Bichon Frize dog: character, care, and history

Bichon Frize dog

Bichon Frize are decorative dogs with curly snow-white fur, closely related to lapdogs. The soft, airy “coat” gives the bichons a strong resemblance to a powder puff, which gives the animals a unique charm. The fashion for this breed was introduced in the era of the gloomy Middle Ages by the French kings. As a result, for a long period of time, affectionate and extremely active Bichons remained constant companions of the monarchs, emphasizing the high social status of their owners.

Brief information

Breed name: Bichon Frize

Country of origin: France, Belgium

Weight: 2.5-3 kg

Height (height at the withers): 25-30 cm

Life span: 12-15 years

Highlights

-French lapdogs do not have a specific doggy smell and do not shed, therefore they belong to the category of hypoallergenic breeds.

-In training, they show themselves as capable, but somewhat undisciplined students, requiring a special approach.

-Dogs of this breed are excellent companions, recommended for families with children.

Bichon Frize dog outdoors

-Despite their diminutive size and generally unprotected appearance, Bichons do not need excessive spoiling. Owners who spoil these dogs risk getting a cowardly, capricious and spoiled animal, unable to build an adequate dialogue with other dogs.

-Due to their sociable nature, French lapdogs are not suitable for busy and often absent from home people.

-Bichon Frizes are big mischievous and restless pranksters.

Characteristics of the breed

Aggressiveness:    Not aggressive

Activity:    Average

Training:    Average

Molting:    Low

Need for care:    Very high

Friendliness:    high

Health:    Good

Maintenance cost:    Average

Attitude towards loneliness:    Short periods

Intelligence:    Standard

Noise:    Average

Security qualities:    Average

Bichon Frize character

Bichon Frize dog lying on a sofa

French lapdogs are real little “energizers” who don’t sit still for a minute. They are extremely friendly, active and amusing creatures that easily take root both in spacious houses and in small apartments. Bichons are very sociable and will be happy to live with families, which will give them the opportunity to involve as many people as possible in their games.

Because of their benevolent nature and charm, French lapdogs are often attracted to pet therapy. Sweet snow-white lumps are frequent guests in children’s hospitals and nursing homes. In addition, these decorative dogs make reliable watchmen. Bichon Frizes have a clear voice, which they use with pleasure every time an unfamiliar creature appears on the threshold of the apartment.

Care and maintenance

The Bichon Frize is not a breed that you can afford to be a little lazy with. Despite the fact that French lapdogs practically do not shed, their lush coat needs careful care. It is necessary to comb the animal every day (preferably after walking to remove debris and grains of sand entangled in the wool), and also use a slicker to give the “fur coat” airiness.

If a pet comes from the street, they usually wash their paws, muzzle and genitals. French lapdogs are supposed to be bathed once a month. When washing, be sure to use a mild shampoo and conditioner to make the coat easier to comb. It is advisable to visit the groomer once every 2-3 months. However, if you are not raising a show-class animal, you can save a little on grooming and groom the animal yourself.

The eyes of the Bichon Frize should be checked every day and, if necessary, cleaned with a cotton swab dipped in cool boiled water. The same rule applies to ear cleanliness. Bichon claws are trimmed twice a month with a nail clipper or tweezers. The unevenness of the nail plate formed after the procedure is filed. The teeth and mouth should be cleaned with a special toothpaste at least once a week.

See also: How to cut your dog’s claws: 7 simple rules

Feeding

Bichon Frize dog lying on grass

Feeding the French lapdog with natural products, preferring a combined feeding option or limiting yourself to dry food is a question that each owner decides in his own way. Of the obligatory “dishes” that should be present in the diet of a “dandelion dog”, it is worth mentioning raw meat (to soften the product, it can be slightly doused with boiling water), boiled and raw vegetables, sea fish, from which the bones, boiled buckwheat and oatmeal have been removed. Since adult Bichon Frizes are fed twice a day, it is better to give them meat with an evening meal and in a thoroughly chopped form (it is highly desirable that it’s not pork).

The inclusion of milk in the Bichon menu is permissible only for puppies. For adults, a small amount of any fermented milk drink once a week is enough. It is highly not recommended to treat your pet to fatty, spicy and salty delicacies. Sweets, sausages, baked goods, pasta, legumes and potatoes are also strictly prohibited, not to mention chicken bones.

Individuals who are on natural feeding are shown to take vitamin complexes. Be sure to make sure that these are not preparations based on carrot and algal extracts, which are usually brightly pigmented and can significantly change the color of the pet’s coat.

French lapdog puppies are fed 5-6 times a day. As the dog grows up, the frequency of feeding decreases, and by the age of 9 months, the animal completely switches to an “adult” two meals a day.

Restroom

Bichon Frize quite actively resists such a science as using an outdoor toilet. At first, take your pet for a walk more often: puppies – every half hour, adults – every 2 hours. So it will form a clear associative array: a walk – a toilet.

Bichon Frize dog playing

The optimal time for walking the Bichon in order to make the toilet is considered to be the time after the dog has taken food (after 10-15 minutes). For especially stubborn “comrades” who categorically do not want to use the exit to the street to send their needs and prefer to dirty the floor and carpet, you can find another compromise. In such cases, the dog is trained to walk on a newspaper or disposable diaper spread on the floor (this method is not suitable for males).

Cell

Playful and restless lapdogs are able to make an epic mess in an apartment, so sometimes Bichon Frizes owners have to resort to the services of a cage. This is an extreme but effective measure designed for cases when there is no one to look after the pet. It is necessary to train the dog to crate from an early age so that the animal does not consider this restriction of freedom as a form of punishment.

Bichon Frize health

The average life expectancy of French lapdogs is 12-15 years. With proper care, some individuals are able to live up to 19 years, while most of the animals die not from incurable ailments, but from old age. Genetic diseases are almost never found among Bichon Frize. The most commonly diagnosed diseases of the breed include:

-hypotrichosis;

-dermatitis;

-epilepsy;

-axial instability;

-urolithiasis disease;

-allergy;

-eye diseases: cataract, entropion, corneal dystrophy;

-diabetes.

In some individuals, there is a deformation of the lacrimal ducts, the signs of which are excessive tearfulness of the animal, or the complete absence of tear discharge (the second type of pathology will help to correct the operation). In addition, Bichon Frize has an increased sensitivity to vaccinations, therefore, if after vaccination changes in the behavior of the animal and allergic skin rashes are noticed, it is better to immediately contact a veterinarian.

How to choose a puppy

The main difficulty when choosing a Bichon Frize puppy is the lack of clear signs of the breed in young individuals. Often, under the guise of a French lapdog, you can buy an ordinary white fluffy that has nothing to do with this breed. If your goal is to acquire a reference animal of a show class, not to mention the representatives of the breed variety, it is worth involving an experienced specialist in this matter.

When meeting a future pet, immediately sweep aside overly nervous, aggressive and cowardly individuals. It is unlikely that their character will improve with age. For the rest, follow the same rules as when choosing any purebred animal. Get to know the living conditions of dogs in the kennel; do not hesitate to ask the breeder to introduce you to the puppy’s parents, carefully study the veterinary passport of the future pet. But you should not pay attention to the weight and disproportionate head of the Bichon: in the process of growth, the animal very quickly gains muscle mass, and the shape of the skull gradually levels out.

The optimal age for Bichon Frize puppies for sale is 3-3.5 months.

History of the Bichon Frize breed

Bichon Frize dog

The past of French lapdogs, if not shrouded in mystery and darkness, is thoroughly confused. According to experts, the distant ancestors of the Bichon Frize were small white dogs, which in turn were the descendants of water barbets. Curly dogs inhabited the coast and islands of the Mediterranean Sea and were very successful in catching rats, for which they were often put on ships. The first name of the breed sounded like “Bichon Bar”. “Bar”, short for “barbet”, and “bichon” in French means “velvet pillow”.

Over time, the genus of white dogs with curly hairs has grown substantially, as a result of which branches such as Bolognese (Italian lapdog), Maltese (Maltese lapdog) and Tenerife Bichon “spun off” from it. The latter variety was especially popular among the European elite during the Renaissance and, in fact, gave rise to the modern breed of French lapdogs.

By the 13th century, the Bichons had acquired the status of an element of luxury. A French lapdog puppy could be presented as an exclusive gift, or used as live currency when making a deal. A special popularization of the breed was promoted by Francis I. The knight-king kept in his court an innumerable number of lapdogs, to which a new nickname was stuck in those days: “Infanta dogs”.

After the French Revolution, interest in the Bichons gradually faded away. From the palace chambers, the dogs quickly moved to the Parisian streets, from where they migrated to traveling circus troupes. The official name “Bichon Frize” was given to the breed by the International Cynological Association in 1933. A year later, general standards for the appearance of French lapdogs were formulated. As for the distribution of the breed, the favorites of Francis I reached the USA only in the 50s of the last century, and in England they began to breed Bichons only in the mid-70s.