Believed to date back to the 13th century, the origin of the Bichon Frise is subject to debate, with general opinion placing it in the Mediterranean. Pictorial evidence of the time features small, white dogs that align strongly with our modern perception of the Bichon Frise. Originally traded by Spanish sailors, the breed became a favourite amongst royalty and the French aristocracy but lost favour during the French Revolution, subsequently becoming associated with lower street performers, musicians and organ grinders.
Part of the 'toy' branch of canines, the Bichon Frise is a compact dog characterised by a fluffy coat in colour variations of cream, solid white, apricot or grey, a proportioned body and limbs, a short muzzle and dark eyes. The tail and ears of the breed are not traditionally docked or reduced, but left to a natural appearance. Typically manageable in terms of its hypoallergenic coat and temperament, the Bichon Frise is progressively popular as a companion pet and is the ideal breed choice for modern families or the sole owner. Despite not being a loud or incessant barker, the Bichon Frise is vigilant to change and threat, making it a great watchdog.
Though small in size, the Bichon Frise is a highly energetic and intelligent breed, compatible with children and other family pets if introduced to them gradually. The weight of the Bichon Frise is roughly 3-5 kg, with an average life expectancy of 15 years, although it is not uncommon for the breed to reach 20 years or more. Typically happy and affectionate, the Bichon Frise is a great lover of people, something it demonstrates through its loyal, obedient and friendly manner.
Common breed-specific ailments include optical disorders such as cataracts and watery eyes, as well as epilepsy, which can be easily managed with medication, knee dislocation and flea bite sensitivity. Due to its small size, the Bichon Frise gains weight easily so feeding human foods is not encouraged for this reason. Behavioural problems are also often associated with the 'toy' branch of canines.