Bichons are loveable little dogs whose sole purpose is to bring joy into the lives of families, including those who normally would not be able to enjoy the company of a dog because of allergy problems. These lovely little dogs do not shed coat and so they are tolerated well by 99% of families with these problems. Gentle, perky, playful, and affectionate, the Bichon is a delightful family companion, well-suited for apartment living or for families with older children. Some Bichons dislike sudden touching, which makes them unsuitable for families with small children. Prospective buyers should keep in mind that this breed needs to be with people; families that spend most of the time away from home should select another breed.
- The Bichon Frisť stands tall at 9.5-11.5 inches at the withers and weighs seven-to-12 pounds. His compact body is medium-boned and is slightly longer than tall. His sassy expression is enhanced by halos of dark skin around black eyes and by black eye rims and nose leather.
- Bichon ears droop and are covered with long flowing hair trimmed to balanced a bearded muzzle and a slightly rounded head. The neck is arched, giving the dog a confident stance.
- The lowest point of the Bichon chest reaches the elbow or below and flows smoothly along the ribs and abdomen to a moderate tuck-up in front of the hind legs. The back is firm, the body well-muscled for effortless movement. The tail is well-plumed and curves gracefully over the back.
- Bichons are always white, but puppies can have shadings of buff, cream, or apricot around ears and on the body.
- The Bichon coat is unique. The undercoat is soft and dense, the guard hairs coarser and curlier. When trimmed, the coat follows the lines of the body and is left long enough to give the breed's characteristic poufy appearance, with hair left longer on head, ears, beard, and tail. The coat should not be wiry, limp, or over-soft.
- The Bichon gets along well with other animals; he is bright, and outgoing and loves to learn tricks. He's not a guard, but he does bark when strangers approach.
- The Bichon Frisť began life as the Tenerife Terrier on Tenerife Island in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean northwest of the African coast. Eventually, as trade routes expanded and countries changed hands, the Tenerife Terrier traveled to the Continent and evolved into the Bichon Frisť of today.
- Anyone considering a Bichon should carefully weigh the amount of time available for grooming, for the coat needs lots of attention. Bichon undercoat does not drop when the hair dies, so it must be combed from the coat to avoid hot spots and prevent mats and tangles. Even if the dog is to be professionally groomed regularily, owners must be prepared to brush the pet at least twice each week. Puppies must be accustomed to brushing at an early age, a process that requires much patience and gentle handling.
- White dogs stay white by frequent bathing. The coat must be completely free of snarls before bathing or the hair will compress into felt-like mats.
- Other than coat care, the Bichon is a relatively easy keeper.
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- The Bichon is a wonderfully trainable breed. He enjoys obedience, tricks, therapy work, and agility. Training must be gentle and firm, with no harsh corrections or scolding. Buckle collars, leather training collars, or reversed pinch collars are acceptable for training, but chain or nylon chokers will get tangled in the hair. Treat training works well, although an owner could easily fall into the habit of treating a Bichon into obesity when the little dog learns the variety of tricks he is capable of. Roughhousing is definitely out with this guy, and play-training is in.
- The Bichon is highly sociable but can become frantic if not appropriately trained as a puppy and young adult. He's fairly active indoors, so owners must teach some manners for control.
Last updated July 27,2001