The Bichon Frise is descended from the Water Spaniel and the Standard Poodle. This small breed owes much of its international popularity to sailors who brought the well-mannered dogs aboard their ships and even used them to trade in port. As a result of the trade, the breed became popular among the nobility in several European cities. Due to turmoil on the continent, interest declined in the Bichon Frise until the breed began to appear in far less regal settings.
The Bichon Frise has now become a common sight on the streets of France where these dogs would perform tricks and accompany organ players. Fairs and circuses also banked on the popularity and trainability of the Bichon Frise. Popularity has yet to wane, and the breed is recognized by many official organizations in many different countries.
A Bichon Frise is usually no more than 12 inches high, though somewhat larger dogs are not terribly uncommon. A rather rounded skull lends to this small breed's gentle look, though the body under all of that fur is quite sturdy. The ears naturally drop to the side of the head without surgical intervention. The tail curls up over the dog's body, and, like the rest of the body, is covered in the curly white or cream coat.
This outer coat covers a softer inner coat that also helped to make this breed a hardy seafaring companion during its early development.
There are a number of ways to clip this particular breed's coat, but an even length cut all around is fairly popular.
In recent years, the Bichon Frise has been bred primarily as a companion animal. This small dog is generally described as everything from merry to loving. Families with children can generally rest easy with a Bichon Frise around, though all animals should be judged independently for suitability. Other pets, including small animals and exotics, are usually relatively safe.
No matter the living situation, this is a people-friendly and people-dependent dog.
The health of this breed partially depends on company and mental stimulation.
For being such a small dog, the Bichon Frise can experience tremendous and sudden bouts of energy. This is an active breed that requires daily exercise to prevent problem behaviors that can be quite a destruction to the home. That being said, a well-trained Bichon Frise makes an excellent roommate. Unlike some other small dogs, this breed tends to be less vocal, so the constant yap of a small dog is less of an issue, especially for dog owners living in close quarters with other individuals or families. Any differences in behavior can generally be managed with careful and consistent training because this is a very obedient dog.
The popularity of the Bichon Frise lives on for a reason. This companion animal fits remarkably well into the hearts and lives of enthusiasts around the world, and that is not likely to change in the near or distant future.