The Mediterranean region is the point of origin for the dog breed now known as the Bichon Frise. In 600-300 B.C., Spanish sailors used this breed, then known as the Barbichon, to create diplomacy with other countries during trade missions. The Barbichon was naturally friendly and outgoing and had an attractive appearance. The popularity of the breed spread as it was introduced to various countries.
Its name was shortened to Bichon and later, expanded when the French added Frise to the name in reference to the breed’s defining characteristic, its curly, soft fur coat. Four types of Bichon Frise existed as Bichon Frise breeders began to breed the dogs in Australia and America. In 1973, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the Bichon Frise in the non-sporting group.
This adorable and personable dog is believed to be a mix of poodle, generic white lap dog and Barbet. It has traits of all three. The AKC has defined specific characteristics Bichon Frise must have to be a part of AKC competition. A good Bichon Frise breeder attempts to retain the breed standard traits.
The American Kennel Club’s breed standard for Bichon Frise to participate in AKC competition is as follows: a double coat of fur consisting of a dense undercoat and curly topcoat, between seven and twelve pounds in weight, between nine and twelve inches in height, a friendly, alert, and charming disposition, all white fur with less than ten percent being less than pure white, a black mouth and brown or black eyes and groomed according to AKC standard.
Because of the importance of the breed’s appearance and personality, the Bichon Frise requires high maintenance. These dogs must be brushed regularly and groomed and professionally trimmed every three months. The hyperactive nature and high activity level of the breed may not make them suitable for all owners. A plus of the Bichon Frise is that its fur is hypoallergenic. However, the dogs themselves suffer from many allergies.
Some signs of a reputable Bichon Frise breeder include well-maintained kennels, the puppies are comfortable around people and other animals, both the puppies and parents have been screened for genetic defects, availability of medical records, pedigree, and registration papers.
Buyers should ask the following questions of breeders: Do you have your own kennel? (A good breeder will maintain his/her own clean kennel.) Can I visit the kennel/meet the parents of the puppy? (This should be encouraged.) Have puppies and parents been screened for genetic defects? Will I receive registration papers, pedigree, and medical records? (Yes to all.) Can you tell me the history of the breed? (Breeders should be experts.) Are you affiliated with rescue centers? Can you tell me how to care for my Bichon Frise? Is there a warranty? (A good breeder will want the dog returned to them rather than sold.)
There are many other questions that can be asked but these are a good start to finding a good Bichon Frise breeder.
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