The Bichon Frise: The French Lap Dog

The Bichon Frise is a small breed of dog, similar in size to a large cat, which in French means “curly lap dog”. They are called this because in the past they were lap dogs for French royalty. Often devoted to their masters, Bichons are popular pets and are fairly similar to poodles.

Originating in the Mediterranean region and in existence since the Middle Ages, Bichons eventually ended up on the streets after the French Revolution in which their royal masters were dethroned. The dogs were then caught and trained to do tricks so that they would become dogs in the circus. Despite often being used as a dog for companionship, Bichons are also versatile and smart. Recently farmers in Norway have even used Bichons for rounding up sheep.

Bichons weigh between 7 and 18 lbs and stand between 9 to 12 inches tall. Their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years. Bichons are nearly completely white, as to be a pure bred Bichon one must be at least 90% white. The dogs sometimes have different shades of white around the ears, but white is the dominant color of Bichons. Their eyes are usually either black or dark brown. The area around the eye is also very dark. The nose and lips are also black, while the ears are droopy and covered with long hair. The coat of a Bichon is curly, making them look puffy. The underbelly of a Bichon is softer and denser than the outer coat. A Bichon’s coat is thick and springs back in place if touched.

Bichons, who tend to not like the heat, must be groomed often to keep their neat appearance. The face is of special notice, as mucus and eye discharge can cause major problems as it tends to get in the fur right near their eyes. Their curled tails go over their backs and are often groomed to be longer in length than the rest of the coat.

Bichons tend to look attentive and soft. They are quite intelligent and present a curious personality. Though Bichons most like to stay close to their owners and lounge around, they are energetic and like to chew on bones, climb furniture and go for long walks. Bichons are easily excited when seeing other people, but they are really friendly dogs. Bichons are great pets for families, as children and Bichons tend to be fond of each other. Though Bichons can become jealous when it comes to attention, they get along alright with other dogs. Male Bichons are usually easier to train than females.

All-white breeds tend to suffer from ear infections and skin problems, but the Bichon Frise is less prone than other all-white breeds. The dogs can suffer problems with cataracts and luxating patellas though.

Though some people can still be allergic to Bichons, it is less likely that most other breeds of dog. Since they do not shed their fur, Bichons are quite popular to people with allergies as they are of a hypoallergenic breed.