The Bichon Frise is a hypoallergenic, fluffy, white companion breed with a charismatic, cheerful temperament. Known for their clownish antics, the Bichon Frise can put a smile on anyone’s face.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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On top of being used for bartering among Spanish sailors, their cheerful disposition and comfort around strangers allowed Bichon Frises to serve as ambassadors for sailors arriving at port.
About this Breed
Throughout its history, the Bichon Frise has enjoyed the company of nobility and sailors alike. While the AKC did not recognize the Bichon Frise until 1972, this breed traces its history back through Europe for hundreds of years. Developed in the Mediterranean area, these dogs were popular among Spanish sailors (among whom they were used as barter) and Italian nobility as far back as the 14th century. Their popularity has fluctuated dramatically over the years. They were popular in Henry III’s court during the Renaissance, and then their popularity petered out until the breed was picked back up by common people in the 1800’s. Despite this long, winding road to the Bichon Frise we see today, they did not make it to the United States until the late 1950’s. Today, Bichon Frises are dedicated family companions (being hypoallergenic sure doesn’t hurt that!) and are often described as having a “merry” or “cheerful” disposition. Though they can be tough to train if you do not start them young, this highly intelligent breed is capable of dazzling owners with its surprising athleticism for a dog labelled “powder puff.”
Bichon Frises on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Bichon Frise ancestry.