Bichon Frise dog breed information and advice
This guide contains everything you need to know about Bichon Frises. Find out if they’re an easy breed to train, how much exercise they need and how often they need grooming.
Bichon Frise facts
12 - 15 years
£200 - £2000, average £650
23 - 28 cm
3 - 5 kg
white, cream, apricot
brush 2 - 3 times a week and monthly haircuts
affectionate, gentil, intelligent
30 minutes per day
Bichon Frise insurance
Illness and injuries can happen at any age and treatment can be expensive. If you take out dog insurance for your Bichon Frise, this can help cover the cost of vet bills for surgery for and medication. This means you can afford to give your dog the care that it needs.
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance
Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance can protect your Bichon Frise puppy from 8 weeks old up to any age. If you have an older dog, you can take out a new policy up to their 8th birthday. Your Bichon Frise is expected to live to 12-15 years, so make sure you cover them before they turn 8. Once you have cover in place, we’ll insure your Bichon Frise for their entire life - as long as you renew your policy year after year.
How to care for a Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are not big eaters but they are high maintenance when it comes to grooming. They don’t need much exercise, but they do love to socialise and play.
Feeding and nutrition
Some Bichon Frises are picky eaters, so it’s best to stick to food they like, as they may begin refusing it. And also, changing the type of dog food can also upset their tummies, especially if it’s done quickly. Make sure the food you choose contains the nutrients needed for your dog. Ask your vet if you are unsure.
A Bichon Frise puppy will prefer to eat smaller meals more often, rather than one meal a day. Feed a puppy 3-4 times a day and as they get older move to twice a day. You’ll find guidelines on how much you should feed your Bichon Frise on the back of the food packaging.
The Bichon Frise coat is perfect for fancy haircuts, but unfortunately those tight curls are prone to matting. You’ll need to brush your dog 2-3 times a week to keep their coat knot-free and healthy. You shouldn’t brush a dry coat, so lightly mist it with water before you start.
Their coat is thick and dense, so it will need washing every 1-2 weeks. Your pet will also need regular haircuts to keep it clean and healthy. Some people like the circular facial cut, but it’s up to you what style you want to go for.
They’re not big walkers, so 30 minutes of daily exercise is enough. They love to play and socialise with other dogs. Teaching your dog tricks is a great way to exercise them and keep them entertained. To them, it’ll feel like they’re playing a game. It’s easier to train puppies, but even an old dog can learn new tricks.
Bichon Frises are intelligent and want to please their owner, making them easy to train. But they can be stubborn and difficult when it comes to house training. You’ll need to be patient and dedicated, especially when toilet training a puppy.
Temperament and behaviour
Bichon Frises can be yappy and destroy things by chewing. This behaviour is normally due to separation anxiety, so they shouldn’t be left alone for too long. Giving them toys to play with or having a companion will also help.
They have a gentle temperament but may show signs of aggression if they’re scared. You should socialise your dog from a young age so that they learn not to fear other dogs. Puppy classes and dog walking groups are a great way to exercise and socialise your dog.
Common health problems
Some health issues linked to Bichon Frises are more common with old age. Dental problems and kidney stones are more likely to develop in older dogs. But there are other conditions that you’ll need to keep an eye out for in a younger dog.
Luxating patella is an unstable kneecap that jumps out of its groove during movement. Some dogs are born with a shallow groove or a ligament that attaches to the wrong place. These dogs will develop lameness before they are a year old. It can also happen after an injury to the knee when the soft tissues are damaged.
Affected dogs will hop and have difficulty jumping. If left untreated it will lead to arthritis, causing permanent pain and lameness. Surgery is needed to give the dog a normal, active life. A deeper groove can be cut, and ligaments can be repositioned to hold the kneecap in place. Surgery is generally straight forward and usually has a good outcome.
Legg Calvé Perthes disease
This is an uncommon condition that affects toy dog breeds. The cause is unknown, but it’s an inherited condition. The problem develops due to a disrupted blood supply to the ball of the thigh bone. This results in the bone dying and collapsing, leading to osteoarthritis of the hip joint.
It can affect dogs as young as 5 months old. Hindlimb lameness is a sign of the condition, but x-rays are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Your dog will show signs of irritability when touched because they will be in pain.
Changes are irreversible and it’ll continue to get worse. Pain killers can be given to reduce the pain, but surgery or total hip replacement will be needed. This is expensive and has a long recovery time. Your dog will need rehabilitation therapy to strengthen the affected joints.
Periodontal disease is a dental infection that causes inflammation of the gums. It occurs when food and bacteria collect along the gum causing plaque. If this plaque is left it turns to tartar. This condition is common in older dogs.
You’ll know if your dog has periodontal disease as you’ll see a build-up of brown/yellow tartar on your dog’s teeth. They’ll also have red gums and may be unwilling to eat as it can cause discomfort. Your dog will need dental treatment to remove the tartar and any damaged teeth.
This progressive disease can be prevented by brushing your dog’s teeth daily to remove the plaque before it becomes tartar.
What is a Bichon Frise?
Bichon Frise is a breed of dog. The breed existed in Mediterranean countries in the 14th century but their name is French. The word ‘bichon’ means white dog, and ‘frise’ is used to describe their soft, curly coat. Bichon Frise translates to curly lap dog - a perfect description.
How long do Bichon Frises live for?
Bichon Frises have a life expectancy of 12-15 years – many years of happiness with your best friend. Their lifespan is affected by their health, so it’s important to give them the correct care. Diet, exercise, training and grooming will all affect their quality of life.
Do Bichon Frises shed?
You may be surprised to find out that they don’t shed. They have a lot of hair which should be brushed at least 2-3 times a week to keep it smooth and tangle free. Most Bichon Frise owners will take their dog to a professional groomer monthly to keep their fur trimmed.
Are Bichon Frises hypoallergenic?
No dog is fully hypoallergenic, but the Bichon Frise coat doesn’t shed, so allergy suffers are less likely to react to this breed. But you can still be allergic to a Bichon Frise as it’s the skin cells and saliva that can cause reactions.
Is a Bichon Frise right for you?
If you’re looking for an affectionate companion, who is as friendly as they look, then this is the dog for you. Make sure you have lots of time and love to give though, as they can be quite needy.
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Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.