The Bichon Frise became well known to the Italian nobility in the 1300s; in the 1500s the Bichon became a favorite of French kings and nobles, who doused him with perfume and tied ribbons into his coat. In the late 1700s the French Revolution ended the royalty, but the Bichon remained. He happily joined forces with the common people and became a companion to organ grinders as well as the blind.
This cheerful little dog looks like a gentle puffball, but is healthy and sturdy enough for play and exercise. Bichons get along with just about everyone, including strangers and other animals. They are active, alert, and curious. They are also highly trainable with gentle handling.
The Bichon's undercoat is soft and thick; the outer coat is curly and stiffer. It is trimmed evenly to show the natural outline of the dog. Hair on the ears, face, and tail is left longer. His powderpuff coat does not shed, but does require a daily brushing. He should be white with a black nose and big dark eyes.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: Small, sturdy, cheerful, with a jaunty and inquisitive expression.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--91/2 to 111/2 inches at the withers is preferred; 9 to 12 inches is allowed.
The name Bichon Frise is pronounced BEE-shon Free-ZAY. It traces back to the dog's days as a royal French pet. He is descended from the Barbet Water Spaniel from which came the name "Barbichon" later contracted to Bichon. "Bichon Frise" is French for "fluffy little dog."
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.