Bichon Frise

Written by: Jamie
Updated: December 1, 2020

Learn all about the elegant Bichon Frise in our guide. They’re undoubtedly cute and fluffy but are they friendly and well mannered?

Bichon frize on nature background

Bichon Frise Dog Information:
9.5-11.5 inches
Weight: 5-8 kilos
Lifespan: 14-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club

Positives and Negatives

These are the pros and cons of the Bichon Frise.


  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Ideal for first time owners
  • Great family pets
  • Suitable for apartment living


  • High grooming maintenance
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Vocal and likes to bark
  • Difficult to housebreak


Although the Bichon Frise isn’t a hybrid, the breed certainly suits the name designer dog! Their beautiful, fluffy white coat is a feature that was loved amongst European aristocracy. This breed was most popular as a lap dog and companion. It explains why the Bichon Frise is prone to separation anxiety and hates being left alone!

Bichons may be intelligent and easy to train but housebreaking is a different story! These canines are notorious for being difficult to housebreak. Bichon Frise puppies should begin toilet training immediately. Be consistent and allow your pet plenty of access to outdoors space.

Bichon Frise ready for show

You just have to look at this breed to know grooming is going to be a big job. Thankfully they don’t shed very much and are a more suitable breed choice for allergy sufferers. Daily brushing, frequent bathing and trimming will be needed to keep this pooch in tip top shape.

The breed is a classed as a toy breed and although small, they have a loud voice. The Bichon Frise likes to communicate through barking, but this needs to be monitored to prevent it becoming excessive. This canine can be prone to Small Dog Syndrome so socialization is key.

A Bichon Frise makes an excellent family pet. They’re sociable, friendly and not to mention adorable! Give them the attention, care and training they need, to receive a well-behaved, loyal companion in return.


The Bichon Frise originated before the 14th century and comes from Spain. They were used as sailing and herding dogs before being developed in France. In French, their name translates to ‘Curly Lap Dog’. Their exact origination isn’t known but they are believed to be descendants from the Barbet, Poodle types and possibly a Water Spaniel.

The Bichon, Havanese, Bolognese, and the Maltese are all now distinguished as their own breed. Originally they were all once classed as a Bichon Frise. Although popular amongst sailors in the Mediterranean, they quickly become loved amongst French and Italian nobility. In the past, they had two names, the Tenerife and the Bichon.

In France, it wasn’t uncommon for Bichons to work for a living. After the French Revolution these pooches worked hard alongside street musicians. Unfortunately once World War I began, they almost became extinct. Thankfully French and Belgian breeders managed to revive the numbers of the Bichon Frise.

The National Kennel Club for France, Société Centrale Canine released the official breed standard in 1933. It was at this time the dogs name was shortened from Bichon À Poil Frisé to Bichon Frisé. Throughout history, this breed has been a popular choice of lap dog.

The Bichon dog arrived in America in 1955. They are registered by the AKC and KC as Non-sporting dogs. In 2001 J.R the Bichon Frise won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. They are one of the most popular dogs in the UK.

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Bichon Frise Temperament:

The Bichon Frise dog breed looks super cute and their personality definitely matches their cute features. This canine is sociable and deeply affectionate. As members of the toy breed family they can be vocal, but with the right training their barking won’t become excessive. Gentle, kind and sensitive this dog makes an excellent family pet.

A Bichon dog thrives off attention, no matter who it’s from! They have a unique personality, appealing to dog enthusiasts across the world. Early socialization and training will help nurture this breed into the well-mannered, fun loving dog adored by many.

Is the Bichon Frise Good With Strangers?

A Bichon will alert their owner to any strangers at the door however they won’t guard the home. Some may be distrusting towards strangers. Given the right socialization, this pooch will be friendly towards those they don’t know.

Cute small white puppy Bichon Frize on the green yellow grass

Is the Bichon Frise Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is a fantastic match for children. They’re playful yet gentle and absolutely adore the extra attention they receive. As a toy breed, they could become injured during play. Only older children who know how to handle a small animal should live with this breed.

Is the Bichon Frise Ok With Other Dogs?

Bichon Frise dogs get along well with other canines. They are very sociable animals and would happily join a group dog walk. Due to their size be careful of rough play, especially with larger breeds. This dog can live alongside other canines and cats. 


A Bichon Frise requires 30 minutes of exercise each day. A Bichon Frise puppy could do with a little longer. This beautiful white canine is friendly and sociable. You can happily take them along to any doggy meet ups in the park. They do have a strong prey drive so keep them leashed unless in an enclosed space.

Bichon frize on nature background

The Kennel Club have stated this breed doesn’t require a garden. Their small size makes them adaptable for apartment living. As long as they receive their exercise the Bichon Frise will be content. Naturally, they prefer to stay side by side with their owner and could develop separation anxiety if left alone regularly.

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Here are some of the breed related health issues that are common to the Bichon Frise.

  • Luxating Patellas- The kneecaps temporarily move in and out of place. Symptoms include lameness.
  • Cataracts- An abnormal cloudiness appears in the eye after a change of lens. If large, vision will become blurry eventually leading to blindness.
  • Bladder Stones- Minerals in a rock-like formation are found in the urinary bladder. Common symptoms include blood in the urine and straining when trying to urine.
  • Portosystemic Shunt- Blood bypasses the liver from the intestine due to an abnormal blood vessel. Eventually the liver will begin to deteriorate.
  • Diabetes Mellitus- A common endocrine disease caused by the body’s lack of or complete loss of the production of insulin.
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome- This syndrome causes body and head tremors, mostly seen in small, white dogs.

Intelligence & Training

The Bichon Frise dog is highly intelligent and easy to train. They pick up on commands fairly quickly and as people pleasers they thrive off making their owner happy! This sensitive pooch will feel hurt by harsh training techniques. Always keep sessions positive, fun, and different.

Bichon Frise puppies are notorious for being hard to house break. It is recommended training begins immediately once they arrive at their new home. Set a toilet routine every 2-3 hours. Ideally a puppy should be let outside 10-15 minutes after food or water consumption. Some owners of the Bichon Frise recommend crate training to help.

Respect and obedience training are both as important as each other when it comes to the Bichon Frise dog. It isn’t difficult establishing leadership however your Bichon must accept the house rules. Some owners of the Bichon don’t correct bad behaviors as they are fooled by the cute face! Don’t be, bad behaviors can spiral into unruly habits.

Small Dog Syndrome can occur due to improper socialization and training. Behaviors such as barking, chewing and aggression could become the norm. This can easily land a dog like the Bichon in big trouble, their small size won’t be able to sustain a vicious fight.

Recommended: Check out this guide to the Kerry Blue Terrier.


Just looking at this dog you will know that grooming isn’t going to be easy. Professional grooming is great every once in a while but can become expensive. The head, of course, is the most important part of the process. Their white coat is their most noticeable feature and should be kept pristine. 

Fortunately, the Bichon’s coat hardly sheds making them an ideal breed choice for allergy sufferers. Brush their fur at least once a day to keep it looking fluffy, fresh, and debris free! A slicker brush and steel comb are the best tools to use.

Fluffy little Bichon Frize muzzle in camera

As this pooch doesn’t shed fur, tangles appear quicker. The white fur can discolor so they’ll need bathing every other week. Comb through the fur before getting this wet. To dry their coat always use a blow dryer. Every so often the Bichon will need a shave. Use shears or clippers to trim down the fur.

On their head the fur should be rounded as part of their signature style! Due to a pH imbalance, tear stains can appear beneath the eye. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the Bichon’s water and clean their face once a day to help prevent staining.

Don’t forget to include the other general grooming methods. Check their ears weekly, the Bichon’s ears are surrounded by fur so keep an eye out for any infections. Nails will need to be trimmed every 3-4 weeks. Lastly, teeth should be brushed daily as recommended by vets.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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