Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a sweet and gentle powder-puff of a dog. Mild mannered and tolerant of children, a Bichon’s job from the start has been to be a human companion. They need regular brushing and trimming to maintain their white, curly coat; they shed very little and are quite hypoallergenic. But they can be noisy.


This is an ancient breed that first appeared in the 1200’s. They stem from the core of dogs developed in Spanish Tenerife and are related to the Maltese, Havanese, Bolognese and Coton de Tulear. Bichons spread around Europe as Spanish sailors traded them, becoming a favorite in the 16th century French Court. The painters of the Spanish school favored them and used them often in their works, popularizing them further as a sweet puff ball of a companion.

Bichons have for centuries been a favorite in circuses because of their intelligence, willingness to please and bright, sweet personality.

Here is a portrait I did several years ago; I always think of this breed as light and fluffy so I put this one in the clouds.

By the Numbers

Size: They should be 9 ½ to 11 ½ inches at the shoulder. They are bigger than the smallest of the toy dogs, but still can be easily carried and most will fit in an under the seat airline bag.
Coat Care: 8: high; needs regular brushing to defeat mats and frequent trimming.
Trainability: 7: Bichons have been used as circus dogs and are eager to please their owners.

Energy level: 6: Bichon Frise do well will a moderate amount of exercise.
Good with Children: 7 -- They easy going around children, though they can have difficulty with the rough handling of toddlers.

Noise level: medium – 6: They can be noisy, especially when bored.
Low Shedding/hypoallergenic: 8: On a par with poodles, Bichons shed very little. They can be smelly when wet.

To get more information or to find a puppy, contact the Bichon Frise Club of America or  the American Kennel Club.

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