The exact origin of the Bichon Frise is still unknown today. Though many agree that they existed before the time of Christ. Some say they descend from the Maltese, others claim they were a dwarf breed that resulted from crossing of a miniature Spaniel and a miniature Poodle with Cayenne dogs. After World War I both French and Belgian breeders sustained an active interest in the breed. A challenge came when it was time to name the breed. Madame Nizet de Leemands, head of the Breed Standards Committee of the FCI asked her colleagues in desperation, “What does it look like?” She was told it was a fluffy, little white dog. “well then,” she said, “It shall be called Bichon Frize (fluffy little dog).”

Other Names: Tenerife Dog, Bichon Tenerife, Bichon a poil Frise

Our Cost:  $400 Registered; Non-Registered:  NA

Height:  9 – 12 inches
Weight:7 – 12 lbs.

Colors: White, cream or apricot up to 18 months of age.

Coat:  Long and loosely curling.

Temperament: Bichon Frise are friendly, active, gentle-mannered

With Children: Yes, exceptionally good with children. With Pets: Yes Special Skills: Family pet. Watch-dog: High Guard-dog: Very Low

Care and Training: The Bichon Frise requires daily coat care. Brushing, periodic trimming, regular bathing. Trim around the eyes and ears with blunt nosed scissors. Clean the eyes to prevent staining. Most of their exercise needs can be met with just playing, but they do love to walk and romp in open areas.

Learning Rate: Very High

Obedience:  Very High

Problem Solving:  Very High

Activity:  Outdoors – Medium

Indoors: Very High.

Living Environment: An apartment is fine if daily walks are given. An owner of a Bichon Frise should be patient, consistent and be able to take time to train, exercise and socialize them. Bichon Frises do well with the elderly or disabled.

Health Issues:  No known heritable problems. Some problems with knees, block tear ducts, skin ailments, cataracts and epilepsy.

Life Span:  15 + Years Litter Size:  3 – 5

Country of Origin: France

History: First Registered by the AKC: 1972

AKC Group: Non-Sporting
Class: Non-Sporting

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 9), KC (GB), UKC

Breed’s Grooming Demand Rating:  Very High

Recommended Interval for Professional Grooming:  3 to 5 Weeks

Recommended Interval for Maintenance Grooming:  Three Times Weekly Minimum

If the dog (especially the soft-coated Airedale) gets wet or damp, the affected areas should be brushed, combed and dried as soon as possible in order to prevent tangles and matts which begin to form upon exposure to moisture. Owners not skilled in brushing and combing both the under coat and outer coat should seek training from their breeder or groomer. They tend to brush and comb only the outer coat, leaving the under coat subject to potential matting problems.

Moderate to severe matting can cause discomfort for the dog and poor skin health. Very severe matting may require the hair coat to be removed by clippers and appropriate blades in the hands of a grooming professional when the de-matting process overly risks the comfort, safety and health of the dog. The solution is to prevent matts in the first place with regular maintenance grooming.

The art of styling a Bichon Frise is complex and best learned from a professional groomer and/or grooming school. Many beginners confuse Bichon Frise styling with Poodle styling, and the two are quite different.

De-matting sprays can be essential in grooming this breed. Ask grooming suppliers for recommended products.

Coat Care

Daily grooming is very helpful with a full coated Bichon Frise. Soft and cottony, the coat can easily become matted especially when exposed to moisture. Some pet owners not concerned about maintaining a show quality coat and appearance will have the hair coat clipped shorter for easier maintenance. No one wants to remove the coat of a Bichon Frise but when it gets severely matted it is not fair on the animal to undergo excessive de-mattting. Groomers enjoy the breed as it allows them to express their level of artistic ability in styling the unique Bichon cut. 
Like many other long coated breeds hair shed can and often does remain in the under coat until it is removed by proper brushing and combing. Hair shed not removed will, with time or immediately upon getting damp or wet, begin to “tangle” and “matt” whereby the hair shed both wraps and compresses around the existing hair coat. Matts simply ruin the beauty of the Bichon Frise coat, and severe matting causes any pet discomfort and even poor skin health.

We recommend hair shed and matts be removed before bathing the Bichon Frise, and that it only be hand fluff-dried with a professional force blow dryer. Your type of bathing and drying equipment will affect the way in which you groom the Bichon Frise. Experienced groomers may choose to leave some of the hair shed and matt removal until after the bath, and apply special coat conditioning products to ease matt removal.

Bichon Frise owners are strongly recommended to use the services of a professional groomer for exceptional results. Again, we reiterate that owners of this breed must keep in mind that the success of having a beautifully coated Bichon Frise requires a significant commitment on their part to regular brushing and combing between grooming appointments.

Nail Care

Nails should be clipped and lightly filed every 3 to 4 weeks. 
Comments: We recommend dog owners use the services of a professional for nail clipping. Owners intent on cutting nails, and inexperienced in nail clipping techniques and safety, should ask for professional training before cutting their pet’s nails. Always use proper tools in good condition. In addition, do not cut dog nails if you do not have a supply of nail treatment powder that stops accidental bleeding. You may cut the “quick” blood vessel which can be found in all dog nails. New dog owners are often unaware of the blood vessels in dog nails, and surprised to learn of them. Why not let a professional cut your pet’s nails?

Ear Care 

Professional groomers should check ears on every dog they groom. As needed they remove ear wax, dirt and dander from the ear leather. Most remove unwanted hair from the outer portion of the ear canal and not down in the ear canal; territory that should be left to veterinary care only. Most important, both groomer and pet owner must inspect pet ears for warning signs of ear problems, some of which can become quite serious.

The most telltale signs of ear problems are redness, swelling, sensitivity to touch and odors, sometimes very foul. Pet owners should check their dogs’ ears once a week for these warning signs and seek immediate veterinary inspection and care as needed. Groomers should inform pet owners of all potential ear problem observations they make and advise immediate veterinary inspection.

Styling Requirements:  Not Show Grooming
Significant artistic styling required when not show groomed. 
Comments: “Styling” refers to artistic grooming of hair coats from nose to tail requiring the use of scissors, shedding blades, thinning shears, clippers, various blades and attachments, and other tools of the trade.

Show Grooming

Show grooming requires the expertise of professional groomer, often a show handler as well. Professional groomers with the ability to provide show grooming may be certified, but it is not required. Owners of this breed should inquire with professional groomers they are considering for show grooming their dogs as to the level of their expertise and experience with this breed. Further, owners should discuss their desires for the appearance of their dogs, maintenance grooming needs for which they are responsible, and be aware that if they are not showing their dogs they may reasonably have no need or special desire for more sophisticated and expensive show grooming.

Special Care Advisory

Puppies of any breed require special care. Most professional groomers will book special appointments for puppies so that they can be groomed and returned home as soon as possible. Also, not all grooming products are appropriate for use on puppies, and owners and groomers alike should read all instruction and warning labels on any product for its appropriate and safe use on puppies. Puppy hair coat is often different than their adult coat, and for that reason may be groomed differently. We recommend professional grooming for puppies.

Feeding is one of the most important areas in a Bichon Frise’s development; it begins very early when the puppy is weaned and continues throughout its life. The food that a dog is given plays an important role in its muscle and bone development. When purchasing a puppy, it is important to find out from the previous owner what type of food the puppy was eating; any sudden changes in diet can cause digestive problems. If you wish to change its food to another well-balanced diet, do so gradually. Begin by mixing small portions of the new food with the one being replaced, until it is completely switched over. Remember to do this gradually, over a period of seven to ten days.

The amount of food that a dog eats and the number of times per day that a dog is fed changes as it matures. As a puppy, it should be fed small portions frequently. While it is young, the puppy’s activity level is high and you will want to be sure that it is eating enough to develop properly and steadily gain weight. Basically, a Bichon Frise should be fed four times a day until it reaches three months of age. Between the ages of three to six months, give the puppy three meals a day, the portions being slightly larger than before. After six months, there should be two meals a day; and at one year of age, there should be only one meal. You could also feed your dog some dry biscuits in the morning and evening if it is having only one meal per day.

Once the Bichon Frise becomes an adult, it’s important to keep in mind that it does not need to be given as much food; obesity can be a problem if not monitored closely. When your dog is a year old, you may decide to feed it in the evenings when your family has its meal. The dog’s meal can also be divided into two smaller portions, one given in the morning and one at night. Never over-feed your dog; since it will not turn down food, it’s up to you to monitor its eating habits and provide a reasonable amount. Remember to keep a bowl of fresh clean water near your dog’s food bowl at all times.

In order to develop good eating habits, allow your dog its own dining area. Feeding times should be at the same time and in the same place everyday. Your dog’s food and water should be served at room temperature so that the food is neither too hot nor too cold. Snack foods such as cake, chocolate, and other junk foods are not for dogs and should never be given to them. Other unhealthy foods include spicy, fried, starchy or fatty foods. Chicken, pork, and fish bones can also be very dangerous to a dog if eaten since they can cause intestinal damage and tear the stomach lining.

There are many good commercial foods on the market that are nutritionally complete for your Bichon Frise. Most of them contain the ingredients listed on the packages. Remember that providing a variety of meats and cereal grains is very important in maintaining a balanced diet for your pet. Your dog should get the daily requirements of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water from its diet to develop properly. You may need to make some dietary changes depending on your dog’s age, growth, and activity level; your veterinarian can assist you in making these adjustments, if necessary. If your Bichon Frise becomes pregnant or sick, the nutritional needs will change. Consult with your veterinarian to make the proper dietary adjustments; vitamin and mineral supplements can also be given.

There are a variety of feeding dishes to choose from hard plastic, stainless steel, and earthenware dishes, available in many shapes and sizes. Choose one that is large enough to hold each meal, but will not tip over or spill as your dog eats. It is very important to keep your dog’s feeding and watering dishes clean on a daily basis. Once the dog has finished it meal, throw away any uneaten food and clean the dishes. They should be washed using hot water and soap, and then rinsed and dried.