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The Bichon Frise is a small bichon type dog with origins in France and Spain. It’s best known for its fluffy white coat and sweet disposition and looks like a miniature poodle. The Bichon Frise’s exact origin is unknown, but its ancestors were sailing dogs from various Mediterranean coasts. The first records of this breed are from the Canary Islands during the 14th Century. French sailors, then brought them to France, where the breed developed and gained their name.
The Bichon Frise has been popular amongst noble families in France and Spain throughout history. They first gained recognition from pedigree dog associations in the 1930s. By the 1950s, they had grown in popularity, spreading throughout Europe and to the United States.
Meet the Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a small dog that will reach a maximum of 7 to 12 pounds. However, they are not classed as a Toy breed despite their size. The companion dog stands around 9 to 11 inches tall, and its average lifespan is 12 to 13 years. Their head and legs are proportionate to their small body, and their most striking facial features are their black nose and dark rounded eyes.
The Bichon Frise is in the same dog family as the Maltese, Bolognese, Havanese and Coton de Tulear but is the only one with a double coat. This consists of a soft but dense undercoat and a coarser curly outer coat. The result is a fluffy powder-puff appearance where the hairs stand off the body with a spring-like feel. Their fur is always white, a stark contrast to their jet black eyes.
As you can imagine, Bichon Frise dogs have high maintenance needs. Simply brushing their coat is not enough; they need professional grooming once a month to keep them in top tip condition. However, their saving grace is that they don’t shed much, so at least their white hair will not cover your dark furnishings! Many Bichon Frise owners choose to grow and style the tail hair to fold over its back while trimming the rest of the coat.
As with most pedigree breeds, the Bichon Frise has some health concerns. For example, they are prone to liver shunts and immune diseases like Autoimmune hemolytic anaemia and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia.
The temperament of a Bichon Frise
Most people chose the Bichon Frise for its attractive poodle-like looks, yet its personality is just as wonderful. They are playful, affectionate and gentle, and they maintain a constant happy nature when their needs are met. However, their most crucial requirement is regular human interaction as this breed suffers from separation anxiety. Thus, they dislike being left alone and adore walks and outings with their owners.
This white fluffball loves being the centre of attention and will show off with its clown-like antics and hilarious quirks. They are equally cuddly and playful, so they are always up for a snuggle or play session. However, every Bichon Frise owner will comment on their crazy bursts of energy, known as the Bichon Blitz. It may appear like they suddenly become extremely lively and start running around, bouncing off the furniture. Luckily, this only lasts for about 30 seconds or so.
As very responsive dogs, they are highly trainable. This is good, as it’s vital to train this breed from an early age to prevent unwanted behaviours, such as nipping, snapping and barking. Moreover, consistent but gentle house training is required as this breed can be difficult to house train.
The Bichon Frise is also an excellent watchdog as nothing goes amiss with them. However, to avoid them barking at any little thing, you’ll need to teach them what they should alert you about and what they shouldn’t.
10 reasons to add a Bichon Frise to your family
- They are hypoallergenic - Surprisingly, this breed is recommended to those with allergies because of their low shedding rate.
- They are super affectionate - The nature of the Bichon Frise is a gentle and loving one. When they are happy, they will show their adoration for you with endless cuddles.
- They are well suited for apartments - A tiny home is no issue with this pup. At just one foot tall, they don’t need much room, so there is no reason why they cannot thrive living in an apartment or flat.
- They respond well to obedience training - It’s no secret that this breed can be a bit of a handle. However, these pups enjoy training sessions and are intelligent enough to learn commands quickly. Thus, you can easily mould them into the (almost) perfect companion dog with some time and effort.
- They have a royal history - From the 15th to 19th centuries, the Bichon Frise made quite a name for themselves among the royals in Europe.
- They are clowns - Bichon Frise dogs have very amusing antics and a playful personality. Thus, play sessions with this breed are always a delight and never feel like a chore.
- You can change their hairstyle - With a coat like theirs, you can make the most of their monthly grooming session by opting for a different style each time.
- They have elegant-sounding names - Once you learn how to pronounce their name, you won’t stop saying it! Bichon Frise, pronounced “bee-Shawn free-say”, loosely means “curly lap dog”.
- They wag their whole body - All dogs wag their tails when they are happy, but this breed goes a step further and wiggles their entire body to show their delight.
- They look like clouds - Lastly, their white candy floss coats make them look like fluffy clouds that you can’t resist cuddling.
Best homes for a Bichon Frise
Although the Bichon Frise is affectionate, entertaining, and simply adorable, they are not the easiest canine to have in the home. Therefore, they are best suited to people with previous experience caring for dogs. They are also an excellent choice for people who live in a flat or apartment, as their small size means they take up hardly any space.
They can make lovely family pets. However, if you bring one into a home with children, it’s essential to train them properly. Training will ensure they do not snap at kids due to over-excitement during play. Also, because of their frequent bursts of energy, they may not be the best dog if you have a baby or a small child.