The Bichon Frise is a small and sturdy dog breed that is often compared to a cotton ball because of its curled white coat. It is categorized under the Non-Sporting Group by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and dates back to the 13th century as a descendent of the Water Spaniel.
According to the American Kennel Club, the ideal size of the Bichon Frise is between 9 1/2 and 11 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder. While they are on the small side, they arent as petite as you may think. When a Bichon Frise reaches adulthood, expect them to weigh 11 to 22 pounds.
The undercoat is soft and dense while the outercoat is coarse and curly. It is soft but substantial and feels plush like velvet. When it is patted, it springs back. While the color of the coat is white it may have shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or on the body.
The Bichon Freses hair grows continually and does not shed, so frequent grooming is necessary to prevent matting. Since shedding is not an issue Bichons are usually a good breed for allergy sufferers.
The average lifespan of the Bichon Frise is 15 years. Potential health issues include allergies, skin ailments, early onset cataracts, luxating patellas (bad knees), epilepsy and ear infections. Cushing's Disease/Addison's can be brought on if cortisone is used for allergies.
The Bichon Frise is gentle and playful and needs regular exercise since it loves activity. They make good family pets since they interact well with children. While the prejudice against smaller dogs is that they are yippy, this is not true with the Bichon Frise. They will bark if a stranger is at the door, but they are not aggressive watchdogs.
Bichon Frises are sociable dogs so they require regular company from people. This also means that they are usually good with other pets.
Bichon Frises like to perform tricks and are generally easy to train. However, like many small breeds, they may be difficult to housebreak. Stay true to rules with this breed, otherwise it can lead to behavior problems such as obsessive barking, separation anxiety, snapping and even biting. Understand that these behaviors are not inherent to the breed, but induced by human mistakes.
While the Bichon Frise needs regular exercise, it can live in an apartment as long as the owner makes sure to allow for ample activity. They are active inside so a yard is not necessary.