The Bichon Frisé Dog Breed

Written By: Lindsay Giguiere

Editor: Julie Zawadzki

Dog Breeds
felicitails breed guide about the bichon frise dog breed, breed traits, breed standards, felicitails founded by lindsay giguiere

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The Bichon Frisé is a delightful and charming small dog breed that captures hearts with its fluffy white coat and cheerful demeanor. Renowned for its elegance and endearing personality, the Bichon Frisé has been a beloved companion for centuries. Whether dazzling audiences in dog shows or bringing joy to families, this breed's combination of beauty and charm is hard to resist.

Did You Know these Facts about the Bichon Frisé?

  • The Bichon Frisé has ancient roots dating back to the Mediterranean, where they were cherished companions of sailors and traders.

  • Thanks to their hypoallergenic coat, Bichon Frisés are well-suited for allergy sufferers, as their hair-like fur doesn't shed much.

  • These dogs have a natural flair for entertaining, and their playful antics have made them popular circus performers in the past.

  • Bichon Frisés thrive on human interaction and are known for their friendly and sociable nature.

  • The breed's association with French and Spanish royalty in the past has contributed to its reputation as a sophisticated and pampered companion.

The Bichon Frisé holds a respectable #47 place in the realm of dog breeds according to the AKC, often ranked within the top 50 most popular breeds in various kennel club registrations around the world.

Traits of the Bichon Frisé Breed

Overall Personality. Bichon Frisés exude affection and charm, forming strong bonds with their families. Their happy and friendly nature makes them wonderful companions for people of all ages.

Family Life. Beagles thrive in family environments, forming strong bonds with both adults and children. Their sociable nature ensures that they enjoy being part of family activities and can seamlessly fit into various dynamics.

Physical Appearance. Beagles exhibit a compact and well-muscled build, featuring a distinct square muzzle and expressive, pleading eyes. They come in a range of color combinations, including tricolor (black, white, and tan) and bicolor (lemon and white). Their short coat requires minimal grooming.

Sociability. Beagles adore social interactions, both with their human companions and other dogs. Their pack-oriented nature makes them well-suited for households with multiple pets, and their natural playfulness ensures they're always up for a good romp.

Average Sizes & Life Expectancy

  • Height: 09 to 11 inches tall (23 to 28 cm)
  • Weight: 12 to 18 pounds (5.5 to 8 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: Around 12 to 15 years

Detailed Description of the Bichon Frisé Breed

The Bichon Frisé, often referred to as a "curly lap dog," is a small breed known for its charming appearance and delightful personality. With its curly white coat and expressive dark eyes, this breed has won the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Let's delve into the captivating world of the Bichon Frisé, exploring its physical attributes, temperament, history, care needs, and more.

Physical Appearance. The Bichon Frisé's appearance is a testament to its elegance and playfulness. This small dog boasts a puffy, dense coat of tight, springy curls that gives it a distinctive look. The coat is typically white, though shades of cream or apricot are also acceptable according to breed standards. Their round eyes, set in a black-rimmed gaze, exude warmth and intelligence. Their compact size, coupled with their distinctive coat and lively expression, makes them easily recognizable.

Notable Traits. Beyond their captivating looks, Bichon Frisés are beloved for their endearing traits. Their charming personality is marked by a gentle and affectionate nature. They thrive on human companionship, making them excellent companions for families and individuals alike. Their social and friendly disposition extends to interactions with other dogs and pets, making them a harmonious addition to multi-pet households.

Temperament and Personality. Bichon Frisés are known for their cheerful and joyful demeanor. They are often described as playful, curious, and full of energy. Their sociable nature makes them great with children and strangers, and they often form strong bonds with their human families. This breed thrives on attention and loves to be the center of activities, making them ideal for households that can provide consistent companionship and engagement.

Adaptability. The adaptability of Bichon Frisés is one of their standout qualities. Despite their small size, they can adapt well to various living situations, including apartments or homes with limited outdoor space. Their moderate exercise needs are easily met with daily walks and playtime, making them suitable for individuals and families with varying activity levels.

Care Guidelines. Maintaining a Bichon Frisé's iconic appearance requires regular grooming. Their thick, curly coat is prone to matting, so daily brushing is essential to prevent tangles. Regular grooming sessions not only keep their coat looking its best but also help build a strong bond between the dog and its owner. Additionally, routine eye and ear cleaning, nail trimming, and dental care are crucial to their overall health and well-being.

Training Strategies. Bichon Frisés are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Early socialization and obedience training are essential to ensure they develop into well-mannered adults. Due to their desire to please and their love for human interaction, training sessions can be enjoyable for both the dog and the owner.

Notable in History and Pop Culture. The history of Bichon Frisés is steeped in royal favor and cultural significance. These dogs were cherished companions of European nobility, often found in the courts of Spain, France, and Italy. Their endearing appearance and friendly nature made them popular lap dogs and performers in circuses and fairs. In pop culture, Bichon Frisés have appeared in various movies, TV shows, and advertisements, showcasing their appeal to a wider audience.

In conclusion, the Bichon Frisé's undeniable charm, coupled with its amiable personality and adaptability, makes it an excellent choice for families and individuals seeking a devoted and lively companion. Whether curling up on a cozy couch or engaging in playful antics, the Bichon Frisé is a constant source of joy and love, brightening the lives of all who have the privilege of sharing their home with this enchanting breed.

What to expect when living with the Bichon Frisé Breed

Personality. Owning a Bichon Frisé is like having a perpetual ray of sunshine in your life. Their personality is a delightful mix of charm, playfulness, and affection. These little dogs thrive on human interaction and love being the center of attention. They are known for their curious nature and boundless energy, always ready for a game of fetch or a playful romp around the house. Bichon Frisés are wonderful companions for families, singles, and seniors alike, making them versatile additions to various households.

Ideal Environment. In terms of environments, Bichon Frisés adapt well to both apartment living and houses with yards. While they enjoy indoor play and cuddle sessions, they also relish outdoor exploration and short walks. Their compact size makes them suitable for smaller living spaces, but they still need daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Maintenance Level. Maintenance is a significant aspect of Bichon Frisé ownership. Their luxurious coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain its signature fluffy appearance. Daily brushing is recommended to keep their curls tangle-free, and professional grooming appointments are typically needed every 4-6 weeks. Bichon Frisés are known to be hypoallergenic, which can be an advantage for individuals with allergies. However, their grooming routine should be consistent to prevent any discomfort or skin issues.

Overall Health Expectations and best Health Tests for the Bichon Frisé Breed

Health Considerations. Like all breeds, Bichon Frisés are prone to certain health conditions, and being aware of these potential issues is crucial for responsible ownership. Some common health concerns for Bichon Frisés include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap), allergies, dental issues, and cataracts. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to catch any health problems early and provide prompt treatment.

Recommended Health Tests. To ensure the well-being of your Bichon Frisé, appropriate health tests are recommended. These tests may include hip and elbow evaluations, eye examinations, and cardiac assessments. Hip and elbow evaluations help detect potential joint problems, while eye exams can identify issues like cataracts or retinal disorders. Cardiac assessments can help identify any heart-related concerns. Regular dental care, including professional cleanings, can also help maintain their oral health.

Best Nutrition, Diet & Supplements for the Bichon Frisé Breed

Nutrition and Diet. Bichon Frisés benefit from a diet with high-quality protein sources. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish provide the necessary amino acids to support their muscle health. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole grains provide energy for their active lifestyle. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into their diet to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blueberries, carrots, and spinach are excellent choices. 

Due to their small size, Bichon Frisés have smaller stomachs. Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to obesity. They thrive on a consistent feeding schedule. Dividing their daily food portion into two or three meals can help maintain their energy levels throughout the day.

Hydration is Key. Ensure your Bichon Frisé always has access to fresh, clean water. Proper hydration is vital for digestion, temperature regulation, and overall vitality.

Supplements. While a well-rounded diet can meet most of a Bichon Frisé's nutritional needs, certain supplements can provide added support. Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat, while glucosamine and chondroitin can aid joint health, especially as they age. 

Foods to Avoid. Certain foods should be avoided to prevent digestive upset and potential health risks. Avoid feeding your Bichon Frisé chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and foods high in sodium.

Grooming Requirements for the Bichon Frisé Breed

Coat Maintenance and Shedding. Grooming is an essential aspect of caring for your Bichon Frisé's well-being and appearance. Their beautiful coat requires regular attention to keep it healthy and free from tangles. Bichon Frisés have a double coat consisting of a soft, dense undercoat and a curly outer coat. Regular brushing is crucial to prevent mats and tangles from forming. Aim for daily brushing to keep their coat in top condition. Their hypoallergenic coat does not shed significantly, making them a suitable choice for individuals with allergies. However, their non-shedding nature requires consistent grooming to prevent loose hairs from becoming trapped in the coat.

Paw Care and Hygiene. Pay attention to your Bichon Frisé's paws, particularly after outdoor activities. Inspect for any debris or foreign objects that may become lodged between their paw pads. Regular paw checks and gentle cleaning can prevent discomfort and potential issues.

Eye and Ear Care. Check their ears regularly for signs of infection or wax buildup. Clean them gently using a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner. Keep an eye on their eyes to prevent tear staining and gently wipe around the eyes to keep them clean.

Bathing Frequency. Bichon Frisés benefit from regular baths to keep their coat clean and free from dirt and debris. Use a mild dog shampoo and be sure to thoroughly rinse their coat to prevent skin irritation.

Exercise Required for the Bichon Frisé Breed

Despite their small size, Bichon Frisés have moderate exercise needs to keep them happy and healthy. They are active dogs that enjoy playtime and interaction with their human companions. Here's what you need to know about exercising your Bichon Frisé:

Aim for at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise each day. This can include a combination of walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. Bichon Frisés thrive on interactive play sessions. Engage them in games of fetch, tug-of-war, and puzzle toys that challenge their minds.

They enjoy meeting other dogs and interacting with people. Regular socialization helps prevent behavioral issues and enhances their overall well-being.

Training Tips for the Bichon Frisé Breed

Training a Beagle requires patience, positive reinforcement, and understanding of their unique personality traits.


  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and toys to motivate and reward desired behaviors.

  • Be consistent in your commands and expectations. Bichon Frisés respond well to routines and clear communication.

  • Begin socializing your Bichon Frisé from a young age to expose them to various people, animals, and environments. This helps them become well-adjusted and confident dogs.

  • Teach them basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down. These commands are not only essential for their safety but also help them become well-mannered companions.


  • Use harsh training methods that could lead to anxiety or fear.
  • Fail to set boundaries and spoil your Bichon Frisé, as this can lead to behavioral issues.

The Bichon Frisé Breed is Suitable For

Bichon Frisés are well-suited for a variety of living situations due to their adaptable and affectionate nature. Here's what to consider when determining if a Bichon Frisé is the right fit for your home:

Bichon Frisés thrive in homes where they are treated as cherished companions and are included in family activities. They enjoy being around people and form strong bonds with their human family members.

They can adapt to both apartments and houses, making them suitable for urban and suburban living. However, they do require regular exercise, so access to outdoor space for play and walks is essential.

Bichon Frisés are known for their gentle and friendly disposition, making them great companions for families with children. Their patience and playful nature make them suitable playmates for kids. They can also get along well with other pets, provided proper introductions and socialization are carried out.

The Bichon Frisé Breed is Not Suitable For

Bichon Frisés thrive on human interaction and can become anxious or develop behavioral issues if left alone for extended periods. Homes where they would be alone for most of the day might not be the best fit.

They are sensitive dogs that do not do well in harsh climates. Extreme heat or cold can be uncomfortable for them, so homes in such environments should provide appropriate climate control.

Famous Bichon Frisé Owners

  • Ashley Tisdale - Actress and singer Ashley Tisdale is a proud owner of a Bichon Frisé named Maui. She often shares adorable pictures of Maui on social media, showcasing their close bond.

  • Frank Sinatra - The legendary singer Frank Sinatra had a Bichon Frisé named Bichon, appropriately named after the breed. Bichon was known for accompanying Sinatra on his travels and sharing his glamorous lifestyle. 

  • Heather Locklear - Actress Heather Locklear is another celebrity who adores Bichon Frisés. She has been a dedicated owner to her Bichon Frisé named Harley, often seen accompanying her on outings.

Accomplishments of the Bichon Frisé Breed

Bichon Frisés may be small, but they have left their mark in various areas.

Their cheerful and friendly disposition makes Bichon Frisés excellent candidates for therapy dog work. They bring comfort and joy to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

Bichon Frisés have showcased their talents in agility, obedience, and dog sports competitions, proving their versatility beyond their charming appearance.

Although not as commonly depicted as some other breeds, Bichon Frisés have appeared in movies and TV shows, adding to their endearing presence in popular culture.

Above all, Bichon Frisés have excelled at being devoted companions, brightening the lives of countless individuals and families with their playful spirit and unwavering affection.

felicitails breed guide about the bichon frise dog breed, breed traits, breed standards, felicitails founded by lindsay giguiere
Image by Francisco Goya

The History of the Bichon Frisé Breed

The history of the Bichon Frisé is a fascinating journey that traces back to centuries of royal favor and charm. Originating in the Mediterranean, this breed's lineage is intertwined with aristocratic circles, making it a cherished companion throughout history.

Creation and Purpose. The Bichon Frisé is believed to have descended from the Barbet, a water dog, and was developed on the Mediterranean island of Tenerife. Sailors and traders brought these charming dogs to various ports, where they caught the eye of nobility and commoners alike. Their small size, curly coat, and affectionate nature made them ideal companions for sailors on their voyages. These dogs were adept at providing companionship and entertaining sailors during their downtime.

The Bichon Frisé gained immense popularity among the French and Spanish nobility during the Renaissance. Their adorable looks and endearing personality earned them a place in the courts of Louis XIV and Henry III. Paintings and artwork from that era depict Bichon Frisés alongside their royal owners, solidifying their reputation as beloved companions of the elite.

Early Roles and Evolution. The breed's fortunes saw a decline during the French Revolution, as aristocratic circles that had favored them were upturned. Bichon Frisés found themselves in the hands of commoners, but their charm remained intact. It was in the 20th century that renewed interest in the breed led to its resurgence. Breed enthusiasts and dedicated breeders worked to maintain and promote the Bichon Frisé's unique qualities.

Over the years, the Bichon Frisé has retained its distinct appearance, characterized by its signature curly coat and cheerful expression. Breed standards have been established to ensure the preservation of their charming traits. The breed's purpose has evolved from being companions to sailors to becoming beloved household pets. Their friendly and adaptable nature makes them a cherished member of many families.

Changes and Modern Impact. Today, the Bichon Frisé is adored for its playful personality, affectionate demeanor, and irresistible appearance. It has garnered a devoted following of enthusiasts who appreciate its history and unique qualities. The breed continues to participate in dog shows, competitions, and various canine activities, showcasing its agility and intelligence.

The Bichon Frisé's popularity has grown beyond aristocratic circles, capturing the hearts of people from all walks of life. Its presence in households, as well as in therapy work and companionship, reflects its enduring charm. Their journey from maritime companions to esteemed courtiers to cherished companions has solidified the Bichon Frisé's place in history and society, embodying the essence of charm and companionship.

The Bichon Frisé Standard

The Bichon Frisé belongs to the Non-Sporting Group as classified by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This diverse group consists of breeds with varied origins and purposes, united by their unique characteristics and qualities. The Bichon Frisé's charm, intelligence, and adaptability place it within this group, showcasing its versatility as a beloved companion.

The American Kennel Club's Breed Standard for the Bichon Frisé serves as a blueprint for the ideal representation of this breed. It details essential traits, from size and proportions to coat quality and color patterns. The standard is crucial in maintaining the breed's integrity and is used as a reference in dog shows and evaluations. It is a reflection of the breed's essence and history, as approved by parent breed clubs and recognized by national and international bodies.

The Bichon Frisé Club of America (BFCA) is the national parent club devoted to the welfare, preservation, and promotion of the Bichon Frisé breed. The club's website,, serves as a valuable resource for enthusiasts, providing information about breed characteristics, health, events, and responsible breeding practices. The BFCA plays a pivotal role in connecting breed enthusiasts, breeders, and owners to ensure the welfare of this charming breed.

General Appearance

Head, Muzzle, Nose. The Bichon Frisé's head is characterized by its rounded skull, giving it an appealing softness. Dark, expressive eyes are set well apart, radiating warmth and intelligence. The head proudly holds its alert, inquisitive demeanor, reflecting the breed's lively nature. The muzzle is well-defined and proportionate, contributing to the Bichon Frisé's balanced look. A prominent black nose harmoniously complements the coat color.

Teeth. A scissor bite and healthy dentition are essential, underscoring the breed's overall health and functionality.

Neck. The neck is gracefully arched, flowing seamlessly into well-angled shoulders, indicating the Bichon Frisé's elegance and poise.

Body. Compact and sturdy, the Bichon Frisé boasts a square outline, reflecting its balanced proportions. The breed's body exudes confidence and energy, echoing its lively personality.

Tail. The tail, carried jauntily over the back, adds a touch of charm to the breed's appearance. Its plume of silky hair contributes to the Bichon Frisé's distinctive allure.

Coat. The Bichon Frisé's coat is its crowning glory, standing out with its cloud-like appearance. The double coat consists of a dense, soft undercoat and a curly, textured outer coat. The coat is typically white, often with shadings of cream, apricot, or gray, adding to the breed's visual appeal.

Size. Bichon Frisés are small dogs with a height range of 9.5 to 11.5 inches (24 to 29 cm) at the shoulder, measured from ground to withers.

Gait. The Bichon Frisé moves with a confident, free-flowing gait that showcases its balanced structure. The breed's movement is effortless, with a lively spring in its step that mirrors its joyful temperament.

The Bichon Frisé's overall appearance is a harmonious blend of elegance, buoyancy, and vitality. Its delightful features combine to create an irresistible package that captures the hearts of all who encounter this charming breed.

Reputable Breeders

For those seeking a well-bred Bichon Frisé, there are reputable breeders who prioritize health, temperament, and the breed's standard. Here are a few notable breeders:

  1. Cambeas Bichon Frise

  2. Legend Bichon Frise

  3. Bijou Bichon

Top Shelters for Adoption

Adopting a dog can be a rewarding experience. Here are five shelters where you might find a Bichon Frisé in need of a loving home:

  1. Bichon Frise Club of America Charitable Trust

  2. Bichon Frise Rescue of Northern New Jersey

  3. Bichon Rescue Brigade

  4. Bichon and Little Buddies Rescue

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about the Bichon Frisé Breed

Are Bichon Frisés hypoallergenic? 

Yes, their low-shedding coat makes them a popular choice for allergy sufferers.

How do I groom a Bichon Frisé? 

Regular brushing, professional grooming, and eye and ear care are essential.

Are Bichon Frisés good with children?

Their gentle nature often makes them great family dogs.

What is their typical lifespan? 

Bichon Frisés usually live between 12 to 15 years.

Do they require a lot of exercise? 

While they enjoy playtime, they don't need excessive exercise; short walks and mental stimulation suffice.

A Final Tip for Bringing a Bichon Frisé into Your Life

Welcoming a Bichon Frisé into your life means embracing an affectionate, playful, and charming companion. Their cheerful demeanor, combined with their manageable size and hypoallergenic coat, make them an excellent choice for families, singles, and seniors alike. With proper care, socialization, and love, the Bichon Frisé will reward you with unwavering loyalty, joy, and a lifetime of heartwarming moments.

Valuable Resources for Your Journey to Parenting a Bichon Frisé

At Felicitails you will find many wonderful services, supplies and guides for your life ahead with a loving pup at your side.

Hope You Enjoyed The Read!

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Hello, I’m Lindsay!

A warm welcome from Lindsay & Huck (my English Pointer). Hope you enjoy the read and find just what you are looking for when it comes to living your best life with your loved pets.

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