If you’re looking to add a small, cuddly, and playful dog to your family, the Bichon Frise is an excellent choice. These dogs are small in size, have a fluffy white coat, dark black eyes, and look almost like a stuffed animal. They are hailed for their amazing dispositions, and can be quite charming and even silly. They’re also very intelligent and love to spend time with their human companions.
The Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Barbichon, which hailed from the Spanish Canary Islands and was used as a sailing companion. The breed became closely associated with European nobles around the Renaissance, the French bred them to be friendly lap dogs, which is quite apparent. Though they have been in existence for centuries in Europe, they are relatively new to the United States, as they didn’t arrive in this country until 1955. It wasn’t until 1972 that this breed as registered with the American Kennel Club.
For more information about the cute, playful, friendly, and energetic Bichon Frise, keep on reading!
Bichon Frise Food and Health
The Bichon Frise is a small dog, weighing between 12 and 18 pounds when full-grown. Their diet needs to be well-managed, as this breed enjoys eating and can become obese. Your Bichon’s diet should consist of pure animal proteins, such as fish, turkey, and chicken, as well as fiber and carbohydrates. A good option is the Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice blend. Bichons can also eat fruits and vegetables; however, use care when feeding him these foods, as certain fruits like grapes are dangerous for dogs. Speak to your vet to find out what types of foods are considered unsafe for your Bichon.
To ensure his dietary needs are being met, feeding him a premium-quality commercial dog food is recommended. Dry food is ideal, but canned food is also a good option; or, you can combine the two. A serving size of half a cup to one and half cups daily is suggested; however, the amount of food your dog will require depends on his lifestyle and age. Generally, puppies and active adult Bichons will need more calories, while older and more sedentary Bichons should eat less. Again, speak to your vet to find out exactly how much your Bichon should be eating.
In regard to their health, Bichons Frises are prone to several health conditions. Bladder infections, patellar luxation, hip and elbow dysplasia, and cataracts are just some of the complications they can develop. Many Bichons also suffer from food and contact allergies. Given the medical issues that can arise, it’s a wise idea to invest in pet insurance. This type of coverage works similarly to health insurance for humans. It’s designed to prevent you from having to pay the high cost of veterinary care out of your own pocket. There are several highly regarded companies that offer pet insurance, including Nationwide and Allstate. You can also find independent insurance providers in your local area. For example, Trupanion offers great coverage in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Pet First provides policies in Southern Florida.
Leashes and Collars for your Bichon Frise
Bichons Frises are small dogs, and as such, extreme care needs to be taken when choosing a collar and leash for your dog. Bichons have a lot of energy and since they are small, excessive force placed on the collar when a leash is attached to it can cause injuries. We recommend using a harness for walking your Bichon. Make sure that it fits your dog properly, and choose something that is made of a rolled material, as it will prevent the soft hair from matting. Also, a v-neck vest harness is highly recommended, as it will prevent choking. Examples of harnesses that will work well with a Bichon Frise include the All-Day Adventure Harness, the No-Pull Pet Harness, or the EcoBark Control Dog Harness.
When searching for a collar, make sure that you can fit two fingers between it and your dog’s neck. A good option is a Martingale collar, since they will tighten gently when your dog pulls.
For a leash, consider the needs of your dog and his disposition, as well as comfort and ease of use. You can use a standard lead with your Bichon. If you decide to go this route, stick to one that offers no more than 7 feet of room for your dog to roam.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Bichons Frises
Bichons Frises enjoy spending time with their human companions and generally, they do not like to be kept alone. As such, you may not want to keep your dog in a crate on a constant basis; however, a crate is a valuable tool for training. It can also be used to safely transport your pup, and to offer him a secure space for those times when you aren’t home.
When selecting a crate, the size of your dog is the most important consideration. It should offer enough space for your pup to stand up and turn around; however, there shouldn’t be any unused space. Also, keep in mind that if you have a puppy, you will need to adjust the size of the crate has he grows. To save money, consider a crate that features a divider, such as the MidWest Homes metal crate. Also, make sure that the crate offers plenty of air flow for your dog.
For bedding, practically anything will work; however, Bichons like to curl up and feel like they are in a “nest” when they sleep, so a donut-shaped bed is a good choice. Keep the size of your dog in mind when selecting a bed, and consider the material, as puppies, in particular, like to chew.
Bichons Frises are not meant to be outside dogs; they are companion dogs and should be kept inside. However, if he is going to be spending any amount of time outside, a dog house will provide the protection he needs. Size and features are important considerations when selecting a dog house. Think about your climate when determining the style and features; for example, if you live in Arizona, opt for a dog house that features air conditioning.
Bichon Frise Toys
As mentioned, Bichons Frises are extremely playful and active. They like lots of activity and want to be entertained (and they also like to entertain!) To keep your pup happy, you should definitely offer him a variety of toys.
There are plenty of great toys on the market, and there are several that will work well for a Bichon Frise. Plush squeak toys that are shaped like animals or any other novelty design are lots of fun for you and your dog to play with. Toys that dispense treats are also a good pick for this type of dog. They’re made of durable materials and are designed to house treats, which your pup has to work at to figure out how to release.
Tossing toys, such as frisbees, balls, and boomerangs, will also provide hours of fun. An automated toy that tosses balls is a great option for when your dog is home alone.
With any toy, be sure to consider your dog’s size. This breed is small and large toys will be difficult to handle, so instead, opt for something on the small size.
Grooming Insights for Bichon Frise owners
The Bichon has a double coat of fluffy white fur. Though it’s claimed that they don’t shed, that’s not exactly true, as any animal that has hair sheds. In order to maintain the health and beauty of his coat, and to ensure your dog is comfortable and keep the shedding to a minimum, combing your dog at least twice a week is recommended. Combing also prevents matting, which can cause skin irritations, if left uncared for.
Reserve bathing for only when it is necessary, monthly should suffice; but if your dog is very active, he might require a bath more frequently. Use a hypoallergenic shampoo, especially if your dog has skin sensitivities.
You should also be mindful of flea and tick control. There are some excellent products to choose from that are designed to keep ticks and fleas at bay, including Frontline Plus or Bayer K9 Advantix; however, speak to your vet to determine which option to use. Some products may work better in certain environments; for example, if your dog spends a lot of time near the water in New England, an internal medication may be a better choice, while a topical solution may work well for the plains of South Dakota.
Bichon Frise Accessories
To keep your dog happy, safe, and looking cute as a button, you might want to consider using some accessories with him. For example, since their hair is so fluffy, this breed looks adorable with bows and pins. Car booster seats and dog seat belts can keep this little dog well protected while traveling in a vehicle. A cooling vest will help to keep your dog nice and cool while taking walks in hot climates.
Consider the needs of your dog and his lifestyle when determining what type of accessories to use with him.