Bichon Frise

Other names: Bichon, Bichon à poil frisé, Tenerife dog

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise canines belong to the “Toy” dog groups. As small lap dogs or companion pets, they can be very affectionate and friendly. They are known for their superb temperament and enjoyment of being with their human family. The Bichon breed is of Belgian and French heritage and was previously very popular among French aristocrats. During the French revolution, the breed fell from popularity and these cute dogs earned their living by performing with street musicians and organ grinders. Later, during World War I, the breed was almost extinct, however, dedicated breeders worked together to save the Bichon Frise.

Key facts about the Bichon Frise

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful

Size :

Origins and history

Dating as far back as the 13th century, the Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Poodle and the Barbet Water Spaniel. Previously traded worldwide by Spanish sailors and eventually becoming a favourite in French Royal courts during the 16th century. The dog fell out of favour and ended up on the streets working as a circus performer and an organ grinder’s pet. In more current days, the Bichon Frise is known as a show and companion dog.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs


Section 1 : Bichons and related breeds

Physical characteristics of the Bichon Frise

    Adult size

    Female : Between 9 and 12 in

    Male : Between 9 and 12 in


    Female : Between 9 and 15 lb

    Male : Between 11 and 15 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Bichon Frise is a compact dog, yet totally in proportion. With a soft, pure white coat, the adult dog has a slightly rounded head, a shiny, black nose and dark eyes. They are very endearing with an alert and cute expression on their face. The dog’s ears are set high on his head and are covered in flowing, soft hair. The dog’s black lips give him a smiling appearance. The dog carries his tail raised but not curled over his back. A quite muscular body, strong back legs and well-rounded thighs, complete this little dog.

    Good to know

    Bichon Frise translates from French to “curly lapdog”. Bichon is a type of lapdog and Frise means curly in English.

    Many Bichon Frise pets have their own social media accounts and love nothing better than posing for photographs and selfies!


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      This breed is understood to be a very popular breed and it’s clear to see why. With lively, affectionate and adorable personalities, they make gorgeous pets. Another bonus is that the Bichon is extremely good around children, which is sometimes unusual in smaller dog breeds.

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      The happy and fun-loving Bichon Frise is also a very outgoing and confident character. They are real performers and love clowning around, rarely showing any aggressive tendencies. This little dog loves to be the centre of attention and will happily perform a new trick for his master.

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      As a playful, gentle dog, he is actually quite calm too. He loves to show off but won’t respond well at all to harsh reprimands. On the whole, he prefers a peaceful environment and can sometimes be quite timid.

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      Despite his high intelligent traits, he’s not a dominant dog. He much prefers learning new tricks to obedience commands, although he is a quick learner.

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      The Bichon Frise certainly isn’t a hunting dog, but this doesn’t mean he won’t challenge the neighbour’s cat, often just for fun. Early socialisation prevents any naughty or unwanted behaviours.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Although this breed will alert you to a stranger in his presence, his bark is much worse than his bite. He is actually more likely to welcome a stranger than to chase them away.

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      This intelligent, lively pup thrives on human company. Despite this, they are independent dogs in most circumstances. However, this dominant behaviour often leads him to think he is the pack leader, and will jump up onto the furniture and onto people.

      Behaviour of the Bichon Frise

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        Tolerates solitude

        The Bichon Frise much prefers to spend time in the company of his owners, usually hating to be left alone. This small dog can become stressed and anxious if he has to spend too much time by himself.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        This intelligent pup is also quick witted and his main aim is to please his master. Providing you show him who rules the roost, he is easy to train as long as you use consistent methods. Check that the dog doesn’t develop “small dog syndrome” when he will take on the alpha dog role. This can of course, lead to unwanted behaviour problems. Toilet training may take a deal of patience and understanding as he can be more difficult to housetrain than other small breeds.

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        Very often, some Bichon dogs are very yappy at times. They do like to bark just for the sake of it, which can be annoying. Early training, can of course, avoid this behaviour.

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