Originating in France and the Mediterranean region, the Bichon Frise (pronounced "BEE-shawn Free-ZAY") descended from both the Barbet, a French waterdog, and the Poodle. From the 15th century to the French Revolution, their original purpose was to be a lap dog, companion, and circus dog for sailors at sea, European commoners, and even French royalty. The breed name Bichon Frise means "fluffy white dog" or "curly white dog" in French. The exact origin of the Bichon Frise is uncertain, but this small white dog belongs to the "Bichon" family along with many others such as the Maltese, Havanese, Coton de Tulear, and Bolognese. However, this ancient breed has roots going back to the Middle Ages and was also a favorite breed to use by farmers in Norway for herding sheep. Since the 1980s in the United States, the Bichon Frise has been one of the most popular companion breeds.
Also known as the Tenerife Dog, the breed is as lovable as they are small. Cheerful and very popular as pets and companions, the Bichon Frise resembles the Poodle in many ways. Their beautiful bright all-white coat is coarse, yet they have a curly topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. In order to keep the coat looking its best, they require regular daily grooming and occasional professional styling. Compact and well-balanced, the Bichon Frise has a slightly rounded head that is made even more apparent by their "cotton-like" fur. Their floppy ears are covered with long, flowing hair and they have a feathery tail that curls up to sit on their lower back. Known for their black points that give them an endearing expression, Bichons have round, dark eyes and a well-proportioned muzzle with a black nose to match.
Gentle, affectionate, and loving, the Bichon Frise is also known for their intelligence and eagerness to please their families in any way they can. They have earned themselves a reputation for being fairly difficult to housetrain, but if trained with positive reinforcement and patience, they can learn almost any trick in the book. Bichons often suffer from separation anxiety and are not fond of being left alone for long periods of time. The small size of this fluffy breed makes them a great companion for owners who live in apartments, condos, or small homes and can also serve as a playmate for children and other pets because of their tolerant and cheerful temperament. Although they are considered to be not as active as other breeds, these small dogs do require regular exercise and enjoy going on long walks around the neighborhood or playing in the house. Known as the "Bichon Blitz," some Bichon Frise will spontaneously run around with a burst of energy when they are excited and ready to play. This pampered pooch thrives on being around the humans they love and their extremely confident and outgoing personalities make them a very entertaining breed to have in any type of household.