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10 Fun Facts About Bichon Frises

10 Fun Facts About Bichon Frises

Bichon Frises are bright, clever, and adaptable dogs. You’d probably recognize their powdery white hair and cute, rounded head hair. Their alertness makes them great watchdogs; however, they consider everyone a friend. With a positive and happy personality, these white dogs make friends wherever they go. Learn more in these 10 fun facts about Bichon Frises!

1. Bichon Frises have been around for centuries.
The breed has a close association with European nobles, which began sometimes in the 13th century. The AKC describes the breed as “among the canine kingdom’s great survivors.” Charming and intelligent, the Bichon has been through and survived revolutions, world wars, and the fall of empires. They have adapted throughout the years in order to survive.

2. They began their modern development on Tenerife.
The Bichon Frise is a member of a canine clan known as Barbichon-type dogs, and it’s believed that this breed began its modern development on Tenerife, which is the largest of the Canary Islands. The Bichon Frise was very popular with the island’s sailors. They often traveled with Spanish sailors and were used as items of barter during their travels. The Bichon descended from the Barbet (or Water Spaniel), which is where the name “Barbichon” came from, which was later shortened to Bichon.

3. The modern Bichon Frise developed into four categories.
Because the original Bichon Frises traveled often with sailors, they began to breed in other countries, which is why there is more than one type of Bichon. The modern Bichon Frise developed into the Maltese, the Bolognaise, the Havanese, and the original Bichon Frise, also known as the Bichon Tenerife. The four different names refer to the region where each type was bred.

4. They were popular among nobles in Spain, Italy, and France.
The Bichon had early success in Spain. In the 14th century, Bichons were rediscovered by Italian seafarers who brought them back to Europe. The breed quickly became a favorite among Italian nobles. They became popular in France during the Renaissance but saw their greatest success during the court of Henry III. It has been said that Henry III loved his Bichon so much that he carried it in a basket that hung from his neck.

5. They have been featured in many works of art.
One of the Bichon’s careers was to be a royal lap warmer, which is depicted in many works of art from 16th century Europe. Francisco de Goya, Titian, and Sir Joshua Reynolds were some of the famous painters who featured Bichon Frises in their artwork.

6. The French Revolution ended the Bichon’s position of privilege.
When the French Revolution arrived, many Bichons were left on the streets as their owners were either executed or imprisoned. But these intelligent and charming dogs caught the attention of street entertainers, who trained them to perform tricks. Not long after, the Bichon’s trainability and good looks landed them jobs in the circus. These bright, adaptable dogs were able to survive by becoming circus performers. 

7. They are easy to train.
Although they are known for being difficult to housebreak, Bichon Frises are otherwise very easy to train. They love to perform and learn new tricks. Like most dogs, they respond well to positive reinforcement and rewards, rather than negativity.

8. They have a hypoallergenic coat.
The Bichon has a white, plush, and relatively hypoallergenic coat which sheds very little. This is because the shed hair gets caught up in the dense undercoat, which requires frequent brushing to prevent mats from forming. This breed needs frequent grooming, thanks to their relatively long, curly coat.

9. The breed is relatively healthy.
The Bichon has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Although they are generally healthy, they are prone to Cushing’s disease, allergies, luxating patella, cataracts, and hip dysplasia.

10. They came to the United States in 1955.
Although they were widely popular in Europe, Bichon Frises didn’t come to the United States until 1955. The following year, the first Bichon Frise litter was born in the United States. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1972.

Bonus fact: Like many other small breeds, Bichon Frises are predisposed to developing kidney or bladder stones. One common type of bladder or kidney stone in dogs is known as calcium oxalate, which are painful stones that make up about 43% of upper urinary tract stones in dogs. Understanding the risk factors and causes of calcium oxalate stones in dogs is essential when trying to prevent stone formation. Learn more about preventing stone formation in dogs, and discover how Thomas Vet’s Cal Ox can help!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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