Now, there are a few dog breeds that we here at IndulgeYourPet feel compelled to warn folks to try to avoid. Now, this could be cause they’re a “notoriously” unhealthy breed, or perhaps they’re not good with children, or in some cases, it’s simply because they may be too LARGE of a dog for someone living in an apartment. Whatever the case, we always try to give our readers a “fair warning” about “certain” dog breeds.
This is why…
When it comes to discussing the Bichon Frise, we feel that it’s only appropriate that we WARN you right from the start that if you put yourself in a room with a Bichon Frise puppy, chances are, you WILL become the owner of a brand new Bichon Frise puppy by the end of the day!
“They’re that CUTE!”
But that doesn’t mean this little bundle of “love” should become your next pet. This is why, in this article, we will discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Bichon Frise so that if you are considering making one of these fantastic little creatures your own, you won’t be disappointed in your decision six months from now.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Bichon Frise Dog Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Spain
Original Purpose: Toy Dog, Show Dog, Companion Dog
Height: 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall
Weight: 10 to 18 pounds
Life Span: 15 years or more
Dog Breed Classification: Non-sporting Group
Origins of the Bichon Frise
Even though the Bichon Frise has an almost “unnatural” look about him, this little dog has been around for hundreds of years throughout the Mediterranean. These little guys are believed to come from a “family” of dog breeds known as the Barbichons, which was later shortened into the term Bichon, which we now commonly use to describe them. And by them, we’re referring to the four different types of Bichon that exist today, which are:
And the Teneriffe, which later became known as the Bichon Frise.
Like most other…
Bichons that received their name from the city or town they developed in, the Teneriffe or Frise Bichon, got their original name for the same reason.
So, for those that are…
Not entirely familiar with European geography, the Spanish government owns a chain of islands off of Northern Africa called the Canary Islands. Included in this “chain” of islands is one particular island known as Tenerife, where it is believed that the Bichon Frise was first created. He is also called the Bichon Tenerife for this reason.
Now we know this because…
Italian sailors during the 14th century first discovered these Spanish “gems” and brought them back to Italy, where they quickly became quite popular with the social elite. It would be best if you weren’t surprised that these little guys often made it into some of the most famous paintings created during this time (AKA the Renaissance).
But things changed in the 19th century…
As the royal and noble “class” began losing ground across the West, the Bichon also began losing some of his old exalted status. After all, during this time, most folks who owned a dog wanted one that could serve a purpose other than being able to fit on one’s lap and be super cute. That said, however, folks fell in love with these little dogs,g and that reason was that they are super cute and a natural little entertainer. Two traits made him perfect for “show business,” during this time, the only show in town was the “circus.”
You guessed it, this little guy often found his place in the circus. And he loved it! He loved to entertain people and play the clown. Because, after all, dogs don’t care whether the person they consider is rich or poor, a royal, or someone from the working class! But more than that, his role in the circus also allowed the breed to “expose” itself to the general public, ensuring that this breed would be around for centuries.
Bichon in America
You would think that with a dog this cute, it couldn’t take centuries for him to make it across the Atlantic Ocean, but ironically, that’s precisely what occurred. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that this little guy was “officially” brought to the United States by French breeders who recognized how popular he would become once correctly introduced. But, once they made it to America, they didn’t take long to become a “hit”!
This is why it only took ten years for the first Bichon Frise Club to be formed within the US, and it only took about 20 years for the American Kennel Club (AKC) to decide to “officially” recognize the breed in 1973 (which isn’t all that long for the AKC). Today, the Bichon Fise is recognized by the Westminster Kennel Club, Societe Centrale Canine, and the Federation Cynologique International and remains a trendy dog in America.
Let’s start with the good news – Bichon Frises are cute! But… they are a bit of a “high” maintenance breed. And while the Bichon Frise may have an outer coat covered by wavy white hair that doesn’t shed, that white coat will also need some “professional” styling if you want always to look their best. This means these little guys will need to be groomed more than once or twice a week and probably need to see a “professional” groomer at least once a month!
That said, however…
Your Bichon is going to be more than just a pretty coat. His tiny ears and dark, expressive eyes, which hide more than they reveal, also add to the charm and allure of these heartbreakers. And don’t forget his little black nose, which contrasts against the rest of his body, which will be all white—leaving little doubt that when you carry this dog around, people will stop you on the steer and ask about him. He is a great conversation starter, for sure!
Personality and Temperament
Historically, the Bichon Frise has been bred to be a very “cuddly” dog. They enjoy being loved and appreciated by people, especially all the hugging and touching. But be warned, it is important not to indulge your Bichon Frise too much, no matter how you are tempted to. When you spoil him rotten and never reprimand him for anything, he will start barking at strangers, snapping at people, or nipping at kids. That’s why his training and socialization should begin as early as possible. And why this adorable little fur ball should be treated just like any other dog when it comes to what one should expect as appropriate behavior.
Bichon Frise’s make…
It is a perfect family pet but probably unsuitable for families with small children. We say this not because of concern for your child but rather for reference for your Bichon. Small children who may not be old enough to understand that your Bichon is a living creature may not be “aware” of how to treat these little guys. To them, they often appear to be “walking” teddy bears which can be grabbed, pinched, or “tossed”. And when they do that, small dogs such as the Bichon Frise tend to “snap back” at them. And we don’t want that!
Potential Health Concerns
Bichons are among the healthiest of all dog breeds. The proof is that they have a life expectancy of 15 years or more, more significant than most dogs. However, they are still prone to develop certain medical conditions that can take a “bite” out of your wallet, so we want to mention them at least.
Common medical conditions that could affect your Bichon Frise may include…
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
The cost of the treatment can vary from $300 to $3,000. Not as much as that for many dog breeds because the Bichon is small and generally healthy. But still, that is a lot! That’s why if you are seriously considering purchasing a Bichon Frise puppy or, better yet, adopting a Bichon Frise rescue dog, we encourage you to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?
No, probably not. But understanding what these policies will and won’t cover and knowing how much they cost could save you from being on the hook for 100% of the cost should your dog need veterinarian care later on.
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.