Bichon Frise dogs were a favorite of Napoleon III and Henry the III. Being a favored breed and a beloved companion meant that they were pampered and treated as if they were royalty themselves. Several artists have depicted Bichon Frise in their paintings. In the painting of Duchess Alba Francisco de Goya paints a Bichon Frise at the hem of her gown. In Australia a miniseries television show by the name of Meweth cast a Bichon Frise as the pet to the main character. This one season miniseries brought attention to the breed and helped Bichon Frise gain popularity there.
The Bichon Frise is a small dog with a height between 9.5 and 12.5 inches and weighing between 10 and 18 lbs. The name Bichon Frise means “small long-haired dog”. They are an energetic breed that loves to play and needs daily exercise and companionship. The Bichon Frise are considered a high maintenance dog as they need daily grooming to keep their hair from matting or tear stains from occurring. They need to be professionally groomed at least once a month and will need regular veterinary checkups.
The Bichon Frise are an all-white dog with a double coat. The under coat is dense and soft while the outer coat is long, about 3-4 inches, with a coarse curl to it. When petting a Bichon Frise their coat feels soft and sturdy. The double coat traps any dander and hair within the coat making them one of the breeds that does not shed and is recommended for those that are allergic to dogs.
Their eyes are round with black tight rims. This eye shape means that their tears may spill over and not drain into the tear ducts. It is not uncommon for a Bichon Frise to have blocked tear ducts. They often need medication to keep their eyes healthy, and all medication should be prescribed by a veterinarian. Many owners have found that distilled water will help with tear staining, as iron in the tap water is part of what creates the stain on their white coat. Their tail should be bushy and curl over their back.
There are a few health problems associated with the breed, but with proper care they live an average of 15 years. A few health problems are allergies, eye problems and liver shunts. With attentive owners and regular visits to the veterinarian this breed can live long and happy lives.
This high maintenance breed needs daily upkeep. The hair around their eyes needs to be cleaned several times a day to prevent excessive tear staining. They need to be brushed weekly to detangle and prevent severe matting. They need to be professionally groomed monthly. It is very important that the hair is kept from matting, as the matting can cause the dog to suffer hematomas.
To brush and maintain the coat of a Bichon Frise ensure that you are brushing up or away from the skin and towards the spine. It is best to use a comb that has a pointed end for detangling any mats that you discover in their coat. Pay special attention to the legs as this is the most likely spot for mats to form. It is best to brush a dog that has a dry coat, as a wet coat makes the mats tighter and harder to detangle. The dog should be brushed both before and after being bathed. Once the dog is clean and towel dried use a blow dryer on a cooler setting to ensure their coat is dried and help prevent matting. Hair between the toes can become an irritant by trimming the hair between the toes the excessive licking can be mitigated.
The Bichon Frise breed originates from a cross between the Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle. They have been around since the 13th century and were very popular throughout the world thanks to Spanish sailors. Their even temperament and small size made them a favorite among sailors, who would use them for trade around the world. It is said that their love for water comes from their time spent aboard ships.
The Bichon Frise were first introduced into the United States in 1955 and in 1971 they were allowed to compete in the American Kennel Clubs Miscellaneous Class. It wasn’t until 1973 that they were recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club. Today Bichon Frise compete in agility.
Bichon Frise love to play and enjoy playing with children. They are companion dogs that need to go everywhere with their families and do not like being left home alone. Their high maintenance does mean that their family needs to have time for their upkeep. A family that is constantly busy and does not have time for daily cleaning is not the ideal family for this breed. Distilled water and a high quality balanced diet help to prevent tear staining and allergies. Some allergies are expressed by the dog constantly licking their paws or itching. This breed is very sensitive to fleas and care should be taken to ensure prevention of fleas. Bichon Frise do not need a lot of space and do well in apartments as long as they get to frequent a dog park and get walked.
Good discipline and clear rules need to be set with a Bichon Frise. If they are allowed to become dominant over their owners they will develop unhealthy habits. They may become territorial and snap or bite. This breed is prone to separation anxiety and does best when they are a constant companion.
The Bichon Frise should be all white and have round brown eyes with black rims. Other eye shapes and pink rims are considered a fault. Their grooming should be done with blunt scissors to make their coat all one length. Their tail should curl over their back and be bushy in appearance. Colors other than white or white with a little bit of crème are considered a fault in this breed.