Bichon Frise – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Bichon Frise is a small size dog with a big personality. They are great watchdogs and even better family dogs. Read on to discover more about this white dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
7 to 12 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Bichon Frise is a small white dog with a cheerful attitude and calm temperament. This breed is a member of Barbichon types – a family of little white dogs.

This cheerful dog is true mischief who loves nothing more, but to entertain his humans.

As a companion dog, the adorable Bichon Frise will do his best to entertain his family members, and help them go through the day.

Having a white coat comes with a lot of responsibility, in terms of grooming.

Just regular walks on a rainy day are enough to make people rethink if their next dog is going to have white fur or not.

Therefore, you should know that brushing is a weekly duty, at least twice a week, those rainy days will be stressful, and that during the winter days you should think about getting your Bichon Frise winter boots to keep those paws hair-free.

All in, this is a sweet and affectionate dog breed that loves to be around his humans.

They were originally bred for human companionship they perform that role even today.

Quick Facts

Real name: Bichon Frise
Other names: Bichón Tenerife, Bichon à poil frisé
Origin: Canary Islands (Spain)
Breed type: Companion Dogs
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
Height: 9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 1 – 6 puppies
Color: White
Coat: Powder-puff coat

Bichon Frise History

The Bichon Frise is a popular small-size dog of white coat and long history. These white dogs are originally known as Barbichon types.

Other breeds of this type are:

The Bichon Frise is considered to be an ancient breed, that began its development in the famous area of the Canary Islands.

They were later on perfected in Belgium and France, which is why they are mostly considered to be French dogs, although they are originally Spanish.

This dog’s purpose evolved over time.

From being a water dog, they evolved to being known as poodle-type dogs to being full-time companion dogs.

In the 13th century, there was no noble person without a Bichon Frise being next to their feet.

Even famous paintings from this period show these small and white dogs as a big influence of the time.

As for France, this breed was extremely popular during the Renaissance under Francis I, but reached another level of popularity under the rule of Henry III when French nobility fell in love with the breed and welcomed them as a full-time court companion and lap dog.

During the 19th century, the Bichon Frise became the ‘common dog’ who could be seen on the streets running freely.

In 1933 the breed was adopted by the Société Centrale Canine, the national kennel club for France, and one of the most relevant canine organizations in the world.

As for the States, the first Bichon Frise was brought to the States in 1955.

In 1971, AKC accepted the Bichon Frise as a part of the Miscellaneous Class. In 1973, the AKC recognized the breed as part of their non-sporting group.

Bichon Frise Physical Appearance

The Bichon Frise is a small size dog that stands about 9 to 11 inches and weighs between 7 to 12 pounds.

Males and females are usually of the same size, with females maybe being more silk. They have a famous powder-puff coat which is something too common to Poodles.

Their coat is silky and curly, but not too curly. These small dogs come with a soft undercoat which means that regular brushing should be included from day one.

These dogs are commonly white. Some may be white and buff, cream, gray, and even apricot, but white usually dominates.

The Bichon Frise is longer than taller, with a tail carried over the back. Overall, these dogs are well-balanced, proportioned, with drop ears that add to their soft appearance. The nose and lips should always be black.

If you are not sure if a white dog in front of you is Bichon Frise, focus on his tail.

The Bichon Frise’s tail is plumed and always carried over the back.

Bichon Frise Personality

The Bichon Frise is a lively and cheerful dog.

They may be small in size, but their personality is enormous. These energetic and joyful dogs love being the center of attention.

The Bichon Frise will always choose not to be next to people. They thrive on human companionship and nothing excites them more than a good family laugh and mutual activity. This isn’t a breed that will do well along on his own.

If left alone for too long, or neglected, they may develop separation anxiety or demonstrate a behavior of destructive dog.

Chewing and tearing up isn’t uncommon for this breed once they are bored. Simply said, the Bichon Frise isn’t for you if you tend to spend long periods away from home.

Bichon Frise With Chldren and Other Pets

Bichons are great family dogs.

If you want a dog who will follow you around all the time, enjoys every family activity, and equally, love spending time outdoors and indoors with you this is the breed for you.

As long as children know how to behave around dogs, Bichons will be great companions.

Educate your children on how to behave around dogs, and teach them even they are small they aren’t toys.

As living beings, their space and needs should be respected. This means that no ear or tail pulling should be an option.

No matter how well children interact with dogs, their playtime should be supervised. This is how accidents are prevented.

As for the other animals, they will enjoy the company of other dogs, as long as you give them enough attention.

If raised together from puppyhood, Bichons could get along with cats and other animals.

Bichon Frise Training

Bichon Frises are highly trainable dogs.

Don’t let their size trick you into thinking that owning this breed will be super easy. They may be highly trainable, but they are still someone who understands dogs’ psychology, how training should be structured, and what are in general the pros and cons of owning a dog.

Bichons are massive people-pleasers, and that should be used when it comes to training.

Make sure that you keep training sessions fun, short, consistent, and packed with treats.

It’s not strange for small dogs to develop small dog syndrome, which is why should read more about this condition and learn how to prevent it.

To properly train your Bichon Frise to invest time, dedication, treats, consistency, and positive reinforcement training methods.

Bichon Frise Grooming

Grooming is a must.

No matter how small a dog might be, he still needs the proper amount of care. In fact, grooming is the only way to keep your dog clean, healthy, and happy.

Plus, regular brushing sessions will keep your Frise’s coat shiny, as well. This is a high-maintenance breed.

Make sure that you have the right grooming tools on hand, to make grooming an easy and fast process.

Provide a brushing once to twice a week.

Use this period to bond with your dog and check his skin for any sign of fleas or skin infection. Their coat should be free of mats and tangles, especially before bathing.

They may get their coat easily dirty on rainy days or during the snow, so cleaning them with a wet cloth should be frequent.

Don’t bathe him too often, and always use dog shampoo designed for dogs.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails montlhy
  • Clean ears regularly
  • Check eyes for any eye discharge
  • Check gums weekly
  • Provide food that promotes healthy teeth
  • Bathe when needed
  • Provide parasite control

Staying on a vaccination schedule is important. Make sure that veterinarian check-ups are regular. This is the most effective way to keep your dog healthy.

Did you know that Bichon Frise is one of the most popular small-size dogs that don’t smell? To keep it that way, regular grooming is a must.

Bichon Frise Health

Once you get a dog you’re directly responsible for his weight. Knowing how much to feed your dog and when is a major milestone.

If possible, provide high-quality food and if you’re thinking about any new feeding styles, talk to your veterinarian first.

For example, if you are thinking about serving your Fido raw food talk to your veterinarian first.

Also, do not serve treats as a meal substitution. Treats should be served as a reward, an occasional opportunity.

Too many treats and poor nutrition can easily lead to weight gain. Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States and you don’t want your Fido to be part of this growing trend.

Overall, Bichons are considered to be healthy dogs, as long as they are given the proper care.

Some of the conditions that may appear in this breed:

  • Bladder Problems
  • Allergies
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Vaccination Sensitivity
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Juvenile Cataracts

This doesn’t mean that your Bichon Frise will get any of the following issues.

It only means that you should be well-aware of possible issues, and do your best to prevent them.

Educate yourself of these issues, provide regular veterinarian check-ups, serve high-quality food and provide enough exercise.

Once you provide proper care and a safe environment, you can expect your Bichon Frise to reach his senior years as a happy and healthy dog.

Is Bichon Frise For You?

Before you get Bichon Frise know that you will probably have to deal with three major things:

  • Housebreaking
  • Separation anxiety
  • Barking

They may be small, but they will barge like a really large dog. These three issues are something that you should be well aware of when getting this breed.

Make sure that you have enough patience and knowledge for these issues. Plus, addressing barking issues during the training process can make everything easier. That being said is Bichon Frise for you?

Firstly, it’s important to note that this breed isn’t for you if you don’t want to deal with housebreaking, possible destructiveness and barking, and shyness.

However, this breed is for you if you want a dog who is:

  • Small
  • Active
  • Sturdy
  • Playful
  • Comes with a curly coat
  • Doesn’t shed
  • Is a great alert watchdog
  • Is polite with other pets

Just like any other dog, a Bichon Frise is a great responsibility. They require your time, energy, and dedication.

On top of that, they require grooming, regular brushing, and all-day care. That being said, make sure that you are 100% sure that you can afford to own a dog. A good start will make any challenge easier and life with a dog more enjoyable.

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