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The diminutive size of 'toy' breeds means that they will always be popular with city dwellers and people without much living space. One of the most popular of the 'toy' breeds is the Bichon Frise. This small, sturdy, white powder puff of a dog is gentle, sensitive, cheerful and affectionate The round, dark eyes with a halo of dark pigment and soft, inquisitive expression set in a frame of snowy white coat and the plumed tail carried jauntily over the back are hallmarks of the breed. The Bichon Frise gets along well with other animals and with children. It prefers to spend all of its time with its human family and is definitely an indoor dog.

The Bichon is not a low maintenance breed. Since the coat does not shed, it mats and must be brushed frequently. The natural coat is long and curly and the coat is trimmed to reveal the natural outline of the body. When bathed and brushed it stands away from the body creating an overall powder puff appearance. "Frise" means curly in French and the undercoat is soft and dense, while the outercoat is coarser and curlier and the combination of the two gives a soft feel, similar to velvet.

The Bichon Frise is often recommended as a breed for people with allergies. It is important to discuss this with your doctor or allergist before making a decision to buy a Bichon as although some people with mild allergies MAY be able to share a home with a Bichon, others may be at the same risk of suffering an allergic reaction as they would with any other breed.


The Bichon Frise is of Mediterranean ancestry and became the favoured pet of European aristoracy. Its oldest ancestor is the Barbet, or Water Spaniel, from which came the name Barbichon, later shortened to Bichon. The Barbichon group of dogs evolved into four breeds - the Bichon Bolognese, the Bichon Havanese, the Bichon Maltese and the Bichon Tenerife which became the Bichon Frise.

Many famous artists included a small curly-coated lap dog or a Bichon-like dog in their portraits including Titian (1490-1576) Goya (1746-1828). By the end of the 19th century the Bichon had become less fashionable and it became a street dog performing tricks in the circus or at fairs.

Today its entertaining ways make it a popular companion in households throughout the world.

Further Information
  Books - Bichon Frise a new owners guide

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 07/08/08 13:03 Views: 8875

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