White as snow with contrasting black eyes and black pigmented nose, Bichon a Poil Frise will steal your heart with his happy, lively, playful and friendly attitude. Come fall in love with these tiny bundles of joy.
The Bichon Frise is a playful, lively and gay little dog. His pure white, fine, silky and loose curly coat makes you want to keep him close. With a friendly and outgoing temperament, Bichon Frise is one of the most adorable pets. A Bichon Frise performs very well in the show ring, obedience, agility or as a therapy dog.
The family tree
The Bichon Frise belongs to the Bichon family (along with the Havanese, the Maltese, the Bolognese and the Lowchen or Petit Chien Lion. Sometimes the Coton de Tuléar is also included in this family), and he probably originates from the Barbet family in the Mediterranean. Formerly known as Bichon Teneriffe (from the Spanish Canary Islands), the Bichon Frise is a charming breed, appearing to have been known long time ago although his origin as a breed cannot be documented up to the decade of 1920s.
It was by 1920 that a group of French and Belgian fanciers imported several dogs from the Canary Islands and started an intense breeding programme in order to recover the breed. Then, the Bichon Frise arrived in the USA in the year 1956 (imported from France), being taken then from there to the United Kingdom in 1973, from where the breed was spread to Australia, Sweden, Norway and Canada. Today, the Bichon Frise is a very popular breed all over the world.
White ‘n’ beautiful
The eyes are alert and lively, the ears are drooping, well covered with fine wavy hair and carried forward when the dog is attentive. His tail is well plumed, set on level with the topline, which is lifted and gracefully curved, not curled. His feet are tight and round, having black pads and black nails (preferably). The females weigh 4-5 kg while males weigh 6-7 kg.
Being a lapdog, Bichon Frise is a perfect companion for you and your family… because he was born to be your shadow and doesn’t like to be left alone. He is a very clever and gentle-mannered dog.
This is a very advantageous breed as he fits perfectly to a big house or a small town apartment, he doesn’t shed and he’s an hypoallergenic dog, adores children and very gentle. Both males and females are affectionate, intelligent and easy to train.
Active ‘n’ playful
A Bichon Frise is a very active dog who needs exercise and likes to play either with humans or other dogs. They especially like to chase a ball, blitzing or just walking on their rear legs, approaching you while they wave their front paws to you, just greeting you.
Grooming tresses is vital
Grooming a Bichon Frise is not as easy as grooming other breeds, but once you have acquired the day-to-day care routine, you will be delighted in doing so. It is true that most people cannot develop the required skills for scissoring and shaping their bichons, so that a professional groomer should be necessary. But it is also true that you can bathe, dry, brush and comb your Bichon without any problems, as he is a very clean breed who likes to look good. As a general rule, brushing and combing must be done every day, bathing when necessary and trimming, once a month, including the nail trimming.
Daily brushing is essential as this practice will avoid a matted coat. All that you need is a soft slicker brush and a medium size rounded teeth metallic comb.
When bathing your Bichon, run softly your hands from the head to the tail or from the back to the flanks, always following a straight line, never in circles, otherwise his hair will become a mess. You can use a domestic hair dryer for drying your Bichon but please do it using the lowest heat intensity. Try to comb the coat while drying to avoid mats. Apart from this, you might clean your Bichon’s eyes daily. Don’t forget to clean his ears and to brush his teeth too, a practice of absolute need for keeping your Bichon healthy.
Bichon Frise females can deliver 3 to 6 pups; however, they can also give birth up to 9 tiny babies who will be perfectly cared from the very first minute as they are very loving mothers. The Bichon Frise puppy care is not different from other breeds, he has no special requirements. You can take your puppy home at 10 weeks but always, please, be sure of acquiring him from a reputable breeder.
Once at home, your puppy needs to learn a routine as soon as possible, so don’t think he is a just a toy to play with all the time. The sooner you teach and train him, the sooner you will be rewarded. Basic commands to be taught immediately are, for example, his name (it must be short, loud and easy to recognise), ‘come here’, ‘stop’, ‘stay’, etc. (an obedient dog is a life insured dog), a loud ‘no’ (avoid to add his name after the word ‘No’) will teach him what is forbidden to do. On the contrary, when he does what you wish, repeat his name while you praise and pet him (you can also give him a treat!!), thus you will reinforce his positive behaviour.
Healthy ‘n’ sturdy
A Bichon Frise is a natural healthy dog; they can easily live up to 16-17 years. Nevertheless, the breed shows some typical diseases that must be treated as soon as their symptoms appear. Bladder Stones result from an accumulation of minerals and deposits in the urine. A bloody urine is the main symptom and females are more affected than males. A prescribed diet is necessary in order to break the stones, unless they are bigger enough so they should be removed surgically.
Bichons are also prone to suffer from hot spots and skin allergies. When that occurs, they can lick and scratch their skins, causing themselves a patch of red and raised skin, which requires immediate veterinary attention, otherwise the skin will ulcerate and the hair loss will be extensive.
Typical hereditary diseases include: Patella Luxation or Slipping Stiffle (causes extreme pain, requiring an immediate surgery) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA (causes progressive vision loss that culminates in blindness).
In short, living with a Bichon is a continuous source of fun, joy and happiness, in fact you are not the owner to your Bichon … it always happens that your Bichon owns you forever.
(Maria-Jose Bernal is a dog show professional based in France. She is a breeder as well as handler of Bichon Frise dogs; www.deishbilia.com)