the Bichon Frisé (French, literally meaning Curly lap dog; often spelled Bichon Frise in English).
They are similar to but larger than the Maltese and they are very intelligent and generally have happy dispositions.
They are a non-shedding breed that requires regular grooming.
Alternative names ~ Bichon à poil frisé ~ Bichon Tenerife
The well-bred Bichon Frisé is feisty, sensitive, playful, and affectionate. A cheerful attitude is a prominent personality trait. Most Bichons enjoy socializing with people and most dogs. They dislike being left alone. Bichons may be relatively stubborn, but are also said to be patient. They may tend to nip gently in play.
Color - Almost every piece of fur is white, sometimes with cream, apricot or buff shadings, around the ears. At least 90% must be white in a purebred Bichon for show. At least 50% must be white in a Bichon puppy for show. Color fades during the first year of life. During this time the coat also changes from puppy fluff to frisé.
Face - Expression should be alert, soft, inquisitive. The eyes are usually very dark, either black or dark brown. The skin surrounding the eye is also very dark, this is called a "halo" and is looked for in purebred puppies and dogs. The nose and lips are always dark. The ears are drop and covered in long, feathery fur.
Coat - The undercoat is soft and dense while the outercoat is curly, giving it a powderpuff look. The coat feels thick and should spring back if touched. The coat may feel velvety if is groomed correctly.
Muscle -The muscle tone should be of exceptional quality, especially the lower thighs and buttocks area.
Grooming / Skin care
Because Bichons are so prone to skin problems and allergies, good grooming practices are very important. Bichons being shown in conformation (i.e., in dog shows) have their coat styled in the full-volume cut required by most show standards. Bichons not being shown are more often kept in a "puppy cut," which is shorter and requires less maintenance.
Like all dogs that require frequent grooming, Bichons should be accustomed to grooming from a young age and care should be taken to keep grooming pleasurable. Bichons should be brushed several times a week to prevent tangles. Frequent grooming creates a puffier coat. To prevent matting, the coat should be kept clean, brushed thoroughly before bathing, and brushed and completely dried after bathing. Hair dryers designed for dog grooming are generally preferred over human hair dryers. Dog dryers are cooler and blow air with more force than human hair dryers. Some breeders use products such as baking soda or cornflower to dry the hair but this can lead to the hair becoming brittle. Excess hair should be removed regularly from ears and between foot pads. Owners should clean their dog's hind (anal) area with a damp cloth after each bowel movement to keep feces from sticking to the hair.
The fur on the face of a Bichon Frisé should be kept clean and trimmed, as eye discharge and mucus tend to accumulate in the hair that grows in front of their eyes. In common with most white dogs Bichons are prone to tear-staining around the eyes. Tear staining may be caused by allergies, infections, blocked tear ducts, stray eyelashes, or foreign material in the eyes. It is generally good practice to wipe away the tears on a daily basis. A saline solution may help.
The Bichon Frisé descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel, from which came the name "Barbichon", later shortened to "Bichon". The Bichons were divided into four categories: the Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, the Bichon Havanais and the Bichon Tenerife. All originated in the Mediterranean area.
Because of their merry disposition, they traveled much and were often used as barter by sailors as they moved from continent to continent. The dogs found early success in Spain and it is generally felt that Spanish seamen introduced the breed to the Canary Island of Tenerife. In the 1300s, Italian sailors rediscovered the little dogs on their voyages and are credited with returning them to the continent, where they became great favorites of Italian nobility. Often, as was the style of the day with dogs in the courts, they were cut "lion style." The Bichon Frisé has a mild attitude but can be over excited.
The Bichon went to sea as a working Spanish boat dog. They were perfect for a boat because they do not shed, don't need a lot of exercise and do not like to get wet. This dislike of water makes them unlikely to jump or fall overboard. The Spanish bred the spaniel out of the breed, the dog's job was not to hunt or point but instead meet and greet people with great enthusiasm. Their purpose was to make weary people smile and feel at ease, but most of all to cause these people to like the Spanish. It is one of the few dogs that has eyes like a human, that it shows the whites of its eye as well as expressions of happiness in them. The bichons were the little happy ambassadors for the Spanish at every new port of call.
The "Teneriffe", or "Bichon", had success in France during the Renaissance under Francis I (1515-47), but its popularity skyrocketed in the court of Henry III (1574-89). The breed also enjoyed considerable success in Spain as a favorite of the Infantas, and painters of the Spanish school often included them in their works. For example, the famous artist, Goya, included a Bichon in several of his works.
Interest in the breed was renewed during the rule of Napoleon III, but then waned until the late 1800s when it became the "common dog", running the streets, accompanying the organ grinders of Barbary, leading the blind and doing tricks in circuses and fairs.
On March 5, 1933, the official standard of the breed was adopted by the Societe Centrale Canine of France. As the breed was known by two names at that time, "Tenerife" and "Bichon", the president of the International Canine Federation proposed a name based on the characteristics that the dogs presented - the Bichon Frisé. ("Frisé" refers to the dog's soft, curly hair.) On October 18, 1934, the Bichon Frisé was admitted to the stud book of the French Kennel Club.
The Bichon came to the United States in 1955, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973.
The first US-born Bichon litter was whelped in 1956. In 1959 and 1960, two breeders in different parts of the USA acquired Bichons, which provided the origins for the breed's development in the USA.
The Bichon Frisé became eligible to enter the AKC's Miscellaneous Class on September 1, 1971. In October, 1972, the breed was admitted to registration in the American Kennel Club Stud Book. On April 4, 1973, the breed became eligible to show in the Non-Sporting Group at AKC dog shows.
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