frise


Bichon Frise Facts

  • Group
  • Non Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 9.5" - 11.5" (24 - 29.2cm)
  • Weight
  • 10 - 16lbs (4.5 - 7.2kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White / Cream
    • White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Bichon Frise is also known as Tenerife Bichon and Barbichon.


The Bichon Frise breed developed in the Mediterranean regions of Italy, Spain, and the Canary Islands.

Date Of Origin

The Bichon Frise is believed to have originated in the 1300's, but an exact date is unknown.


In the 1300's the Bichon Frise was used by sailors as a companion on boats and as barter for other goods a various ports. The Bichon Frise found early popularity in Spain and it is generally believed that Spanish sailors first introduced the breed to the Canary Island of Tenerife. In the 14th century, Italian sailors rediscovered the Bichon Frise on their voyages and are credited with returning them to the continent, where they became popular with Italian nobility.

By the 1500's the Bichon Frise breed was a favorite of French nobility. The "Tenerife" or "Bichon", as it was called at the time, had success in France during the Renaissance under Francis I (1515 - 47), but its popularity skyrocketed in the court of Henry III (1574 - 89). The Bichon Frise also enjoyed considerable success in Spain as a favorite of the Infantas, and painters of the Spanish school often included them in their works. The famous artist, Francisco de Goya, included a Bichon Frise in several of his works.

By the 1800's, the Bichon Frise had become a common dog in France and was often seen accompanying organ grinders (musical novelty street performers. "Organ grinder" refers to the operator of a street organ) or performing in circus acts.

The name Bichon Frise was officially given to the breed in 1934 by the president of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale on the basis of the physical characteristics of the breed - "Frise" means "curly" in French, referring to the breed's coat.

The Bichon Frise arrived in the United States in 1955, with the first US born litter produced in 1956. The Bichon Frise was recognized by the AKC in 1972 and by the UKC in 1981.


The Bichon Frise is a small, compact and sturdy dog with a powder puff appearance. Its skull is rounded and the muzzle is shorter than the skull, with a strong lower jaw. The black eyes are round and rimmed with a dark halo. The drop ears are set high and forward on the head. A well plumed medium length tail curl's over the back. The coat is double with a soft dense under and a medium length cottony outer coat. There is profuse hair on the head, beard, mustache, and tail.


The Bichon Frise is a gentle, affectionate, and playful dog with a jaunty, cheerful attitude. The Bichon Frise is a very vocal dog, and most will bark at anything approaching or passing by the house. Consistent effective training will reduce this habit. They are very affectionate with friends and family, and also good with children. The small size of the Bichon Frise makes them unsuitable for play with children that do not know how to properly handle a dog. The Bichon Frise is good with other pets, but interactions with smaller animals should always be supervised.

Early training and socialization is important for the Bichon Frise. This is an intelligent breed and without proper training, the Bichon Frise will assume a "top dog" position in the household, leading to behavioral problems. Housetraining may be difiicult. Crate-training and a steady "potty" schedule will help. Teaching your Bichon Frise to use "pee-pee pads" in the house or in their crate will be detrimental to the overall house training process, as the dog is now learning to use the bathroom in the house. Always take your young puppy out immediately after eating.

The Bichon Frise does not require excessive exercise and will live happily with a daily walk or game of fetch. The Bichon Frise performs well in obedience, agility, and flyball sports.


Today, the Bichon Frise is most widely kept as a family companion, for which they are well suited. However, in the past, farmers in Norway discovered the Bichon Frise could be trained to round up sheep. The Bichon Frise has also performed in circus acts.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Bichon Frise include autoimmune disease, bladder problems, higher incidence of cancer, eye disease, kidney problems, luxating patellas, skin allergies.

Additional Information

While considered a "non-sheeding" breed, the Bichon Frise requires daily brushing to avoid matting (tangles) and to remove dead hair. Professional grooming will be required to trim the coat once every 4 - 6 weeks, the cost of which should be considered before acquiring this breed.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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