Centuries ago the Bichon Frise was popular in France and Spain. The Bichon has been depicted in portraits of the royal families of both countries. Bichon type dogs were developed on different islands in the Mediterranean and Tenerife is were the Bichon Frise is thought to have originated. The Bichon of Malta (known as the Maltese today) is a close relative. 14th century sailors are thought to have taken them over to Europe from Tenerife. In the 18th century the royal whims turned to other dogs and the Bichons became the dogs for commoners but their winsome ways and agility soon brought them fame as circus dogs and organ-grinders' dogs. After World War 1, the servicemen took a liking to these little dogs and, once again, the French breeders took notice of them. In 1934, a standard was drawn up and the breed was renamed by the president of the International Canine Federation, Madame Nizet de Leemans. Its proper plural is Bichons Frises.
Well-balanced dogs with smart appearances, Bichons are small, solid dogs. Their jet black eyes and noses contrast against their snow-white coats and their tails are like plumes which are curved and carried over their backs. Their silken coats which consist of spirally formed hair give them the appearance of powder puffs. Their bouncy stride gives them a happy, carefree presence.
|Colour||Bichons are always snow-white.|
|Coat Length||Short Medium|
|Weight/Height Range||Both dogs and bitches measure between 23 to 30cms at the withers and weigh between 3 to 6kgs.
Bichons are very healthy little dogs and relatively free from hereditary and congenital problems. Dislocation of the kneecap and epilepsy have been recorded in the breed and bladder stones can occur in bitches. The most important factors are proper care of teeth, eyes and coat. Regular inspection of these must be done as a matter of course as well as preventative treatment to ward of pyorrhea and pemphigus.
|Breed Classification||Bichons belong to the toy group and are used as companions and obedience dogs. With their extraordinary coats they also make excellent show dogs.|
Feeding & Ownership
Bichons are very inexpensive dogs to feed and normally eat very little. The main expenditure is their grooming requirements.
|Food Cost||$5 to $10|
These are lively, happy little dogs who adore family life and, as such, make ideal children's pets. They love to accompany the family on all outings but can be left alone occasionally. They socialise well and are fine in the company of other dogs and pets in the household.
|Intelligence||These are bright little dogs who quickly catch on to what you want them to do therefore there is no real problem training them.|
|Suitability for Children||High|
|Tendency to Bark||Low|
|Overall Exercise Requirement||Bichons will adapt readily to the amount of exercise available from the family circumstances.|
|Suitability as a Guard Dog||Low|
|Ease of Transportation||High|
|Level of Aggression||Low|
|Other Animal Compatibility||High|
Owning a Bichon means spending a lot of time on grooming. The coat should be combed thoroughly every day to prevent matting and subsequent skin problems. Trimming is required occasionally to prevent it becoming too long. Check the hairs round the eyes regularly to ensure they are not causing irritation and clip excess hair between the pads of the feet. As this breed does not shed hair, it is important to remove dead hairs with a brush. To keep the show-ring appearance of a 'powderpuff', it is recommended to use a professional groomer every 5 or 6 weeks.
|Grooming Requirements||Every Day|
|Amount of Hair Shed||None|
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