The Lively Bichon Frise

descriptive textDog breed info
Bichon Frise
Weight: 11—18 lbs
Height: 10—12”
AKC Rank 2008 #35
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group: Non Sporting
Origin: France

NOTICE -- The DOG BOOK Isle is being revised and so far, 7 pages are now online for you.

Dog Breed Info -- The Bichon Frise

A Bichon waves "Bye Bye"
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The Bichon dates back to the 1300’s and probably originated in France. The name means “Bichon with the curly coat.” The Bichon is one of the Non-sporting group and was used mostly for amusement and status in ancient times. The dog joined the American Kennel Club in 1972

Breed Overview

The Bichon is full of fun and excitement, friendly and cuddly.

His curly fur coat means little to no shedding. This is a frisky dog but not overly exuberant so it can fit in with almost any environment. The dog comes in white only, enjoys parking and has a hearty appetite to keep it going for a day of fun.

There have been a number of these dogs available through the Bichon Frise rescue groups, both online and in newspapers.

A note about WHITE dogs: They are prone to a rare disorder known as "White Shaker Disease" which causes the dog to do just as the name implies - they shake and the shaking can become pretty severe with tremors in their sleep. See below under Bichon Health Issues for more information.

"How To Train Your Bichon Frise" is a small 96 page hardcover book that discusses getting a Bichon, how to care for it and teach it a few things too. It is rated 5-stars by customers who own the book. Click on the book cover or the link below and scroll down the Amazon page a bit for more information. It's a worthwhile book.

How to Train Your Bichon Frise (How To...(T.F.H. Publications))


The Bichon Frise is intelligent and relatively easy to train using the clicker training method with positive reinforcement. He will understand basic commands easily and can learn tricks like “roll over” and “dance.”

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Bichon Frise? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Bichon Frise puppies are fairly easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

"A Bud Light
for me, please."

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Terrific family dog. The Bichon Frise is lively, curious, friendly and gentle with lots of energy and frisky. Loves to be with people. The Bichon is highly social and needs to be around people and even other dogs. This is not a good dog to leave alone all day. They can have “separation anxiety.” They need to be part of everything going on.

Small dogs like the Bichon have a natural problem in that they often want to dominate the house and everyone in it. Small dogs must be heavily socialized starting very young and continued on. They need an owner and family that understands dogs and how to exert a firm but kind "pack leader" (alpha dog) dominance role over them. It is very important not to let the dog think he's "boss!"

If you happen to get a Bichon Frise with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes. Bichons are not aggressive usually and get along with most dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Yes, usually. Can vary from dog to dog. Best to arrange a trial meeting if the kennel will allow that.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Yes. Bichons are usually friendly with just about everyone and everything.


Extremely. They have a great attitude and make fine, fun-loving house pets.


Yes. Bichons are very affectionate lap dogs!

Good with children

Yes, kids over 6 or 7 are best as this is a small dog and easily injured. Even so, the kids should be closely supervised until they learn good dog-manners.

Good with seniors over 65?

Yes. A Bichon is a perfect match for a senior. The exercises needs are not too great and as long as the senior can walk a little, this will work out. A senior is usually home a lot so no problem with separation anxiety. Good match. Check for Bichon Frise rescue groups, as these seldom show up in kennels.

A Maltese/Bichon Frise Mix
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Living environment

This breed could live anywhere, from a farm to an apartment.

Energy level

Moderate but lively.

Exercise needs, daily

A short walk twice a day and some ball chasing in the living room will suffice. HOWEVER — if you want to go jogging with your Bichon, do it! My barber jogs every morning and the Bichon goes jogging and keeps up with her!


Good. Bichons will bark when someone comes to the door, but they won’t kill them. They will alert if someone approaches you from behind in a parking lot.

Guard dog



Almost not at all.


The Bichon Frise must be groomed every day. The coat mats easily and when it does, you have a real problem! Brush your Bichon daily and take her to the groomer every 4 to 6 weeks. A good groomer will charge $45 minimum for a Bichon Frise.


Suggested Reading For The Bichon Frise

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, dog illness and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.

NEW hardcover book Just Added:
"Bichon Frise" (Barron's Dog Bible) is a 160 page hardcover book that will satisfy all Bichon owners or would-be owners. The book has mixed customer reviews, giving it a 4-star rating. Click on the book cover or link below and scroll down the Amazon page for more specifics.

Bichon Frise (Barron's Dog Bibles)


Bichon Frise Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Bichon Frise puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Bichon Frise Breeders with puppies for sale.

Bichon Frise Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Bichon and are looking for a Bichon Frise Rescue group or groups in your state, here is a link that might help:
Petfinder - Bichon Frise Rescue - (Nationwide) Before you adopt, read the dog breed info above and be sure to find out about the dog health of the one you adopt.
Adopt A Pet See what this site might have to offer and be sure to look into your local SPCA, dog pound and Bichon Frise rescue breed groups or foster homes.


Dog Health Issues For The Bichon Frise
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Bichon by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

The Bichon Frise is prone to leg problems and limping. See below:

  • Hind leg lame, leg pain, holding rear leg up. Patellar luxation— An unusually shallow spot on the femur of the Bichon Frise and weak ligaments or misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint, allow the knee cap (patella) to float in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect either rear leg at the knee joints. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, has lameness or leg pain, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Hind end & leg problem, limping. Hip dysplasia - Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Legg-Perthes—Hip and leg problems. A disease of the hip joint in young dogs. It is a deforming of the head of the femur head where it fits into the pelvic socket and is generally noticed at around 6 to 8 months age. The disease affects small and toy breeds and can range from mildly debilitating to totally debilitating. It’s very painful and the dog will have a lame leg at the affected hip. Pain can become severe in some dogs and the dog will go from occasional limping to continuous carrying of the leg. Severe muscle atrophy can set in with the appearance of shortening of the affected leg. Restricted joint movement is also a common sign Legg-Perthes. Surgery will usually restore a dog to a fairly normal life but prevention at the breeding stage is the right solution.


  • Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposes to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.

  • Cushing’s disease— Too much glucocorticoid is produced by the adrenal or pituitary glands at which time symptoms occur such as hair loss, increased drinking and urination, increased appetite and enlarged abdomen. The disease progresses slowly and the dog can be sick 1 to 6 years without anyone noticing any symptoms. Some dogs may have just one symptom, usually hair loss and owners often contribute the dog's condition to “old age.”. This is not a young dog’s illness. There are several treatments available including surgery which might save the dog’s life depending on the existence of cancerous tumors.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Urolithiasis—Urinary problems. Excessive crystals (urinary stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Dogs can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually appears at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age in dogs.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary skin allergy. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision. If not corrected can lead to blindness.

  • White shaker disease—Sleep tremors, head and paws shaking. A problem found in small white dogs. The affected dog’s head and body actually “shake” - sometimes mildly and in other dogs, a lot. Commonly found in the Maltese, Poodle, Bichon Frise and Westie. The shaking can incapacitate the dog, cause her paws to land where she didn’t intend, cause rapid eye movement and cause sleeping tremors. Source-cause is unknown. Medication is given to relax the dog which helps. Tremors are reduced when the dog relaxes or sleeps. A vet must be seen for this rare disorder.

  • Corneal Dystrophy—An inherited disease of the eye. A fluid buildup causing the outer part of the cornea to appear white and move inward toward the center.. A very painful and difficult to treat ulcer will develop.

  • Diabetes—The pancreas manufactures the hormone INSULIN. If the pancreas stops making, or makes less than the normal amount of insulin, or if the tissues in the body become resistant to the insulin, the result is called “diabetes.” The dog can NOT control her blood sugar without injections of insulin on a regular basis, but given the insulin, the dog can live a normal life like a human can. If the Bichon Frise does not receive the insulin injections at the same time each day of her life, the dog will go into a coma and she will die. Some causes of diabetes may be chronic pancreatitis, heredity, obesity or old age, but no one is sure. Symptoms are excess drinking and urination, dehydration, weight loss, increased appetite, weight gain, and cataracts may develop suddenly. Treatment is in the form of the insulin injections daily and a strict diet low in carbohydrates and sugars. Home cooking may be suggested in some cases. Frequent trips to the vet for blood monitoring will be needed but diabetes is not a death sentence.


Other health problems could occur with your Bichon Frise. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide

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