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Breed description of the Bichon Frise

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General
The Bichon Frise is a square built, small, white dog with a height at whithers between 25 and 30 cm, a toy dog. Dependent on his structure and size, his weight is between 4 and 6 kg. The Bichon Frise shows bigger than he is, due to his heavy coat. He is a lively cheerful little dog, and he proudly carries his tail, gracefully curved, on top of his back. The breed is strong and does not have many diseases.

The Bichon Frise resembles a stuffed toy, a teddy bear, but he is a real dog. Like any other dog, he will only develop into a nice companion animal, if he is raised and trained well. Therefore it is recommended to follow a puppy class with the dog, the soon he is about 3 months old. At the puppy class you not only learn to make the dog listen to you, but what is at least as important: your dog learns to socialize with other dogs.

Temperament
The Bichon Frise is an always happy and lively little dog, and he has a very sweet temperament. He is typically a companion dog. From origin the purpose of the breed was not hunting or protecting cattle, but the Bichon Frise always has been a companion animal, a lap dog. Therefore, dedication and affection for his 'family' are very important characteristics of his temperament. He also is very curious and alert. The Bichon Frise is gayful, playful and very friendly, especially towards children. It is touching to see how careful he plays with little children. It is a pity, that in USA there seem to be bloodlines that are not very friendly towards children.

The Bichon Frise is very affectionate and likes to stay near to his 'family' all the time. But, he also has enough confidence to stay alone at home, however one has to train this from the very beginning.

The Bichon Frise adjusts himself very easily to his 'family' and he will be happy, whether he lives in an appartment or in a home with garden, whether his master takes him to the park every day or is not a very active person, the Bichon Frise adjusts himself. The Bichon Frise likes to draw attention, also from strangers, he is very friendly towards people he meets on the street. He is fond of the affection he gets from people and from his 'family'. His high intelligence makes him very easy to train.

Important breed characteristics
One of the characteristics of the Bichon Frise is his thick, double coat of white silky and curly hair. I advise to brush and comb the coat daily, to prevent knots. When one does not cut the coat, it will continue growing longer and longer. Already as a pup, the Bichon Frise develops a heavy coat. Apricot or grey coloring of the hair on the ears is tolerable with a pup, these colorings indicate a future heavy pigmentation (which is very beautiful!) like black haloes and black pads and nails. The colors in the coat will disappear when the dog is about one year old. The coat of the Bichon Frise does not shed, so it is not necessary to vacuum clean your house every day for dog hairs. One can compare the hair of the Bichon Frise with the hair of humans: only after brushing one will find some hairs in the brush, but there is no shedding. This is the reason, that the Bichon Frise together with the Poodle are the only two dog breeds that can also be kept by cara patients, without too much health risks.

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Iris, her coat not cut for six months

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Iris, after a hair cut

Eyes, nose and lips of the Bichon Frise have to be black, while black pads, black nails, black haloes and dark pigmentation spots on the body are additional characteristics of beauty, though not required. The Bichon Frise has a bright pink colored tongue. His ears are long and drooping and covered with long hair. He has a round face. His body is firm with good bones, and his legs are of medium length. This means longer than the legs of a Maltese or a Westie, but shorter than the legs of a Poodle.

Food
As the Bichon Frise is small, he only eats a little bit, which makes him not a very expensive dog. One can give him dry food or tinned food or a mix of the two, and one can add some fresh cooked beaf to the daily meal. Like for all toy dogs, the best is to divide the food in two meals a day.

Exercise
Every dog needs daily exercising. As the Bichon Frise is small, it is not necessary to walk for hours with him. A short walk of 20 - 30 minutes is enough daily exercise for him. Ofcourse one must bring him more often outside to let him do his business (an adult dog 4 - 5 times a day, a pup more often). You can also train the Bichon Frise to do his business in a plastic doggy basket on some old newspapers. Maybe you have more time in the weekend for your Bichon Frise and can you take him to the woods or to the beach, he loves running there! However, until the age of 8 months your Bichon Frise may only walk/run for maximal 15 minutes, otherwise he can develop patella luxation, a very serious damage of the joints resulting in stiff rear legs.

If you have a garden, your Bichon Frise can have enough daily exercise by playing in the garden. If you live in an appartment, you should take the dog to a park at least once a day. With rainy weather your Bichon Frise can play inside the house, with little balls and other toys.

Grooming
The longer the hair of your Bichon Frise grows, the more work you will have with the daily grooming (brushing and combing). If you bring your Bichon Frise to a groomer for a hair cut once in 6 weeks, the daily grooming will only take about 10 minutes. More about grooming of the Bichon Frise you can read here.

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F.C.I. Breed Standard for the Bichon Frise

General Appearance
A small dog, gay and playful, with a lively gait, a muzzle of moderate length, long hairs corkscrewed and very slack, resembling the fur of the Mongolian goat. The carriage of the head is proud and high, the dark eyes are vivid and expressive.

Head
The skull, longer than the muzzle, is in the proportion of 8 to 5 cm, the circumference of the skull corresponding to the height at withers, about 27 cms.
Nose - The nose is rounded, well black, smooth and glossy.
Lips - The lips are thin, fairly lean, less however than in the Schipperke, falling just enough for covering the lower lips, but never heavy or pendent, they are normally pigmented with black to the commissures, the lower lip cannot be either heavy or apparent, or slack and does not allow to see the mucous when the mouth is closed.
Dentition - The dentition is normal, that is to say that the lower incisors are placed just behind the teeth of the upper jaw.
Muzzle - The muzzle should not be either thick or heavy, without however being pinched; the cheeks are flat and not very muscular. The stop is hardly accentuated, the hollow between the arcades slightly apparent.
Eyes - Dark, as much as possible, edged with dark eyelids, rather rounded and not almond-shaped; they are not placed obliquely, are lively, not too large, leaving no white. They are neither big nor prominent, like those of the Griffon Bruxellois or the Pekingese; the socket should not be protruding. The globe of the eye should not come out in an exaggerated way.
Skull -The skull is rather flat at touch, though the fur makes it look round.
Ears - The ears are drooping, well furnished with hairs crisp and long, carried rather forward when on the alert, but so that the fore edge touches the skull and the length of the cartilage should not go to the nose, as in the Poodle, but stops at half-length of the muzzle. Moreover, they are much less wide and finer than in this dog.

Body
Neck - The neck is fairly long, carried high and proudly. It is round and slim near the skull, broadening gradually and fitting smoothly into the shoulders. Its length is very approximately 1/3 of the length of the body (proportion of 11 to 33 cms for a 27 cms-high specimen; the points of the shoulder against the withers being taken as basis).
Shoulder - The shoulder is fairly slanting, not prominent, giving the appearance of being of same length that the arm, about 10 cms, this one is not out of the body, in particular the elbow.
Legs - The legs are well straight, seen from front, finely boned; the pattern is short and straight seen from front, very slanting seen from profile. The claws will be preferably black, however, it is an ideal difficult to attain.
Chest - The chest is well developed, the sternum pronounced, the backs rounded and not finishing abruptly, the chest having horizontally a fairly large depth.
Flanks - The flanks are well lifted at the belly, the skin is thin and not floating, giving an appearance fairly Greyhound-like.
Loin - The loin is wide and well muscled, slightly domed. The pelvis is wide, the rump slightly rounded, the tail is set on a little more below the back line than in the Poodle.
Thighs - The thighs are wide and well muscled, the arms well slanting, the hock is also more angulated than in the Poodle, the foot nervous.
Tail - Normally, the tail is carried lifted and gracefully curved, in the line of the spine, without being rolled up; it is not docked and cannot be close to the back; however, the hair may fall on the back.
Pigmentation - The pigmentation under the white hair is preferably dark; the sexual organs are then pigmented with black or bluish or beige, as the specks and markings one often sees on the body.
Hair - Pure white, fine, silky, corkscrewed, very slack, resembling that of the fur of the Mongolian goat, neither flat nor roped and reaching 7 to 10 cms.
Toilet - The dog may be presented at shows with only the feet and muzzle clipped.
Size - The height at withers cannot go beyond 30 cms, the small size being an element of success.
Heavy faults - Disqualifications at shows: lower or upper prognathism so developed that the incisors no longer touch each other. Pink nose, fleshcoloured lips, pale eyes, cryptorchidy, tail rolled up and turned like a helix. Black specks in the hair.
Faults to be avoided - Pigmentation extending into the hair so that to form red specks. Hair flat, wavy, roped or too short. Monorchidy. Any prognathism other than that described here above. Dog too low or too short.

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