All About the Bichon Frise

About This Breed

The Bichon Frisé is a small-framed dog with a heavenly white coat that puffs up. After many centuries developing in Europe, it has become a lovable and cuddling addition to many families today.

Physical Characteristics

The Bichon Frisé has a compact build with with round black eyes and small droped ears. It tail, meanwhile, curls over the back.


The breed's coat is pure white.


This breed looks like a bit cotton ball — soft and thick undercoat with a coarse and curly outer coat.

Personality and Temperament




 The Bichon Frisé is a friendly dog breed, capable of getting along well with people and other dogs. Additionally, it thoroughly enjoys playing games!


The breed can be hard to house train and requires a lot of grooming.  

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The Bichon Frisé fares well in the country or city.


Though the breed doesn't shed a great deal, it does require regular grooming to maintain its coat.


The following conditions are commonly seen in Bichon Frisés:

  • Pattelar luxation
  • Epilepsy

History and Background

The Bichon Frisé is descended from the Barbet (or Water Spaniel) and was originally known as “Barbichon," which was later shortened to “Bichon." The breed was divided into four types: Ilvanese, Bolognese, Maltaise, and Tenerife. It is said that the Tenerife was the original source of the Bichon Frisé. They were bred on the Canary Island of Tenerife, where Spanish seamen used them as barter items while on their travels. In the 1300s, Italian seafarers rediscovered the little dogs on their voyages and brought them back to Europe. Soon thereafter, the dogs became a favorite among Italian nobles.

The "Tenerife" or "Bichon" became popular in France in the 16th century during the Renaissance. They also enjoyed considerable success in Spain and in many other parts of Europe, only to see their popularity wane. The breed enjoyed a brief revival under the rule of Napoleon III in the 1800s, but again its popularity did not last. At that point, the Bichon had become a mere “street” dog, surviving by entertaining a passerby, accompanying organ grinders and performing tricks in circuses. World War I left the Bichon in dire straits, but in 1933, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, with the help of French breeders, implemented a standard for the breed and named it Bichon Frisé.

The breed arrived in the United States in the late 1950s. There, it was well groomed, loved and accepted into the hearts of dog fanciers nationwide. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1971.