Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise loking forward

Quick Facts


6 to 11 pounds


9 to 12 inches

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

They are gentle, playful, smart and very social, and they also do well with the kids and pets.


The Bichon Frise, with its fluffy white coat and sparkling eyes, is a bundle of joy that has captured the hearts of many. Originating from the Mediterranean region, this small dog breed has a rich history that dates back centuries. Its name, “Bichon Frise,” translates to “curly lap dog” in French, which aptly describes its appearance and loving nature.Β 


Recognized for its playful demeanor and adaptability, the Bichon Frise has become a popular choice among pet lovers worldwide. Its undeniable charm and affectionate nature make it a favorite in households, dog shows, and even historical courts of the past.

History and Origin

The Bichon Frise’s history is as fascinating as its curly locks. The breed’s ancestors were likely the result of crossbreeding between small white dogs brought by traders to the Canary Islands. From there, Italian sailors brought these dogs back to Europe in the 14th century, where they quickly became favorites among Italian nobility.


The Bichon’s popularity spread across Europe, reaching its peak during the Renaissance period. French royalty, especially King Francis I and Henry III, were known to dote on these little dogs. The Bichon Frise even made appearances in paintings by renowned artists like Francisco Goya, showcasing their prominence in historical and cultural settings.


However, their royal status didn’t last forever. By the 19th century, the Bichon’s popularity waned, and they were often found performing in circuses or accompanying street performers. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the breed’s charm was rediscovered, leading to its recognition by various kennel clubs and its resurgence in popularity.


While there might not be a singular “famous” Bichon Frise that stands out in history, the breed itself has left an indelible mark on the hearts of many, from kings and queens to modern-day families.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Bichon Frise is a small dog, typically weighing between 12 to 18 pounds and standing about 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality and presence.


One of the most distinctive features of the Bichon is its soft, curly coat. This coat is usually pure white, though it may have shades of cream, apricot, or gray around its ears or on its body. The curls are tight and springy, giving the Bichon its signature “puffy” appearance.

The Bichon’s face is equally endearing, with dark, round eyes that always seem to sparkle with mischief and joy. Its nose is black, and its expression is alert and curious. The ears are droopy and covered with hair, blending seamlessly with the rest of its curly coat.


Despite its fluffy appearance, the Bichon’s coat is hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for those with allergies. Beneath the coat, the Bichon has a sturdy and well-proportioned body, with a level backbone and a plume-like tail that gracefully curves over its back.

Personality and Temperament

The Bichon Frise is often described as a merry and playful dog, full of energy and affection. Their cheerful disposition and love for human companionship make them a delightful addition to any household. They’re known for their “Bichon Blitz,” a sudden burst of energy where they’ll run around in joyful circles, showcasing their playful nature.


Bichons are incredibly sociable and thrive on interaction. They’re rarely aggressive and tend to get along well with other animals and children. However, their friendly nature doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. They can be quite stubborn and independent at times, but this is often overshadowed by their desire to please and be near their loved ones.


One thing to note is that Bichons can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. They form strong bonds with their families and prefer to be included in all activities. Their sensitive nature means they respond best to positive reinforcement and gentle training methods.

Health and Lifespan

Bichon Frises are generally healthy dogs, with a typical lifespan ranging from 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.


Some common health issues in Bichons include allergies, bladder problems, and patellar luxation (a condition where the kneecap moves out of its normal position). They can also be susceptible to certain eye conditions, such as cataracts and tear staining. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and being aware of the common health issues can help in early detection and treatment.


Dental care is crucial for Bichons, as they can be prone to dental diseases. Regular brushing and professional cleanings can help maintain their oral health.


Despite these potential health concerns, with proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, and a balanced diet, Bichons can lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Their zest for life and spirited nature often keep them young at heart, even in their senior years.

Care and Maintenance

Bichon Frise grooming

Caring for a Bichon Frise is a rewarding experience, but it does come with its set of responsibilities. Their beautiful white coat, while hypoallergenic, requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting and tangling.Β 


Professional grooming every 4-6 weeks can help maintain their coat’s health and appearance.

Diet is another essential aspect of Bichon care. Feeding them high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared (with a veterinarian’s supervision), can ensure they get the right nutrients. Be mindful of their calorie consumption to prevent obesity, a common concern in smaller breeds.


Exercise is crucial for the Bichon’s physical and mental well-being. While they’re energetic, their exercise needs are moderate. Daily walks, combined with play sessions, are usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. Their intelligence also means they benefit from mental stimulation, so toys and puzzle games can be a great addition to their routine.

Training and Behavior

The Bichon Frise, with its eager-to-please attitude, is generally a joy to train. They’re intelligent and can pick up commands relatively quickly. However, their independent streak might sometimes make them a tad stubborn. Consistency is key when training a Bichon.


Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work best with this breed. They’re sensitive dogs, so harsh training methods or scolding can be counterproductive and harm the bond between the dog and owner.


Bichons are known to be excellent in obedience and agility training. Their agile bodies and sharp minds make them stand out in competitions. Socialization from a young age is crucial to ensure they’re well-rounded and comfortable in various situations.

Bichon Frise and Families

Bichon Frise with people

The Bichon Frise is a family-oriented dog. Their affectionate nature and love for play make them excellent companions for children. They’re gentle and patient, but it’s always a good idea to supervise interactions between dogs and young kids.


Bichons generally get along well with other pets, including other dogs and even cats. Their sociable nature means they thrive in environments where they can interact and play.


Their small size and adaptable nature also make them suitable for apartment living. As long as they get their daily dose of exercise and play, they’re content.

Adopting a Bichon Frise

If you’re considering bringing a Bichon Frise into your home, you’re in for a treat! These little bundles of joy can light up any household with their presence. When adopting, consider checking local shelters or rescue groups that specialize in Bichons or small breeds.


Before adopting, ensure you’re ready for the responsibility. While Bichons are relatively low-maintenance in terms of exercise, their grooming needs can be demanding. Also, consider their lifespan and ensure you’re ready for a long-term commitment.


Once you’ve decided, prepare your home. Get the necessary supplies like food, toys, bedding, and grooming tools. And most importantly, shower your new furry friend with love and patience as they adjust to their new environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bichon Frises hypoallergenic?

No dog is truly hypoallergenic, but Bichon Frises are often recommended for people with allergies due to their low-shedding coat.

How often should a Bichon Frise be groomed?

To keep their coat in good condition, Bichon Frises require regular grooming, including brushing several times a week and professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.

Is the Bichon Frise suitable for apartment living?

Yes, Bichon Frises are great for apartments due to their small size and moderate energy levels. They adapt well to indoor living but still need daily exercise.

How do Bichon Frises get along with children and other pets?

Bichon Frises are friendly and sociable, making them excellent pets for families with children and other pets, as long as they are properly introduced and socialized.

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