Bichon Frise - One of The Best Companion Dogs

Luis Dogalyo
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The Bichon Frise is one of the best companion dogs that exist, although it is not currently among the most popular breeds, and it is rare to see them on our streets, which is a shame.

Bichon frise playful and gentle dog


  • Weight: between 7 and 12 lbs
  • Coat type: long, fine, and curly
  • Temperament: affectionate and very sociable
  • Health: normal, but with several problems associated with its size and breed
  • Lifespan: between 12 - 15 years

Origins


The origins of the Bichon Frise breed are in Europe, and there is division of opinions among enthusiasts, as some say it is French and others say it is Spanish.

It is known that dogs of this type have been around the Mediterranean for many centuries and that this breed may have originated from a cross between water dogs from centuries ago and white companion animals.

In the 16th century, the breed was known as the Bichon Tenerife, named after the island where it developed, which arrived there from the hands of Spanish sailors from the 12th century.

Already in the Renaissance, this Bichon Tenerife was a court dog, being very abundant in Spain and Italy. In fact, the breed appears in several Renaissance paintings and also in those of Goya centuries later.

It did not take long to become popular in France, where Marie Antoinette was one of the most famous owners of this Bichón, falling into oblivion afterward and becoming a stray dog.

When it was on the streets, it attracted attention because it was very beautiful, so people started picking it up until, in 1930, French breeders got to work, hence the Bichon Frise is said to have originated in this country.

At the end of World War II, its population was very low, but the breed was able to be saved thanks to being brought to the United States in the 1950s, where the American Kennel Club did an excellent job.

Nowadays, it is known all over the world, but it is not one of the most popular breeds, although being out of fashion is not always a negative thing.

Main characteristics


In the Bichon Frise breed, the first characteristic that stands out is its coat, long and silky with a curly shape, creating the curls that give the breed an unmistakable appearance.

It can reach up to 10 cm in length and must always be pure white, as it is the only color currently allowed by the FCI.

We are dealing with a small-sized dog, less than 30 cm and very light in weight. The standard does not say anything about the minimum or maximum weight, but the average is around five kilos, not exceeding seven or eight.

The tail is striking, held up and folded in a quite amusing gesture, which combines very well with the expression on its face. When it looks at us, it always seems alert, as if it were waiting for something.

Its gaze is not casual since it is one of the easiest breeds to train due to the great intelligence it possesses.

Character of the Bichon Frise


The Bichon Frise has what we can call an ideal character for being a companion dog.

It is very cheerful and playful, but it is not nervous like other small dogs, as it is also very affectionate and sensitive to its owners.

In addition, despite being small, it loves to exercise, so it is a good dog for people who like to walk or even do small hiking trails.

When at home, it is not a pest and loves to rest on the couch or bed with its owners, whom it always seeks to have their company, so it is not a dog to leave alone in a garden unless it has a canine companion.

Read also: How to Leave Your Dog With Someone Else While on Vacation

They are usually sociable animals with strangers, dogs, and other pets. This makes them ideal for those who have cats, with whom they will get along well from the first day.

The same goes for children. They will play with them without ever showing aggression, which is not always possible in small dogs, many of which do not take long to show their teeth if the children in the house tire them out.

Despite their character, it is best to socialize them well from a young age. This avoids them becoming timid when they are adults, which leads them to be aggressive out of fear even with their owners.

Care


Whether we are adopting a dog of this breed or buying one, the first thing we need to know is that the fur requires quite a bit of work and tends to form knots, which means it needs to be brushed every day.

In our grooming kit, we should always have a soft comb and a slicker brush. We use the comb to brush it in the direction of the hair (so as not to tangle or break it) while the slicker brush will be very useful for removing the knots.

Despite brushing it often, it is best to take it to the groomer at least once every three months, where they can bathe it and leave it looking impeccable.

We won't just be brushing it, but we will need to take it for a walk a couple of times, preferably three, so that it can exercise. It is not an athlete, but it needs to run, fetch the ball, and play with other dogs.

As a companion dog, it adapts very well to small apartments as long as it is accompanied. It cannot stand being alone, so if it is going to be alone for a long time because we are almost out of the house all day, the Bichon Frise is not a breed we should consider.

Bichon Frise Feeding


The Bichon Frise has normal feeding requirements, but it's important to give them a quality dog food specifically designed for their small size, with kibble adapted to their small teeth.

Due to their tendency to gain weight, like most small breed dogs, we can opt for a "grain-free" dog food, as it may be better for them than one containing wheat, rice, or corn.

We should be careful with the amount of food we give them, always following the manufacturer's instructions and the veterinarian's advice, who will let us know if we are overfeeding or underfeeding them, although we can also judge this by their physical appearance.

Health


There are several health problems that the Bichon Frise dog breed suffers from. Some are specific to the breed, genetic, and others come from the size of the dog and are common in breeds like these.

Bladder stones


This disease is always associated with small dog breeds. Due to their low level of physical activity, they drink little water, so in the end, they accumulate stones in their urine that will be deposited in the bladder.

They can be eliminated with a specific wet diet as long as they are caught in time since if the stones have reached the bladder, surgery is the best option.

Dental problems


The Bichon Frise has crowded teeth, as do other small breeds. There is not much space between the dental pieces, so infections are common if we do not clean their teeth frequently.

We can also go to the veterinarian, who can carry out a thorough cleaning if he deems it necessary (for this, the dog needs to be sedated).

Juvenile cataracts


Here we are talking about a genetic disease that can lead the dog to lose its sight. Cataracts usually appear in elderly animals, but in this case, they are seen in specimens that are not yet adults.

Luxating Patella


Luxating patella causes the kneecap to come out of its place, something that can be treated with surgery, although less invasive methods such as chondroprotectors and rehabilitation are always attempted first.

It is another hereditary disease of the breed, although it can also be caused by a blow or excess exercise, which we must be careful with, especially in juvenile specimens.

When this disease appears, responsible breeders remove them from breeding, as their offspring will most likely have this problem.

Idiopathic epilepsy


This type of epilepsy occurs in all breeds, and in the Bichon, it has a higher incidence than in others.

Its origin is unknown (hence its name) and appears when the dog is very young, before three years of age. Fortunately, medications have been developed that help the animal have a very good quality of life.

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