Bichon Frise

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Looking for a compact, cuddly friend who will love you to pieces? The Bichon Frise fits the bill. This powder-puff pup with dark eyes and a gorgeous white coat easily makes friends with those whom he encounters. The Bichon has long been a favorite pet, even making it to the American Kennel Club’s top 25 most popular in years’ past.

Bichon Frise puppy

The Bichon breed loves human companionship and hails from the Mediterranean. His ancestors were the Barbet water spaniel and the poodle. In fact, the breed’s current name was derived from the Barbet ancestors — it was originally called “Barbichon.”

  • The name Bichon Frise translates roughly to “curly lap dog.”
  • Historically, the Bichon was a favorite of Italian and French nobility.
  • The Bichon is a great dog to rescue, as it adapts easily to new people and surroundings. 

So what is it about the Bichon Frise that makes him such a good pet? Here are just a few of the traits that make the breed so popular:

Bichon Frise dog
  • The Bichon is active indoors, which makes him great for apartment dwellers.
  • He is perky, playful and affectionate, making him a great family pet.
  • He loves to be around people.
  • He learns tricks easily, and is happy to show them off.
  • He gets along well with other animals.
  • Though he might be stubborn, he is very bright.
  • His coat does not shed.

Though Bichons can make wonderful pets, you must be sure you have time to devote to dog training and dog grooming. Bichons are notoriously difficult to housebreak so consistent crate training (and patience) is recommended. Some owners choose to install doggy doors to get around this problem.

This breed needs plenty of attention and interaction, as it tends to suffer from separation anxiety. This condition manifests itself in bad behaviors such as destructive biting and barking. 

Bichon Frise dog

The Bichon Frise is a small dog, weighing 10 to 18 pounds. His coat is always white — you won’t find any other coat color within this breed. A Bichon Frise lives to be 12 to 15 years old.

Bichons have a beautiful white coat, which is part of what makes them so attractive to potential owners. Keeping your Bichon Frise’s coat bright and well-maintained requires a lot of work. A Bichon undercoat does not drop when the hair dies, so it must be combed twice weekly to avoid hot spots and prevent mats and tangles. Grooming to maintain the shape and overall health of the coat is needed at least once a month. Frequent bathing is a must, if you hope to keep that white coat white!
While these medical conditions are known to occur in the breed your Bichon Frise will not necessarily develop any of the conditions listed below. Choosing a reputable shelter, rescue group  or breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.
  • Atopy is an allergic disorder that causes itching, hair loss and infections of the skin and ears a strain of the herpes virus that happens to affect canines. 
  • Bladder infections and stones are a result of high levels of uric acid in the blood. This lead to the development of kidney stones and urinary bladder stones. These conditions can be controlled with special diets and medication.
  • Patellar luxation is caused by anatomical defects of the bones that make up the knee joint. It is manifested by the kneecap (patella) slipping in and out of its normal location in the knee. Mildly affected dogs may carry the leg for 2 or 3 steps while walking. Severely affected dogs may become severely lame and refuse to use their rear legs. Surgical correction of this condition is very rewarding. 
  • Gingivitis: Symptoms of this periodontal disease include red and inflamed gums. It can be limited to one tooth or widespread throughout your dog's mouth, affecting numerous teeth. Routine dental care is required to prevent the infection from spreading to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Without routine care, your dog's teeth are likely to fall out and bacteria can quickly spread to other parts of the body, targeting your cat’s organs and potentially leading to organ failure.
  • Cataracts: an opacity of the lens of the eye. May cause blindness if not treated surgically. 

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.

The Bichon’s warm, loving temperament is a strong base for a rewarding pet-owner relationship. If you have the time to spend with and care for your Bichon, you will find great companionship that will last a lifetime.