A Bichon Frise, is a small breed of dog of the Bichontype.The Bichon Frise descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel and the Standard Poodle. The word bichon comes from Middle Frenchbichon (“small long-haired dog”), a diminutive of Old Frenchbiche (“bitch, female dog”), from Old Englishbicce (“bitch, female dog”), related to Old Norsebikkja (“female dog”) and GermanBetze (“female dog”).
Some speculate the origin of bichon to be the result of the apheresis, or shortening, of the word barbichon (“small poodle”), a derivative of barbiche (“shaggy dog”); however, this is unlikely, if not impossible, since the word bichon (attested 1588) is older than barbichon (attested 1694).
The Bichons were divided into four categories: the Bichon Maltese, the Bichon Bolognaise, the Bichon Havanese and the Bichon Tenerife (this breed). All originated in the Mediterranean area. Because of their merry disposition, they traveled much and were often used as barter by sailors as they moved from continent to continent.
The dogs found early success in Spain and it is generally believed that Spanish seamen introduced the breed to the Canary Island of Tenerife. In the 14th century, Italian sailors rediscovered the little dogs on their voyages and are credited with returning them to the continent, where they became great favorites of Italian nobility.
Often, as was the style of the day with dogs in the courts, they were cut “lion style,” like a modern-day Portuguese Water Dog.On the 5th of March 1933, the official standard of the breed was adopted by the SociétéCentrale Canine, the national kennel club for France.
This was largely due to the success of the French-speaking Belgian author Hergé’sThe Adventures of Tintin, which featured a small, fluffy, white fox terrier dog named Milou (Snowy in the English editions).
As the breed was known by two names at that time, “Tenerife” and “Bichon”, the president of the FédérationCynologiqueInternationale proposed a name based on the characteristics that the dogs presented – the Bichon Frisé. (“Frisé” means “curly”, referring to the breed’s coat.) On 18 October 1934, the Bichon Frisé was admitted to the stud book of the SociétéCentrale Canine.
Bichons Frises first were brought to the United States in 1956. The breed became eligible to enter the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in September 1971 and was admitted to registration in the American Kennel Club Studbook in October 1972. In April 1973, the breed became eligible to show in the Non-Sporting Group at AKC dog shows. In 1975, the AKC recognized the Bichon Frise Club of America.