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Bichon Frise

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Bichon Frise sitting on grass

Bichon Frise at a Glance

Bichon Frise are ideally suited to busy family life where they will thrive in an environment of constant activity and attention. They tend to dislike being alone and will happily live with other dogs or with a human so long as they aren’t expected to entertain themselves all day.

Bichon Frise have that lovely coat that will need regular maintenance and clipping, but have often been included on hypoallergenic dog breed lists due to their non-shedding coat. They can still cause allergies, but will leave little hair on your furniture.

Lifespan12-14 years
Weight5-10 kg (11-22lb)
Height at Shoulder25-30 cm (9-11in)

Who is a Bichon Frise Looking For?

I love to play, cuddle and spend time with my family. I love to join my family on outings and I enjoy all the attention I get with my beautiful looks. I get along with other dogs, kids and sometimes even cats. I can live in an apartment, so long as I get lots of outings too.

PERSONALITY

Excitable. This is definitely a fun-loving breed. They love to play and are high energy dogs that rely on getting lots of exercise and mental stimulation. They are often very boisterous dogs if not given limits and love people and other dogs.

Affectionate. This breed loves absolutely everyone and thrive in a family where they get lots of attention. They love cuddles, brushing and play and need to be with another dog or their family rather than being left alone for long periods.

Gentle. This gentle breed loves to cuddle up on the couch and be with the family. They are lovable, sweet and kind and would never (deliberately) hurt a fly.

EXERCISE & TRAINING

Although Bichons are lively, playful little dogs, they do not require hours of walking each day. They love to play at the park with other dogs, chase balls and go on outings with their owners so are ideally suited to families that can incorporate them into everyday life.

Exercise RequirementsMedium – 0.5-1.0 hour per day
Training RequirementsLow – 0-0.5 hours per day
Apartment Friendly?Yes

GROOMING

The high maintenance coat of the Bichon is usually cut in the characteristic powder-puff carnation clip, that needs to be done professionally every 6 weeks. You can however just go the all-over clippers cut which is cheaper and doesn’t need to be done quite so frequently. They often require daily brushing to keep them tangle-free.

The hypoallergenic status of the Bichon is achieved because they don’t shed. Like any breed they can still trigger allergies, as humans are usually allergic to a protein present in the saliva and skin of all dogs. Having minimal shed just means there is less hair covered in the allergenic protein all over the house. Read more about best dog breeds for people with allergies.

Coat TypeLong
Hair FallLow shed
HypoallergenicYes
BrushingHigh – Daily brushing required
Groomer TripsYes, every 6-8 weeks
Tick Friendly?No, hard to check for ticks

FAMILY SITUATION

Bichon Frise tend to love everyone, small creatures, other dogs and kids. They are fairly tough little things so can live with toddlers so long as the children are supervised with their interactions.

Family FriendlyHigh – Good with children of any age
Pet FriendlyHigh – Good with other animals
SociabilityHigh – Loves people and dogs

EXPENSES

Overall Expenses (Annual)Low $1000-$1500
Veterinary Expenses (Annual)Low – $100-$300
Food Expenses (Weekly)Low – $5-$10

Bichon Frise can be prone to ear infections and sometimes allergies, but are otherwise low-cost dogs when it comes to healthcare. They don’t cost too much to feed either. The main expense is with maintaining their coat with regular trips to the groomer, which can cost $100 every couple of months.

Avg. Yearly ExpenseLow – $1000-$1500
Avg. Veterinary ExpenseLow – $100-$300
Weekly Food ExpenseLow – $5-10

HEALTH & WELLBEING

MAJOR HEALTH CONCERNS

Allergies. Dogs with allergies tend to lick their feet and get frequent skin and ear infections. Allergies can develop around 1 year of age and be related to airborne allergens such as pollens or food allergies.

Dental disease. Small breed dogs often get significant dental disease, sometimes through poor diet and lack of chewing, but also simply due to genetic factors. Implementing daily brushing, diets that involve chewing and perhaps water additives can help.

Luxating patella. Small breed dogs often have knee caps that pop in and out, sometimes with no pain, but in a relatively small number of cases they need surgical correction.

Tracheal collapse. Many small breed dogs have a characteristic ‘goose honk’ cough with exercise or excitement due to the tracheal cartilages being a little weak, this can lead to increased risk of airway infections.

Immune mediated disease. Particularly immune mediated haemolytic anaemia or thrombocytopenia. Both are more common in middle-aged female dogs and involve the immune system attacking normal blood cells.

PREVENTATIVE CARE & WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Bichons have a propensity for putting on weight, which shortens their lifespan and also puts them more at risk for osteoarthritis and knee problems.

Regular dental care such as brushing and dental chews is very important for small breed dogs who are prone to dental disease.

BREED ORIGIN AND INTERESTING FACTS

The Bichon Frise is of Mediterranean ancestry, and were first registered as a breed in France. Their name is thought to be a contraction of Barbichon, due to their descent from the Barbet or Water Spaniel. They are closely related to Havanese, Poodles and Maltese. The ‘Frise’ part of their name refers to the curly coat.

In the 1300s Italian sailors traded dogs that were very popular and loved life as a pampered lap dog. They were very popular with Italian nobility and during the Renaissance were very popular amongst artists, including Goya who included a beautiful white lion-clipped dog like the Bichon in his works.

During the 1800’s the Bichon Frise was more of a common street dog and were often found accompanying organ grinders and doing tricks in circuses and fairs.

RESCUE A BICHON FRISE

Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

Bichon Frise Club of America has Bichons across most of the US needing new homes.

The ASPCA often has Bichons for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.