Are you a pet owner handling a Bichon Frise for the first time? Or maybe you’re still deciding if you should get this curly-haired dog with a cheerful attitude? There’s no denying how adorable Bichon Frise puppies are. But did you know that these white dogs need high-maintenance care and grooming? This article lists down the essential things you need to know before visiting the pet store to get your own Bichon puppy.
History of the Bichon Frise
These white dogs have a rich history with them. The Bichon descended from the Barbichon clan of dogs. It originated from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands in Spain. Dogs breeds such as the Havanese, Maltese, Bolognese, and Coton de Tulear are Belonging to the same family. Compared to the other breeds, the Bichon Frise is the only one with a double coat.
The popularity of the Bichon Frise dates back to the 13th century. It was favored among the nobility in Spain, Italy, and France. Unfortunately, the French Revolution in the late 1700s led to the fall of its masters from the French family. The dog met the same fate and became a common dog left alone in the streets.
Street entertainers took the dogs in during this time. The dogs were taught different tricks, and the Bichon Frise emerged later as a circus performer. The Bichons Frises catapulted to success, and the dogs once again captured the hearts of the public as they entered showbiz.
However, the Bichon Frise suffered once more during the world war era in the 20th century. Many Bichons roamed the streets again until financiers in France and Belgium took an interest in them. French breeders started breeding dogs, leading to the purebred Bichon Frise we know today.
Later on, the Société Centrale Canine recognized the breed in France. The word bichon was coined from “Bichon à Poil Frisé” which translates to the Bichon of the curly hair.
The first Bichon Frise dogs reached America in 1956. Almost a decade later, the Bichon Frise Club of America was established. Not long after, the dogs also gained recognition from the American Kennel Club or AKC. It was classified into the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in 1971 and became part of the Non-Sporting Group two years later.
A notable Bichon Frise is named JR, famous for winning the AKC National Championship in 2001. It also became the first-ever Westminster Kennel Club dog winner earning Best in Show.
Bichon Frise Notable Traits
According to the American Kennel Club, Bichons Frises can grow 9.5 to 11.5 inches. Their weight can reach 12 to 18 pounds. These dogs have a life span of 14 to 15 years.
Their white double coat doesn’t produce much shed hair. This happens because the outer coat traps the dead hair from the undercoat. This makes the Bichon Frise dog breed high-maintenance, needing regularly brushing at least twice a week. If the puppy’s fur is unkempt and tangled, health conditions related to the skin might develop.
Given that the Bichon Frise doesn’t shed hair as much as other dogs, it is recommended for pet owners who are allergy sufferers. They are considered to be one of the hypoallergenic dogs breeds.
The Bichon Frise dog breed is known for its cotton ball-like fur, composed of its outer coat hair that can be combed to stand up for long periods.
Another asset that makes it stand out from other animals is the Bichon Frise temperament. These friendly dogs are known for their charm and eagerness. These dogs can also be easily trained and taught dog tricks.
One downside to this wonderful family pet might be its tendency to feel separation anxiety from its owner. If you have to leave this dog alone often, you may resort to other dog breeds instead.
How to Groom the Bichon Frise
These friendly dogs need lots of grooming to maintain the delicate appearance that makes them distinct from other dogs. As mentioned, their double coat must be brushed many times a week. Failure to do so might lead to matting, in which the shed hair gets uncomfortably entangled with its fur.
Before bathing the Bichon puppy, the dog’s hair must be free of matting. The water will make it more painful and difficult to fix the matting afterward. Prevent matting by trimming the dog’s hair every four weeks. Trim its eyes as well to improve its visibility and reduce the chances of the dog developing eye health problems. Bichons Frises only start growing their coats around six to eight months old. The Bichon Frise must only be trimmed when they become adult dogs.
Shaving the curly coat is a big no-no. Its coat helps in regulating the dog’s body temperature. The little dog won’t be able to adapt to weather changes without its curly coat.
Use a reliable dog whitening shampoo to bathe the Bichon Frise in warm water. The Bichon Frise dog breed is known to have sensitive skin. Choose a shampoo that won’t irritate the skin. Keep the shampoo on for a few minutes, then cleanse its curly coat thoroughly. Don’t bathe the dogs daily as it can impede the production of their natural oils.
After drying the dog, clipping comes next. Quiet clippers are available to keep the Bichon Frise relaxed while trimming its dog hair. Also, use blending and grooming scissors across the dog’s body.
If red stains could be seen on their eyes, treat the dog with a mixture of water and a teaspoon of white vinegar. This helps regulate pH imbalance which causes the yeast to develop in the eye area, resulting in red stains.
It’s also recommended to start grooming Bichon Frise puppies early on. They are much easier to manage as small dogs. Bichon Frises should already feel used to grooming as puppies. This is so that they wouldn’t feel discomfort or irritation during grooming time.
Pet owners who are new to pet grooming or don’t have the time can visit a professional groomer. This will enable the groomers to look out for physical signs related to the dog’s health issues, such as rashes or eye and ear infections.
Bichon Frise Training
Bichon Frises are active dogs that are highly trainable. Their roots as circus performers made them wise to learn dog tricks and listen to commands. However, just like other dog breeds, it takes time for the dog to develop good habits.
Being encouraging and firm in training the Bichon Frise will go a long way for pet owners. Ensure the Bichon finds the activity enjoyable, leading to less friction during training and a healthier dog.
Training the Bichon Frise should start while they’re still small dogs, just like in grooming. This prevents bad habits from developing that might be difficult to undo later.
The first few months of the Bichon Frise are critical. How you develop the foundation during this time will largely determine its long-term temperament. Exposing the Bichon Frise to early socialization and a puppy kindergarten class will help ensure it grows into a good dog.
Never shout or harm the puppy during training, as Bichon Frises respond better to positive reinforcement. It might start acting distant and fearful afterward. The Bichon Frise might also lash out, brushing aside all the previously formed bonds.
Reward the dog with its favorite treat or belly rubbing for good behavior. The more it receives snacks for good deeds, the more it will repeat them.
Just like other pets, the dog must be potty trained. Do this outside the house or use litter boxes and pee pads when indoors. Put the dog on the designated spot frequently, especially after it finished eating, napping, or playing. Give it a dog treat for complying with your command.
Bichon Frises can also undergo crate training, which is useful when bored or left on its own. Don’t force the dogs to stay inside the crate. Adjust and arrange the crate for the Bichon Frise to feel comfortable inside. However, avoid crate training if your Bichon Frise suffers from separation anxiety.
There might be times it is necessary to keep the Bichon Frise on a leash. The dog can undergo leash training to get used to wearing a collar and harness, especially during traffic or in crowded places. Don’t worry again about road accidents or losing the Bichon Frise. Using only a collar might cause pain for the dog when it pinches the dog’s throat. Partner the collar with a breathable harness that the dog can move freely around with.
The Bichon Frise gets easily distracted, so train the dog somewhere quiet with no other pets or even people. Training time can be when the dogs feel a bit hungry, so they’ll be receptive to dog treats.
All pet owners encounter the problem of their pets misbehaving. If the Bichon Frise lacks physical activity undesirable habits can arise. To ease its boredom, invest in chew toys and other dog toys it can play with to keep being mentally stimulated.
Ambitious pet owners who’d like their Bichon Frises to participate in dog sports would have to give more time and effort to training. Dog sports are held by various breed clubs, such as the American Kennel Club.
To ensure that their dog can compete with other dogs, not only a professional groomer but also seeking a professional trainer might help. Check the official breed standard to see how your Bichon Frise can qualify for these dog tournaments.
Most of all, taking care of a Bichon Frise means that it is always in full health. You may consult with a reputable breeder and a veterinarian who can conduct health clearances on your dog.
Screening dogs for any health issues will matter even more if they compete with other dogs. The National Breed Club requires health clearances for specific illnesses Bichon Frise dogs might get. This can be an evaluation of the hip, patella, and eyes. This is done to maintain the breed standard and limit unwanted health conditions in Bichon Frises.
Bichon Frises may get bladder infections due to high amounts of protein, phosphorus, and magnesium in their system. Observe your dog’s peeing behavior and urine for symptoms of bladder stones. If the dog has blood in the pee, difficulty urinating or frequently urinates, get the Bichon Frise checked up immediately. It can be a possible bladder infection.
Bichon Frises are also prone to patellar luxation, common in small dogs. This condition happens when the patellar or kneecap gets dislocated. The friction in the affected joint causes dogs to feel pain.
Genetic health problems in dogs must also be looked out for. This includes hip dysplasia and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). Hip dysplasia involves the thighbone not attaching to the hip socket. While IMHA is one of the serious health conditions wherein the immune system destroys the dog’s red blood cells.
Another health issue in bichons is juvenile cataracts. This may develop in Bichon Frises before the age of six.
Are you ready to own a Bichon Frise?
Being this Bichon Frise puppy’s parents will require tough work. Bichon Frise is a high-maintenance breed. They mainly need professional grooming for their white coat. Training the Bichon Frise is key for the dog to develop a good temperament. If you successfully do so, the dog will listen to your commands, instead of engaging in negative habits.
Get your own Bichon Frise from a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances for its breeding stock. If you prefer, you may also adopt from rescue groups that take care of dogs left alone by their owners. You may ask the National Breed Club or any other breed clubs near you for rescue groups. Always remember that raising this little dog is a huge responsibility.
A fitness junkie and a cosmopolitan traveler, Kathy is the mom of peppy baby Malaya and mixed beagle Holly. She’s a capable businesswoman who balances work with living a wanderlust life with her hooman and fur babies.