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Bichon Frise Breed Information

An adult Bichon Frise in front of a car wheel

The Bichon Frise is a bundle of joy with a playful attitude, an upbeat personality, a sunny disposition, and an adoring nature all beautifully wrapped in a marshmallow-like costume. These adorable pups are energetic, happy, highly trainable, and friendly to all. They adore their humans, are wonderful with children, and make fast friends with other dogs and strangers.

One thing that Bichon Frise owners agree on is that these dogs love to love. They are naturally sociable and warm towards everyone they meet and they crave cuddles and affection. Throughout history, the Bichon Frise has been a most adored companion pet at royal courts, a wonderful circus performer, and an admired therapy dog.

BREED TYPE / MIX Purebred ENERGY Moderate SHEDDING Minimum TRAINING Responsive TEMPERAMENT Affectionate, Cheerful, Gentle, Playful ADULT WEIGHT 10-16 lbs ADULT HEIGHT 10-12 in LIFE SPAN 12-15 yrs


  • The Bichon Frise is also known as Bichon Tenerife, Bichon a Poil Frise, and Barbichon Frise
  • The Bichons Frises are gentle, cheerful, and loving, and they make excellent therapy dogs
  • Outgoing and social, the Bichons make fast friends with kids, dogs, other household pets, and strangers
  • Bichon Frise puppies are adorable, easy to train and groom, and a joy to have around. They are the perfect puppies for first-time pet owners
  • Minimal to non-shedding, the Bichon Frise is a semi-hypoallergenic breed. This breed is a good choice for people with allergies
  • The Bichon Frise adapts well to both small and large living situations as long as he is with family and properly exercised  
  • Vigilant and curious, the Bichon Frises are great watchdogs
  • The Bichon Frise is one of the most fantastic companion dogs for families with children, seniors, couples, and singles
  • A member of the Non-Sporting Group, the Bichon Frise breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club  
Two Bichon Frise dogs in outfits


Although they resemble puffy white clouds, Bichon Frise dogs are in fact little rays of sunshine. They are small, fluffy, happy-go-lucky dogs. Their disposition is sunny, their personality cheerful, and their demeanor elegant and graceful. Bichon Frises are small, sturdy-built, hardy dogs. They weigh between 10 to 16 pounds and stand at 10 to 12 inches tall. They have dark round eyes with an expressive and inquisitive gaze, black button noses, floppy ears, and fluffy tails worn curled over their backs. Their coats are medium-length, soft, and silky, and can come in white coat shade with various combinations of apricot, cream, gray, and buff.  

The Bichon Frise sheds very little if at all and can be considered a semi-hypoallergenic dog, a great choice for those suffering from mild pet-related allergies. He is also a forever-young Bichon who doesn’t appear to age and retains his puppy joy and playfulness well into his teen years.


The Bichon Frise is a sweet-natured, calm, and gentle lapdog companion pet. He is naturally open to meeting new people, making new canine friends, and participating in social interactions. He enjoys being admired, praised, cuddled, and loved. Like most small dog breeds, the Bichon Frise loves to be pampered and spoiled. He will always find a way to jump in the center of attention, perform a trick or a funny stunt and get his dose of well-deserved belly rubs, praise, and affection.  

When it comes to his family, the Bichon Frise loves all family members in equal measure. He doesn’t pick favorites and enjoys relaxing on the couch with his pet parents as much as he loves playing with the family kids. He also loves taking part in every family activity from camping, strolling casually in the park, to barbeques and vacations. The Bichon Frise is very fond of canine games and interactive dog toys that keep his body moving and his mind entertained.  

The charismatic Bichon Frise, although vigilant and vocal when need be, is not an aggressive dog. He will happily alert approaching visitors but other than that, he is more likely to cuddle intruders than bark or bite them away.  

Bichon Frise puppies are very bright and easy to train. They are attentive, responsive, fast learners, people-pleasers, and obedient students. Speedy, strong, and hardy, these pups can be trained for agility, rally, and obedience competitions. Some of their favorite activities include zooming around, chasing air, cuddling, testing barking capabilities, and napping in a curl.  


Grooming your Dog at Home Guide

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The Bichon Frise is a medium-to-high maintenance dog. To keep his coat shiny and his exquisite appearance in order, his coat requires to be brushed frequently throughout the week. It is recommended to brush his coat 2 to 3 times every week with a pin brush, dog comb, bristle brush, and fur de-matting tool in order to avoid the shedding hair getting stuck in the coat and forming knots, tangles, or matting. Daily brushing is even better if time allows as it can help prevent mats. He should also be bathed once a month, and have his nails trimmed as often as needed. Brushing his teeth is also a necessary part of grooming that needs to be done regularly.

The Bichon Frise, like all dogs, is prone to dental issues and periodontal disease. To keep their teeth healthy, it is recommended to brush them a few times per week with vet-approved dog toothpaste. You can opt to use a dog-friendly toothbrush or simply use your finger with toothpaste on it and gently rub it on your dog’s teeth. It is beneficial to begin this grooming step when your Bichon Frise is a young puppy. This will help teach him to be comfortable with the process. A professional groomer should be seen once every few weeks if you opt for a shorter hairstyle. 

For insights on grooming and overall care, you might want to check out the guide on the easiest dog to take care of.

Exercise Needs

The Bichon Frises have low-to-moderate exercise needs. These lovely pooches need about 30 minutes of exercise daily with one or two walks combined with plenty of fun and active playtime indoors to keep them merry and healthy.  


The Bichon Frise dogs are known to be a resilient and healthy breed. There are not many health issues among these dogs, but they can develop some of the issues that are common in all small dog breeds. Conditions like luxating patella, cataracts, and teary eyes can appear in the Bichon Frise breed. Issues such as dental disease, hip dysplasia, and Gastrointestinal disease although rare, are also a possibility. 


The life span of these beautiful white dogs is between 12 and 15 years, although they have been known to exceed this mark. With proper care, a nutritious diet, and plenty of daily exercise, the Bichon Frise can live up to 20 years. The oldest Bichon Frise on record lived to be 21 years old.  


The Bichon Frise puppies are very smart fast learning students. The best way to train these cute puppies is to keep training fun, filled with praise and treats, and with no longer than 15 minutes per session. They love being praised and petted when they’ve done something right, and they are very fond of their puppy toys which can be used as motivation. Positive reinforcement works best with Bichon Frise puppies.  

As these puppies are naturally brilliant, they pick up on tricks and commands quickly and can be taught in advanced obedience training. To housebreak, crate train, socialize, and leash train these adorable pups, patience, and perseverance are key.  

Because they are family-attached dogs, the Bichon Frises dislike being left alone. To avoid separation anxiety in Bichon Frise puppies as well as full-grown Bichon Frises, it is best to start the training process as soon as they arrive home. Separation anxiety with the feelings of sadness, loneliness, and destructive behaviors that come with it is easier to prevent in puppies than to treat in adult dogs.  

For a deeper understanding of training techniques and puppy behaviors, read about early training practices.


The Bichon Frise, a breed of Mediterranean roots, originated during the 13th century in Tenerife of Canary Islands. Also known as Bichon Tenerife and Bichon a Poil Frise, this lovely breed is believed to be a descendant of a Barbet dog or a water spaniel. The Bichon Family also referred to as the Barbichon family, is composed of five amazing breeds – the Bichon Bolognese, Coton de Tulear, Bichon Maltese, Bichon Havanese, and Bichon Frise.

It is believed that during the mid-13th century, European sailors who often did trade business in the Canary Islands, became enchanted by the fluffy white dogs and started taking them home to Italy, France, and Spain. Upon their arrival, the Bichon Frises made their way into the hearts of royalty and became the favored companion pets in many kingdoms across Europe. It is said about his majesty King Henry III of England that he didn’t care much for being without his precious Bichons and found a way to carry them with him in a basket on his chest.  

For many centuries the Bichon Frise kept his status as the luxurious companion pet of the wealthy and powerful. When things took a wrong turn and kingdoms started failing, the pampered dogs found themselves in a difficult situation needing to fend for themselves. The Bichons proved to be hardy dogs with a knack for entertaining and were soon taken in by circus performers. Highly trainable, amazing performers, elegant, and fun, these gorgeous dogs proved to be resilient and were met yet again with great popularity.

The Bichon Frises went on to become the most adored companion pet across Europe for many generations. These treasured pups were given the name Bichon a Poil Frise – Bichon with curly hair in France in 1933.  In 1950 the Bichon Frise made his way to the United States and was given official recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1971. The lovely Bichon Frises also have their own club called the Bichon Frise Club of America that was founded in 1964.  

The Bichon Frise breed has reached its peak popularity in recent years. Given their fantastic looks and personality, these dogs are one of the top choices for the creation of designer crossbreeds. There are several Bichon Frise mixes that are popular today, among which are: 

For those interested in designer crossbreeds involving the Bichon Frise, see more on the ultimate guide to Teddy Bear dogs.