History and Origin: the name is pronounced ( Be-Shon Free Say) It is an old breed dating back many centuries and one of four varieties of Bichon. Likely developed from the Barbet, a French water dog, and they were very common throughout Europe. Some were taken by sailors to the Canary Islands where they flourished, and about the 14th century, were transported again by sailors back to the mainland where they were loved and adored by the aristocracy. After several centuries the novelty for these little dogs wore off and they became common little street dogs. With such a gregarious nature, these little dogs soon became a great pet of the common people, performing tricks with the travelling circuses. About 1930, the breed was seriously established as a pure breed with controlled breedings and a standard was developed. It was recognized by the AKC in 1972 and by the CKC in 1975.
General Appearance: small and study with an all white plush coat. Height: 9.5 inches (24 cms) to 11.5 inches (29cms) Should never be over 12 inches in height. Eyes are dark and round, ears hang down to frame the face. The body is a bit longer than the height of the dog, bone is medium and a plumed tail is carried over the back.
Coat and Colour: always white and double coated although there can be shadings of buff, apricot or cream around the ears and on the body. Hypoallergenic. The undercoat is dense and soft and outer coat has some texture making the coat look plush. When show trimmed correctly, they have a powder puff appearance. Pet trims will be required to keep the dog looking neat.
Feeding: Any good quality kibble, fed once daily. Care can be taken to prevent staining of the hair on the face and around the mouth. If dry kibble is tolerated that might help reduce staining and also clean the teeth. For chewing exercise, a nylabone is preferable to a raw bone again to prevent staining of the hair on mouth and feet and legs. Staring early to teach a puppy to drink from a water bottle will also help to keep the white hair clean and stain free.
Training: should do well if started early in puppy obedience classes. Can likely excel in competitive obedience. Crate training would be advisable for a puppy. They can be taught several cute parlour tricks. Their ideal small size makes them a good city dog and apartment dweller.
Activity: This little breed is active and playful and will love interacting with its family and with children. It will be happy in the company of other dogs and is rarely aggressive. Playing ball and fetching will be a delight. It will enjoy a daily walk but is every bit an indoor family pet. The Bichon is a busy playful dog that is eager to be with its people in whatever activity is happening.
Temperament: Cheerful, happy, outgoingand sweet natured. He is a merry little soul and loves to show off and is happiest as the centre of attention and involved in family fun.