- The bichon is a descendent of the barbichon family of dogs, which in turn descends from the barbet, a large water dog.
- Bichons were divided into four types: Maltaise, Bolognese, Havanese and Tenerife.
- The Tenerife, developed on the Canary Island of Tenerife, was brought to Italy in the 14th century. They quickly became favored pets of the upper class.
- After a series of French invasions of Italy in the 1500s, the dogs were brought back to France where they once again became favored pets of the aristocracy.
- For some unknown reason, the breed fell out of favor with the upper class. It survived as a street dog, performing tricks with organ grinders to entertain passersby for money.
- World War I nearly brought about the demise of the breed, but a few people tried to save it.
- In 1933, a breed standard was drawn up and it became an official breed, the bichon frise.
- Bichons came to America in the 1950s, and received AKC recognition in 1971.
Bichon Frise Behavior Concerns
- Makes an affectionate and exuberant companion.
- Playful, gentle and very good with children.
- Very friendly to strangers, other dogs and other pets.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- Eager to please, bright and responsive.
- Some tend to bark a lot, which should be discouraged from an early age.
- Some can be difficult to housetrain.
Bichon Frise Suggested Exercises
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- A walk around the block once or twice daily, plus a vigorous game, will meet its exercise needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
- Many bichons have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
- Dog parks can work out well as long as bichons are not expected to mingle with much larger dogs.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its thick coat provides some protection against cold weather, but its fairly small body size nonetheless makes it vulnerable to the cold.
Bichon Frise Grooming
- Coat is curly, coarse and dense.
- Brushing and combing every other day is necessary to prevent matting.
- Most people have their dogs professionally clipped every month.
- Shedding is below average.
- No breed is actually non-allergenic, but bichons may cause fewer allergies compared to most other breeds.
Suggested Bichon Frise Nutritional Needs
- Bichons tend to stay in good weight. The thick coat can sometimes obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.