This cute little fellow comes in an attractive white, powder-puff coat and boasts a enthusiastic personality that will bring joy into the lucky owner’s life. This playful poop will entertain with his antics and will also occasionally get into mischief.
The origins of this breed are a bit in the shadow, but there’s belief it descended from the medium-sized Barbet water dog, and it’s believed to be part of the Barbichon family which includes the Mediterranean Bichon Frise, the Bolgnese, the Coton de Tulear, the Havanese, and the Maltese. Bichon were likely the result from breeding poodles and the Maltese.
There’s belief that Spanish sailors used these dogs as barter and they ultimately brought these cute dogs to Tenerife but then Italians in the 14th century brought them back to Italy where they were favored by the Italian nobility. Later, when the French invaded Italy in the 1500’s the French brought several of them back to France. Regardless of the exact dynamics that brought this breed to Europe, one thing was for sure; the breed became a favorite among the aristocrats. Bichons were quite often seen in royal courts and King Henry III carried his own in a basket hanging from his neck.
Spanish painter Goya had a Bichon featured in several of his paintings. This breed remained a favorite among the nobles, until the late 1800s when this breed was used as a companion to street organ players employed as circus performers. During World War I this breed almost became extinct if it wasn’t for their charm and appeal. Luckily post World War I, French breeders preserved the breed. The breed was then called bichon à poil frisé (“Bichon with the curly coat”), to emphasize this breed’s distinct coat. The breed came to the States in 1955 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in and are currently categorized under the non-sporting group.
These doggies have compact bodies, fluffy, white powder-puff hair and adorable baby-doll faces. Often mistaken for poodles, the bichon stands at and weighs between. Bichon puppies may be cream or pale yellow in color when they’re pups but tend to lighten to white as they age. These dogs have a nice arched neck that gives the a proud posture. The nose and eyes are black. The eyes are surrounded bu halos, black or very dark brown skin which accentuate the breed’s expression. The long tail with curly hair is carried gracefully over the back. Bichon stand between 9 to 11 inches at the withers and tall weigh 7 to 12 pounds. When it comes to coat color, white is the most common color, but shadings of buff, cream or apricot are allowed around the ears or on the body as long as it doesn’t exceed 10 percent.
Despite this breed’s petite size, bichons have a strong personality. They are very happy, playful pooches that are overall affectionate and gentle. Their history as lap dogs have perhaps played a role in their need to be close to their owners and quite unhappy when left alone for periods of time. Some bichon may even develop separation anxiety. These pooches love being at the center of attention. Make sure though not to reward attention-seeking behaviors such as barking.
This breed shed less than other breeds, which makes them a popular choice among people with allergies. This is because this breed has hair that grows continuously and instead of falling to the ground, gets caught in the curls making him prone to matting. Calling them hypoallergenic though isn’t accurate as people can be allergic to dog saliva as well. This breed has special grooming needs, you’ll likely need a professional groomer to give the signature lion-style look. Expect to get this breed’s coat clipped every four to eight weeks. Brush him often to de-tangle and prevent those mats from forming. And make sure you untangle them before giving him a bath, as they tend to tighten once wet. Getting him clipped in a puppy cut can help keep the coat in better shape. Additionally, this breed is prone to tear stains, and some of them benefit from ear plucking to prevent ear infections.
The Ideal Household
.The ideal owner has time to spend with this lovely dog which can easily get upset if left alone for too long. Forget about him at home for extended periods of time, and he may resort to problematic chewing. Due to its petite size, this breed fairs well in an apartment. Yet, don’t underestimate theme, they still crave exercise under the form of walks and games. This dog shouldn’t be left alone in the yard as he craves time with people. In the home, he makes a good watchdog, barking to alert you of the presence of strangers. If encouraged though, it can be very territorial and yappy. Give this doggy a safe pool and hell enjoy playing in the water and retrieving items for you.
With children, this breed gets alone well, but they can be easily injured by a clumsy child, especially when they’re puppies. These dogs are very tolerant and seem to cope well with the noise and commotion associated with young kids. Despite this, never leave a child and dog unsupervised. With other dogs, this breed tends to get along, but they crave attention, so make sure they get their fair share of it!
With a history as circus dogs, this breed loves to learn tricks. Just make sure to be gentle with this sensitive breed. Use positive reinforcement training, this breed’s eyes brighten up when food is offered as a reward. Enroll this smart breed in trick training, obedience, agility or Rally-obedience. If your bichon loves to be around people and show off his tricks, he may enjoy becoming a therapy dog. When it comes to potty training, these dogs may be hard to housebreak. If you put up a doggy door make sure the yard has a covered portion as this breed hates getting wet in the rain or snow. Make sure you are consistent, kind and firm with your bichon, many owners tend to spoil small dogs which may lead to small dog syndrome. As with other breeds, socialization is important.
This breed is prone to skin issues, allergies, bladder stones, bladder infections, luxating patellas, sensitivity to vaccinations, hip dysplasia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, cataracts and liver shunts. The average lifespan is of about 12 to 13 years.
Where to get one:
Bichon Frise Club of America Rescue
Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc.