Breed Basic Information
- Lifespan: 12 - 15 years
- Height: 10 - 12 inches
- Weight: 10 - 16 pounds
Medical Conditions Seen
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Joggin Partner
- Lap Dog
- Good with Children
- Warm Weather
- Cold Weather
- Grooming Requirements
- Ease of Training
- The bichon is a descendent of the barbichon family of dogs, which in turn descends from the barbet, a large water dog.
- Bichons were divided into four types: Maltaise, Bolognese, Havanese and Tenerife.
- The Tenerife, developed on the Canary Island of Tenerife, was brought to Italy in the 14th century. They quickly became favored pets of the upper class.
- After a series of French invasions of Italy in the 1500s, the dogs were brought back to France where they once again became favored pets of the aristocracy.
- For some unknown reason, the breed fell out of favor with the upper class. It survived as a street dog, performing tricks with organ grinders to entertain passersby for money.
- World War I nearly brought about the demise of the breed, but a few people tried to save it.
- In 1933, a breed standard was drawn up and it became an official breed, the bichon frise.
- Bichons came to America in the 1950s, and received AKC recognition in 1971.
- Makes an affectionate and exuberant companion.
- Playful, gentle and very good with children.
- Very friendly to strangers, other dogs and other pets.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- Eager to please, bright and responsive.
- Some tend to bark a lot, which should be discouraged from an early age.
- Some can be difficult to housetrain.
Suggested Excercise Needs
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- A walk around the block once or twice daily, plus a vigorous game, will meet its exercise needs, not counting bathroom breaks.
- Many bichons have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
- Dog parks can work out well as long as bichons are not expected to mingle with much larger dogs.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its thick coat provides some protection against cold weather, but its fairly small body size nonetheless makes it vulnerable to the cold.
- Coat is curly, coarse and dense.
- Brushing and combing every other day is necessary to prevent matting.
- Most people have their dogs professionally clipped every month.
- Shedding is below average.
- No breed is actually non-allergenic, but bichons may cause fewer allergies compared to most other breeds.
Suggested Nutritional Needs
- Bichons tend to stay in good weight. The thick coat can sometimes obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
Did you know?
- Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
- Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
- Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.
Come visit us, we would love to see you!
We are here to help! Book an appointment today to continue your pet on a path to great health and wellness
Ask the Vet
Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.