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All about Bichons

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise appeared in the 13th century as a descendent from the Water Spaniel. Traded by Spanish sailors and transported from continent to continent, the breed eventually became a favorite of those in the 16th century French royalty and their courts as a lap dog and companion dog.

A cheerful, happy dog, the Bichon Frise is small and sturdy with a dark-eyed inquisitive expression and a plumed tail it carries merrily over the back. The breed is often compared to a cotton ball due to its curled double coat, which consists of a textured outer coat and a silky undercoat. The coat must be white, but may have shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or on the body. ( DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY -COURTESTY OF THE AKC BICHON FRISE PAGE)

AKC STANDARDS- Size & Weight

Height: AKC standard is 9 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches for dogs and bitches. However, according to the AKC, dogs and bitches, 9 to 12 inches, are still considered in the standard. Although the AKC does not specify breed weights, the normal Bichon weight between 10 to 18 pounds, depending on the size of the dog.   As of 2018  the breed size per AKC has been raised to 24 lbs.


  • The Bichon Frise is a white dog. The contrast between the white coat and the black nose, halos, eye rims, and etc. is what the ideal specimen is known for and should be adhered to. There is some allowance made in the AKC standard for shadings in small amounts. Although some puppies are often born with shadings of buff, cream, or apricot, these shadings should disappear by the time the dog reachs 12 months of maturity.


If you have a purebred Bichon, your dog should have the black or dark brown skin that surrounds the eyes. This is a standard in the breed. Proper skin coloring around the eyes, accentuate the eyes and enhances the expression. A lack of skin pigment gives the impression of a blank look instead of an expressive look, and do not meet AKC Standards


Regular grooming is necessary for the Bichon, otherwise they end up being one big mat. Getting a shorter “Pet cut” vs the “Show cut” and brushing at daily or at least 2-3 times a week, with regular trips to the groomer for a haircut will keep comfortable and in top form. Lack of proper grooming will cause your pet unnecessary pain and discomfort, and may cause many serious problems. Bichons don’t shed but left unkempt they will matt. Matting is painful an can result in skin sores, tearing and skin disease. Heavily matted animals must be shaved to solve the problem. Regular or daily brushing is much better. If done on a regular basis daily or several times a week; you and your pet will both be much happier.


You must be consistent and patient while house training a Bichon. They are very intelligent but Bichons are not always cooperative with house training. House training can be difficult but not impossible. House training works best if you confine the dog while you are not watching them or else you will end up with numerous "accidents". I crate train (see crate training ) as it makes it much easier to house train the dog. The main rule to follow is keep the dog confined to the room you are in and give them access, on a regular basis, to the place where you want them to go. Bichons can be paper trained or trained to go outside. Establish a routine and follow it. Bichons can even be trained to go on cue with patience and consistency. Each time they do it where you want it done, praise them, which they love. Bichons are not as easy to house train as some other breeds but it can be done.


Bichons do get along well with other pets. I have other pets in my home, dogs, cats and the occasional rescue; so all my pets grow up use to other pets. We have one female cat who thinks she is the puppies’ sentry or nurse-maid, she sits by and watches over them when they are out for playtime. It is quite hilarious, but she did this, and still does with my last child who is now 2. The normal rule of thumb is if the puppy is exposed to other pets at an early age, he/she comes from well tempered parentage, then the puppy should be playful and do well with other pets. It will also depend on the other pets personalities and how they react or treat the puppy. Always be sure to supervise the interaction between the other pets and your puppy till you know the puppy is accepted and a common bond is formed. Always supervise when you have larger dogs, or dominant males, as they may see the puppy as an interloper. In such cases, time and supervision are required till you know for sure that everyone behaves.


Yes, Bichons get along great with children as long as the children are well mannered and not abusive to the dog. Bichons love to play with children as long as the children remember they are playing with a living animal and are not too rough. Parents should supervise younger children playing with the small dog to make sure the children do not hurt the dog.


Since the hallmark of the Bichon breed is a wonderful temperament. Bichons adjust quickly to new surroundings and people. They love to be the center of your attention, and have no trouble bonding to new owners. They are friendly, loving, and great companion dogs.


Staining to the face (under the eyes and around the muzzle) is mainly a cosmetic problem. In puppies, they are like babies, they cry for the mother, so you should expect to see some light staining. Look to the parents of the puppies, which your breeder should have on premises. If the parents have bad eye staining, you can expect the puppies might also. At that point unless you don’t mind the maintenance you might want to look elsewhere for your new pet.   

Tear Stains may also be from eye problems, blocked tear ducts, ingrown eyelashes, or other physical problems. If later in life your dog develops eye issues a vet should see the dog to eliminate these as a cause. Staining can be difficult to control and in most cases cannot be entirely cleaned up. Some success has been seen with a change of diet or drinking bottled spring water. Commercial eye washes and "tear stain remover" are on the market for those who are particularly concerned. You must remember all animals tear stain to a degree. It is not harmful, just more noticeable in a white coated dog.


Every Bichon is a pet, however, some are show, too. In order for a Bichon to be show quality, the dog needs to match the AKC Standard as close as possible. If you answer yes to all of the following questions (honestly), you should have your Bichon evaluated by a reputable handler for show possibilities, if you are interested in showing your Bichon.

Temperament-Does your Bichon have a friendly and outgoing personality to everyone?

Attitude-Does the Bichon have the "here I am, you gotta love me attitude"?

Size- Is the Bichon 9 1/2 inches or more but less than l2 inches?

Color-Is the Bichon white with less than 10 percent shadings of cream or buff? (Puppies are excluded from this test.)

Eyes-Does the Bichon have black/dark eyes?

Pigment-Does the dog have black lips, pads, and nose?

Bite-Does the Bichon have straight teeth, a scissors bite?

Halos-Does the dog have black or dark brown skin surrounding the eyes?

Proportions-Does the Bichon match the AKC Standard proportions?

Movement-This is best left to an expert.





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