Welcome to our free guide on how to breed Bichon Frises. The most complete manual on the internet to learn how to breed this beautiful and popular breed. You will learn it all about their temperament, health issues, appearance standards, history and current market situation (price and best buyers).
Furthermore, you will also learn all about training this breed, because when it comes to breeding Bichon Frises, it is a determining factor. Everything you need to start the right way!
Background of Bichon Frise Dog Breeding
First, you need to have a solid background of this breed. Therefore, we are going to review its history, appearance, temperament, and popularity. These sweet little dogs come from the Mediterranean and they were bred to entertain as a circus dog.
Therefore, they are excellent companions, smart, and can learn a wide myriad of tricks. Affectionate and entertaining. The Bichon Frise is an ideal all-around dog, because thanks to their friendly nature, they can get along with kids, other dogs, and other pets.
That was just a preview because you are about to discover why the Bichon Frise is so special and has a lot of demand lately.
History of the Bichon Frise Breed
The ancestry of the Bichon Frise is complex and marvelous. They come from the Mediterranean and their oldest ancestor is the Barbet, the French water dog. Therefore, because it shares the same ancestor, it is familiar with the Maltese, Poodle, Briard, Griffon, and Otterhound.
Before we continue, we have to clarify that we will not refer to the first Bichon Frises as “Barbichon” (small poodle) as other breeding guides do, because unlike them, we do not think that the word Bichon derived from Barbichon, because the word Bichon was first attested in 1588, whereas Barbichon was attested in 1694. Now that it is clear, let’s continue.
This group of dogs derived from the Barbet, and likely other water dogs, managed to evolve into four main groups:
- The Bichon Tenerife (Spain)
- The Bichon Maltese (Malta)
- The Bichon Bolognaise (Italy)
- The Bichon Havanese (Cuba)
From these divisions, the most important is the Bichon Tenerife, because it gave origin to the Bichon Frise, as we know it nowadays.
Thanks to their friendly personality, adaptability and happy disposition, they became popular amongst sailors, and therefore, they used Bichons as barters for their long crossings between continents. That is how they arrived on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands) in Spain.
There is a lot to love about the Bichon Frise. They are beautiful, sweet, affectionate, smart, entertaining and friendly, and of course, their lovely white coat. Here is a review of their popularity across the centuries and nowadays.
During the 1500s, they were extremely popular amongst the nobility and upper classes in Spain, Italy, and France. They became the favorite pet of kings such as Francis I and Henry III. We can see their importance in paintings like “Portrait of Federico II Gonzaga” by Titian (1529), where he immortalizes the Duke of Mantua (Italy) accompanied by a Bichon.
Furthermore, they inspired the work of famous artists like Goya. He immortalized in several paintings, but the most important were:
- María Teresa de Borbón y Vallabriga (1783)
- The White Duchess (1785)
If you check them, you will notice that the Bichon Tenerife had a more shaggy look, which looked more similar to the fur of the Barbet. It allows you to see how much they have changed in appearance.
They were also popular during Napoleon III’s reign, at the beginning of the 1800s, but shortly after that, they suffered a massive decrease in popularity, and they passed from castles and villas to the streets, where they adapted to become entertainers and circus dogs. Their friendly nature and exceptional intelligence allowed them to adapt and survive.
In the early 1900s, French breeders set up the standards that gave origin to the Bichon Frise as we know it. However, it was not until March 5, 1933, that the Societe Centrale Canine of France accepted them, and they had to wait until 1934 to be admitted into the French Kennel Club’s studbook.
They arrived in America in 1956, thanks to Helene and Francois Picault of Dieppe from France, who brought six Bichon Frises to Michigan, with the intention of establishing the breed. They managed to breed a healthy litter not long after, and since then, it started to grow in popularity thanks to its unique features.
Here you have a summarized chronology that highlights the most important moments in the history of this breed in America:
- 1964: The Bichon Frise Club of America was founded in San Diego
- 1971: The AKC accepted the breed into the Miscellaneous class
- 1973: The Bichon Frise obtained the full breed recognition in the Non-Sporting category
- 1976: The first National Bichon Frise Club of America Specialty, Obedience Trial and Sweepstakes
- 1988: The American Kennel Club accepted the new standard of the breed
- 2001: Just Right “JR”, the most notorious Bichon Frise in history, won the AKC Eukanuba National Championship as the Best in Show. He won several contests after that like the Westminster, and the famous judge Dorothy Macdonald even called him “as close to perfection as you can get”. This event put the Bichon Frise under a favorable light, and since then, it has become very popular in the USA.
To understand more about its popularity:
- AKC Breed Popularity Rank: #46 of 193
- Owned by several celebrities: Ashley Tisdale, Martha Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, etc.
- Number of Times that Won Best in Show: 2 (JR, 2001 and Flynn, 2018)
- Number of Accredited Breeders in America – 2019: 45
As you can see, they have won prestigious contests, they rank fairly well on the scale of AKC Breed Popularity, several celebrities love them and they have several active and accredited breeders, who produce healthy litters every year.
Petite, lovely white coat, adorable face, and a cute frame build. The Bichon Frise screams cuteness from every angle. Here is a complete review of its appearance, so you can be aware of the standards of the breed because it is a fundamental factor at the hour of choosing a suitable partner for your pet.
They are small and compact, and they should fall within the following ranges:
- Height: 9 to 12 inches (23-30 CM)
- Weight: 10 to 20 pounds (5-10 KG)
The texture is the most important factor, and it is divided into the following layers:
- Undercoat – Soft and dense
- Outer coat – Coarse and curly
When you touch the coat of a Bichon Frise, it should feel soft and resemble velvet or plush. Regarding the colors, white is the most widely accepted, however, some slight variations include:
- Shades of buff
However, such pigmentations should be around the ears or the body. No other place is acceptable, and the same goes for colors other than white.
Face, Head, and Ears
The head of the Bichon Frise must be slightly rounded because it allows the eyes to look forward and round. Furthermore, the cheeks must be flat and not dense in muscle. The colors of the eyes are always dark, be it pure black or dark brown.
According to the standards of the breed, the ears are covered by long flowing hair and they must look drop.
The tail is plummed and is curved over the back, which gives it its merry appearance. A very important factor is that the hair of the tail must rest on the back.
To find out if this dog is a good choice, you need to understand its temperament and personality, both the good and bad aspects of it. Keep reading, because we explain everything below.
They are friendly and affectionate, and therefore, they are excellent companions. They are great with kids, other pets, other dogs and can live very well at home.
They are very easy to live with and they can learn plenty of tricks easily with proper training. Therefore, they are an amazing source of entertainment.
Bichon Frises tend to bark a lot, and because of their small size, they tend to feel threatened, and therefore, they react by growling, barking, and in extreme cases, by biting. Nonetheless, you can avoid these issues with proper training from an early age.
Another issue is that they are difficult to housebreak, and in addition, they suffer from separation anxiety. You will have to be with them most of the time because they cannot afford to be alone for long periods.
Health issues to Consider When Breeding Bichon Frises
In general, they are a healthy breed, especially when the parents are healthy and free of the most common issues and defects. Therefore, if you decide to breed, you must follow the breeding protocol. Nonetheless, there are some health issues worth reviewing, because they are present in many Bichon Frises.
Now it is time to review all the health issues that affect this breed, so you can be aware of the possible problems, to decide if it is a breed you would like to raise or not.
Like many small breeds, they experience eye problems, patellar luxation, and allergies which affect the skin. Below you will find a complete revision.
They have a lifespan of a Bichon Frise is from 12 to 15 years, which is superior to the average of all dog breeds, which falls between 10 to 13 years. Since they are a small breed, they live longer, because large breeds age quickly. Several studies, like this one, relate it to the following factors:
- Increased aging rate
- Higher minimum mortality hazard
- Earlier onset of senescence
If you feed it a healthy and nutritious diet and provide it all the physical activity it needs, then it will stay around for many years.
A common health issue that affects the adrenal gland and creates the overproduction of glucocorticoids (cortisol). This disease manifests the following signs:
- Hair loss
- Pot Belly
- Increase in appetite and thirst
- Increase in urination
It is a life-threatening disease because it can shut down the immune system and leave your dog exposed to infections. In most cases, such infections attack the bladder and urinary tracts.
This disease is hard to diagnose because it requires several tests such as radiography, imaging, laboratory tests, and physical examination. Furthermore, once the treatment begins, which is usually in the form of lifelong oral medication, it can provoke serious side effects, and therefore, your dog will require constant observation.
Another form of treatment is Transsphenoidal Hypophysectomy, which has shown favorable results. Although, more research and tests are needed to fully attest its effectiveness.
Even though the Bichon Frise is one of the best hypoallergenic dogs, it tends to develop certain allergies. They tend to react more to food, weather, fleas, ticks, air-bone elements, and certain vaccinations. We will review each one shortly.
Fleas and Pests
Even a single flea bite is enough to unchain a severe reaction because this dog is very allergic to the saliva of adult fleas. It can provoke heart loss, severe skin damage, and hot spots.
Allergens, pollutants, and chemicals can unchain allergic reactions in your Bichon Frise. They are very susceptible to weather contamination, and therefore, we recommend you to buy an air purifier to use at home. Furthermore, when cleaning your home, try to avoid chemical-heavy cleaners and the like.
You should be aware that certain fillers such as “egg product”, soy and wheat can provoke serious allergic reactions. You should feed your dog a food that is free of such additives and fillers, and ideally, feed it a home-cooked diet. You can even try a raw diet.
You should consult with your vet beforehand, and according to Bichon Frise owners, you should limit it to strictly necessary vaccinations and separate them in intervals of three years.
A common defect that affects this breed. It can congenital or acquired. Furthermore, it can be classified as medial, lateral, unilateral and bilateral, and it can range from grade 1 to grade 4 in severity.
The majority of cases are congenital and small breeds such as the Bichon Frise tend to present the most cases of medial patellar luxation. It can be detected in dogs as young as two years old.
Because the kneecap is misplaced, it causes gradual friction and damages the knee ligaments. It causes chronic pain and it might require surgery. The quality of life is severely affected, and therefore, dogs with patellar luxation are excluded from breeding, at least that is what the protocol calls for.
The formation of cataracts in Bichon Frises is congenital, according to multiple reports. According to studies, it is due to a specific region on the CFA20 gene. Hopefully, such studies will help researchers to find out the real causes of the genetic predisposition of Bichon Frises to develop cataracts.
A severe condition requires immediate attention and treatment because it can lead to partial or total vision loss. Like patellar luxation, dogs with a predisposition with cataracts should be excluded from breeding. In many cases, surgery will be necessary. Although, other treatments include special eye drops and oral supplements.
If a Bichon Frise presents this problem it is recommended to be excluded because, even with surgery, it presents a higher risk of retinal detachments post-operation.
A common genetic disorder that affects the ciliary tubules. It causes Bichon Frises to experience a higher risk of infections because the air passages do not work properly. It exposes them to pneumonia, bronchitis, rhinitis, ear infections and sinusitis. Furthermore, it can also affect fertility, because Kartagener’s syndrome makes the sperm poorly mobile or immobile at all.
The most common signs include frequent coughing, regular infections, hearing issues, and exercise intolerance. Unfortunately, there is no treatment, and therefore, antibiotics and daily airway clearance are the unique methods to alleviate its consequences.
Because it severely affects the quality of life of the dog, breeders recommend excluding such dogs from breeding.
Other Common Health Issues
They also tend to suffer from hip dysplasia, which is caused by a genetic deformity. It affects mobility and causes chronic pain. Early treatment and surgery are the best ways to deal with it.
Bichon Frises are also at a higher risk of suffering the Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which affects the normal development of the femur bonehead. Constant medication to alleviate the pain and the extraction of the affected bone are the best treatments.
They also tend to experience problems with their liver, due to a disease known as a liver shunt. It has severe consequences as impaired renal function, low intelligence, exacerbated thirst and lethargy.
Finally, they also have a predisposition to teeth crowding. It causes problems such as inflamed gums, bad breath, and pain at the hour of eating,
How to Breed Bichon Frises
Now that you have a solid background on the temperament, health, ancestry, and history of the Bichon Frise, it is time to check breeding-related matters. They are generally healthy, but as the puppies are tiny, they require extra care, and therefore, a lot more attention.
Average litter size
The average is four puppies, but it can range from one to six. Because the litter size is small, it is easier to sell them as the demand is high. The size of the dog matters, because if it is in the smaller end, the usual output is 1-3 puppies, whereas bigger Bichon Frises usually give birth to 3-5.
Birthing problems with Bichon Frise
Because the litter size is small, they do not present birthing complications and pregnancies generally unfold very well as long as the dam is taken care of. That is another plus that makes them easier to breed. However, you should go to regular consults with your veterinarian, to make sure that everything is in check.
They can be sold from $500 to $3,500, being the average 700 USD. The main factors that determine the price are parental history and breeder reputation.
For example, if they come from a champion bloodline, they usually sell for $1,300 to $1,500 USD. If their reputation has a large history and accreditations, the price can be higher. For instance, if they have a Bred by Heart reputation, the cost will increase.
Families and people who want to make them participate in dog shows mainly buy them. Families love them because they are very affectionate, they get along well with kids and other dogs and pets, they are obedient and love to please their owners. They do not care a lot about bloodline.
They are also very popular in dog shows thanks to their charisma, lovely appearance and ease for training and learning tricks. The people who tend to buy them for this purpose will usually prefer a Bichon Frise that comes from a champion bloodline.
The Bichon Frise is already famous for its characteristics, and therefore, it makes selling them much easier. As a breeder, you need to market them to these two types of buyers.
Importance of training
Because they have a small dog syndrome, they can be aggressive, and therefore, early training and socialization are necessary to ease up these problems. These tips will help you to train your dog the right way:
- Housebreaking must be your priority. Put them on their toilet zone and praise them
- Crate training is an effective way to potty train them
- Take your dog to walks every 2-3 hours
- Train it not to bite by ignoring it when it nips you, avoid eye contact. Consequently, try to distract it and give it a toy, and praise it when your dog starts biting it. It shows it that it is okay to bite toys but not people. You must do it daily to reinforce this behavior
Start early and be consistent and you will have an obedient Bichon Frise ready to fill your life with happiness and love!
FAQs on Bichon Frises
According to our research, these are the most common questions asked by aspiring breeders. Below you will find the answers you are looking for.
Are Bichon dogs smart?
They are very smart and love to learn tricks; therefore, their training is easy. The Bichon Frise ranks #45 in the scale of intelligence that analyzes 137 dog breeds. It understands situations easily and will react properly. Nonetheless, early training is the key to unleash its intelligence.
They excel when it comes to agility and rally competition training. Therefore, they are excellent for dog shows, because they can learn complex sequences easily. Nonetheless, corrections must be firm yet gentle, because they are highly susceptible and will resent you if you correct them harshly.
Do Bichon Frise dogs bark a lot?
The Bichon Frise is a quiet and calm breed, and therefore, they do not tend to bark a lot. If your dog does so, it might indicate certain issues such as harsh corrections, separation anxiety and excessive cuddling.
Furthermore, because they love attention, if they do not get enough, then they will react negatively by barking a lot. Before you get a Bichon Frise, you must compromise yourself to bring it all the attention it requires. Early training and gentle corrections are the best ways to avoid this type of behavior.
Are Bichon Frises good apartment dogs?
They are excellent apartment dogs thanks to their small size and easy training disposition. If you work at home or spend a lot of time at your apartment, then it will be an even better pick, because they love attention and will always be an excellent companion. You need to train them early to avoid certain behaviors such as excessive barking and biting.
Nonetheless, they are active dogs and therefore they need daily exercise. Regular walks are the best ways to keep them calm and to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
Is the Bichon Frise dog hypoallergenic?
They are one of the best hypoallergenic dogs because they rarely shed hair and their drooling levels are minimal. In addition, they produce minimal dander, which makes them ideal for people with allergies.
However, you need to groom them daily to remove loose hair. This good practice will keep the coat of your dog beautiful and soft and will allow you to reduce even more the amount of shedding, drooling and dander.
Now that you know how to breed Bichon Frises, you can see why it is one of the most adorable, smart and healthy breeds in the world. They are playful, beautiful, affectionate and love to learn tricks, which makes them excellent companions and exceptional for dog shows.