Bichon Frisé Dog

A Bichon Frisé (curly lap dog) is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to, but larger than, the Maltese. They are a non-shedding breed that requires daily grooming.

Bichon Frise Dog Appearance

The Bichon Frisé is a small but sturdy dog that weighs approx. 4–7 kg / 10-18 lbs and stands 23-30 cm/9-12in at the withers. The Bichon Frisé has a black nose and dark round eyes and its white fur consists of a curly outer coat and a silky undercoat. A small amount of buff or cream color may be seen around its ears, snout, paws or on its body, but normally these colors should not exceed 10% of its body. The head and legs are proportionate in size to the body, and ears and tail are natural (not docked or cropped). Often the coat is trimmed to make the fur seem of even length.

Bichon Frise Dog Temperament

The AKC refers to the Bichon Frisé as "merry" and "cheerful", and the dog breed standard calls for a dog that is "gentle mannered, sensitive, playful and affectionate". Bred to be companion dogs, the Bichon Frisé tends to get along well with both children and other animals.

Bichon Frises are very obedient if training is started early and continued consistently.

Bichon Frise Dog Hypoallergenic qualities and shedding

Bichon Frisés often appear on lists of dogs that do not shed (moult), but this is misleading. Every hair in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle, which has a cycle of growing, then dying and being replaced by another follicle. When the follicle dies, the hair is shed. The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by dog breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog. "There is no such thing as a nonshedding breed". The grooming required to maintain the Bichon Frisé's coat helps remove loose hair, and the curl in the coat helps prevent dead hair and dander from escaping into the environment, as with the poodle's coat. The frequent trimming, brushing, and bathing required to keep the Bichon looking its best removes hair and dander and controls the other potent allergen, saliva.

Bichon Frisés are suitable for people with allergies, as they are bred to be hypoallergenic. However, it is important to note that, human sensitivity to dog fur, dander, and saliva varies considerably. Although hair, dander, and saliva can be minimized, they are still present and can stick to "clothes and the carpets and furnishings in your home"; inhaling the allergens, or being licked by the dog, can trigger a reaction in a sensitive person.

Bichon Frise Dog Mortality (Longevity)

Bichon Frisé in (combined) UK and USA/Canada surveys had an average life span of about 12–13 years, with Bichon Frisé in the UK tending to live longer than Bichon Frisé in the USA/Canada. This dog breed's longevity is similar to other breeds of its size and a little longer than for purebred dogs in general. The longest lived of 34 deceased Bichons in a 2004 UK survey died at 16.5 years.

The oldest Bichon Frisés for which there are reliable records in various USA/Canada surveys have died at 19 years. In August 2008, a Bichon Frisé from Illinois named Max died at the age of 20 years and 3 months.

In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the leading causes of Bichon Frisé death were old age (23.5%) and cancer (21%). In a 2007 USA/Canada dog breeders survey, the leading causes of death were cancer (22%), unknown causes (14%), hematologic (11%), and old age (10%). Hematologic causes of death were divided between autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP). AIHA and ITP were responsible for the greatest amount of Bichon Frisé "years lost." "Years lost" is a measure of the extent to which a condition kills members of a breed prematurely. While cancer is a more common cause of death than AIHA/ITP, Bichon Frisés that died of cancer died at a median age of 12.5 years. Hematologic deaths occurred at a median age of only 5 years. Bichon Frisés in the UK survey had a lower rate of hematologic deaths (3%) than in the USA/Canada survey (11%).

The Bichon Frisé are also prone to liver shunts. These often go undetected until later in life, leading to complications that cannot be fixed, and therefore liver failure. The Bichon Frisé who are underweight, the runts of the litter, or have negative reactions to food high in protein are likely to be suffering from a shunt. When detected early, shunt often can be corrected through surgery. However, the later in life the shunt is detected, the lower the likelihood of surgery being a success becomes. Shunts can be kept under control through special diets of low protein. (Hill's Prescription diet K/D or L/D), and through various medications to support liver function, help flush toxins that build up in the kidneys and liver, and control seizures that often occur as a symptom of the shunt. Without surgery, Bichons with shunts on average live to be 4–6 years old. If you own a smaller than average size bichon please consult your vet. Other symptoms include dark urine, lethargy, loss of appetite, increase in drinking. Also seizures come in all forms; episodes of seizures can begin early on but go undetected. Early seizures can appear to be seeing the bichon in a hypnotic state (staring at something not there), or to be experiencing an episode of vertigo, or being drunk. Shunts are a serious condition of smaller breeds, and often not associated with Bichons. But more and more bichons are being afflicted by this condition.

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