Bichon Frise Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Temperament & Lifespan

The Bichon Frise dog is a small breed of dog of the bichon type. It is a member of the Non-sporting group of dog breeds

in the United States, and a member of the Toy dog Group in the United Kingdom. It is also known as Bichón Tenerife and Bichon à poil frisé.

Exact origin of the Bichon Frise dog is uncertain. Common belief holds that the Bichon descended from the Barbet, a medium-sized, wooly water dog, and that the word Bichon is derived from barbichon, which is the diminutive of the word barbet.

The Barbichon family of dogs includes the Bichon Frise, the Bolgnese, the Coton de Tulear, the Havanese and the Maltese. All of these breeds originated in the Mediterranean and have similar look and disposition.

The earliest records of the Bichon Frise dog breed date from the 14th Century, when French Sailors brought the dogs home from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. It is thought that the Bichon Frise dogs had been taken there by traders who used the Phoenician trade route, and that the Bichon Frise originally developed in Italy.

Regardless of how the Bichon Frise arrived in Europe, the breed quickly became a great favorite with nobility. Bichons were popular in royal courts during the reigns of France’s King Francis I and England’s King Henry III in the 16th century. King Henry III was so fond of his Bichons that he carried them wherever he went in a special basket that he hung from his neck. Bichons became favorites of Spanish royal families and even of such painters as Goya, who included a Bichon in several of his paintings.[1]

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The Bichon Frise dogs were first brought to the United States in 1956. And the breed became eligible to enter the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in September 1971, and was admitted to registration in the AKC Studbook in October 1972.

Bichon Frise Dog Characteristics

The Bichon Frise dogs are very beautiful dogs with compact bodies, baby-doll faces and fluffy white hair. The skull is slightly rounded and the muzzle is not pointy. The tail is groomed to be long and curly and is carried over the back.

Their nose is black, and have a dark round eyes. The head and legs are proportionate in size to the body, and the ears and tail are natural. Common color of their coat is white.

Average height of the mature Bichon Frise dogs is between 9 and 11 inches at the withers. And average live body weight of the mature dog is between 5 and 10 kg.

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Temperament

The Bichon Frise dogs are merry, curious, gentle mannered, sensitive, affectionate and playful. They are generally very sociable, and do very well with an owner who takes them along on outings and are affectionate and intelligent.

The Bichon Frise dogs generally do very well with children, because they are playful and have lots of energy. They can become very territorial, if affiliated with a particular territory and encouraged by owners.

Developed as a companion-dog breed, the Bichon Frise tends to get along well with both children and other animals. Bichon Frises are very obedient if training is started early and continued constantly.

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Though not considered a retriever or a water dog by modern standards, the Bichon type, due to their ancestry as sailors’ dogs, have an affinity for water and enjoy retrieving. On the boats, however, the animals’ role was that of companion dog.[2]

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Bichon Frise dog is between 12 and 15 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Bichon Frise dogs are smaller in size. So, their diet should be formulated for a small-sized breed with average exercise needs. You can also consult with a vet in your area for better recommendations.

Caring

As with other breeds, taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Bichon Frise dogs. They are generally active dogs, but do well as apartment dwellers with proper exercise and play. They are generally very playful and love to play.

Don’t leave your Bichon Frise dog alone for long periods of time. To prevent destructive behavior, the wise owner leaves the Bichon in a crate when leaving the house for even a short time.

Health

The Bichon Frise dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameBichon Frise
Other NamesBichón Tenerife and Bichon à poil frisé
Breed SizeSmall
HeightBetween 9 and 11 inches at the withers
WeightBetween 5 and 10 kg
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorWhite
LifespanBetween 12 and 15 years
Good for childrenYes
RarityCommon
Country of OriginSpain, France