Breeds Dogs

Bichon Frise – Complete Dog Breed Information

Bichon Frise
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Small, soft and spirited, the Bichon Frise is a companion dog and a family dog through and through.

Is that a cotton candy dog? Nay, that’s a Bichon Frise. …she’s a happy-go-lucky, allure in a cotton-ball cloud of a silky white coat.

The name Bichon Frise is of French origin and she is one of the most delightful as well as the friendliest of dog breeds.

She loves to be in the limelight, which isn’t surprising given that she was once adored by monarchs and has performed tricks to the ovation of the show crowds.

Her dark eyes sparkle with mischief, but like her cousins the Maltese and the Havanese, she mostly uses her powers for good. Sure the cotton puff companion is adorable — but there is a lot to know about these fluffy pups!

Bichon Frise Pronunciation

The name Bichon Frise is articulated… ‘bee-shown free-za’.

Bichon Frise Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: Spain
  • Size: Small
  • Dog Breed GroupNon-sporting/ toy/ companion group
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 13-17 years
  • HeightMales 9 – 12 inches (23 – 30 cm), Females 9 – 11 inches (23 – 28 cm)
  • Weight: Males 3 – 5 kg( 7-12 lbs) Females 3 – 5 kg(7-12 lbs)
  • Coat AppearanceSilky white, soft neither flat nor corded coat
  • Coat Colors – White, Apricot & White, Cream & White, Buff & White
  • TemperamentAffectionate, Adorable, Energetic, Easygoing, Friendly, Laidback,  Intelligent, Lively,  Loyal, keen, Outgoing, Pleasant, Responsive, Social, Spirited
  • Good With ChildrenYes
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: Yes
  • HypoallergenicYes
  • Grooming: High
  • Shedding: Average
  • Barking: Barks when necessary
  • Suitable For Apartments: Yes
  • Need For ExerciseHigh
  • Easy To Train: Yes
  • Good For First Time Owners: Yes
  • Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, Patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, Patent Ductus Arteriosus Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Litter Size: 4-6 puppies
  • Average Price: $250 – $2500 USD (USA), £606 for KC registered, £529 for Non-KC registered (UK)

Bichon Frise History

The Bichon Frise is thought to be a descendant of the barbet (water spaniel) and was celebrated in the Mediterranean area as far back as the Middle Ages.

This gave them the name ‘barbichon’ and the moniker was later shortened to just bichon, which means lap dog in French.

Some historians consider the breed, in fact, originated in the Canary Islands and were brought to the European mainland by sailors.

Bichons have long been recognized as good companion dogs, mainly because of their elegance and even temperaments.

They were patronized by European aristocrats and upper-class people, in France during the Renaissance under Francis I, during Henry II’s reign in England, and were even included in paintings by several artists at that time.

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Is Bichon Frise, The Right Dog For You?

If you want a dog who…

  • Is small, soft but spirited
  • Is lively, but don’t need much outdoor exercise (while she enjoys it!)
  • Has a soft coat having corkscrew curls  that don’t shed (yes, she is hypoallergenic)
  • Makes an alert watchdog, but is not antagonistic
  • Is usually good with kids, other pets

Bichons may be right for you.

If you don’t want to deal with…

  • infamous housetraining difficulties
  • low boredom threshold- ( barking and whining) when left alone too much
  • non-aggressive barking (high-pitched bark called as shrill)
  • A lot of grooming and High maintenance
  • Small dog syndrome and behavior problems

Bichons may not be right for you. But, the payoff, however, is a great one: They make for astoundingly loyal best friends.


Bichon Frise Size And Lifespan

Bichon Frise Size

Height – Males 9 – 12 inches (22 – 30 cm), Females 8 – 11 inches (22 – 28 cm)

Weight – Males 3 – 5 kg( 7-12 lbs) Females 3 – 5 kg(7-12 lbs)

Bichon Frise  Life Span

The average bichon life-span is about 13-17 years

Bichon Frise Coat Color And Appearance

Bichon Frise Coat Color

  • White
  • Apricot & White
  • Cream & White
  • Buff & White

Bichons have a fine, silky white, soft neither flat nor corded coat that boasts having corkscrew curls in it that measures something around 7 – 10 cm in length.

Their coats are completely white, but dogs can have cream or apricot markings till they are around 18 months old.

Under their KC breed standard, Dark skin is highly desirable although these dogs are white and they can have various colored markings on their skin too which includes black, blue and beige.

Bichon Frise Appearance

Compact and properly proportioned little dogs, medium length muzzle with a nice, balanced gait, soft coat with very loose corkscrew-curled hair, similar to the coat of the Mongolian goat.

Head position is high and proud, dark eyes with a keen and alert expression

Important Proportions

A Bichon is small yet really muscular and strong looking dogs. Compactly built, heavy in bone with a smooth coat like a hairy refrigerator, they are powerful little dogs.

The head should be slightly rounded with a defined stop and the skull is longer than the muzzle.

Facial Region

Bichons eyes are round, dark and boasting black rims covered by haloes. These fluffers always have an ardent and alert expression in their eyes which people find so appealing.

Not so thick or heavy muzzle but rather snippy. The furrow amidst the superciliary arches is somewhat visible.

Their ears are droopy, well covered with flimsily curled long hairs and they hang close to a dog’s head. They are carried rather upward when the dog is excited, to a degree that the front part touches the skull.

The cartilage length is not like in the Poodle, they extend to the nose, but stops halfway of the length of the muzzle. The ears are anyhow not as broad as and better than the Poodles.

Bichons have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite. Their lips are quite tight and totally black in color.

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Body

They have long slightly arched neck with a fairly long reach which gives these little dogs their proud look. Neck length is one third to the length of the body. Oblique shoulders with nice straight strong legs.

Bichons have very well-developed forecasts and well-pronounced sternum with a deep brisket. They have well-muscled bodies with broad, slightly arched loins that are nicely tucked up.

Broad back-ends with slightly rounded croups and strong back legs as well as well-rounded thighs. Sinewy, well-rounded feet with nails are preferably black.

Bichons tails are set a little beneath the back line than in the Poodle and when they are raised up; they curve over their spine without being rolled up.

Bichon Frise Temperament

  • Pint-sized Bichons have a lot of personalities and even more, love to give, as well as they are a great dog for individuals and families.
  • Portrayed as being a “canine comedian,” the Bichon Frise is the spunky, spirited, silly, and very playful dog! They are not as soft as they look. They are full of zipping and enthusiasm.  Indeed, Bichons are well-known for their hilarious Bichon Buzz!
  • While they make good watchdogs as they like using their barks, they are all bark and seldom bite. When they meet a stranger, their bark is pretty much always a “hello,” and never a “head off.”
  • This perky little people pleaser was bred primarily as a companion dog; the Bichons are great with families and is excellent with children and other pets like cats.
  • Considering that her ancestors were famous for their traveling exploits, this is a great dog for nomads who are constantly on the move. Bichons also makes an ideal dog for those who enjoy outdoors, exploring the world and are looking for a traveling companion.
  • The even-tempered, laidback nature of the Bichons makes her delightfully adaptable to all kinds of living, whether it is larger homes, farms, smaller apartments, or even RVs that are traveling cross-country!

Properties Below Belong To Bichoner World

Adaptability

  • Apartment Living – Yes
  • Good For First-Time Owners – Yes
  • Sensitivity Level – High
  • Loneliness – High
  • Cold Weather – Average
  • Hot Weather – Low

Friendliness

  • With Family – High
  • Kids – High
  • Other Dogs – High
  • Cats – Good, If Raised Together
  • Pets – Good, If Raised Together
  • Strangers – Average, Reserved

General Behavior

  • Independence – Fairly Independent
  • Dominance – Moderate
  • Combativeness – Bit Aggressive
  • Indoors – Highly Active
  • Outdoor – Highly Active
  • Territorial – Yes
  • Easy Of Transportation – Very Good

Bichon Frise Care

  • Exercise Needs – Average
  • Intensity – High
  • Activity Level – Average
  • Exercise Requirements – >30 Minutes/Day
  • Walk Mileage/ Week – 7 Miles
  • Playfulness – High
  • Grooming Needs – High
  • Tendency To Drool – No
  • To Snore – No
  • Bark – Average
  • Dig – Low
  • Social/Attention Needs – High

Bichon Frise Training

  • Trainability – Easy
  • Intelligence – High
  • Memory – High
  • Mouthiness – Low
  • Prey Drive – High
  • Wanderlust Potential – High

What about for first-time dog owners?

Welcome to bichon world. They are a great choice for novice dog owners because they are so loving and ready to please with an added bonus being that they are incredibly sociable.

Having said that, these little guys are fairly independent and they need the rules and regulations that should be given in a gentler fashion.

If not, they do not respond well to insistence and authority due to their high spiritedness, and, if disciplined too resolutely, they can become hostile. Once they are handled gently, they will be extremely cooperative.

No, we ain’t talking about your girlfriend. Let’s focus on bichons

Below are a few tips that you should consider when you begin your bichon’s training:

  • Bichons are playful and exceptionally affectionate dogs which makes them easier to train than many other smaller breeds and dogs in general.
  • Don’t expect a Bichon to be “ideal” from birth – the Bichon is not a wind-up doll: she can be a real test to housetrain and needs to be taught her place in the pack. The fact that Bichons were bred to cuddle doesn’t mean they don’t need training and exercise; they do.
  • Bichons often do extremely well in obedience and agility competitions.  This is a breed which can learn any trick in the book given that you train her with rewards such as treats and praise. Keep your bichon training short and fun, plus always end on a high note.
  • Keep in mind, perky bichons tend to be of above-average intelligence. You pamper your Bichon always but make sure to train her on the important things early on — such as barking, nipping and snapping. Don’t mess up your gallant, glad dog into a yappy tyrant.
  • Bichons are compliant and not so stubborn. They are almost always willing to give a try to please their owners.   Practice with your bichon what you have just taught her.
  • And, once the basics are over, introduce the leash training in a safe, fenced-in location like your backyard or apartment courtyard. Bichons are famous for the “Bichon Blitz” that causes them to impulsively run around the yard or house in a whirl.

Bichon Frise Food

Bichons are highly energetic and hectic dogs. You will need to take this activity level into consideration when determining how many calories your bichon needs, particularly if you are doing any work or training.

Breeders would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the schedule. If you intend to change a puppy’s diet, this needs to be done very gradually and make sure that they don’t develop any stomach upsets.

Rough Feeding guide for Bichon:

Bichon puppies need to be fed a good quality, highly nutritious diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a bichon puppy should be fed with their meals is evenly spread out throughout the day.  It’s best to feed 2 or 3 times a day:

  • Daily cost – $1.00 (average)
  • Monthly cost – $30.00
  • Bichon pups between eight and 12 weeks old – 3 meals every 24 hours (80g- 120g).
  • 3 to 6 months old – 3 meals every 24 hour period (120g-150g)
  • Feed puppies 6 months to 1 year – 2 bowls of food daily (150g)
  • When your bichon hits her first birthday, one bowl or two smaller bowls every 24 hours is typically all that’s necessary.

Remember, the feedings depend on puppy’s build. Once a bichon is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food depending on their activity level.

  • Dogs weighing-3 kg = 60g-80g
  • 4 kg = 60g-80g
  • 5 kg = 80g to 150g

Keep in mind; these feedings depend on Bichon’s eating tendencies and depends on their activity level.

Adult dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets all their nutritional needs while keeping a close eye on a dog’s weight. Here is a rough feeding guide for your perusal.

  • Protein content should be anything from 14 – 25%
  • Carb content should be 30 to 70%
  • Fiber content should be less than 4%
  • Fat content should be less than 10%
  • Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
  • Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
  • Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%

Bichon Frise Grooming And Shedding

  • Coat Density – Normal
  • Length – Medium
  • Texture – Curly
  • Brushing Frequency – Weekly
  • Trimming/Stripping – Needed
  • Hypoallergenic – Yes
  • Shedding – Average

Bichon grooming should be well thought-out and has a high maintenance than one would expect with a hypoallergenic dog.

Bichon Frise features include her standard, thick, curly white coat, although sometimes a bit of apricot or cream color can congregate around the Bichon’s nose, ears and paws.

Be prepared to brush your Bichon no less than three times a week, though many owners recommend you to do it daily as their corkscrew curls can quickly get tangled and matted.

If you fell in love with the Bichon because of the way their dark eyes which were set in silky, white double coat sets, you’d better be ready to watch over the tear stains, which causes rust marks and staining that everybody finds quite unpleasant.

Every now and then, trim the hair around your Bichon’s eyes. Check for a product which gets rid of tear stains, but shuns the ones that contain antibiotics. Do you want to over-medicate your bichon simply for cosmetic reasons?

It is also better taking a Bichon to a grooming parlor every 2-3 months which means their coats can be hand stripped which makes keeping things tidy.

Overall, two or three grooming sessions a week and a bath with a good pet-friendly shampoo once in 3 months is all most Bichon’s need, unless she spends lots of time out-of-doors exposed to dirt and debris.

Interesting Facts About Bichon Frise

  • With the Mediterranean origin and the ancestry of barbet (water spaniel), the group has four subsets: The Bichon Havanese, the Bichon Maltese, the Bichon Bolognese, and the Bichon Tenerife.
  • The name refers to the place where the type was bred. The Bichon Tenerife is our Bichon Frise.
  • Italian sailors went to the Island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where the Bichon Tenerife originated. The sailors brought them back to mainland Europe. The tiny dogs became hugely popular among Italian aristocrats, who gave the pups lion-style haircuts.
  • Bichons made their way to French people heart during the Renaissance under Francis I, where they enjoyed a new burst of fame.
  • During the reign of Henry III, who loved the fluffy lap dogs, legends say that the king even wore a ribbon-clad basket around his neck so he could take his bichons everywhere with him. In fact, all the Kings of France had Bichon Frise until the French Revolution.
  • Some famous artists have depicted Bichon Frises in their works which includes Francisco de Goya of Spain (In his painting of the Duchess of Alba), and Titian of Italy, Albrecht Durer, Auguste Renoir, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) who was President of England’s Royal Academy etc
  • Bichon Frises are hypoallergenic and their hair is just like a human’s hair, never stops growing!
  • Did you know that Theobromine in chocolates can upset your Bichon’s stomach severely or even seriously ill!

Bichon Frise Health Problems

Major Health Problems In Bichon Frise

Hip Dysplasia –  You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, when the hips fail to develop normally, either due to one or several developmental problems and leads to arthritis.

Elbow dysplasia – Abnormal development of elbow joint which causes damage to the cartilage surface of the joint – a process called osteochondrosis or OCD.

Patellar luxation – Sometimes your Bichon’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of its normal anatomical position which is called patellar luxation.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease(LCPD) – Spontaneous necrosis of the femoral head (in the hip joint), the top portion of the femur bone in the hind leg and it equally affects both male and female dogs.

Cataracts – They are a common cause of blindness in older Bichons.

Minor concerns

Patent Ductus Arteriosus – A congenital heart disease in which the ductus arteriosus muscle fails to constrict, leaving a vessel for blood flow and eventually resulting in generalized heart failure and/or left-sided heart disease.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – Degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss.

Allergies – Common allergens include dog foods that contain high levels of grains and other cereal-type fillers, airborne pollens, Dust mites, Flea, and tick bites.

Bichon Frise Price and Breeders

Bichon Frise Price

The price of bichon puppies is between 250 to $2500 with a median of around $600.

The key determinants of price are the breeder reputation and parental history. Pups of best bloodlines, champion Bichon Frises can fetch a premium of up to $ 1800 and more.

Bichon Frise Breeders

Our 2018 list for the most reputable bichon breeders in America

  • She Bichons and Cotons San Diego, California
  • Simply Patchwork Marshall, Texas
  • Hollyhock Bichons Valley Center, California
  • Merrell Bichons Frises Ridgefield, Washington
  • Takoda Dogs Michigan City, Indiana
  • Legend Bichons Citrus Heights, California
  • Barb’s Bichons Apple River, Illinois
  • Dorian Bichons Long Island City, New York
  • God’s Creatures Apple Valley, California
  • Companions From Heaven Belgrade, Montana