For those dog lovers that want a small sized dog that is sturdy, loving and a true companion pet then the Bichon Frise is a perfect match. These dogs, which are athletic, intelligent, and also love to cuddle, are one of the small breeds that are definitely kid friendly.
The Bichon Frise, as a breed, has existed since the early part of the 13th century and can be seen in many of the painting of the French royal court from this time period. They are a cross between two other French breeds of dogs, the Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle. Like both of the ancestor breeds the Bichon Frise is considered to be hypoallergenic and a very low shedding breed. Also like both ancestors these dogs are typically clipped which makes routine grooming very simple and easy.
The Bichon, like many breeds, has a different size range for males and females. Males are larger and tend to measure about 9-12 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 12 pounds. Females are about an inch shorter at the shoulders and about a pound or two lighter. These dogs will have a curly white, apricot, gray or cream solid colored coat although white is the most common. The face is very much like a Miniature Poodle with dark, round eyes and nose. The ears fold over and frame the face, giving an air of curiosity to this very intelligent dog.
Like Poodles, the Bichon may be prone to eye problems, particularly if the hair is not clipped around the face and gets into the eyes. This can lead to discoloration of the hair around the eyes in a condition known as tearing. This can be corrected by addressing the eye problem or using special cleansers on the discolored hair. Cataracts can also be an issue in some breeding lines so it is important to ask the breeder for information on the parent dogs.
Despite their small size the Bichon is an excellent watchdog but not yappy or a problem barker. I do make a distinction between a watchdog and a guard dog. A watchdog will sound a warning but is usually not big enough to effectively guard. In many situations a warning is sufficient to warn off robbers, who are by definition cowards.
The Bichon Frise needs to be a dog friendly household and will not be happy if left alone for long periods of time or relocated to crate or kennel. Their ideal family takes them everywhere and spends time with them both playing and just being together on a daily basis. They need daily walks and play time but they are not a high energy breed. These dogs excel at obedience work and agility.