Bichon Frise

A complete breed guide for Bichon Frise dogs

Last Updated September 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Chelsi Kuebler DVM

The Bichon Frise is a good-natured small breed dog great for families and kids. They are intelligent and take to training quickly. They are known for their fluffy white coats and dark black eyes. They do not shed; instead they have hair that continuously grows and will need to be groomed regularly.

1. Bichon Frise Facts
2. History
3. Personality
4. Best Toys for Bichon Frise
5. Best Food for Bichon Frise
6. Health Concerns
7. Related Breeds

Bichon Frise Facts

Breed size: Place of origin: Intelligence:
Toy/Small Spain Medium to High
Breed group: Energy level: Weight range:
Companion Moderate 3 - 6 kg
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Height range:
12 - 15 years Moderate 23 - 30 cm
Drool factor: Ease of training: Coat type:
Low Easy to Medium Medium length and curly
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Colours:
Low/None High White

How big do Bichon Frise get?

Bichon Frises are small breed dogs and average between 3 - 6 kg fully grown, standing 23 - 30 cm tall at the withers (shoulder).

How much does a Bichon Frise cost?

Buying a purebred Bichon Frise puppy these days will set you back anywhere from $2000 to $6000.

Do Bichon Frises shed?

Bichon Frises do not shed but their coats will require a lot of maintenance. Prepare for daily brushing and frequent visits to the doggy groomer.

Are Bichon Frise good pets?

Bichon Frises are great little dogs. Because they don't shed, they require minimal clean-up. In general they get along well with kids and other pets. However, like all breeds of dogs, they will still require training.

How much exercise do Bichon Frise need?

Bichon Frises do not need much exercise - only 20 to 40 minutes a day. A short daily walk will be sufficient.

How long do Bichon Frise live?

On average, Bichon Frises can live 12 - 15 years.

How do I choose a Bichon Frise breeder?

It's important to choose a reputable breeder to decrease the risk of health or behavioural problems down the line. Ideally, breeders should conduct genetic testing on their breeding lines to rule out risk for diseases such as Epilepsy and to not breed individuals that have luxating patellas. For a full checklist of questions to ask when choosing a breeder, read our vet article: How To Find a Good Breeder.

Do Bichon Frises bark much?

Bichon's have a low to moderate tendency to bark. They won't bark much around the house but are likely to bark at unexpected noises/intrusions (for example, someone at the front door).

Bichon Frise History

The Bichon Frise is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean area as far back as the Middle Ages. Many believe they came from the Canary Islands (Spain) and were brought into Europe from there. At first they were associated with royalty and were often seen included in paintings on the laps or at the feet of royal persons. Once the royals moved on to other breeds, the Bichon became a more common household dog and because of their trainability were often used in the circus.

After World War I the breed became popular again, a standard was put together for them, and they were introduced into the International Canine Federation.

Bichon Frise Personality

Bichon Frises are known for being gentle and playful. They are great with kids and make for a wonderful family pet. They socialise well and can get along with other pets. They love to go on outings with their family but can also be left alone at home with adequate enrichment. Because of their small size they are great for apartment-living. They are energetic but don't need a lot of space to play. They are reasonably easy to train and with their history as circus dogs, can do well in agility courses. Overall they are known for being great lap-dogs and companions.

Top toy recommendations for Bichon Frise

As Bichon Frises love interacting with their owners, the best toys for them are ones where they can play with you! They are also intelligent, so puzzle toys are great for keeping them engaged. If you really want a challenge for yourself, you can train them to run an agility course!

Paws for Life Puzzle Feeder

This puzzle feeder doubles up as a snazzy slow feeder. Work your pets brain and problem solving skill as they fill their tummies, by hiding treats or yummy kibble pieces underneath each compartment.

Kong Wubba Weaves
with Rope Dog Toy

The long tails are ideal for tug of war and stimulate your dogs instinct to thrash and pull. A fun squeaker adds to the experience, encouraging your dog to play.

Chuckit Ball Ultra Squeaker

The Chuckit! Ball Ultra Squeaker offers a superior game of fetch with its durable and bouncy balls. The tough plastic is soft and gentle on your dogs mouth, but the sturdy material is resilient to being flattened or popped. The hidden squeaker adds more enticement to keep your dog engaged.

Pawise Agility Poles

Perfect for agility training, these poles are sturdy, easy to assemble, and brightly coloured! The Pawise outdoor products provide an entertaining and active way for you to interact with your pets through fun and stimulating outdoor games.

Bichon Frise Diet and Nutrition

Bichon Frise Puppies

Some points to note about Bichon Frise puppy ownership include:
  • Food: Bichon Frise puppies should eat a premium, small breed formula such as Royal Canin Mini Puppy until they are 12 months of age.
  • Behaviour: Bichon Frise puppies have fantastic personalities but do like to chew and destroy things, just like any puppy! Puppy proofing your house is essential. Remove any easy-to-reach toxins or electrical cords, and provide plenty of toys!
  • Worming: Bichon Frise puppies need to be wormed fortnightly from the age of 2-12 weeks, and then once per month after this. In Australia, puppies also require heartworm protection. You may wish to get a heartworm injection yearly at your vet, or you can simply give a monthly treatment such as Nexgard Spectra, Simparica Trio or Credelio Plus.

What To Feed A Bichon Frise Puppy

Bichon Frise puppies need to eat a premium puppy diet that is nutritionally formulated to meet AAFCO Guidelines until they are 12 months of age. You may consider a Rotation Diet to provide exposure to different proteins and reduce the risk of food sensitivities.

Raw diets for Bichon Frises? Raw diets are not suitable or safe for Bichon puppies due to the risk of bacterial contamination, which can lead to food poisoning and upset their sensitive tummies. Plus, an unbalanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Read more about Raw Diets: The Risks and Benefits.

When should you transition a Bichon Frise from puppy to adult food? It is recommended you feed them a puppy-specific diet until they are over 12 months of age.

Best Food for Bichon Frise Puppies

Hills Science Diet
Small Paws

Big on Love, Small in Size. Hills Science Diet Small Paws Puppy dry food is tailored nutrition for the developmental needs of Small & Mini puppies, so they get the best start in life & grow to their full potential.

Royal Canin
Mini Puppy

Royal Canin Mini Puppy has an optimal energy content to support your small breed puppy through their growth period, as well as balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone and joint development.

Small Puppy

This super premium dry puppy food is a complete and balanced diet for small breed puppies. It is tailored to improve your puppy's health and wellbeing by promoting strong joints and a healthy immune system in your pet through enriching ingredients.

Puppy Small Breed

Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed is a complete and fully balanced dry diet for small breed puppies. This formula is easily digested and contains precisely balanced levels of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals to promote healthy growth and development.

Best Food for Adult Bichon Frise

Although there are no specific feeding requirements for a Bichon Frise, their diet needs to be age-appropriate and meet all of their daily nutritional and energy demands. Most small breed adult foods from premium brands including Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, or Advance are suitable. These scientifically-formulated diets also contain balanced levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate plus vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for health and wellbeing.

Hills Science Diet
Small Paws

This pet food is made with easy-to-digest ingredients that are specially formulated for a little dog's stomach. The small kibble is suited for a little canine mouth, with high-quality protein for lean muscle maintenance, plus nourishing omega-6s and vitamin E to promote healthy skin and a healthy coat.

Royal Canin
Mini Adult

This premium dry dog food is made from highly digestible ingredients to deliver optimally balanced nutrition that keeps your adult small breed dog in peak condition. Royal Canin Mini Adult is enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat, and also contains nutrients to bind salivary calcium which helps to reduce dental tartar formation for good oral health.

Small Adult

This super premium dry dog food is a complete and balanced diet for small breed dogs. This specialised blend is tailored to improve your dogs health and wellbeing by promoting strong joints and a healthy immune system in your pet through enriching ingredients

Adult Small Breed

Eukanuba Adult Small Breed is a complete and fully balanced dry diet for adult small breed dogs. This formula is easily digested and contains high quality protein from real chicken along with precisely balanced levels of fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for longevity, health and wellbeing.

Bichon Frise Health Concerns

Compared to many other pure-breed dogs, Bichons have very few congenital health problems and the ones that they are at risk of can be well managed with preventive care, medications, or surgery.

Luxating Patellas

This is a fancy way of saying Bichon Frises may have mobile kneecaps. If severe enough, the kneecap can abruptly slide in and out of the groove it is supposed to sit in. This can result in leg pain and stiffness. If it is affecting normal mobility, surgery is often recommended.


Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that results in seizures. After ruling out other causes of seizures, usually with diagnostics such as blood tests or imaging, epilepsy is managed with the use of ongoing oral medication.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are caused by a build-up of crystals in the urine. The most common types of urinary crystals can be managed/reduced by feeding a special urinary diet. If the stones cannot be dissolved through diet intervention, surgical removal may be necessary. This article goes over urinary crystals in more detail Urinary Crystals in Pets.

Dental Disease

Dental disease can be prevented by feeding high quality dry food, adding in dental treats or supplements, and regularly brushing your dog's teeth! If the build-up is severe, your vet can clean your pup's teeth under a general anaesthetic.

Best supplements/products for Bichon Frise:

Below are a few products that can be used to help address some of the above issues. The teeth cleaning kit can help prevent dental disease. The urinary health supplement may help reduce the risk of urinary issues. The arthritis supplements can help mitigate negative impacts from the knee cap sliding in and out of place. Lastly, the eye wipes can help minimise tear staining, which is essentially staining of the fur caused by watering eyes - this issue can be avoided all-together by ensuring your Bichon's facial hair is kept groomed and tidy

Arm and Hammer
Tartar Control Dental Kit

Simply put a small dab of toothpaste on your finger to invite your pup to lick it off. Once you have them engaged and interested, you can start rubbing your finger along their gum line and teeth, allowing your pet to get comfortable with the motion so you can move on to placing the toothpaste on the toothbrush, repeating the same process.

Pez Park
Urinary Plus Kidney

The Cranberry extract can help prevent urinary tract infections and the Nettle seed extract can help reduce mild urinary tract inflammation. Petz Park Urinary + Kidney Support has been designed to promote a healthy urinary tract and Kidney regulation.

Glyde Joint Powder

The powder is made with New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin, to help relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

Paws for Life Lick Mat

These refreshing pet eye wipes are gentle enough to use every day around your pet's eyes. Help remove tear stains and improve your pet's appearance, with a soft wipe whenever is required.

Related Breeds

Below are some breeds closely related to the Bichon Frise. They are toy/small breed dogs bred for companionship. They are known for their beautiful coats - like the Bichon, they do not shed as they have hair instead of fur and will require frequent grooming. However they still make great little pets and are well-suited to smaller living situations such as inner-city apartments.


The Maltese Dog is a toy breed from Malta most easily recognized for its sleek white coat. They make for great lap dogs!

Mini Poodle

Mini Poodles were developed from Standard Poodles by those who wanted a smaller sized Poodle. They are highly intelligent and come in a variety of coat colours.


The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and is known for its petite size and its long and luscious silky coat.

Coton de Tulear

This cute little dog originated in Madagascar and is known for being loveable and easy-going.

Further Reading

How To Stop My Dog Licking Paws

Luxating Patella in Dogs

Tear Stains on Pets

Dental Care for Dogs