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Bichon Dog

bichon frise

The Bichon dog, also known as the Bichon Frise, and Bichon Tenerife, can trace its roots to the Mediterranean area where it existed as far back as 600-300 B.C.

Its development is particulary noted on the Canary Island of Tenerife, believed to have been brought there by either Spanish or Phoenician sailors. It was also during this time that the Bichon was favored by Spanish artists who quite often included them in their paintings - the renowned artist Goya, being one of them.

In its early history it was not uncommon for this attractive friendly dog to find itself aboard ship traveling the high seas as a companion dog and ship mate to those on board, as well as a bartering item used in trading by the sailors.

Around the 1300s, the Bichons caught the attention of Italian sailors, who are likely responsbile for bringing them back to Europe where they subsequently gained popularity with the Italian and French aristocracy. Later on they made another giant leap in popularity in the court of Henry III, during the 16th century.

Bichon Frise dogs, although small in stature, give the impression of substance. In the standard "powder puff" look, their abundant white coat is cut with a fluffy and rounded appearance. It is especially so in framing the face, but not so much that you can't see the expressive and intelligent-looking large eyes. Owners not planning to show their dog, can opt for a shorter more flowing haircut.

Ancestors of this breed are thought to be the Barbet or Water Spaniel.

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Personality and Traits:

Apart from spending some time as a circus entertainer, this small dog breed was never developed to do a specific job. On the other hand, he is very intelligent and gets high marks for being a quick learner.

The loving, friendly, affectonate Bichon Frise has all the qualifications you could ask for in an ideal family companion. He is very sociable and is noted for his love of being pampered which even comes across in his way of letting owners know what he wants. Uncannily, the Bichon dog often acts as if he somehow remembers he once hung out with royalty!

While this dog may be forthright in expressing his wishes, he does need guidance and owners should establish themselves as the "pack leader" if they want to prevent undesirable behavior down the line.

Although the Bichon has plenty of coat protection, he's a bit fussy about going outside if the weather's not perfect. So you may have to relax the rules a tad to get him potty trained by carrying him in and out for a while. If you do this, he'll love you for the recognition of his "specialness"! But, once you've got him out there, use this as an opportunity to give him a little play exercise time after his potty break. Maybe this will gradually change his mind about the great outdoors!

Activity Level:

The Bichon dog is pretty playful and active around the house and while this contributes to his overall exercise, he does need a regular daily walk for his health and well-being.

It may come as no surprise that this little dog, of seafaring heritage, also enjoys swimming and retrieving!

Appearance, Coat and Care:

Height: 9.5 - 12.5 inches
Weight: 7 to 11 pounds
Coat colors: The coat color is white, or white with cream, apricot or gray.

The Bichon dog has a double coat comprised of a dense soft undercoat with a longer/coarser outer coat. Because shedding is so minimal, a great deal of dead hair builds up within the coat and needs to be removed frequently. If this is not done, mats and tangles will form, creating a very difficult and painful grooming challenge.

When you have a Bichon, it is a good idea to begin grooming before the adult coat comes in. This will give him a a chance to get used to the process before the life-long, more intense, daily routine gets underway. Be sure to equip yourself with good quality combs and brushes to prevent damage to the beautiful Bichon coat.

A very popular tool for removing dead hair is furminator deshedding tool for dogsthe FURminator.

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Space Needs

Bichon dogs are very adaptable to an apartment or house, but a yard or outside area is always preferred for romping, house training purposes and general play time activities.


This breed loves to be the center of attention and does best with older children who are not expecting to be entertained by him. As always, no matter what the breed of dog, caution and supervision is recommended whenever children are interacting with pets.


If a daily walk can be provided, the Bichon dog is a wonderful breed for an elderly or sedentary family as he is the ultimate affectionate lap dog. He also does fine with an active family provided he is included in the action.

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Book Recommendation:

bichon frise dog training book How to Train Your Bichon Frise

Complete expert information on the care and training of the breed.
Includes history, personality characteristics, behaviors, grooming, and more.

Great color illustrations.

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› Bichon Dog



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