Bichon Frise


1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Introduction
4. History
5. Appearance
6. Temperament
7. Intelligence / Trainability
8. Children and Other Pets
9. Health
10. Caring for a Bichon Frise
11. Grooming
12. Exercise
13. Feeding
14. Average Cost to keep/care for a Bichon Frise

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #22 out of 238 Dog Breeds.

The Bichon Frise breed is also commonly known by the names Bichon, Bichon à poil frisé, Tenerife Dog.
12 - 15 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Toy Group
Males 23 – 28 cm
Females 23 – 28 cm cm at the withers
Males 3 - 5 kg
Females 3 - 5 kg
Health Tests Available
BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme
Average Price (More Info)
£503 for KC Registered
£473 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Bichon Frise is thought to originate from the Mediterranean region of Europe and is also often referred to as a "Tenerife Dog". The reason for their other name is that sailors in the 14th century found these dogs on the island of Tenerife. Over the years, these lovely white dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of people the world over and for good reason. The Bichon Frise not only boasts being a very sweet looking dog, but this is perfectly matched by their charming natures.

The Bichon Frise loves being the centre of attention and although they are small in stature these little dogs are extremely confident and intelligent dogs that are pleasure to own and be around. The downside to sharing a home with a Bichon Frise is that they thrive on being with people and hate being left on their own. They are also high maintenance in the grooming 


As previously mentioned it is thought the Bichon Frise originates for the Mediterranean region of Europe and that they are descendants of Spaniels and the Poodle. Sailors visiting the island of Tenerife found these little dogs and named them "Tenerife Dogs" back in the 14th century. They soon became a popular favourite with the upper classes and nobles of the time all thanks to their cute looks and bright, sunny dispositions. Ladies of the Spanish and Italian courts were particularly fond of them in the 14th and 15th centuries.


Height at the withers: Males 23 – 28 cm, Females 23 – 28 cm

Average weight: Males 3 - 5 kg, Females 3 - 5 kg

The Bichon Frise has a pure white, soft coat that boasts corkscrew curls. They are compact nicely proportioned little dogs. Their heads are slightly rounded with a defined stop and hair that accentuates the shape of their heads quite noticeably. They have large, black, soft and shiny noses that adds to their overall cute appeal. A Bichon's eyes are dark and round boasting striking black rims surrounded by haloes. These little dogs always have a keen and alert expression in their eyes which people find so endearing.

Their ears are well covered with long, flowing hair and they hang close to a dog's head. They are set high on the head and dogs carry them forward when excited. The Bichon has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their lips are totally black in colour and quite tight.

Dogs hold their longish necks slightly arched which gives these little dogs their proud look. Their shoulders are oblique with nice straight strong legs. They have very well developed fore-chests with a deep brisket and well sprung ribs. They have well-muscled bodies with broad loins that are very slightly arched and nicely tucked up. Their back-ends are broad with slightly rounded croups and well-rounded thighs and strong back legs. Feet are tight and well-rounded with black nails and pads. Bichons carry their tails raised up and they curve them over their backs although never curled.

When it comes to their coat, the Bichon Frise boasts a fine, soft and silky white coat that's made up of corkscrew curls. Dogs can be left untrimmed or trimmed which is perfectly acceptable as a breed standard. Their coats are completely white, but dogs can have apricot or cream markings right up to when they are around eighteen months old. Their skin is dark even though these dogs are white although they can have various coloured markings on their skin too which includes blue, beige and black all of which are acceptable.


The Bichon Frise is renowned for being a happy, lively little dog. They are very confident and outgoing characters, always friendly and rarely do they show any sort of aggressive behaviour. They are real clowns and love nothing more than to "perform" and play which is why they are such fun to have around. They are intelligent little dogs and therefore quick learners always ready and willing to please which means it’s extremely easy to train them to do all sorts of tricks.

Although they are lively little characters, they are quite calm too and are particularly good around children which means they are great choice as a family pet. They are also a great choice of dog for first-time owners although it is worth noting that these little dogs are quite high maintenance in the grooming department which means owners need to have the time and know-how when it comes to keeping a Bichon's coat looking great and in good condition.

Intelligence / Trainability

The Bichon Frise is known to be a quick witted little dog and one that's always eager to please. As such they are easy to train, but only as long as they know who is the boss in the household. Training has to be consistent and although it is easy to let a Bichon get away with a few things because they are so cute, it's better not to. As long as they know the boundaries and limits, the Bichon Frise can be taught to be a well behaved little dog.

Children and Other Pets

The Bichon has a natural affinity with people and therefore they generally get on well with children thanks to their playful personalities. However, it's important that any interaction between dogs and the kids is well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous.

These little white dogs generally get on with other dogs and if they have been well socialised and they have grown up with a cat, they will live happily alongside each other. However, when it comes to smaller pets, it's best to keep a close eye on a Bichon because they might see them as prey with disastrous consequences.

For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.


The average life expectancy of a Bichon Frise is between 12 to 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

However, like so many other pure breeds, the Bichon is known to suffer from certain hereditary health issues which includes the following:

Caring for a Bichon Frise

As with any other breed, a Bichon Frise needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


Bichons are high maintenance in the grooming department because to keep their coats looking good, they need to be brushed on a daily basis using a soft slicker brush. The reason being that their corkscrew curls can quickly get matted and tangled. It's also a good idea to have their coats trimmed by a professional dog groomer every six to eight weeks, like this dogs keep the "Bichon" shape they are so famous for and which adds to their cute appeal. A professional groomer would also be able to check a dog's ears because hair often builds up in them and this needs to be carefully and gently plucked out so that air can circulate properly reducing the risk of a yeast infection taking hold which can be notoriously hard to clear up. It’s a task that’s best left up to a professional.


When it comes to exercise, these little guys need to be given at least 30 minutes a day so they can let off steam. They are the perfect choice for people who lead more sedentary indoor lives and who have the time to devote to their canine companions because Bichon's although not high energy dogs, love to play games whether indoors or outdoors. They also thrive on being around people and do not like being left on their own, often suffering from separation anxiety when they are.


If you get a Bichon puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Bichon twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories which is important or they might start to gain too much weight.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Bichon Frise

If you are looking to buy a Bichon Frise, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3-year-old Bichon Frise in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of March 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not a dog has been spayed or neutered.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Bichon Frise and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which could quickly add up to over a £900 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Bichon Frise would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Bichon Frise puppy.

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