The Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise
By Michael Russell
The words Bichon Frise actually mean “fluffy little dog”. This was the name given to the breed in 1933 by the European Kennel club (Federation Cynologique Internationale) when there was a huge discussion as to what to name the breed, which had applied for registration in the stud book. There had existed since before the time of Christ several varieties of the small white fluffy dog, throughout Europe and South America. The little dog had been called by many names, including the Dog of Havana, the Dog of Holland, the Dog of Bologna and others. Actually it is most likely that these original names represented variations of this breed and later these variations did receive their own designations of the Bolognese and Havanese. At any rate, the “fluffy little dog” that was always white became known as the Bichon Frise, usually just designated the “Bichon” .
The coat of the Bichon as it is presented in the show ring is usually quite rounded and trimmed and fluffed so that in the end one can hardly distinguish the actual bones or muscling of the body. If groomed as for the show, the little dog has a large squared off appearance to the head and the entire body is covered with fine soft coat about 3 inches in length, curly and “fluffy” all over. The coat is always white. However when one has a pet Bichon this is not an easy task to keep this appearance. One drawback as far as this type of grooming is that folks who want to have it look that perfect must devote a portion of their time nearly every other day to brushing the dog “to the skin” to keep the coat fluffy and mat free and giving baths as necessary to keep the coat clean. Many “pet” owners elect to keep the coat short and trimmed for ease.
The Bichon Frise is very healthy. There are no genetic conditions known and except for keeping up to date with the inoculations there should be few vet visits. The Bichon learns tricks easily and loves to perfume them. It is a friendly and affectionate dog and loves to be a lap dog but also loves to play and is no stranger to begging for attention. The Bichon usually has a consistent temperament of gentleness, a clownish playful attitude and is affectionate to everyone it meets. It is easy to see why this dog has become a favorite as a pet. It is small enough for elderly folks to hold in their lap, it is friendly and usually non aggressive in nature, so it is a safe dog for a family with children. The size is appropriate for apartment living and the intelligence of the breed is undeniable, the dog has been used historically as a circus dog to perform tricks and entertain the public. However, when allowed to, the Bichon can become spoiled and it would be well for the owner to remember that all dogs, regardless of their size, do need training and an occasional reminder of who is boss. Unfortunately as a breed becomes more popular, it is also true that it can be “overbred” by unscrupulous breeders who are only out to put money in their pocket. When this happens it can be possible that poor temperament can be bred into a bloodline and sometimes this has happened with the Bichon, as it is becoming apparent that more and more of these little dogs are becoming “tyrants” of the household. Responsible owners will buy from responsible breeders and will take their little puppy to an obedience class. If attention is paid at the beginning, the little puppy will grow into a great little dog rather than a spoiled rotten little brat.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs
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