Bichon Frise – Characteristics, History, and Care


Reading Time: 6 minutes

Characteristics of Bichon Frise

To understand the characteristics of Bichon Frise, size and appearance, temperament, and health issues are crucial sub-sections that you must know. These sub-sections will provide you with an insight into the traits and attributes that make this breed unique. Discovering the physical traits, personality, and health issues will help you better care for your beloved Bichon Frise.

Size and Appearance

The Bichon Frise has an exquisite and delicate look. It has a fluffy, curly coat. Its head is round, with a black nose. Its eyes are big, round, and dark. It’s very adorable!

It’s small. It ranges from 9-12 inches in height, and weighs 6-11 pounds. Its build is small with short legs and a broad chest. It moves easily due to its lightly-built bone structure.

It’s friendly, outgoing, and affectionate towards humans of all ages. It also has high energy levels, making it a great playmate. Its hair texture means it doesn’t shed much.

In the 16th-19th centuries, these dogs were popular with European royalty. They were used as lap dogs or perfumed pets for noblewomen. This showed a difference between commoners and royals.

Despite their size, Bichon Frises have the confidence of a Great Dane and the sass of a Chihuahua. They’re perfect for people who want a bit of everything!


The Bichon Frise breed is known for their lively and playful personality. They are described as cheerful, affectionate, and charming. They’re also very sociable, making them great companions for families and singles.

Bichons are intelligent animals too. They have a desire to please their owners and respond well to training. But it’s important to start training early to ensure good behaviors.

Bichons are hypoallergenic and don’t shed much hair, making them an ideal pet for those with allergies or who want a low-maintenance dog. They also have a high tolerance for children, making them even more attractive as family pets.

Did you know the word ‘Bichon‘ was created by sailors in the Middle Ages? They were used as ship mascots, catching rats and became known as ‘Bichon’, meaning ‘small lap dog’. This adds a unique charm to this breed.

Health issues

Bichon Frises may suffer from various health issues. Due to their small size and delicate nature, they have a higher risk of dental problems, patellar luxation, allergies, eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. So, regular checkups and appropriate care are key to preventing such issues.

Moreover, their thick coat can lead to skin infections. Plus, they have a tendency toward obesity which can cause respiratory problems. Therefore, potential owners should research the breed’s health concerns before adoption and pick a reputable breeder.

Neglecting the specific care needs of a Bichon Frise can have severe consequences. Being aware of these possible ailments helps guardians provide the necessary care for a healthy lifespan. Preventative measures like regular medical visits and grooming can help your furry friend live their best life with you!

History of Bichon Frise

To understand the history of Bichon Frise, delve into its origins, popularity in Europe, and arrival in America. Uncover the fascinating journey of how these lovable dogs developed and evolved over time, gaining popularity as charming companions across the globe.


The Bichon Frise has a fascinating past, dating back to the 13th century. It’s thought that they were bred from poodles and barbets, and their lovable nature quickly made them a favorite of French royalty.

Throughout history, they’ve wowed people with their tricks. Bichon Frises have been seen performing alongside elephants and monkeys in circuses, and they’ve been the beloved companion of sailors, soldiers, and commoners.

What sets them apart is their hypoallergenic coat, making them a great choice for people with allergies or asthma. Their playful yet gentle personalities still make them a great family pet today.

It’s clear that the Bichon Frise has changed over time, but still kept its irresistible charm. If you’re looking for a new furry friend, maybe a Bichon Frise is the one for you!

Popularity in Europe

The Bichon Frise rose to fame in Europe due to their charming looks and friendly nature. They were a hit with the upper classes, with French, Spanish, and Italian royalty all seeking them as beloved lapdogs during the Renaissance era. To this day, these small dogs are seen as symbols of nobility and elegance in Europe.

Commoners also adored them for their playful and loving temperaments. Street performers even taught them tricks to entertain crowds. Plus, painters of the time often included Bichons in portraits of noblewomen or famous people.

Surprisingly, Bichons were also used for bartering when trading with sailors. That’s a far cry from their current status as house pets!

But, in the early 1800s, Bichon Frises lost their popularity due to political upheaval. Eventually, the breed lines died out until being revived by dog-lovers in France at the end of the 20th century. Nowadays, Bichon Frises are recognised as one of the top small dog breeds in the world; renowned for their cuddly appearance and delightful personality.

When they arrived in America, Bichon Frises quickly showed they were much more than just a seaworthy breed.

Arrival in America

The Bichon Frise came to the U.S. in the 1950s after being successful in Europe. Few Americans knew about it right away. But, over time, this breed’s good looks and loving nature charmed people from all over the nation.

In the late 1960s, America’s 1st Bichon Frise club was created. They worked to promote proper ownership and breeding. Plus, they made sure the breed had good quality and health. This community made the breed thrive in America.

In the 2000s, the Bichon Frise became popular due to a TV show called “According to Jim“. They earned worldwide fame for their cuteness and lovingness.

If you want a small pet that can protect itself and your family, the Bichon Frise could be the one. They are alert and ready to guard. Although, you’ll need to give them lots of care. Like having a high-maintenance partner, but with more fur and less drama.

Caring for Bichon Frise

To care for your Bichon Frise with optimal health and happiness, you need to cover the essentials of feeding and nutrition, exercise, grooming, and training. Each of these sub-sections plays a crucial role in ensuring your furry companion’s physical and mental well-being.

Feeding and Nutrition

It’s important to know the dietary needs of Bichon Frises for optimal health. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  1. Pick high-quality dog food made for small breeds.
  2. Be aware of portion sizes and don’t overfeed them. Obesity can lead to health issues.
  3. Incorporate fruits and veggies for vitamins and fiber.
  4. Give them access to clean water always.
  5. Don’t give them human food, especially chocolate, which is toxic.
  6. Ask your vet if dietary supplements are beneficial.

Watch out for any allergies or sensitivities to certain foods. If needed, consult your vet. Stay informed on their dietary needs and follow good feeding and nutrition practices for Bichon Frises. Get your pup enough exercise too! That way, you’ll get to enjoy a happy, healthy life together!


Bichon Frise’s Physical Activity

The Bichon Frise needs daily exercise to stay healthy – mentally and physically. Be mindful of their small size, as too much activity could lead to over-exertion.

  • Walking: A 20-30 min walk daily is great for their stamina and physical activity.
  • Fetch: Playing fetch is a fun way to get them moving and mentally stimulated.
  • Agility Training: This activity challenges their brains and bodies, making it a favourite for Bichons.
  • Swimming: Safe pools or shallow lakes/ponds can give them low-impact exercises.
  • Informal Dog Groups: Joining other Bichon owners’ groups gives your pet a social life and mental stimulation.
  • Obedience Classes: Besides physical activities, training classes help Bichons learn new things and socialise.

Don’t let them jump too much, as it adds stress to their joints and could lead to injury.

Consistency is key when exercising your Bichon Frise. They love routine-based lives and will easily adjust to regular walks.

With their people-friendly traits, the breed may suffer from separation anxiety. Exercise reduces stress caused by such situations.

Get up, grab the leash, and go for a walk! Keep them clean and well-groomed, otherwise they’ll start looking like a dirty mop!


This breed needs a lot of care for their coats to stay healthy and glossy. Brushing must be done every so often to stop matting. Bathing once a month should be enough to keep skin irritation away. Trim the coat and nails every 6-8 weeks. Teeth brushing should be done often to have good dental hygiene.

Handle this breed’s delicate skin with care during grooming. Use the correct tools and techniques for their safety and comfort. Bichon Frises are prone to dental problems, so their oral hygiene is essential. Training this breed is like teaching a toddler to use the potty – it needs patience, consistency, and sometimes a lot of cleaning up.


Training your Bichon Frise can be tough. Use positive reinforcement to stop bad behavior. Speak firmly and give rewards often. Short training sessions, 5-10 minutes, will help keep their attention.

Socialize your puppy early. Introduce them to people and animals. Exercise them too. Each dog is different. Don’t compare them to others.

One lady used chicken as a reward for her pup to learn ‘sit’. She said it worked within days!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the typical characteristics of a Bichon Frise?

Answer: Bichon Frises are small and fluffy, with curly, white hair. They have round, dark eyes and a black nose. They weigh between 10 and 20 pounds and stand about 9 to 12 inches tall.

2. What is the history of Bichon Frises?

Answer: Bichon Frises are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region and were popular with sailors. They were first recognized as a breed in the 14th century and became popular in France during the Renaissance. Today, they are a popular pet breed around the world.

3. What kind of care do Bichon Frises require?

Answer: Bichon Frises require daily grooming, including brushing and occasional haircuts. They are generally healthy but may be prone to certain health issues, including allergies and dental problems. They also require regular exercise and socialization.

4. Are Bichon Frises good with children?

Answer: Bichon Frises are generally good with children and make great family pets. They are friendly, affectionate, and playful. However, as with any dog breed, children should always be supervised when interacting with a Bichon Frise.

5. Are Bichon Frises easy to train?

Answer: Bichon Frises are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, they can be stubborn and may require patience and consistency from their owner.

6. How long do Bichon Frises typically live?

Answer: Bichon Frises typically live 12 to 15 years, but some can live longer with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups.