Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

Bichon Frise Dog Breed - History, Care & Training

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10 min read

Bichon Frise

On This Page

  • Bichon Frise History
  • Bichon Frise Physical Attributes
  • Bichon Frise Personality & Temperament
  • Bichon Frise Care and Grooming
  • Bichon Frise Health Problems
  • Bichon Frise Interesting Facts
  • Bichon Frise as an Emotional Support Animal

Unlike other dog breeds, the Bichon Frise is one of the most affectionate dogs. Their entertaining nature and nifty tricks make them ideal circus dogs. However, these dogs are more often found entertaining their owners at home.

Bichons are easy-going companions that usually go well with children and other dogs. Thus, they are considered nice little watchdogs. Moreover, their happy-go-lucky temperament draws hugs and smiles.

If you are looking for a complete package of an entertaining but alert watchdog, Bichon Frises is the right choice for you. Check out this guide to know more about the history, personality traits, and health conditions of this dog breed.

Bichon Frise History

The exact origin of the Bichon Frise dog breed is unknown. However, according to some common beliefs, Bichons were descended from a medium-sized woolly water dog, ‘Barbet.’ The name Bichon came from Barbichon.

The Barbichon family dogs include the Bichon Frise, the Coton de Tulear, the Bolognese, the Maltese, and the Havanese, and All these dogs have originated in the Mediterranean and have similar looks.

This breed dates back to the 14th century when the French sailors brought these dogs home from the Canary Islands. The traders who took them to the place used the Phoenician trade route. After that, the Bichon Frise was created in Italy.

Some people also believe that the Spanish seamen brought these dogs to the island. Consequently, in the 1500s, the Italian sailors brought them back to the continent as war booty. The breed became a favorite pet in Europe.

In the 19th century, Bichons were popular during the reigns of France's King Francis I and England's King Henry III. King Henry III loved his dog and even carried him in a basket wherever he went.

These dogs also became favorites of Spanish royal families that they also used in several pieces of art. Furthermore, the Bichon Frise remained strong during the rule of Napoleon III, but it fell out of royalty in the late 1800s.

Until that period, the breed was considered a common dog owned by circus performers and organ grinders. Sometimes, they were also trained in leading blind individuals. However, the breed becomes extinct during this period.

French breeders became interested in the Bichon Frise dogs after World War I and worked hard to protect the breed. In 1933, the Société Centrale Canine of France adopted the official breed standard and declared two dogs’ names. These are Bichon and Tenerife.

In the same year, Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognized the Bichon Frise, where the president renamed the breed. In 1934, the dog became part of the French Kennel Club’s studbook.

In 1956, Bichons were first brought to the United States. Following this in 1971, this breed entered the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class and registered in the studbook in 1972.

They also became eligible to show the dog shown by the Non-Sporting Group in 1973. Finally, the AKC, in 1975, recognized the Bichon Frise Club of America.

Bichon Frise Physical Attributes

Teacup Bichon Frise is sturdy, small, and a white powder puff of a dog. Here are some distinguishing physical attributes of the Bichon Frise dog breed.

  • Size

    The Bichon Frise size is mainly 9 to 11 inches. The body from the chest to the rump is one-quarter longer than the height. The boning is medium and compact.

  • Body

    The chest is well-developed, and wide enough that allows the movement of the front legs. However, the lowest point of the chest extends to the elbow, and the rib cage extends back to the muscular loin.

  • Eyes

    The eyes are large, round, or almond-shaped and mostly black or dark brown. Any color other than these two is a serious fault. Similarly, they are all set in the skull to look forward.

  • Ears

    Ears are covered with long flowing hair. They are set slightly higher than eyes and forward on the skull. They serve to frame the face when the dog is alert.

  • Head

    The head and skull are rounded. A properly balanced head has three to five parts of the muzzle measured from the nose to the stop.

  • Neck

    The breed has a long arched neck that is carried behind an erect head. The length is approximately one-third the distance from the fore chest and it extends into the shoulders.

  • Nose, Lips & Bite

    The nose and lips are always black and prominent. Whereas the bite is scissors as the lower jaw is strong.

  • Tail

    The tail is curved over the back and set on the level of the topline. It allows the hair of the plumed tail to rest on the back.

  • Forequarters

    The upper arm, forearm, and shoulder blade are equal in length. They are laid back to a forty-five-degree angle. Legs have medium and straight bones with no curve in the waist or forearm On the other hand, the elbows are held close to the body. The feet are round with black pads and short nails.

  • Hindquarters

    The hindquarters have medium boning with muscular thighs that are set wide apart. On the other hand, the paws are tight and round.

  • Coat

    The undercoat is dense and soft, whereas the overcoat is of curlier texture. It is similar to velvet and is long enough to create a powder puff look. Moreover, the double coat is rounded off from all directions but it is never too short.

  • Color

    It is mainly white in color with shadings of cream, buff, or apricot on the body and around the ears. Any color more than 10 percent of the white coat is a fault.

  • Gait

    These dogs move freely and effortlessly because the hind legs and forelegs are equally extended. It maintains a steady topline.

Bichon Frise Personality & Temperament

The cheerful attitude of the Bichon Frise is their most special personality trait. This white dog breed enjoys being the center of attention and they love to be loved and adored. They are sensitive, responsive, and affectionate. Similarly, they also seem like a charming and friendly personality to his family, neighbors, vet, other pets, and children.

Despite having an independent and playful streak, these dogs do not like to be alone. Instead, if left alone for many hours, they suffer from separation anxiety.

With this, they become destructive and chew and tear up anything in sight. They can also bark a lot. Therefore, it is not an ideal breed for those who are away from home for a longer time.

However, Bichon's temperament can be affected by several factors, including training, socialization, and heredity. Bichon Frise puppies with good temperament are playful and curious and are willing to get held by their owners.

Bichon Frise Care and Grooming

Bichon is a high-maintenance dog breed as it requires a lot of time for grooming and bathing. But always make this grooming session a positive experience. Moreover, it should be filled with rewards and praise. The following are the ways through which you can groom your dog.

  • Bathing

    The owners need to bathe their Bichon Frise dog when he gets dirty. It is essential to keep the white coat clean. Also, ensure to remove mats and tangles from the coat before bathing.

  • Brushing

    Brush the dog at least twice a week. Bichon Frise dogs are considered hypoallergenic as they do not shed much. Here, the shed hair piles up in the undercoat and can lead to different skin problems. Thus, it is not harmful to people with allergies.

  • Ears Cleaning

    Check the dog’s ears to make sure they are clean. Pluck out any extra hair that grows in the ear canal. If you notice redness, an excessive buildup of wax, or a bad odor, take the dog to the vet. It can be a symptom of an ear infection.

  • Eyes

    Cleaning the face and eyes of the Bichon are important for the heath. Sometimes, discharge from the eyes accumulates in the hair that grows around the eyes. It further leads to different eye problems.

    • Teeth

      Brush the dog’s breed at least twice or thrice a week. This session is important to remove bacteria and tartar buildup. Therefore, most vets recommend daily brushing to prevent bad breath and gum diseases.

    • Trim Nails

      Lastly, trim your dog’s nails once or twice a month. However, do it carefully as there are small blood vessels in the nails, and it can cause bleeding if it cuts too far.

  • Exercise Needs

    These dogs are somewhat active and need exercise and play. Adult Bichon dogs need 30 minutes to an hour of walking session or playtime daily. Nevertheless, these small dogs do not need too much space to romp. Thus, they are considered suitable for apartments where a fenced backyard is enough for them.

    Training Sessions

    Puppy training classes and early socialization are recommended for this breed. They are easy to house train with a dog whistle because they love to learn and perform new tricks quickly.

    But these dogs need to be taught proper manners with the help of obedience training. Furthermore, they also require exposure to different sounds, sights, people, and experiences. It helps to grow a Bichon in a well-rounded fog.

    Diet and Nutrition

    This dog breed can be fed with high-quality dog food. It can be prepared at home or commercially manufactured. But the diet should be according to the age of the dog.

  • Always keep your Bichons in good shape by measuring their meals. Vets usually recommend feeding the dog twice a day with an amount of 1/2 to 1.5 cups of dry food. Similarly, treats are also a good reward during training but giving too many can lead to obesity.

    Bichon Frise Health Problems

    Typically, bichons are a healthy breed, but they are also prone to certain health problems like other dogs. Thus, it is important to know about them if you plan to adopt this breed.

    Bladder Issues

    Bladder infections and stones are very common in these dogs. The factors that cause bladder stones include excessive phosphorus, protein, and magnesium in nutrition.

    It can also occur if there are longer periods between urination or because of any viral or bacterial infections. The major symptoms are bloody urine, frequent urination, loss of appetite, or difficulty urinating.


    Allergies can occur because of different causes. It can include food or contact allergies. This breed is also quite sensitive to fleabites. The common signs are scratching or licking paws and rubbing the face.

    Patellar Luxation

    It is one of the most common health conditions found in small dogs. It is also known as slipped stifles, where the kneecap is the patella, and luxation causes the dislocation of a joint. Thus, in this condition, the knee joint slides in and out of the exact place, causing extreme pain. It can lead to crippling; however, most dogs also survive with this disorder.

    Vaccination Sensitivity

    Some Bichons are sensitive towards routine vaccinations. The most common symptoms include soreness, facial swelling, and lethargy. However, it rarely develops complications like death.

    Hip Dysplasia

    It is an inherited condition where the thigh bone does not fit into the hip bone joint. It can cause pain and lameness in both the rear legs. Similarly, arthritis also develops in the affected dogs. This can be diagnosed with an X-ray screening.

    Juvenile Cataracts

    It is believed to be a hereditary condition that can usually develop in young dogs. It can be caused by defective genes and considered hereditary.

    Luckily, many of these health issues could be successfully prevented by paying special attention to its diet. Therefore, it is better that you choose from vet recommended dog food options and make sure that your dog stays healthy and happy.

    Bichon Frise Puppy Price

    The Bichon Frise price ranges between $700 to $2000. It mainly depends on the types of breeders as reputable breeders cost more than home-based ones. Moreover, the purity and age of the dog also determine the price tag.

    The special grooming needs, nutrition, and health services will further cost you $600 to $1000 per year. Thus, it is always better to adopt a Bichon Frise as it will cost much lower than buying one.

    There are many shelters and Bichon Frise rescue groups that focus on finding great homes for this breed. If you plan to buy these dogs, it is safest to purchase from a reputable breeder offering Bichon Frise for sale. However, make sure that the breeders do genetic testing of the animals. Also, verify the pet’s health conditions before buying.

    Bichon Frise Interesting Facts

    The following are the interesting facts about the Bichon Frise dog breed.

    Bichon Frise as an Emotional Support Animal

    If you are searching for a perfect dog breed that can make great ESAs, Bichon Frise is an ideal choice for you. This breed is incredibly affectionate and a perfect emotional support animal for those who want to go out and socialize with people. They are also very loving towards their owners.

    All you have to do is to contact a licensed mental health professional. He will prescribe you an ESA letter that will allow you to live or travel with your support animal. For this, you don’t have to pay any extra charges.

    If you are unable to find a medical specialist, contact us at RealESALetter.com now and see if you qualify. We will provide you with an authentic letter within 24 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are bichons hard to potty train?

FAQ Icon

Bichon Frise is highly trainable when they have a desire to please their owners. However, they can be stubborn and difficult to potty train for housebreaking.

2. Are male or female Bichon Frise better?

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The preference as to the gender of your puppy is entirely a personal choice if you are planning to produce and raise a litter. Both the sexes make equally good pets. But if you want a truly cuddle companion, then it is better to consider a male.

3. Do bichons like water?

FAQ Icon

No, Bichon Frises comes in the category of dogs that do not like water.

4. Do Bichon Frise sleep a lot?

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In comparison to other dog breeds, Bichon Frise has a low energy level. They like sleeping and do sleep for 16-17 hours a day.

5. Do Bichons swim?

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Yes, Bichons can swim really well. Whenever they get close to the water, they begin to paddle their short legs like crazy.

Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and expert author at the RealESALetter.com. With a deep-seated passion for animals, Harper brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to his writings. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he aims to help pet owners understand and care for their furry friends better.

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