The Bichon Frise

Background of the Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise was introduced from the sailors of the Mediterranean in the 1300's. The Spanish sailors brought them on ships as companions and for trade.

After the Bichon was somewhat altered on the Canary Island of Tenerife, Italian sailors discovered the little dog again in the 1500's and brought them back to the mainland.

The little dog became very popular with Italian and Spanish nobility and it was not long before French Royalty took notice. 

Francis I, the patron of the Renaissance (1515-1547) loved the sweet little dogs so much that, instead of leaving them, he devised a basket that hung around his neck to carry them with him at all times!

Of course, following Francis I's example, noble women of the day began carrying the Bichon Frise in the folds of their gowns, wrapped in shawls, or in their sleeves!

The photo below, by Goya, depicts the Duchess of Alba with her tiny Bichon Frise. 

The little dog was also favored by Henry III (1574-1589) when it's popularity soared. Ladies of the court pampered, groomed and generally spoiled the merry little Bichon. The dogs were lavished with love and affection.

It is even said that they ate out of bowls made of pure gold!

After centuries of loyalty and companionship, the Bichon somehow fell out of favor and became a commoner's dog. At that time he was used as a circus dog, and catchpenny for beggars. The little Bichon could be found running the streets.

The Bichon Today

Happily, in 1933, French and Belgian enthusiasts rescued the breed. They established a breed standard and registered the then called Bichon Tenerife, as the Bichon a Poil Frise, which means the Bichon with the curly coat.

As the breed's popularity began to increase, it was finally brought to America in the late 1950's. By 1970 it was recognized by both the AKC in America and the Kennel Club of London. 

The Bichon Frise now enjoys it's place as one of the most popular dogs. This little dog is always happy and makes the very best companion if raised with love and affection. 

After centuries of human contact, the Bichon has a natural and loving demeanor that makes him most attractive to us.

He is cousin to the Maltese, Havanese and Bolognese.


The Bichon Frise has been beloved by Royalty for centuries. This is because of his loving temperament and happy nature. If the Bichon is raised with lots of affection and care he will make one of the happiest companions.

He is very intelligent and loyal. His intelligence has been utilized in service and in amusement. He can learn tricks and makes an excellent therapy or seeing- eye dog 

Breed Standard

Height: 9 1/2-11 1/2 inches

Weight: 5-11 lbs.

Eyes: Dark with dark rims

Coat: Curly, with undercoat

Color- White                              

Tail: Curled over back, not corkscrewed

Gait: Light and Free

Back: Slight incline to tail

Bite: Scissor like,no missing teeth

Demeanor: Merry, attentive, sweet 

Activity: Needs Exercise

Children: Excellent, unless dog is very small. Children should be kind and considerate, Bichon loves to play. 

Do you have a Bichon Frise? Let us know about it, you can place your comments below.

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