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rec.pets.dogs: Bichon Frise Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/bichon-frise
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Last-modified: 23 Mar 1998

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                             Bichon Frise FAQ

     * Janice Sheehy (
   Created September 21, 1996. 
   Copyright 1996, 1997, and 1998 by Janice Sheehy
Table of Contents

     * What is the average size of a Bichon Frise?
     * Do they come in any other color than white?
     * How often do you have to groom the dog?
     * What is the difference between "Pet" and "Show" quality?
     * Is there a national Bichon Frise club?
     * Are there local Bichon Frise clubs?
     * How do I find a quality Bichon from a reputable breeder?
     * Is it easy to house train a Bichon?
     * What are the pink marks below the Bichon's eyes?
     * What are halos?
     * Do Bichons get along with children?
     * Do Bichons get along with other pets?
     * Do Bichons have trouble bonding to new owners?
     * What is the expected life span of the dog?
     * Bichon Frise Breed Discussion List
What is the average size of a Bichon Frise?

     The preferred size range is 9 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches for dogs and
     bitches. However, according to the AKC, dogs and bitches, 9 to 12
     inches, are still considered in the standard. The AKC does not
     specify how much the dog should weigh. However, the normal Bichon
     weight is approximately 10 to 18 pounds, depending on the size of
     the dog.
Do they come in any other color than white?

     The Bichon Frise is a white dog. The contrast between the white
     coat and the black nose, halos, eye rims, and etc. is what the
     ideal specimen is known for and should be adhered to. There is some
     allowance made in the AKC standard for shadings in small amounts.
     Puppies are often born with shadings of buff, cream, or apricot.
     However, these shadings usually disappear by the time the dog is 12
     months old.
How often do you have to groom the dog?

     It is imperative that the Bichon undergo regular
     grooming otherwise the coat mats. Since the Bichon does not shed,
     mats are a serious concern, as they may result in skin sores,
     tearing and skin disease. Heavily matted animals must be shaved to
     solve the problem. Grooming means a thourough brushing at least
     once a week (and then you will find mats but they shouldn't be too
     bad). Daily brushing is much better. If done on a daily basis, it
     will take approximately 15 minutes. Pet cut Bichons will have a
     shorter coat and should go to the groomers for cuts every 6 to 8
     weeks. Show cut Bichons, in full show coat, (the coat is kept
     longer) should go to the groomers at least monthly or sooner. It is
     very important if you maintain the Bichon in show coat to brush
     them on a daily basis. The cost for grooming varies but the average
     cost is between $35 and $50. For a lot of the groomers, it will
     depend on how many mats they find and how long it takes to get them
     Pet or show cut, Bichons may need to be bathed in
     between grooming appointments. First, brush and comb them out
     completely and remove any mats. If mats are left in, they are
     impossible to get out after the coat gets wet. After the bath, you
     will need to blow dry while brushing the coat out. The average time
     it takes to bathe and brush out a Bichon is 1 1/2 to 2 hours, if
     the dog is in pet cut, much longer if the Bichon is in show coat.
     These times do not include the time it takes to trim the nails (on
     a weekly basis) and pluck the hair from the ear.
What is the difference between "Pet" and "Show" quality?

     Every Bichon is a pet, however, some are show, too. In order
     for a Bichon to be show quality, the dog needs to match the AKC
     Standard as close as possible. If you answer yes to all of the
     following questions (honestly), you should have your Bichon
     evaluated by a reputable handler for show possibilities, if you are
     interested in showing your Bichon.

     Temperament-Does your Bichon have a friendly and outgoing
     personality to everyone, not just you?

     Attitude-Does the Bichon have the "here I am, you gotta love me

     Size-Is the Bichon 9 1/2 inches or more but less than l2 inches?

     Color-Is the Bichon white with less than 10 percent shadings of
     cream or buff? (Puppies are excluded from this test.)

     Eyes-Does the Bichon have black/dark eyes?

     Pigment-Does the dog have black lips, pads, and nose?

     Bite-Does the Bichon have a scissors bite?

     Halos-Does the dog have black or dark brown skin surrounding the

     Proportions-Does the Bichon match the AKC Standard proportions?

     Movement-This is very difficult to evaluate, it is best left to an
Is there a national Bichon Frise club?

     Yes, the Bichon Frise Club of America was founded in 1964. The
     corresponding secretary's address is: Bernice Richardson,
     Corresponding Secretary, 186 Ash Street North, Twin Falls, Idaho
Are there local Bichon Frise clubs?

     Yes, there are local Bichon Frise Clubs across the United States. A
     full listing is posted at: National & Local Bichon Frise Clubs in
     the United States. 
How do I find a quality Bichon from a reputable breeder?

     The best way to find a quality Bichon Frise is to attend an
     American Kennel Club sanctioned dog show in your area. You can find
     out about upcoming shows in your area from the American Kennel Club
     Upcoming Events. Talk to the Bichon Frise exhibitors at the show.
     Ask them if they have a litter or if they are aware of any litters
     that will be available in the time frame you are looking for. Ask
     the breeder if they have the CERF (eyes are tested on a yearly
     basis) and OFA (x-ray of the hips done once after the dog is two
     years old) certificates. If the breeder does not test their dogs,
     walk away. This is not a reputable breeder.
     Another way to locate a quality breeder is to contact your local
     Bichon Frise club. There is a full listing of all the local Bichon
     clubs and the National club, please write to the club that is
     located near you. If there isn't a local club, contact Jane
     Lagemann, Breeder Referral for the Bichon Frise Club of America,
     Inc., Hounds Ridge Road, Lewisville, North Carolina 27023,
     Telephone Number (910) 945-9788. Ms. Lagemann will be able to
     inform you of any breeders in your area.
     I would be extremely careful of "Puppy Brokers". These people
     usually obtain their puppies from puppy mills. Another source of
     puppies I would stay away from is pet stores. Again, their source
     of puppies is usually puppy mills. I would be leery of anyone
     willing to deliver a puppy to your doorstep. You should be able to
     see where the puppy was born and raised and in what conditions.
     Also, you should see the mother of the puppy. I would be concerned
     with the fact that the person is willing to deliver the puppy. This
     could be because of poor conditions that the puppies were raised in
     that the breeder does not want you to see.
     There is not an overabundance of Bichon puppies. Do not expect to
     find the perfect puppy quickly. It took me over a year to locate my
     first Bichon and six months to locate my next two Bichons. You need
     to take your time and thoroughly check out the puppy, after all
     this will be a member of your family for the next twelve to fifteen
     years. You want to make sure you get a quality Bichon. Genetic
     testing of BOTH parents is very important. You do not want to fall
     in love with your puppy only to find out he/she has a genetic
     problem that testing could have determined.
Is it easy to house train a Bichon?

     You must be consistent and patient while house
     training a Bichon. They are very intelligent but Bichons are not
     always cooperative with house training. House training can be
     difficult but not impossible. House training works best if you
     confine the dog while you are not watching them or else you will
     end up with numerous "accidents". Crate training makes it much
     easier to house train the dog. The main rule to follow is keep the
     dog confined to the room you are in and give them access, on a
     regular basis, to the place where you want them to go. Bichons can
     be paper trained or trained to go outside. Establish a routine and
     follow it. Bichons can even be trained to go on cue with patience
     and consistency. Each time they do it where you want it done,
     praise them, which they love. Bichons are not as easy to house
     train as some other breeds but it can be done.
What are the pink marks below the Bichon's eyes?

     Staining to the face (under the eyes and around the muzzel) are of
     a particular concern to many Bichon owners because it detracts from
     an otherwise white coat. This is primarily a cosmetic problem,
     however, tear stains may be due to eye problems, blocked tear
     ducts, ingrown eyelashes, or other physical problems. A vet should
     see the dog to eliminate these as a cause. Staining can be
     difficult to control and in most cases cannot be entirely cleaned
     up. Some success has been seen with a change of diet or drinking
     bottled spring water. Commercial eye washes and "tear stain
     remover" are on the market for those who are particularly
     concerned. You must remember all animals tear stain to a degree. It
     is not harmful, just more noticeable in a white coated dog.
What are halos?

     Halos are the black or dark brown skin that surrounds the eyes.
     Proper skin coloring around the eyes, accentuate the eyes and
     enhances the expression. A lack of skin pigment gives the
     impression of a blank look instead of an expressive look.
Do Bichons get along with children?

     Yes, Bichons get along great with children as long as the children
     are well mannered and not abusive to the dog. Bichons love to play
     with children as long as the children remember they are playing
     with a living animal and are not too rough. Parents should
     supervise younger children playing with the small dog to make sure
     the children do not hurt the dog.
Do Bichons get along with other pets?

     Overall, yes Bichons do get along well with other pets. It will
     depend on the personality of your other pet. We had a one year old
     male neutered cat in our household when we added our first Bichon.
     My cat (he is now four and one-half years old) loves the Bichons.
     He washes their faces and the Bichons wash his. He has his favorite
     Bichon but overall he plays with all of them. Not all cats are
     going to be as great as my Nicky. Supervise their play to begin
     with to make sure they get along. You would not want your cat to
     scratch your new Bichon puppy.
     I would be extremely careful if I was adding a Bichon to a
     household that has a large dog for fear that the large dog would
     hurt the smaller Bichon. Supervision is required in the beginning
     until you know for sure that the animals will play nicely together.
Do Bichons have trouble bonding to new owners?

     No, Bichons do not have trouble bonding to new owners. The hallmark
     of the Bichon breed is their temperament. They are friendly,
     loving, and great companion dogs. Bichons adjust very quickly to
     new surroundings and people. They love to be the center of your
What is the expected life span of the dog?

     Bichons normally live from twelve to fifteen years.
Bichon Frise Breed Discussion List

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  Bichon Frise FAQ
  Janice Sheehy
  Last update: _Friday, March 20, 1998_
  Copyright 1998, All Rights Reserved

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