Did you know that while a Bichon Frise, especially puppies, might look like a toy dog, they’re actually not considered part of the toy group? Bichon Frise are actually considered a part of the non-sporting class of dogs, despite being so small in size. Despite many people mispronouncing the name (BEE-shawn FREE-say) these have become a very popular breed as a family dog, here are some other fun facts you might not know about the Bichon Frise.
- Sounds French– While the name is French (Bichon Frise literally translates from French as “curly lap dog:) it was a name that was only recently applied. This breed has a long standing history, having been around for thousands of years. Bichon Frise were quite popular in France, but also in Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean as well.
- Good will Ambassador– In the 14th century, it was common for a Bichon Frise to be found on a ship with Spanish Sailors. Because of the dog’s friendly demeanor, it made it easier for the sailors to develop a good relation with foreign countries. These dogs were so well liked that they were even bartered for goods which helped to spread a world wide popularity for the breed.
- Going to the Circus– Bichon Frise were even found in the circus! In the 19th century, the playful nature, combined with intelligence for learning new tricks helped them find their way into the circus as part of an organ grinders show.
- The Dog of Kings– Many dog breeds have become popular for people of power and the Bichon is no exception. Not only was King Henry III so enamored with these curly lapdogs, he even carried them around with him in a basket. The pampering of these pretty pups became so common that the french word bichonner (to pamper, to make pretty) came to be.
- Hypoallergenic– While there is no such thing as a truly allergen free dog, some breeds are hypoallergenic and the Bichon Frise are at the top of the list. While their double coats are thick and curly, they don’t shed. This is a plus when it comes to both allergies, and vacuuming.
- A Dog that Hates Water– While there are many different breeds of dogs that are just as happy in water as they are on dry land, but the Bichon Frise isn’t one of them. Which is ironic, given their popularity with the Spanish sailors.
- One of the Newer Breeds to the US– Despite their growing popularity, it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that the Bichon made it’s way to the United States. It wasn’t long after it did, however, that they became quite popular in American households. The Bichon Frise was recognized by the AKC in 1973.
While many people are hesitant to take in smaller dogs due to being more frail than other breeds, the Bichon Frise are hearty. Good natured and playful, this adorable breed is a good fit for homes with other pets as well as children (it’s still advised to be careful with especially young children as they can still hurt the dog). If you’re looking for a playful pup with a long history, the Bichon Frise might be for you.