Bichon Frise is a popular breed of dog known for being friendly and good with children. However, many people don’t understand that this breed was actually bred for a very different purpose. So what were bichon frise bred for?

They were initially bred as companion dogs for the upper class in France. These dogs were popular among sailors and became known as the Bichon Tenerife, named for the island where they were first bred. The breed nearly went extinct during World War II but was saved by a few dedicated breeders. 

Today, the Bichon Frise is a popular companion dog breed and does well in homes with children and other pets.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important reasons why this dog was bred, where it was bred first, and what its temperament is like. We will also provide some tips on how to care for them if you are thinking about adding one of these dogs to your family!

Let’s get started!

What were Bichons bred to do?

The Bichon Frise is a small, friendly dog that was originally bred to be a companion animal.

Today, they are still beloved companions, but they also excel in many other roles. Thanks to their even temperament and trainability, Bichons often do well in therapy and assistance work. They’re also popular show dogs and frequently appear in obedience and agility trials.

What is the origin of Bichon Frise?

The Bichon Frise is a small, white, fluffy dog that has its origins in the Mediterranean. This dog was originally bred for companionship and as a lapdog for ladies of royalty and nobility. The breed became popular in Europe during the Renaissance and was brought to North America by settlers in the 1800s. 

The word “Bichon” comes from the French word for “matted”, and “Frise” comes from the French word for “curly”. The Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Barbet, a type of water spaniel, and the Poodle.

Is a Bichon Frise a purebred?

The Bichon Frise is a purebred dog. The breed was originally bred in France, and the name “Bichon” comes from the French word for a lapdog. The breed is also sometimes called the Bolognese or Tenerife Dog.

How were Bichons bred?

The Bichon Frise is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region, specifically on the island of Tenerife. The breed was likely developed from crosses between the Barbet and the Poodle.

The Bichon Frise was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1971 and is currently ranked as the 54th most popular dog breed in the US. The breed is known for its cheerful disposition and low-shedding coat, which makes it a popular choice for families with allergies.

The Bichon breed variations

The origins of the bichon families can be traced back to the Mediterranean region, specifically the island of Tenerife.

There are four primary bichon families:

  • Bolognese. The Bolognese is a small, white dog that was originally bred in Italy. This breed is thought to be a descendant of the Bichon Tenerife. The Bolognese has a long, silky coat that does not shed.
  • Havanese. What is believed to be the first Havanese was brought to Latin America by Italian sailors in 1500. The dogs were given as gifts, and it’s thought that this contributed significantly to their success among Cuban royalty.
  • Maltese. The Maltese Bishon is a small, white dog that was originally bred on the island of Malta. This breed is a cross between the Maltese and the Bichon Frise. The Maltese Bishon has a silky coat and does not shed much.
  • Tenerife. The Tenerife is the progenitor of all four bichon breeds. It was originally bred on the island of Tenerife, which is part of the Canary Islands. The Tenerife has a short, curly coat and does not shed much.

The Downfall & Revival of the Bichon Frise

On 5 March 1933, it was adopted by the Société Centrale Canine. During World War II, the Bichon Frise breed nearly became extinct. However, a few dedicated breeders managed to keep the breed alive and eventually brought it back to popularity.

In 1955 the Bichon Frise Club of America was formed, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1971. The Bichon Frise is currently ranked as the 54th most popular dog breed in the US.

The Bichon Frise is a descendant of the water spaniel and the poodle. These dogs were originally bred in the Mediterranean region as companions for sailors and traders.

The reference to Tenerife is familiar to anyone with the barest knowledge of the Bichon Frise. The oversimplified history of the Bichon Frise has usually been:

The Bichon originated from the Barbet in the Mediterranean, the Italian sailors took it to Tenerife, then it came back to the Continent, went to France during the Renaissance, and developed into the Bichon Frise that we all know today.

The ancient people of the Southern Mediterranean had a dwarf breed originated on the island of Malta or Melitz, near Sicily. I would call them Malita dogs rather than Maltese so as not to confuse them with the modern Maltese dogs, which are absolutely different from the ancient ones.

Baron Houtart

He claims that the modern Maltese is an intersection of Spaniel and Poodle, with some Cayenne dogs mixed in. He also believes this to be where Bichons came from, though it’s not exactly clear which country had them first.

Do bichon frise stay small?

Yes, Bichon Frise stay small. They were originally bred as companion dogs, and they typically range from about nine to eighteen pounds. Some people think that their small size makes them fragile, but they are actually quite hardy little dogs. Their coat is also hypoallergenic, which makes them a good choice for people with allergies. Bichon Frise is also known for being a very loving and affectionate dogs. 

However, they do require some grooming, as their coat can become matted if it is not brushed regularly. 

Can you breed a Bichon Frise?

Yes, you can breed Bichon Frises! The breed is quite popular among dog breeders. They are typically easy to train and make great family pets. Bichon Frises are also known for being very loving and affectionate dogs, which makes them great companions.

What can you breed a Bichon with?

The Bichon Frise is a small breed of dog that was originally bred for lap dogs. They are now popular companion dogs and are often used in therapy work. Bichon Frises are intelligent, playful, and affectionate dogs that make great family pets.

Bichon Frises can be bred with other small breeds of dogs, such as the Yorkshire Terrier or the Toy Poodle. However, it is important to note that Bichon Frises should not be bred with other large breeds of dogs, as this can lead to health problems.

What is the best age to breed a bichon frise?

The best age to breed a bichon frise is around two years old. This is when they are fully grown, and their bodies are mature enough to handle the stress of pregnancy and dog birth. Breeding any sooner than this can put undue stress on their young bodies and may lead to health problems later on in life.


So what were bichon frise bred for? To be frank, they were bred to be pretty and fluffy. While this isn’t the most exciting answer, it’s still an essential part of their history. Today, these dogs are known for being friendly and good with children, making them an excellent choice for families. If you’re considering adding a Bichon Frise to your family, do your research first to find a reputable breeder.

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