Bichon Frises (Bichon, for short) love to steal the spotlight and their popularity among aristocrats has certainly helped them do so. King Henry III of France is said to have loved his so much he adorned himself with a basket of Bichon Frises around his neck. These poofy poochies originally worked as hunting dogs, became popular circus performers, and now mostly serve as devoted and sturdy lapdogs. Pet care professionals describe them as “wonderful little dogs.”
Originally from the mediterranean region, this small-sized and peppy breed can grow to between 10-16 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Non-Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Companion
Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Average Lifespan: 14-15 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 26
FAMILY bichon, companion, water dog
AREA OF ORIGIN France
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION companion, performer
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 9.5-11.5 Weight: 11-16
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 9.5-11.5 Weight: 10-15
OTHER NAME Tenerife dog, bichon Tenerife, bichon a poil frise
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Low
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly
Ease of training Hard to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BICHON FRISE'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
These dogs are very intelligent, lively, and entertaining. A Bichon loves its people unconditionally making it a fantastic choice for families. These playful dogs are great with kids (supervised, of course), and usually very friendly toward other dogs, pets, and strangers.
WHAT IS BICHON FRISE BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Bichon Frises are cheerful canine companions who will leap, dance, and snuggle their way into your heart. They have lots of energy, so plan for daily walks and games. These dogs are gentle and playful, highly alert, but not very protective. They can be somewhat prone to barking. They're good dog park citizens, as long as there's a separate area for smaller dogs.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BICHON FRISE?
Bichons are eager to please and make for quick learners. They can be somewhat resistant to potty training and their small bladders make for frequent daily walks. This breed responds well to food and game rewards.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BICHON FRISES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Bichon Frises have a long, lush, curly double coat that is almost odor-free. The hair never stops growing, so your furry friend will need regular clipping or trips to the groomer (plan for at least every other month). Brush and comb consistently—several times per week—to prevent snarls and mats. Plan for baths at least once a month.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BICHON FRISES HAVE?
Bichon Frises are generally very healthy — in fact, experts say they are among the healthiest dog breeds. Keep an eye on their teeth, however. Bichons can experience early tooth loss and may develop gum infections if you don't care for their mouths. Some have been known to suffer from bladder or ear infections, allergies, eye ailments, and joint weakness, but these are rare.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BICHON FRISES GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club lists Bichon Frises among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers. This breed sheds infrequently and gives off less dander than most dogs.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as a Bichon Frise! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BICHON FRISE'S BEST DAY?
A playful romp with the kids and lots of petting is all this adorable pup needs to make it the best day ever.
SHOULD I ADOPT A BICHON FRISE?
These dogs are loving, bright, friendly, funny, loyal, and very stylish companions. Bichons are very adaptable and equally well suited to warm and cool weather. They're wonderful with children and love to play with you. Their small size makes managing their high energy levels fairly easy — you can wear them out with romps in the backyard or moderate daily walks. Aside from needing to have your groomer on speed dial, dog ownership doesn't get much easier than with a Bichon.
Have you decided that a Bichon Frise is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.