The Bichon Frise, meaning curly lap dog, is a Bichon- type small breed of dog. This breed descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel, and the Standard Poodle. The Bichon type dogs were divided into four categories: the Bichon Bolognaise, Bichon Havanese, Bichon Maltese, and the Bichon Tenerife, all of which originated in the Mediterranean area. The traveled a lot and were often used as barter by sailors as they moved from continent to continent, due to their merry disposition. The dogs were found successful early on in Spain, and it is believed that Spanish Seamen introduced this breed to the Canary Island of Tenerife. Italian sailors rediscovered the little dogs on their voyages in the 14th century, and were credited with returning them to the continent. Here they became favorites of Italian nobility.
The average weight of the Bichon Frise is about 10-20 pounds, and stands about 9-12 inches at the withers. The skull of the Bichon is slightly rounded, while the muzzle is not pointed. The tail, carried over the back, is long and curly. The Bichon’s eyes are dark and round, with a black nose. The coat of the Bichon is curly, and dense, and a small amount of buff, apricot, or cream coloring may be seen around its ears, snout, body or paws, but does not exceed 10% of its body. The head and legs of the Bichon are proportionate in size to the body. The ears and tail are natural, meaning they are not docked or cropped.
This breed is described as being “cheerful” and “merry”, and his disposition should be sensitive, playful, affectionate, and gentle-mannered. This breed loves the company of humans, and will demand a lot of your attention. This is a sociable animal that will do well with an owner that will take them out for long walks. This is an intelligent, and charming breed that does well with children because of their playfulness and high energy. The breed can become very territorial if it is affiliated with a specific territory and is encouraged by owners. If training is started early on and is continued constantly, the Bichon Frise are very obedient.
The average lifespan of the Bichon Frise is about 12-13 years old, with the leading cause of death for the breed being old age. The Bichon is prone to autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and immune mediated thrombocytopenia. The Bischon is also prone to liver shunts.