The Franco-Belgian Bichon Frisé is an uncomplicated charmer who will enchant many canine friends in no time with his friendly nature. Learn more about this beloved breed here.
The beautiful white curls of the Bichon Frise
At first glance, the Bichon frisé is reminiscent of a fluffy ball of fluff on four legs. The breed weighs up to 6 kg and has a height of about 30 cm at the withers. The exclusively white coat can grow up to 10 cm long and according to the breed standard should be reminiscent of the Mongolian goat. It is silky thin and looks very soft thanks to the corkscrew curls. The top hair is a little harder. The locks are also responsible for the breed’s name: translated, Bichon Frise means something like “lap dog with curly hair”. The Bichon frisé looks curiously out of his dark eyes into the world and has lop ears that are covered with curls. The tail is curved over the back, but should not be coiled.
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Dogs that have been loved for centuries
Even in ancient times, there were small poodle-like dogs that later became especially popular with the French and Spanish nobility. Traditionally, these “lap dogs” have primarily had one task: they were dogs to “love”. Their presence makes them especially happy rich people without having to perform any other task. That is why they are counted among the companion dogs.
It is believed that the silky breed originated in the Canary Islands, which led to the name “Tenerife Dog”. It’s not clear which breeds played a role in its creation – expert opinions range from Water Spaniels to Miniature Poodles. From Tenerife, the lap dogs reached mainland Europe in the 14th century. The ancestors of the Bichon frisé were introduced at the beginning of the 16th century to the French mansions where they, often perfumed and decorated by noble ladies to became parlor lions of the nobility. From the 1930s, they experienced a great boom, especially in France and Belgium. In 1928 they were exhibited as a “curly silk poodle” in Duisburg. In 1933, the Bichon Frisé was given its official name and a standard was established. The first Bichon frisé litter in Germany was born in 1956.
In the same year, the first representative of the breed arrived in the USA. Through this detour, the Bichon Frisé eventually ended up in Great Britain, where in 1974 the first puppies of the Franco-Belgian breed saw the light of day. Especially in the United States, the breed has been very popular ever since. In addition to the Bichon frisé, five breeds belong to the “Bichons”: Maltese, Bolognese, Havanese, and the Lion Hound.
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A Bichon Frise knows how to convince with its charm: it is a lively open dog that likes to go everywhere. The curly dog is always in a good mood and is therefore the sunshine in the house. This way, the beautiful four-legged friend can wrap most people around the leg without difficulty. He also likes cuddle moments – also likes to sit on your lap with body contact. The uncomplicated companion is almost never hectic, gets along well with other animals and is friendly with strangers.
Although the temperamental Bichon Frise has a tendency to be watchful and may bark at the postmen, for example, he is not aggressive and is not a typical yappy. Do not immediately coddle the temperamental Bichon Frise during encounters with strangers or when going to the vet.
Some owners make the mistake of immediately reassuring or comforting their small four-legged friend, which makes their dog more insecure and the dog learns that these are exceptional situations. If you’re confident and relaxed, your four-legged friend will be too!
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The white cheerful creatures hardly have any racial diseases. Watery eyes may only be a little more frequent, causing brownish tear marks in snow-white fur. It is always important to ensure that the eyes are free of long hair to avoid irritation. Some Bichon Fries have a risk of inflammation of the respiratory organs. The breed is considered to be robust and they have a long life expectancy: a well-cared-for Bichon Frise fed on animal-specific food can live up to 15 years. Some animals even live to be 17 years old.back to menu ↑
The right nutrition
Just like any other dog, a Bichon Frise has nutrition needs that are tailored to their needs. Because most charmers are not very picky – with exceptions – you have a choice of different types of food. When choosing dog food, pay attention to a high meat content, both in wet and dry food. In the list of ingredients, meat should be listed first. The protein content should be a maximum of 30 percent. For normally active dogs that do not do dog sports and do not travel very long distances every day, 25 percent is sufficient. Sugar has no place in dog food – however, it sometimes appears under aliases such as “beet molasses”.
Also avoid products that contain vegetable by-products, such as low-quality grain. If you only offer your four-legged friend dry food, you should make sure that he drinks enough. For your light Bichon Frise up to 6 kg, there is also special dry food for small dogs, which consists of kibbles of the right size. It is more suitable for the close-fitting teeth of mini four-legged friends. There are also special toys for dental care and snacks to prevent tartar. A good tip for healthy teeth is also regularly feeding raw pieces of beef because intensive chewing also has a cleaning effect.back to menu ↑
Hair care desired
The top coat with an undercoat is relatively easy to care for and protects the Bichon frisé optimally in winter against moisture and cold, while in summer it blocks the heat. A major benefit to Bichon owners and their home furnishings is that the breed is non checkered. A puppy should be brushed every two days to keep the curly coat from tangling and to brush away dirt. The adult Bichon Frise needs extensive grooming once a week. Especially when you wet food, your four-legged friend’s “beard” should be cleaned regularly.
The lively Bichon’s curly coat needs to be clipped to shape regularly. It may be a little shorter than the breed standard for companion dogs that do not go to exhibitions as this makes grooming easier. Especially around the eyes, the hair should not be too long to allow clear vision and avoid eye irritationback to menu ↑
To keep in Mind
If you do not succumb to the charm of the little Frenchman, the training of the Bichon frisé is doable: the dog is eager to learn, smart, and therefore also a suitable dog for beginners, provided the owners familiarize themselves with the basic principles of the dog training. Always remain friendly and consistent during training – so that you can quickly achieve success with the smart dog. It is also advisable to visit a dog school, where the Bichon frise comes into contact with other four-legged friends from the very beginning. The cheerful dwarf dog also likes to learn a few tricks.back to menu ↑
Activity: preferably with you everywhere
For the Bichon Frise, it is especially important to connect with his pack. It is not necessary for him to be kept busy all day. Nevertheless, he appreciates long walks and likes to go with you. The “lap dog” is also a real nature lover who likes to get some fresh air. If you are cycling, the Bichon Frise can come with you: it is best to put it in a special dog bed. In between, the adult dog can also walk a bit next to the bike at a suitable pace so that he can also enjoy himself during the bike ride. Because he generally doesn’t tend to hunt – a good education is a must – you can always call him and he can run free in suitable areas. And don’t forget: after your adventures together, the little tomboy loves elaborate cuddles.back to menu ↑
Is a Bichon Frise right for me?
A Bichon Frise is a real all-rounder: it usually adapts well to its environment and is therefore also suitable for a city home. He loves children and – if they learn to treat animals in a respectful way – is also a nice playmate for them. Especially with Bichon Frise puppies, you have to make sure that the children handle them with care because the dogs are still very small. The breed usually gets along very well with other pets such as dogs and cats – with smaller animals you should always keep a close eye on them so that the playful dog doesn’t see them as “living toys”. If you let the animals get used to each other from an early age, this can be a great success.
A Bichon Frise can be left alone for short periods of time and, if its needs are met, it adapts to the daily life of the family. In short: it is an optimal dog for families as well as singles and also for older people who often want to go outside with their four-legged friends.
Before your Bichon Frise moves in with you, you should cover yourself in several areas because a four-legged family member means responsibility for years to come. If you live in a rented house, make sure that dogs are allowed. Make sure this is in black and white if it is not in the rental agreement. Although the breed is not checkered, before the dog moves in with you, check to see if there are any family members who are allergic to dogs.
Also, arrange for a babysitter for when you go on vacation or get sick. Many hotels now also allow four-legged friends, so this could also be an option. In addition to the obligation to take care of the dog daily in the coming years, you also have to take into account the financial costs in addition to the basic necessities (brush, leash, basket, blanket or pillow, food bowl). Think of regular costs (high-value feed and snacks, vet fees, dog tax). In addition, there may be unforeseen costs in the event of illness.
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How to find your dream Bichon Frise
If you are sure you want a Bichon Frise, you can look for a serious breeder of this charming white breed. Make sure that the breeder is a member of an association and that he only gives you his animals with a pedigree certificate, vaccination certificate, and health certificate, and chip. Take the time to find a breeder you trust and who are friendly with their animals. A breeder who gives the puppies’ mother plenty of time to recover between litters, who is patient with questions, and who also asks critical questions about his puppy’s future home.
During a visit, you can get to know not only the puppies but also their parents. A responsible breeder is usually also a contact person to whom you can go with questions about your four-legged family member. Do not buy from alleged “breeders” who sell animals without a pedigree and who are not members of an association. They are usually just after the money and don’t care about the health and social behavior of the puppies and parents. At first glance, the offer seems more advantageous, but in many cases, this turns out not to be the case due to high costs at the vet. Moreover, you have no guarantee about the origin of the four-legged friend.
If it can be an older dog, a visit to the animal shelter near you is worth it. There are also special animal welfare organizations that are committed to the mediation of Bichons. An advantage of an older dog may be that he is already well trained. Of course, there are also dogs that were given up by their owners because they were overwhelmed with their upbringing. During a conversation with you, animal protection can quickly find out whether you could form a dream team with the relevant Bichon Frise. If it is a private mediation, you should get to know the dog in advance and, for example, go for a walk with him. In any case, giving an older Bichon Frise a new home can be an enriching experience!
We wish you a nice time with your charming Bichon Frise!