The Bichon Frise is a small, cheerful breed known for its fluffy double coat. These dogs came into existence during the 13th century when they were bred from Water Spaniels and kept by Spanish sailors. Soon after their introduction, Bichon Frises became popular as pets for French royalty and were also favored as subjects by Spanish painters. Although these dogs have performed a variety of roles in the past, the Bichon Frise is largely a companion pet today.
As a small breed dog, the Bichon Frise typically grows no taller than 12 inches at the shoulder. Most specimens of this breed weigh between 10 and 20 pounds at maturity, though their curly coats sometimes make them appear larger than they actually are.
These dogs have a sturdy build, a fluffy coat and a plumed tail. Like many dog breeds, Bichon Frise dogs have double coats - the undercoat is usually soft while the outercoat is more coarse and curly. The coats of Bichon Frises are most often white but there may be some cream-colored shading around the ears and on other parts of the body as well.
Though all dogs develop their own individual personalities, the Bichon Frise breed is known for being gentle-mannered and cheerful. These dogs are very sociable and make excellent family dogs. Because they are affectionate and playful, the Bichon Frise breed is particularly recommended for families with children. The gentle temperament of this breed makes them perfect companion dogs and their friendly nature makes it easy for them to get along with other pets.
These dogs do tend to have a great deal of energy, however, so they require plenty of daily activity and exercise and may demand a great deal of attention from their owners.
Bichon Frise dogs are a good breed for individuals who suffer from allergies because these dogs shed very little and their dense, curly coats keep dander in place. In order to keep a Bichon Frise looking its best, however, frequent grooming is recommended. Brushing your Bichon Frise's coat on a daily basis will prevent matting and a complete grooming is recommended every 6 to 8 weeks.
As a small breed dog, Bichon Frise dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds - the average lifespan of a Bichon Frise is 12 years. Though the Bichon Frise dog tends to be a fairly healthy breed, there are a few diseases to which these dogs are prone which could shorten this lifespan.
Some of the most common health problems seen in Bichon Frise dogs include ear infections, patellar luxation, bladder infections and tooth problems. Some Bichon Frise dogs also have a higher risk for developing Immotile Cilia Syndrome, also called Kartagener's Syndrome, which causes a variety of respiratory symptoms.
Overall, the Bichon Frise is an excellent breed for active families looking for a friendly companion pet. These dogs are charming, intelligent and typically respond well to training when started at an early age.
To ensure that your Bichon Frise enjoys a long and healthy life, be sure to feed him high quality dog food and take him to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations. Aside from fulfilling your dog's physical needs, all you need to do is enjoy the companionship and affection your Bichon Frise has to offer.
If you care for your Bichon Frise properly you will find yourself with more than just a pet - you will have made a dear friend and companion.