Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise


Group: Toy Group / Non-Sporting

Origin: France/Belgium

Height: The ideal adult male Bichon measures 9½-11½ inches (25-28 cm) at the shoulder

Weight: Males: Approximately 10 to 18 pounds

Bichon Frise
Ch. Talewagon’s Xpectations (B.B.)
Photo: Talewagon Bichons Frise

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Breed Profile

The Bichon Frise originated in the Mediterranean with his oldest ancestor being the Barbet. The group of dogs known as the Barbichon, later shortened to Bichon, evolved into four breeds: the Bichon Bolognese, the Bichon Havanese, the Bichon Maltese and the Bichon Tenerife who came to be named the Bichon Frisé.

Because of his friendly and affectionate disposition, the Bichon Frisé was bred as a companion dog. He is cheerful, stable, gentle, sensitive, playful, outgoing, alert, and makes a wonderful family companion. He gets along with people of all ages, with other pets, and in varied living conditions. He loves to play but is not overly energetic. His delightfully entertaining personality and his talent for performing tricks turned many a Bichon into a circus dog. He is not a guard dog but will announce strangers.

Described as a white powder puff with black eyes, eye rims and halos, lips, nose and footpads. The coat is naturally curly but when brushed and scissored, it appears to be velvety plush. The long plumed tail is also a distinguishing feature of the breed. The Bichon is small and sturdy with an intelligent expression creating an overal appearance of elegance and dignity.

The undercoat is soft and dense and the outercoat coarser and curlier. These combined together give a soft feel to the touch similar to plush or velvet and, when patted, should spring back. His colour is white with possible shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or on the body. His coat is non-shedding and may be suitable for those with allergies. If you do have allergies, however, it is important to test your allergies before purchasing a puppy by spending several hours with a Bichon.


Health Issues

The Bichon is generally a healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. Some live to be as old as 18 and a few even longer. According to the Bichon Frisé Club of America, the oldest reported Bichon recently died of natural causes at the age of 21 years.

Like all breeds, however, the Bichon can be susceptible to some health concerns. The primary health problems in this breed are: Skin and allergies; Dental problems; Bladder infections and stones; Patellar Luxation; Ear infections; and Eye Disease. The most prevalent forms of cancer found in older Bichons are prostate in the male and mammary gland carcinoma in the female.

If you are considering the adoption of a Bichon Frisé puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Bichon Frisé, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia;
  • Patellar Luxation;
  • Annual Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist.
  • Optional testing includes: Congenital Cardiac Database; Legg-Calves-Perthes; DNA Profiles; Urinalysis to screen for diabetes, bladder infections, and crystals; Bile acid blood tests to screen for liver shunts; Standard veterinary blood panel including CBC, electrolytes, glucose levels, and liver and pancreatic enzymes – to screen for anemia, infection, cancer, bleeding or platelet disorders, kidney function, diabetes, liver function, and pancreatic function.

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

The Bichon’s non-shedding coat does mat and, therefore, the coat must be groomed regularly. Matting of the coat can result in skin irritations, tearing and skin disease.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Bichons Across Canada — An information/educational website for the Bichon Frisé designed and made possible by the hard work and cooperation of dedicated Bichon Frisé owners involved in various aspects of the breed.
  • Euro Bichons — Euro Bichons is Europe’s only Multi-Bichons Breed Community – Bichons Frisé, Havanese, Bolognese, Lowchen, Maltese, Coton Du Tulear.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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