Small Dog Breeds > Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small, non-sporting small breed dog similar in appearance to the Maltese but larger. It hails from Bichon lineage and dates back to the year 1300 when it originated as the result of breeding a Maltese and a poodle. The Bichon Frise served as the queen’s laptop.


Bichon Frises weigh about 10 to 20 pounds and have a height of between 9 and 12 inches at the withers. While those dimensions are typical, larger dogs are common in the breed. The dogs have a somewhat rounded head with a non-pointy muzzle. Bichons have round eyes, a black nose, and a long tail. Their legs and head are proportionate. They have medium-high intelligence.

The dogs are affectionate, playful, and cheerful. They enjoy human interaction and seek attention. The dogs are ideal for children since they’re full of energy and playful. They also do well around other animals. If trained early on, they can be quite obedient.

Coat and Color

The Bichon Frise has a solid grey, white, or apricot coat. The dog’s hair resembles that of a poodle’s, sheds little, and may have minimal amounts of cream or apricot color around their nose, paws, or body.

If groomed frequently and regularly (e.g, every four to eight weeks), the Bichon Frise is hypoallergenic since it does not shed. Grooming prevents dead hair and dander from entering the environment. It also controls the amount of saliva on the dog’s body, which can become a potential allergen. While the Bichon Frise is considered hypoallergenic, the dogs still give off small amounts of allergens (hair, dander, saliva) that some very sensitive people may have problems with.

Height 9-12" at the withers
Weight 10-20 lbs
Life Span 12-13 years
Temperament Affectionate, playful, cheerful
Hypoallergenic Yes
A Bichon Frise has a life span between twelve and thirteen years. The leading causes of death for the breed are old age and cancer, with percentages of 24% and 21%, respectively. The dogs are also susceptible to liver shunts, which often aren’t discovered until later in life. When discovered late in life, the damage is usually too late to be reversed and leads to liver failure. Some signs of shunts include being the runt of a litter, underweight, or having negative reactions to high-protein food. Fortunately, if discovered early a shunt can be corrected by surgery. An untreated shunt will shorten the dog’s life span to only 4 to 6 years. Because of this, it’s important to immediately consult a veterinarian if you notice any of the warning signs.

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