Dog Health & More
The Bichon Frise (pronounced BEE-shawn FREE-say; the plural is Bichons Frises) is a cheerful, small dog breed with a love of mischief and a lot of love to give. With his black eyes and fluffy white coat, the Bichon looks almost like a child's toy. And it doesn't take long to realize that the Bichon can be your happiest and most enthusiastic companion.
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With compact bodies, baby-doll faces, and fluffy white hair, Bichons are a very appealing breed whose looks are enhanced by a perky, good-natured disposition. They are often mistaken for white Poodles.
The Bichon, as he's affectionately called, is related to several small breeds: the Coton de Tulear, a dog who originated off the African coast on an island near Madagascar; the Bolognese, bred in northern Italy near the city of Bologna; the Havanese, from Cuba; and the Maltese, developed on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. Bichons also appear to have originated in the Mediterranean and to have been taken along on trade routes into other countries.
Bichons may be small dogs — large specimens reach barely a foot in height — but they're hardy. Despite their diminutive size, they're not classified as a Toy breed by the American Kennel Club; instead, they're members of the Non-Sporting Group.
Bichons are always white (although puppies may be cream or pale yellow), with black eyes and black noses. Their arched necks give them a proud, confident look, while their well-plumed tails curve gracefully over their backs.
If you're looking for a wonderful family pet, consider the Bichon. This dog loves to play. He's always happy (except when left alone for long periods of time), and his demeanor is affectionate and gentle.
Because they don't shed like other breeds, Bichons often are recommended for people with allergies. This is something you should discuss with your allergist, since not everyone reacts the same way to a Bichon. Before making a commitment to getting a Bichon — or any type of dog — be sure to spend some time in the presence of the breed if you have allergies.
Bichons have a reputation for suffering from separation anxiety. If you must leave your dog home alone for long periods of time, this may not be the dog for you. Bichons don't just like to be with their families, they need to be with their families. They adjust well to a variety of lifestyles, as long as they don't have to spend too much time alone.
Because of their small size, Bichons are good pets for people who live in apartments. But they do have a lot of energy, and they need daily exercise, including walks and games.
Bichons are intelligent and love to learn tricks, and they're highly trainable. When training, you need to be firm but gentle. Harsh corrections and scolding will break a Bichon's heart. Many Bichon owners train their dogs for obedience, agility, and rally competition. Both dogs and owners enjoy this activity, and it's a good way to bond more closely with your Bichon. Another activity that brings out the best in the Bichon is therapy work. Because they're gentle and sure to bring a smile to anyone's face, they make perfect therapy dogs for visits in nursing homes and hospitals.
Bichons generally get along well with other animals and people, but they will alert you when strangers come to the door.