Breed Spotlight – Bichon Frise

The Bichon is an irresistible, happy go lucky dog that draws people to him wherever he goes. Charming, alert and curious, these little dogs are super friendly and tend to make friends with everyone.

Bichons are known for their puffy white hypoallergenic coats which makes them look like a velvety plush toy. Their coal black eyes set deep within their rounded head hair is one of their most outstanding features.

These adaptable companions are an ancient breed which has its origins on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Long associated with royalty, they began their association with the nobles of Europe during the 13th century. But during the French Revolution which began in 1789, the Bichon lost their favored position as their owners were imprisoned and many of them guillotined. Many of these dogs were abandoned to the streets and were taken in by street performers. Trainable and agile, they soon adapted to their new role and quickly endeared themselves to passersby.

During the two world wars of the 20th century, the Bichon was once again out in the cold. At some point, they were gathered from the streets of Belgium and France by people who valued the breed and the Bichon was finally recognized in France in 1933. But it was not until 1964 that the Bichon Frise Club of America was founded in San Diego and in 1971 the Bichon was accepted into the AKC. Full breed recognition came in 1973.

The Bichon is a great family pet, as they get along well with children and with other dogs. Their small size makes them ideal for city living as well.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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