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Bichon Frise: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Discover the charismatic world of the Bichon Frise. A breed of regal low-riders who sprinkle joy, sass, and companionship into the lives of pet parents all over the globe.

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The Bichon Frise, a member of the non-sporting group, has a rich history dating back to the 14th century. Believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area (the exact lineage has been debated for ages), this breed became a favorite among the Spanish and French royalty. The crown jewels got nothing on these fabulous little guys!

The origin of the Bichon Frise can be traced back to the Water Spaniel and Standard Poodle, among other small white breeds of dog around this time.


Bichon Frises are small dogs with a vibrant, fluffy white coat resembling a cotton ball. They have a baby-doll face, with dark, round eyes and a black nose. Their plumed tail curves gracefully over the back, giving them a sprightly appearance.

Similar breeds

When you first lay eyes on a Bichon Frise, you might be reminded of a few other fluffy and charming breeds. Their adorable appearance shares quite a few similarities with the Maltese, a breed renowned for its flowing white coat and loving nature.

You might also notice resemblances with the Coton de Tulear, another breed boasting a cotton-like coat and a cheerful disposition.

The Toy Poodle also comes to mind due to their intelligent and trainable personality, coupled with a hypoallergenic coat that appeals to pet parents with allergies.


Bichon Frises are known for their cheerful disposition and love for companionship. They are highly sociable and adapt well to family life, forming strong bonds with their pet parents.

The typical Bichon Frise temperament is playful and affectionate in nature, which makes them excellent companions for families, singles, and seniors alike.

Are Bichon Frise hypoallergenic?

Yes, Bichon Frises are considered hypoallergenic, which means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Their coat is woolly and doesn't shed much, trapping dander instead of releasing it into the environment.

Looking for other allergy-friendly dogs? Take a look at our guide to hypoallergenic breeds.

Health concerns

Though generally healthy, Bichon Frises are prone to certain health issues such as:

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Allergies

  • Cataracts

  • Patellar luxation

  • Bladder problems

Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect and address these issues early on.

How big do Bichon Frise get?

Bichon Frises are small dogs, generally weighing between 12-18 pounds (5.4-8.2 kg) and standing about 9-11 inches (23-28 cm) tall.

A dog’s age, whether they’re male or female, and their activity levels can affect their size in adulthood. If they’re a mixed breed, this estimate can be a bit more complex.

Life expectancy

Bichon Frises have a relatively long lifespan, usually living between 14 to 15 years, though many can live even longer with proper care and a healthy lifestyle.

Expected lifetime cost

The expected lifetime cost of owning a Bichon Frise can range between $21,000 to $51,000. This includes expenses such as food, grooming, regular vet visits, and other supplies and services.

Estimated cost to insure

The estimated annual cost to insure a Bichon Frise can range from $200 to $600, depending on various factors such as age, health status, and the coverage chosen.

The good, the bad, the ugly

As you consider welcoming a Bichon Frise into your home, it's vital to embrace both their shining qualities and the challenges that come with them. Here we unveil the good, the somewhat bad, and the slightly ugly traits to give you a holistic view of what it's like to have a Bichon Frise as part of your family.

  1. Cuddle Monsters: Bichon Frises are extremely affectionate and have a deep love for cuddling. Their warm and loving nature means they're always up for a snuggle session.

  2. Grooming Galore: Keeping that fluffy coat in tip-top shape requires frequent grooming. Pet parents should be prepared for regular brushing sessions to prevent mats and tangles.

  3. Separation Anxiety Susceptible: These dogs can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. It's crucial to gradually acclimate them to alone time to prevent distress.

  4. Apartment Adaptable: Despite their zest for life, they adapt remarkably well to various living environments, including apartment living, thanks to their moderate energy levels.

  5. Stubborn Streak: Training a Bichon Frise might test your patience at times, as they can be somewhat stubborn, particularly when it comes to house training. A consistent and positive approach will yield the best results.

So you want a Bichon Frise...

If you're seeking a cheerful, loving, and adaptable furry companion, a Bichon Frise might just be the breed for you. They thrive in households where they receive ample affection and engagement.

Their hypoallergenic coat makes them a great choice for allergy sufferers, though prospective pet parents should be prepared for regular grooming sessions to keep their coat healthy. With a Bichon Frise by your side, you're in for years of joy, laughter, and unconditional love.

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