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Bichon Frise

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Completely adorable, incredibly playful and easy to train, the bichon frise is a hugely popular breed. These cute little dogs build strong bonds with their owners but can suffer from separation anxiety as a result. They are great with children and get on well with other dogs but can demand a lot of attention.

Which breed group is bichon frise in?

Breed group: Toy

Bichon Frise breed history

Bichons originated in the Mediterranean region. They are thought to have existed on Tenerife as early as the 14th century and would have been transported to mainland Europe by sailors and traders. The word Bichon is derived from Barbichon while frise refers to the corkscrew nature of the dogs’ coats. These playful little dogs became favourites with the nobility and were often carried around in ornamental baskets.

The breed was at one time divided into four types - the bichon Maltais, the bichon Bolognais, the bichon Havanai and the bichon Tenerife. Hugely popular since their arrival from Tenerife, the dogs enjoyed pampered lives in the homes of the wealthy until many ended up on the streets during the French revolution. The strays were picked up by street performers as their cute-factor drew attention. The breed attracted great interest once again after World War II when breeding programmes were initiated. A breed standard was established in France in 1933. It wasn’t long before bichons frises were coveted across the globe.

Bichon Frise breed characteristics

  • Lifespan: 12 - 15 years
  • Height: up to 28cm
  • Weight: up to 6kg
  • White coats
  • Corkscrew curls
  • Black noses
  • Dark round eyes with black rims
  • Confident
  • Outgoing
  • Bond well with owners
  • Good with children
  • Tendency to bark
  • Require regular grooming

 

Health issues with the Bichon Frise

A bichon frise which is well cared for could live for 15 years or more. However, this popular breed is prone to a number of conditions:

Hereditary cataracts

Patella luxation

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP)

Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia (AIHA)

Heart disease

Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia

Deafness

Type 1 diabetes

Urolithiasis

Primary ciliary dyskinesia

Haemophilia

Neurological disorders

Secondary glaucoma

Basal cell cancerous tumours

 

What is the Bichon Frise bred for?

As with many breeds, the precise history of the Bichon Frise is unknown but these cute little dogs have always been treasured as companions and family pets.

 

What sort of owners does the Bichon Frise suit?

Bichons frises (note the plural spelling) form strong bonds with their owners and so are best suited to households where at least one person is home all day. They don’t like being left alone and are highly intelligent. They are wonderful family pets which are good with children but new owners should be aware that a bichon requires regular grooming. They are relatively easy to train but can bark excessively and love to be the centre of attention. Busy owners might find them to be overly demanding. However, their friendly natures, cute appearances and confident personalities make them hard to resist.


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