The Bichon Frise is an old breed that can be traced to the 1300's, but it is likely to be far older (some people say it pre-dates the Common Era). Its oldest recognised ancestor is the BarBichon cam, or "water spaniel," which evolved into four breeds: the Bichon Bolognese, the Bichon Havanese, the Bichon Maltese and the Bichon Tenerife. Today’s Bichon Frise, named in 1933, is directly descended from the Tenerife.
The Bichon Tenerife attracted the attention of Europe’s nobility, particularly those in Italy, as well as wealthy merchants. As Italian influence spread, the Tenerife happily followed. The dog became part of the court of the French King Francis in the early 1500s. By the late 1500s, the Tenerife had become a favorite of France’s King Henry III, who reportedly had a Tenerife travel with him wherever he went. The dog was pampered, perfumed and beribboned, giving rise to the French verb, "Bichonner" (to pamper).
The Bichon Tenerife was soon given a prominent place in other countries, and artists included a Bichon-like dog in many of their portraits. The Spanish artist Francisco Goya was one famous artist who favored the Bichon Tenerife.
The dog gradually lost his aristocratic favor and became a street dog, performing in circuses and fairs. The breed survived and in 1933, the name was changed to Bichon a polio Frise (Bichon with the curly coat). The name was shortened to Bichon Frise
|The Bichon Frise is gentle, sensitive, playful and affectionate. The cheerful attitude is the breed’s hallmark. It gets along well with people of all ages and in varied living conditions. The dog loves to play but is not hyperactive. This breed tends to be good with children and with other animals. The Bichon Frise is not a guard dog, but is a watchdog and will announce strangers.
|Although small, the Bichon is an active dog and needs daily exercise. Its needs can be met with a vigorous indoor game or, better, a romp in the yard or a short walk on leash. The white powder-puff coat needs brushing and combing every other day, plus scissoring and trimming every two months. It doesn’t shed, but the loose hairs become entangled in the coat and can mat. It may be difficult to keep white in some areas. This is not a dog that should live outdoors.
||12 – 15 years
|Area of Origin:
|Date of Origin:
||Tenerife dog, Bichon Tenerife, Bichon A Poil Frise
|Official NZKC Breed Standard
Gay, happy, lively little dog, the coat falling in soft, corkscrew curls. The head carriage is proud and high; the eyes alert and full of expression.
Head and Skull:
The skull longer than the muzzle, the whole head in balance with the body. The muzzle should not be thick or heavy; nor should it be snipy; the cheeks flat and not very strongly muscled; the stop should be slight and the hollow between the eyebrows just visible. Skull flat when touched, although the hair tends to make it look round. The nose should be round, black, soft and shiny.
Dark, with dark eye-rims, fairly round, never almond shaped nor obliquely set; lively, not too big; never showing any white. Neither large nor prominent. The socket should not be pronounced.
Narrow and delicate. Hanging close to the head and well covered with tightly curled, long hair. Carried forward when the dog is alert but in such manner that the forward edge touches the skull and not carried obliquely away from the head. The leather should reach halfway along the muzzle.
Scissor bite, that is to say, the incisors of the lower jaw should be placed immediately behind and in contact with those of the upper jaw. The lips should be fine, fairly tight and completely black, drooping just sufficient for the lower lips to be covered by the upper, but never heavy nor hanging. The lower lip should be neither heavy, protruding nor flabby and should never show the mucous membrane when the mouth is closed.
Fairly long, carried high and proudly. Round and slim near the head, gradually broadening to fit smoothly into the shoulders. Length about one third the length of the body (proportions of 33 cm (13 inches) -11 cm (4.5 inches) for a dog of 27 cm. (10.5 inches) high at the withers).
Shoulders oblique, not prominent, and equal in length to the upper arm (approx. 10 cm (4inches)). The upper arm should fit close to the body. Legs straight when seen from the front, perpendicular and finely boned. The pastern should be short and straight when viewed from the front, very slightly sloping when viewed from the side.
Chest well developed, with deep brisket. The floating ribs well rounded and not terminating abruptly. Loin broad, well-muscled, slightly arched and well tucked-up. The pelvis broad, the croup slightly rounded.
Thighs broad and well-rounded, oblique. Stifles well-bent and hocks well let down.
Small, rounded and well knuckled-up. Nails preferably black.
Normally carried raised and curled gracefully over the back but never tightly curled. It should not be docked and should not touch the backbone but the hair should always fall on to the back. Slightly low set.
Fine, silky, with soft corkscrew curls. Neither flat nor corded, and measuring 7-10 cm (2.7" to 4.0") in length. The dog may be presented untrimmed or have muzzle and feet slightly tidied up.
Pure white. Under the white coat dark pigment is preferred. Black, blue or beige markings are often found on the skin.
Less than 30 cm (12"), smallness being highly desirable.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.