The Bichon Frise is so much more than just a fluffy, adorable face. Packed into that small but sturdy frame is enough warmth and wit to bring joy to any household. Easy to train and intelligent, Bichons are adaptable and even great for first time dog owners, since the most important thing they require is simply attention. Give your Bichon the affection and time that they crave, and you’ll have a best friend for life – and some serious party entertainment (with a little training!).
Is a Bichon Frise the right kind of dog for you? There are a lot of things to consider when adding a dog to your life, so we’ve covered just about everything you’ll need to know in this in-depth breed profile.
- Origin: Mediterranean
- Weight: 7-14 pounds
- Activity level:
- Barking/howling level:
- Good with dogs: yes
- Good with kids: yes
- Good with cats:
- Grooming level:
- Training level:
Bichon Frise Appearance
It’s hard not to notice a Bichon Frise, with their white, fluffy coats, sparkly black eyes, and glistening black noses that make them look like a sweet stuffed animal you’d like to cuddle. The hair on their head is often groomed into a soft, round shape that only accentuates that teddy bear appeal, and their bodies are small and compact, though their double-coat stands away from their body in a way that gives them a puffy appearance.
Bichon Frise Personality
Cheerful is the word most often associated with this breed, which shouldn’t come as a surprise once you’ve had the joy of interacting with one of these playful pups. Bichons are always ready for fun, and they get along well with other pets and even with children, as they’re always up for a sprightly game or a cuddle.
The most important thing to understand about this breed is how much they love spending time with their humans. They hate being left alone for long periods of time (and sometimes even short periods of time), and truly need to have that human interaction to thrive. This breed is not the right fit for someone who doesn’t have that time to spend with their pup, or who is rarely at home.
Give them time, attention, and affection (and some training, since they can be a bit mischievous) and your Bichon will continue to blossom.
Ideal Environment for a Bichon Frise
Bichons can thrive in a variety of environments and are just as happy in apartments as they are in large houses. What’s most important to them about their living space is that someone is in it spending time with them. Ideally their person would work from home, or at least have a schedule that allows them the time and flexibility to spend with their pup.
And though a backyard is not a necessity for this breed, it is important to have fun areas to explore on leash with your Bichon, as they do require daily walks and exercise.
Ideal Human for a Bichon Frise
The ideal person for a Bichon Frise is someone who wants to spend a lot of time with this affectionate and fun little companion. Their human doesn’t need to be an experience dog owner since Bichons are great even for novices, but they should be dedicated to training and playing with them. When you welcome a Bichon into your family, you’re agreeing to a best friend to accompany you on most (if not all) of your adventures.
Bichon Frise Training
Bichons are known for being bright and intelligent, which means they’re a dream to train. And since they adore being the center of attention, they’re also happy to learn party tricks that they can perform for their loved ones.
Since they do want to spend every moment with their humans, they are prone to separation anxiety when left alone. To deal with this it’s important to start crate training early, and to not make a big deal about leaving the house or coming home, as that can just add to your pets anxiety. It’s also important to practice leaving your pup alone each day, starting with just a few mins and working your way up. We know it’s sweet when your pet misses you so much, but that stress level is actually not good for them physically or mentally, so it’s best to start this training early to avoid separation anxiety.
Socialization is also important for this breed because you’ll make them feel comfortable and safe with you as they explore the world, and they’ll gain the confidence to be the well-adjusted, well-behaved pup you know that they can be. Above all this breed really just wants to please their loved ones, and their smarts and charm mean that any effort you put into training them will be well worth it.
Bichon Frise Grooming
There’s no way around it – you’re definitely going to need to spend time grooming your Bichon Frise. Or, more likely you’re going to have to spend some money to have a professional take care of their lovely locks every four to six weeks, since grooming them yourself is not for the faint of heart. Their coat is a bit on the high-maintenance side, but your adorable, white puffball will be well worth the effort.
Though Bichons don’t shed a lot (which makes them excellent for people with allergies), they do still lose some hair. They’re actually sporting a double-coat, which means that their dead hair needs to be removed by brushing, otherwise it can create mats and tangles in the fur that can irritate their skin. It’s important to brush your Bichon a few times a week – and it’s especially important to brush them out before a bath, or you’ll have a giant tangled mess on your hands.
It’s also important to check your Bichon’s ears regularly for infections, and keep their face clean and trimmed up since they’re prone to eye problems and tearstains.
Bichon Frise Health
Though this is a generally healthy breed, there are a few health issues these pups sometimes encounter including skin allergies (which are common and affect around 1 in 5 pups), bladder stones and infections, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia.
Bichon Frise usually live from 12 to 15 years, and with the proper exercise, food, and regular trips to the vet, your pup will have a good chance at a long and happy life.
Bichon Frise Breed History
Early records indicate that in the 14th century sailor brought these pups from the Canary Island to Europe, where they grew in number and were popular in royal courts, with even King Henry III having one. And since those small bodies are packed with charm and charisma, Bichons were also quite popular with circus performers – performing tricks and entertaining audiences all over the world.
Bichons didn’t come to the United States until 1956, but have quickly made their mark as a unique and special breed, and were accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1971.
Getting a Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise breeders
It’s always a good idea to meet the parents of your puppy, and to see how the litter interacts with each other. A good, trustworthy breeder should have records of the parents’ lineage, too and should be able to tell you more about the specific litter.
The American Kennel Club website is a great place to start your search for a reputable breeder. Make sure you wise up on puppy mills and internet scams—following some simple steps can help avoid further funding of this terrible practice, and help you end up with a pet whose breeding and early-life experience will more reliably result in a well-adjusted dog.
Adopting a Bichon Frise
As with many highly popular breeds, Bichon Frise often find their way to rescue centers for a variety of reasons, including dogs being rescued from puppy mills, but often it’s the simple fact that their previous owners simply felt unable to care for them any longer. There are actually Bichon-specific rescues, and you can also sometimes find Bichon mixes in local shelters, or a retired show dog who is looking for a nice, relaxing home.
A surrendered dog will often already be well trained and simply in need of a new, loving home. A Bichon Frise can make for a wonderful friend and they’re sure to be a source of joy, with plenty of laughs and perhaps a little bit of mischief along the way. So whether you’re planning on adopting or finding a breeder to find a puppy, prepare yourself, your home and your heart to welcome a dog with plenty of personality and energy
More on Bichon Frises
If you’re simply in love with the Bichon Frise breed, then you’ll be craving what we’ve got for you next. From the most important Bichon Frise puppy facts, to the best hairstyles, funny stories, and more:
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