Bichon Frise.jpg
Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 7-12 pounds. Females: 7-12 pounds.
Height Males: 9-12 inches. Females: 9-12 inches.
Other Name(s) Bichon, Bichon a Poil Frise, Bichon Tenerife, Tenerife
Breed Type Pure
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Bichon Frise

Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 7-12 pounds. Females: 7-12 pounds.
Height Males: 9-12 inches. Females: 9-12 inches.
Other Name(s) Bichon, Bichon a Poil Frise, Bichon Tenerife, Tenerife
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

The Bichon Frise is an ancient breed of the “bichon” family, with bichon being the Middle French word meaning “small long-haired lapdog.” The exact origin of this merry breed remains a mystery. However, it is believed to have originated in the central Mediterranean, Sicily, Egypt, and various parts of Europe. Like the Bichon Bolognese, Maltese, and Havanese, the origins of the Bichon Frise—also known as the Bichon Tenerife—are shrouded in mystery. This is due largely to the fact that the Bichon-types were similar not only in appearance and size, but also in origin, making it difficult to determine the exact route of each breed’s exact history.

The Tenerife hails from the Canary Islands, located off of the coast of Spain. This was a popular port of call with sailors and traders who found these cheery little dogs to be suitable companions for lengthy stints at sea. The Tenerife dogs were a true seaman’s dog, keeping lonely sailors company with their endearing nature and entertaining them with their antics. The sailors and traders brought these little dogs with them throughout all of their ports of call, eventually making their way to France. There, the Tenerife became an instant hit with French Royalty, where they became an extension of the French Monarchy’s façade. The dogs were crossed with local poodles and barbets, giving them a luxurious curly coat that could be styled in various ways. These lavish little lap dogs charmed numerous French aristocrats for centuries, including King Henry III. It was said that he carried his Bichons around with him in a basket wherever he went. There, the Bichons, now referred to as Bichon à poil frisé (meaning “Bichon with the curly hair”) enjoyed a life in the lap of royalty. Unfortunately, the fate of the favored pup would soon take a different turn. Between 1789 and 1799 during the French Revolution, the breed lost its luxurious position and was quite literally tossed out onto the streets.

Like all good dogs, the Bichon could not be kept down. Soon the Bichon Frise’s charming demeanor attracted the attention of commoners, peasants, street vendors, and circus performers. Realizing their charm and intelligence, the Bichon became a staple in street performances and the big ring, traveling the world and spreading the breed’s popularity.

Despite its threatened existence during both World Wars, the Bichon became one of the most popular companion dogs in the United States during the 1980s, when he was dubbed the “yuppie puppy” and once again enjoyed a life in the lap of luxury. Today, the Bichon is a popular dog breed enjoyed by people of all different socioeconomic backgrounds. They are still renowned for their beauty, charm, and loving demeanor.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The skull may be flat to the touch to slightly rounded, with the coat giving it a more exaggerated rounded appearance. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted, well-pigmented, and black, further emphasizing the expression. Whites of the eyes should not be visible. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and drop, being set just higher than eye level and rather forward. When alerted, the ears should fall forward and frame the face. The leathers should hang close to the head. When extended, the tips should reach the midway point of the muzzle. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Bridge of the muzzle is level and straight from stop to tip of the nose. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and not to appear short with the thick coat. Approximately 1/3 the distance of the total body length. It is strongly muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup and level with the topline, or may fall just below the horizontal. Thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually curved up over the back, but never tucked. Tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. When extended forward over the back, it should reach the halfway point to the withers.
Movement: The Bichon’s movement is free, energetic, and effortless. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Bichon Frise is well-known for his gentle, merry, and affable temperament. Their intelligence and eagerness to be with their family makes them a wonderful companion. They are known to be good natured, sensitive, and playful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 12: Companion and Toy Breeds

Proportions: The Bichon Frise is an off-square to just slightly rectangular breed. The length from the withers to the tail set is equal to the distance from the withers to the ground. The length of the body (from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump) exceeds the height at the withers by 11-25%. The body should never appear overly rectangular or low to the ground. Substance is sturdy and medium-boned.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The skull may be flat to the touch to slightly rounded, with the coat giving it a more exaggerated rounded appearance. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: The expression is gentle, soft, alert, and inquisitive.
Stop: The stop may be slightly accentuated to somewhat marked.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 3:5, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is convergent.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Bridge of the muzzle is level and straight from stop to tip of the nose. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. The lips should not appear pendulous or droopy.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Cheeks may be flat or slightly padded. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted, well-pigmented, and black, further emphasizing the expression. Whites of the eyes should not be visible. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and drop, being set just higher than eye level and rather forward. When alerted, the ears should fall forward and frame the face. The leathers should hang close to the head. When extended, the tips should reach the midway point of the muzzle. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and not to appear short with the thick coat. Approximately 1/3 the distance of the total body length. It is strongly muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat, and level. The topline is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck up is present. The underline runs parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup and level with the topline, or may fall just below the horizontal. Thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually curved up over the back, but never tucked. Tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. When extended forward over the back, it should reach the halfway point to the withers.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle and bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of good bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one paw-length behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Soft, fine, silky, dense, coarse, tight, cork-screw curls outer coat, when touched, the coat will spring back into place. When blown dry, the coat is reminiscent of a cotton ball. The undercoat is soft and dense. The ears are well-feathered and the tail is well-plumed. Never flat, wavy, rough, corded, or without undercoat. 2-4 in. in length
Coat Color or Pattern: The coat should be white, however shadings of light tan, biscuit, cream, or apricot on the ears or body is permissible.

Movement

The Bichon’s movement is free, energetic, and effortless. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Bichon Frise is well-known for his gentle, merry, and affable temperament. Their intelligence and eagerness to be with their family makes them a wonderful companion. They are known to be good natured, sensitive, and playful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.