The Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is thought to have originated in Tenerife, and is sometimes called ‘The Tenerife’ dog. They became popular with European Royalty and have also been found in the circus where they were great little performers. The Bichon belongs to the Kennel Clubs ‘Toy’ Group and makes an excellent companion dog.
This is a small breed, about 11 inches at the shoulder, and about 5 – 6 kg (12 lb). The Bichon Frise doesn’t require too much exercise although they do love to be taken everywhere you go and a daily walk, even a short one, would be much appreciated. This is a clever little dog that likes to be stimulated mentally, as much as physically.
Care of the Bichon Frise
Being a white-coated dog with a curly coat, this breed is high maintenance in this department. You can have him trimmed in a beauty parlour about every 8 – 10 weeks however it isn’t too difficult to learn how to care for his coat yourself with just a pair of good scissors and a brush and comb. Don’t expect to be able to have a pet looking like those Bichons found in the show ring unless you are able to devote several hours every day grooming and his upkeep. The show dog is usually groomed by a specialist.
Frequent bathing may be desired to keep the dog looking clean however if you are careful he doesn’t get into dirty places this can also be kept to a minimum. The Bichon’s coat doesn’t shed hairs like most dogs, leaving stray hairs all over the house. Any hair that is shed is retained in the coat and is removed when groomed, which should be at least once every few days, and more often if you like to keep his coat long.
The Bichon Frise is not an aggressive breed and is good with other household pets and makes a good watch dog. They are usually very good with children although they are not really suited to the household with small children. Toddlers should always be supervised when in the same room as a pet dog, and this can become very difficult to do, no matter how much you try. This is why it is not recommended you have this breed if there are small children, or likely to be in the future.
This breed can be ‘in your face’ and would not suit if being followed all over would become tiresome. They are not a nuisance; they just love to be a part of everything you do. They do not like being left on their own for long periods and would not be suited to a household where they would be left on their own all day while everyone is out at work. They can suffer from ‘separation anxiety’ and can express their unhappiness by chewing, excessive barking or even being unclean in the house (almost as if out of spite).
Are you Allergic?
It is often said that the Bichon Frise is a ‘non allergenic’ breed. If there is anyone in the family that suffers from allergies or is asthmatic, you must take every precaution before purchasing a puppy as it is not unheard of to suffer allergic reactions caused by a Bichon Frise. It is not fair on the puppy if he has to be rehomed when this occurs – far better to associate with the breeders Bichons as much as possible to assess whether or not this could be a problem.
Purchasing a Bichon Frise
If you are considering the purchase of a Bichon Frise puppy you are advised to study the breed well in advance (a Bichon Frise can live about 15 years) and make sure you are aware of what to look for before parting with any money.
The breeder you purchase from should have the breed at heart and not be in it for the money. Always ask to see the mother at least. It is not uncommon for the father not to be available as it is quite usual for breeders to use a stud dog belonging to someone else. Be very suspicious if the puppy’s mother isn’t present. Also be wary if the breeder has several different breeds of dog and puppies available. Is it a puppy farm?
Your prospective breeder should be quite thorough when checking out purchasers. If he is at all concerned about the welfare of the puppy he will want to be assured that you are the right person to become a dog owner. This should be welcomed as it will highlight whether or not you are suited to a new puppy. Nowadays it is not uncommon for breeders to request that you sign a contract at the time of purchase. If this happens please be sure that you fully understand, and agree with, the content before signing. Above all steer well clear of the breeder that is only interested in your money as this quick purchase all too often ends in heartache.
Be prepared to visit the breeder at least twice and many good breeders welcome more frequent visits to help with socialising their puppies. The Bichon Frise can be a popular breed and puppies hard to find. It is not uncommon for breeders to have waiting lists and for all their puppies to be sold well in advance of homing time. You should be given the puppy’s Kennel Club registration papers when you take him home.
Your Puppy’s Health Record
Always check that your puppy has been inoculated by a Veterinary Surgeon and has a certificate to prove it. He should have at least the first vaccination done but may not have had the booster, commonly given two weeks later. This will depend upon the Veterinary Surgeon used as some will not vaccinate a very young puppy. It is usual for the Vet to ‘Health Check’ the puppy before he administers the first vaccination. This usually includes listening to the puppy’s heartbeat as well as a fairly thorough physical examination. Your puppy should have been regularly wormed from two weeks of age. Be prepared to take your new puppy to your own Vet to have him health checked too.
When choosing your new puppy look for a friendly, outgoing specimen and be very wary of any puppy that appears very shy. By 7 to 8 weeks of age puppies should be socialised with household noises and different people, and be prepared to continue this socialisation once you take your puppy home. This should include other dogs and public places once he has had his booster vaccination, but not before as you need to be careful that an unprotected puppy is not infected with any canine diseases.
If you are interested in a show dog it would be wise to consult the Kennel Club’s web site to read up on the ‘Breed Standard.’ You will also find it beneficial to attend as many Breed and Championship shows to meet with as many likeminded people to discuss in depth the attributes required to succeed in the show ring.
About the author : We have lived with dogs all our lives and find the Bichon Frise to be a well rounded and very happy natured pet. As with people, all Bichons have their own character and we find that our Bichons are very different in this respect. We have found our Bichons Frises easy to train and very loyal little dogs. We groom and trim all our Bichons ourselves. We are not regular breeders and have puppies available only very occasionally.