Meet the Breed: The Bichon Frise



  • Height: 9"- 12”
  • Weight: 7-12 pounds
  • Historical function: Companion, performer
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Non-Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Bichon Frise is a small, yet sturdy white, curly-coated companion with a dark nose and eyes. When kept in a show cut, they appear rounded. The tail is carried over the back. Many pet owners choose to keep the coat shorter in a "puppy cut" where the coat is clipped at a couple of inches in length all over the body for easy care.

History of the Breed:

The Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle and was developed originally around the 13th century in the Mediterranean Sea area where the dogs were carried by sailors around the world. Eventually, the dogs became quite popular in Spain. In France, they became the favored pampered pets of royalty, and their popularity spread to the general public where they could be seen utilized in circus and street performances. They have been featured in several works of art throughout the centuries, which also gives credence to their geographical distribution and popularity.  


The Bichon Frise is a wonderful companion dog that is cheery in demeanor. Their small size, self-assured, merry personality makes them ideal traveling companions and family members. They are not yappy but will make good watchdogs, letting you know when a stranger is approaching that they might befriend. These clever, eager-to-please dogs are suited to obedience training.

  • Best suited for: Any family that would keep this social dog in their midst. Perfect for retirees, RV travellers, families with gentle children, apartment dwellers.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog was bred for companionship, so as long as he is with his people, he is a happy dog indeed. Can do okay without a yard provided they get a daily walk and play time.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Expect to have this breed professionally groomed monthly. The eye area is prone to staining so regular care and trimming of this area is required. This dog sheds very little and is considered to be one of the more hypoallergenic breeds.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, and daily play will keep this dog mentally and physically happy.
  • Life expectancy: 15+ years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to eye problems, allergies, and dislocating knee caps.

Breed Club Links: Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc. Perfect Pairings: Angels' Eyes for Dogs, ClearQuest Eye Wipes

Have any stories about a Bichon Frise? Please share!

Photo courtesy of the Bichon Frise Club of America.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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