Bichon Frise: Care & Characteristics of the Dog Breed

Bichon frise standing indoors in profile

The little non-sporting bichon frise dog breed has long, curling white hair that highlights its black eyes and nose. Bichons are often described as being fluffy like cotton balls and looking like "living stuffed animals." These canines are vivacious, people-oriented, and dislike being left alone. Snuggling on your lap will definitely be one of their favorite positions.

Breed Overview


HEIGHT: 9.5 to 11.5 inches

WEIGHT: 12 to 18 pounds

COAT: Long, curly

COAT COLOR: White, white and apricot, white and buff, white and cream 

LIFE SPAN: 14 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, friendly, playful




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Characteristics of the Bichon Frise

Bichons often have a highly friendly and lively demeanor, and they adore people. They also have a kind disposition toward children and other domestic pets. They are often quiet and respond to instruction pretty well.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Bichon Frise

The Canary Islands are where the earliest bichons were first discovered in the 13th century. The dog became well-known across Europe as a result of sailors taking them onboard their ships and using them for commerce. These cute small pups were especially beloved by aristocrats, who treated them like spoiled lapdogs.

During the French Revolution, many bichons were deprived of their aristocratic owners. But fortunately, some were found and educated by street performers to do acts for cash. The breed eventually became a mainstay at fairs and circuses.

During the World Wars, the bichon once more suffered, but individuals in France and Belgium sought to conserve the breed and establish its official standard. In 1972, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed.

Bichon Frise Care

Although they shouldn't be very active, bichons also shouldn't be couch potatoes. To be well-mannered dogs, they also need to receive the correct training and socialization. And considerable effort goes into grooming them.


Bichons frequently have high-energy bursts followed by periods of relaxation. They should engage in at least an hour of physical activity each day, such as walks and playtime. A enclosed area where they may run around freely is good. A lot of bichons take part in dog sports to keep their bodies and minds active.


The bichon's silky, curly coat loses very little and grows continually. This coat type need frequent care as a matter of course. If not, the coat could get matted and twisted. At least twice or three times a week, Bichons should have their teeth cleaned. Every four to six weeks, it is often required to have a haircut. To preserve a clean sightline, keep the hair surrounding your eyes cut.

Depending on how dirty they become, bichons may also require a wash every month or so. They are prone to acquiring tear stains around their eyes, and their white fur is readily dirtyable. About once a month, examine the nails to see whether they require trimming. Additionally, check your dog's ears once a week for irregularities like wax accumulation or debris. To avoid dental problems, try to brush your bichon's teeth every day.


For the bichon to be content and well-adjusted, it needs adequate training and socializing. Because the bichon is a little and often amiable dog, it is a mistake to forego training. When you neglect your workout, bad habits might form. Bichons often pick things quite fast, however housebreaking can be more challenging. Positive training techniques work well with them; harsh reprimands may make them shut down and prevent learning.

To increase your bichon's comfort and confidence, socialize it with varied people and situations. Although bichons often adapt well to new situations and get along well with strangers, it's a good idea to reward this behavior.

If you have to spend a lot of time away from home every day, a bichon may start acting out and become anxious about being alone. Having another dog around might be comforting. When you are away from home, destructive behavior can be reduced with the use of crate training.

Common Health Problems

This is an overall healthy breed, but bichons still are prone to some hereditary health issues, including:

  • and other eye problems

Diet and Nutrition

Keep clean water on hand at all times for your dog. and give your dog a high-quality, nutritionally balanced meal. Two measured meals each day are customary. To be sure you are addressing your dog's specific nutritional needs, however, talk to your veterinarian about the quantity and kind of diet. Even though these dogs frequently have a knack for getting their owners to give them goodies, be careful with leftover food to avoid overloading. For a little dog, even a pound of weight increase is considerable.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Bichon Frise

Due to their popularity, bichons are frequently found in animal shelters looking for homes. Additionally, check to see if your region has any breed-specific rescue organizations. Expect to pay between $700 to $2,500 on average for a quality breeder puppy, however prices might vary greatly.

For further information to help you find a bichon frise, check out:

  • Bichon Frise Club of America
  • Bichon Frise Rescue
  • American Kennel Club Marketplace

Bichon Frise Overview

  • Generally very sweet and friendly

  • Often good around kids

  • Can live in a small space

  • Needs more than basic grooming

  • Prone to separation anxiety

  • Prone to allergies and dental disease

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

To decide whether a bichon frise is the ideal dog for your lifestyle, do lots of research beforehand. Consult trustworthy breeders, bichon owners, rescue organizations, and vets. Additionally, if you can, attempt to meet several bichons in person.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • What were bichon frises bred for?

    Bichons were bred to be companions, spending lots of time as pampered lapdogs. They even were historically used as barter thanks to their value as companions.

  • Are bichon frises good family dogs?

    Bichon frises can make excellent family dogs. They’re generally tolerant of children, though it’s important to make sure kids do not roughly handle them.

  • Are bichon frises good apartment dogs?

    Bichons can be excellent apartment dogs as long as they get out every day to stretch their legs. They're usually not problem barkers, though they will alert you to visitors.


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