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The Bichon Frise is a small dog that is categorised under the Toy Breed Group. Over the years, the Bichon Frise has earned many nicknames including Tenerife Dog, Bichon Tenerife, Bichon a Poil Frise, and Bichon Tenerife.
The Bichon Frise dog originated in the Mediterranean but became a popular breed in France, especially with the nobles. Today, the breed is greatly valued as a family companion because of his gentle and loving personality.
Are you thinking of getting a Bichon Frise puppy? Here is a brief background of this perky and fluffy toy dog.
The history of the Bichon Frise is debatable as there are differing versions. One common belief is that the Bichon dog descended from a water dog from the Mediterranean called the Barbet, and the name was derived from Barbichon, which refers to the pocket-size Barbet.
The Bichon breed was used as a sailing dog and was introduced to the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, according to historians. French sailors brought him to France in the 14th century. The Bichon Frise easily became a favourite, especially with the nobles because of his gentle disposition.
Bichon Frise was often seen at the royal courts of King Francis I and King Henry III. Portraits of Spanish nobility by Francisco de Goya in the 18th and 19th century even feature these small white dogs. However, during 1789, the popularity of the Bichon Frise dog faded as the French Revolution began.
The fanciers of the breed ended up imprisoned or guillotined, which left several of the dogs ownerless and abandoned.
It is believed that the Bichon Frise almost became extinct. However, a brief revival of the breed occurred during Napoleon III's regime in the 1800s. It did not take long though before the Bichon Frise's numbers dwindled again.
The remaining Bichon Frise became a canine companion of organ grinders and other musicians. He lived his life in the streets performing with his human companions. However, after World War I, French breeders preserved the breed.
They were able to save the Bichon Frise breed from extinction by gathering the surviving dogs from the streets of Belgium and France. The breeders gave the dog breed two names: Bichon and Tenerife. In 1933, he was later renamed Bichon Frise, which is a short name for Bichon à poil frisé (Bichon with the curly coat).
The first Bichon Frise was listed on the French Kennel Club stud book in 1934. In 1972, he was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club. The Bichon Frise is categorised under the Toy Group by the Kennel Club. He is also recognised by the Bichon Frise Club of America.
The Bichon Frise is a lively and smart-looking dog. A small, compact, and well-proportioned dog, he weighs 4–9 kilos and stands 23–30 centimetres.
It doesn't take long for a small dog breed like the Bichon Frise to completely turn into an adult. Once the Bichon Frise puppy reaches one year old, he is already considered a full-grown dog.
The KC breed standard describes the Bichon Frise as a dog with a slightly rounded head, a long and arched neck, strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite, and ears that hang close to the head and covered with hair. His eyes are black with a keen and alert expression.
The Bichon dog is a light shedder and boasts an attractive, white, and fluffy double coat with cute curls. Often mistaken for a white poodle, he has a soft and dense undercoat paired with a coarse outercoat.
The hair stands away from his body, producing a powder-puff look. He should only come in white colour, with the cream markings only visible until eighteen months.
The Bichon Frise is one of the hypoallergenic dog breeds. He is a great match for dog enthusiasts with allergies. However, keep in mind that hypoallergenic doesn't mean completely free from allergens, specifically dander. It just implies the Bichon is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction as he produces less dander than other breeds.
Although you cannot completely stop pet allergies, several methods can effectively lower the chances of this condition from occurring. Here are a few things that you can try at home:
The Bichon Frise is a high-maintenance dog. To keep his beautiful white coat from matting or tangling, he needs to be brushed every single day with a soft slicker brush. He needs proper trimming by a professional groomer every four to six weeks to keep the appropriate Bichon shape.
To fully take care of the physical health of the Bichon Frise breed, you must also make sure that the nails are clipped, ears are free from wax build-up, and skin is checked for spots and parasites. The Bichon Frise is prone to tear stains. This condition causes rust or bloody-looking discoloration on the corner of the dog's eyes.
The reason behind tear stains in Bichon Frise can be linked to various factors. It can be due to allergies, blocked tear ducts, or irritants that cause the overproduction of tears. Bichon Frise puppies are also prone to tear stains, which are often brought on by teething, whilst older Bichons develop it due to ageing.
Tear stains in Bichon Frise often happen due to underlying health problems. So get your Bichon Frise diagnosed by the vet if he shows signs of the condition to rule out health issues.
Be sure to use a dog-safe eye cleaning solution to remove the stains. It should be free from antibiotics to prevent the risk of overmedication. Always use a soft cloth or a cotton ball when wiping the affected area. The hair surrounding the Bichon Frise's eyes should be trimmed to avoid irritation.
The cute appearance of the Bichon Frise dog is complemented with an endearing personality. This ball of fur is friendly, comical, perky, and fun-loving. He is a perfect companion for any type of family and even first-time dog owners. He can also be a good apartment dog as he is a quiet breed.
The Bichon Frise loves and tolerates children, and would gladly sit on their laps and play games with them. This breed also gets along with any type of pets, but remember to shower him with equal attention or he may get jealous.
The Bichon loves to be the centre of attention and join family activities. As a result, he tends to develop separation anxiety, which can lead to the development of destructive behaviour. Providing the Bichon Frise with a furry companion or a pet sitter will keep him from getting lonely.
The Bichon dog is an intelligent pooch that loves pleasing his owners. However, he can be stubborn and manipulative as well. Successfully training requires patience and firmness.
Training sessions should not go beyond 20 minutes to keep the Bichon Frise dog engaged. Be sure to follow your dog's pace instead of yours to prevent him from becoming disinterested or bored.
Despite the Bichon Frise's bouts of mischievousness, avoid punishing him. Or else, he will become wary and spiteful towards you. If the Bichon starts being stubborn, halt the training session and try again later.
Make sure to practise positive reinforcement. Reward him with praises, treats, and fun games once he successfully carries out commands to keep him motivated and interested.
House-training the Bichon Frise can be very challenging. It takes a lot of patience and consistency to teach him to relieve himself in specific areas. Placing a doggy door in your home can help in quickly improving your Bichon Frise's house-training. The breed dislikes water, so keep his potty area covered.
Weaned Bichon Frise puppies need to be fed four times every day. Each pup should be given one cup of dog food, which is divided into ¼ cup of serving throughout the day. Feeding should be done every four to five hours.
Once Bichon Frise puppies reach 10 weeks old, they should be given three meals a day. Note that the number of servings won't change.
Six-month-old Bichon Frise puppies only need two meals a day. Provide each of them with ½ cup of dog food in the morning and another one during dinner time. These feeding portions should continue until the pups have fully matured. After that, begin their gradual transition from puppy food to high-quality adult dog food.
A typical serving for an adult Bichon Frise is 1/2 to–1 1/2 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. You can adjust this amount depending on your pet's age, size, and build.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Bichon Frise per day:
The type of food that you feed your Bichon Frise depends on you. Making your dog's food, raw or cooked, is a great idea as you can choose fresh and high-quality ingredients. However, make sure to provide supplements to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
If you go for commercial dog food, dry or canned, ensure that you only choose reliable brands with limited ingredients. Grain-free will be perfect for your Bichon. Also, incorporate supplements that would keep his coat healthy like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The Bichon Frise's lifespan can range from 12 - 15 years.
He is generally healthy, but like other breeds, he can be prone to certain health issues like bladder stones. The Bichon dog can also develop hereditary diseases such as:
The breed is prone to developing hip dysplasia. This is a debilitating condition caused by the deformity of the hip's ball and socket joint.
A Bichon Frise suffering from hip dysplasia will experience excruciating pain and difficulty in moving and performing exercises. Early diagnosis can lead to successful treatment and therapy. Reputable breeders should have their parent breeds screened for hip dysplasia. This will determine the probability of the offspring to develop hip dysplasia.
It is also known as ciliary dyskinesia, a rare congenital disorder that's quite common in the Bichon dog breed. This condition is linked to the abnormal retention of bacteria and mucus in the airway. Kartagener's syndrome is accompanied by many symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, nose discharge, and respiratory infections.
The disease is incurable, but treatment for secondary infections, which comes in the form of antibiotics, is necessary to prevent the condition from exacerbating.
Small dog breeds such as the Bichon Frise are prone to develop this disease. Patellar luxation happens when the kneecap moves out from its normal location and cannot revert to its usual location. Without proper treatment, it will continuously cause pain and in severe cases, lead to arthritic crippling. But this condition can be cured through surgery.
The Bichon Frise is one of the most common breeds afflicted by epilepsy. It is observed that six-month-old to three-year-old Bichons begin showing signs of the disease through seizures. It can last between 2 and 5 minutes. After the seizures have passed, mild twitching and vacant staring can be observed.
Bichon Frise dogs suffering from epilepsy requires lifelong medication to manage the seizures. Occasional blood testing is necessary as well to monitor the medication's effectiveness and side effects.
The Bichon Frise is an active dog by nature, but he only needs minimal amounts of exercise. 30 minutes of playtime and mental stimulation is enough to keep him happy and satisfied. Whilst he may be fine with an owner that has a sedentary lifestyle, he still needs to be exercised every day to maintain a healthy weight. It can be in the form of a short walk or games in a fenced yard.
A well-bred Bichon Frise puppy from a KC-registered breeder cost around £800–£1800. You may also enquire for prices from Bichon Frise breed clubs, or attend show rings and dog shows to know how much is the going rate for a Bichon Frise puppy.
On top of the price of buying a puppy, you will have to spend £150–£200 for basic dog supplies and equipment. You must also set aside around £40 a month for a high-quality dog food that provides the daily nutritional requirements to keep your Bichon Frise healthy.
The costs of regular veterinary visits and preventive care add up to £900 annually. To ensure that you are prepared for unforeseen expenses caused by ailments or accidents, get pet insurance. The monthly insurance premium is £20 for basic coverage and £40 for a lifetime policy.
Are you sure the Bichon Frise is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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