Bichon Frise - Everything You Need To Know - Cover Image

Bichon Frise – Everything You Need To Know

The Bichon Frise, the whole inspiration for this site, is a small loveable companion that loves attention.

If you are new to this breed of dog or want to know about more specific aspects of this breed, then this is the article for you.

This article contains a whole host of information about the Bichon Frise including their history, appearance, temperament, health problems, age span, grooming requirements, and exercise requirements.

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Bichon Frise History

The history of the Bichon Frise is an interesting one. They have traveled far and wide over the course of their life and have been used for a variety of functions.

Let’s look at the history of the Bichon Frise in more detail.

Bichon Breed Type

While the term Bichon Frise is used to refer to this cuddly white dog, the term Bichon itself is used to refer to a group of dogs that fall within this type of breed.

The Bichon breed type is descended from the Barbet (a water dog) and the Poodle.

The dogs that belong to the Bichon breed type are:

  1. The Bichon Frise
  2. The Bolognese
  3. The Havanese
  4. The Maltese

Looking at these breeds side to side, you can certainly see some comparisons and similar physical traits.

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Bichon History

The Bichon originated in Spain where they were sailing dogs that lived aboard large ships.

They were often traded by sailors as they traveled from port to port.

What is now known as the Bichon Frise, then called the Bichon or Tenerife, eventually became very popular in France during the Renaissance period.

It was around this time that they were adopted as lap-dogs for the nobility of the time.

On March 5th, 1933 the breed became part of the national kennel club of France. This is when it received its name, the Bichon Frise.

The name Bichon Frise means “curly lap dog”.

The Bichon Frise was brought to the US in the 50s and to Australia in the 70s. Since then it has become a very popular breed worldwide.

Some Bichon Frise dogs have even gone on to win Best in Show on a few occasions.

Bichon Frise Appearance

The defining characteristic of the Bichon Frise is their white curly coat and deep dark eyes.

Let’s look at some more of these characteristics in more detail.

What Does A Bichon Frise Look Like?

As we mentioned, Bichon Frise means “curly lap dog”. This certainly describes the breed very well.

Coat ColorWhite
Coat TypeSoft and dense outer coat, curlier outer coat
EyesBlack or Brown and very round
EarsDropped ears that frame their face
NoseAlways black and prominent on their face
TailFluffy and curled so it rests on their back

The traditional Bichon Frise show dog is certainly quite striking and recognizable with their long curly tail and big powder puff head.

Bichon Frise
Image Credit: Wikipedia

To learn more about the Bichon Frise breed standard, you can read about it here: – Bichon Frise Breed Standard.

What Height Is A Bichon Frise?

The average height of a fully grown Bichon Frise is between 9 and 11 inches.

How Much Does A Bichon Frise Weigh?

The average weight of a fully grown male Bichon Frise is between 11 and 16 lbs. Females can weigh between 10 and 15 lbs.

With that said, every dog is different so it’s a good idea to consult with your vet to ensure your Bichon is an optimal weight for their size.

Bichon Frise Temperament

The temperament of the Bichon Frise is described as friendly, sociable, and playful.

These dogs really do enjoy being the center of attention.

Their social disposition also means that they get on well with other people and with other dogs. This is of course provided they have been socialized from a young age.

Do Bichons Bark?

It’s important to note that all dogs will bark in certain situations. For example, if they are playing with other dogs or to alert their owner to a strange noise.

In most cases, barking is a completely normal doggy thing to do.

It’s where the barking becomes excessive that we want to know about this in advance as well as how to treat it.

In reality, the Bichon Frise can be prone to barking in certain circumstances in given their temperament. With that said, regular consistent training will mitigate excessive barking.

If you want to learn even more about why Bichons bark and pick up some useful training tips, then I would recommend reading this article I wrote: How Often Does A Bichon Frise Bark? With Simple Training Tips.

Bichon Frise Dog Names

Can Bichons Suffer From Separation Anxiety?

We mentioned in the History of the Bichon Frise that these dogs were companion dogs that would often be used to socializing and getting attention.

With that said, an unfortunate side effect of this sociable nature is that the Bichon Frise can develop separation anxiety. This can develop if they are left alone for periods of time.

Some of the symptoms of separation anxiety can include:

  • hyperactivity and excessive barking when you are about to leave the house
  • barking and whining when you are not around
  • destructive behavior which can take the form of chewing and scratching things nearby.

Separation Anxiety can be a concern for new Bichon owners but this is something that can be mitigated in a number of ways.

To learn more about overcoming separation anxiety in your Bichon, I recommend checking out this post I wrote: 9 Best Questions To Ask Before You Buy A Bichon Frise. In particular, the section Can Bichons Be Left Alone offers some helpful training tips for this.

If you want to learn more about what separation anxiety is, it’s worth reading this article: Dealing With Separation Anxiety.

Are Bichons Good With Kids?

Bichon Frises are considered to be good with kids. This is due to their small size, their adorable appearance, as well as their friendly and sociable temperament.

While the Bichon is considered to be good with kids, it’s also pretty important that children learn how to interact with dogs.

If you want to learn more about how to teach your children to interact with dogs, it’s a good idea to read this article: How To Childproof Your Dog.

I also wrote a more comprehensive article on this topic which you can read here: Is A Bichon Frise Good With Kids? With Training Tips.

Are Bichons Good With Other Pets?

The Bichon Frise is definitely considered to be good with other pets. This is of course provided they are socialized from a young age.

Their sociable and friendly temperament means that they enjoy interacting and playing with other dogs and other pets.

What’s more, socializing with other dogs is extremely beneficial for their mental development & provides them with mental stimulation.

The benefits of socializing with other dogs are numerous. If you would like to read more about this, I wrote a more in-depth article which includes some great training tips that you can read here: Is A Bichon Frise Good With Other Pets? With Training Tips.

Bichon Frise with Other Dogs

Bichon Frise Common Health Problems

As the Bichon Frise is a standard, purebred dog, it is possible to determine some of the health problems this breed can be prone to.

This can be an advantage and ensures that owners can lookout for signs of these conditions and immediately consult with their vet.

The common health problems associated with the Bichon Frise are summarized in this table:

Patellar LuxationWhere the Patella (knee cap) slips out of its normal position.Learn More
Hip DysplasiaThe abnormal formation of the hip socket which can cause pain or discomfort.Learn More
CataractsThe Bichon Frise can suffer from Cataracts which can affect their vision depending on the severity.Learn More
AllergiesThe Bichon can be known to suffer from various skin allergies.Learn More

How Long Does A Bichon Frise Live?

While most owners don’t want to think about how long their furry friends will be around, it is important to know.

This ensures that you will know what to expect at the various points in their life.

As the Bichon Frise develops into a grown-up dog and then onto an older dog, their needs and requirements will change.

The average age span of a Bichon Frise is 12 – 15 years.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, including old-age health problems to look out for and top tips for ensuring your Bichon leads a long and healthy life, I highly recommend reading this article: What Is The Age Span Of A Bichon Frise?

Grooming Your Bichon Frise

The curly white coat of the Bichon Frise needs fairly regular maintenance. As well as this other factors should be considered as part of the grooming routine to ensure a healthy and happy doggo.

Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of grooming a Bichon Frise, including some common questions you may have.

Does A Bichon Frise Shed?

The simple answer to this question is that yes, Bichon’s do shed minimally, but they shed very little in comparison to most other dog breeds.

All animals that have hair shed, this is just part of being an animal.

Dogs can shed for a number of reasons:

  • They are shedding their puppy coat to develop their adult coat
  • They are shedding their dense winter coat for their lighter summer coat or vice versa
  • Excess shedding could be an early sign of some health issues. In this case, it is important to consult with your vet.

To learn more about this topic, including some excellent tips for removing dog hair from your house, your car and from you, I suggest reading this article I wrote: Does A Bichon Frise Shed? The Definitive Answer You Should Know

Is A Bichon Hypoallergenic?

This is another very common question people have about the Bichon Frise.

While the answer is pretty simple, it’s not entirely as straightforward as you might think.

The term hypoallergenic is used to refer to dogs or cats, for example, that generally cause less allergic reactions in people that suffer from allergies.

The term was first coined by advertisers in the 50s to promote cosmetics campaigns.

The Bichon Frise is considered a hypoallergenic dog because it has a low shed coat. With that being said, there is actually no dog that is truly hypoallergenic as all dogs can potentially cause an allergic reaction for humans.

With that said, it’s important to note that the term hypoallergenic has, in fact, no medical basis. This means that there are no standards or ways of measuring this trait in place.

This is a pretty interesting topic when you dig deeper into it. If you want to learn even more about this topic, you can read this article I wrote: Is A Bichon Frise Hypoallergenic? The Definitive Answer.

How Often Should You Groom Your Bichon Frise?

The process of grooming your Bichon Frise can refer to a number of different activities including brushing, bathing, ear cleaning, and eye cleaning.

Each of these activities should be done regularly and they are summarized in the table below:

BathingMonthly or when dirty
Ear CleaningEvery Other Day
Eye CleaningDaily
Nail ClippingEvery Other Month or When Being Professionally Groomed
Teeth CleaningTwice A Week

In terms of professionally grooming your Bichon, this should be done roughly every 2 months.

To learn more about how to perform each of the grooming activities outlined above, I highly recommend reading this article: Bichon Frise Grooming – A Helpful Beginners Guide.

What Brush Should You Use For Grooming A Bichon Frise?

There are 2 recommended brushes to use when brushing a Bichon Frise’s coat.

The 2 brushes are:

  1. The Pin Brush – this is used for light brushing and doesn’t damage your dog’s coat.
  2. The Slicker Brush – this is used for general brushing and to remove mats or tangles in your dog’s coat. This brush can also be used on any other size of dog with any coat type so it’s pretty universal.

As well as simply owning these 2 brushes, it’s important to learn the correct way to brush your Bichon’s coat.

You might think this is a really straightforward process but it’s important to do this correctly to ensure you don’t damage their coat.

How Often Should You Bathe A Bichon Frise?

It is recommended that a Bichon Frise be bathed or washed about once a month or when they are particularly dirty.

When bathing your Bichon, it’s a good idea to use a pet-sensitive dog shampoo to ensure their skin doesn’t become irritated.

For more tips on how to bathe your Bichon, you can read this article I wrote: Bichon Frise Grooming – A Helpful Beginners Guide.

Exercising Your Bichon Frise

All dogs need regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Bored dogs who aren’t exercised enough will become destructive or even aggressive in some cases.

With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your Bichon is exercised regularly.

Let’s take a look at this in more detail in the sections below.

How Much Exercise Does A Bichon Frise Need?

The general rule of thumb is that a Bichon Frise needs about 30 minutes of exercise per day.

This can easily be achieved with a walk around the park or a game of fetch.

There are so many benefits to regularly exercising your Bichon including:

  1. Keeping them healthy
  2. Helping to manage your dog’s weight
  3. Providing them with plenty of mental stimulation
  4. Improving their sleep

To learn more about exercising your Bichon, I highly recommend reading this article I wrote: How Often Should You Exercise A Bichon Frise?.

Tips For Exercising Your Bichon Inside

We can’t always exercise our dogs in the great outdoors. Sometimes the weather or other factors can prevent us from venturing out to the park or to the beach.

With this in mind, here are some simple tips for exercising your dog inside.

Work on obedience training

This is a perfect place to work on your obedience training.

Setting aside 10 – 15 minute training sessions each day is the perfect amount of time to teach your dog to sit, stay, and lie down.

The house provides a safe and enclosed environment to work on obedience training and is a great way of providing your dog with exercise and mental stimulation.

Running up and down the stairs

This activity is sure to tire out your dog in no time as running up and down the stairs is quite the exercise.

Running up and down the stairs can be done through a game of fetch.

While this is a great way to exercise your dog, I wouldn’t recommend doing this for longer than 5 – 10 minutes. Furthermore, this is also not recommended for older dogs and dogs with joint issues.

Indoor obstacle course

Setting up an indoor obstacle course is the perfect way to stimulate your creativity and exercise your dog.

Running under obstacles and jumping over things is excellent exercise. You could even try this yourself if you’re feeling particularly active.

The added benefit of teaching your dog to run through this obstacle course is that it will strengthen the bond between you and your dog which is invaluable.

If you want to find even more tips and tricks for exercising your Bichon indoors, check out this helpful article I wrote:

9 Of The Best Indoor Dog Activities for Your Bichon Frise

Tips For Exercising Your Bichon Outside

Being able to exercise in the fresh air is so beneficial for you and your dog. Not only is this great for your mental health but it also provides your dog with lots of mental stimulation.

The sights, smells and other people and dogs are all amazing things your dog can interact with.

Let’s look at some great tips for exercising your dog outside.

Continue your obedience training work

Obedience training can be done almost anywhere. Once you are comfortable with how the training is going inside, you can move this activity into the back garden or to the local park.

Obedience training is very important for having a well behaved and happy dog so it’s great to be able to do this for a little bit each day.

Being able to come when they are called is a critical skill for your dog to learn so this is something that you can practice outside.

Be sure to start in an enclosed area at first until you are more comfortable that your dog will come when they are called.

A walk in the park

A good old fashioned walk around the park is great exercise for both you and your dog. If you are a keen advocate of getting 10,000 steps a day, this is a great way to work towards this goal.

Not only that but interacting with other people and dogs when on your walk provides your dog with great mental stimulation.

It also ensures your dog is used to interacting with other dogs and other people which is key to a well-developed dog.

Playing fetch is brilliant exercise

I always love playing fetch with my Bichon Scully. She loves nothing more than chasing after the tennis ball and eagerly returning it to me.

Fetch is an excellent way to exercise your dog without necessarily tiring you out which is sometimes good if you have had a long day at work or similar.

The beauty of this game is that it is relatively easy to teach your dog and provides a brilliant way to exercise in return.

If you found these tips useful then you might enjoy this article that I wrote: 9 Of The Best Free Outdoor Dog Activities To Do With Your Bichon.


We covered quite a lot of great detail in the course of this article as I’m sure you’ll agree.

If you found this information useful, I would really appreciate if you shared it on social media. This allows other Bichon Frise enthusiasts like you to find this information.

If you have any questions on any of the information in this article or have anything to add, please leave a comment.

Finally, if you enjoyed reading this article, I would highly recommend that you read these next: