A brief overview of Bichon Frise history, while not essential to know, will help you understand more about your Bichon Frise dog.
The Bichon Frise dog breed originally descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel. As a result it was called the Barbichon which later was shortened to just “Bichon”.
Most people believe that the little white dogs were of Mediterranean origin, probably first introduced around 1200 A.D.
For the next 100 years or so they were shipmates, traveling from continent to continent with their sailor owners. Keeping sailors company on their long voyages was right up their alley.
Legend has it that Spanish sailors took the little white dogs with them on voyages and were responsible for the distribution of the Bichons.
Bichons in Europe
The dogs then became very popular in Spain and soon after that, they were brought to the Canary Island of Teneriffe.
During the 1300’s, sailors from Italy fell in love with the Bichon Frise dog breed and took them to their homeland. Bichon Frises became an instant hit with the Italian nobility and the wealthy.
During the 1500’s, the aristocracy in France regarded these cute little dogs very highly. Bichon Frises often appeared in the courts of French kings, to entertain and delight their masters.
Information is limited after that–until they re-emerged on the coastal regions of North Africa in the 1800’s.
Bichon Frisee Dogs Performing in the Street
Lower class musical street performers, known as organ grinders, often used Bichons to perform circus tricks as a way to earn money and support their families.
According to Bichon Frise history, in 1935, the official breed standard was adopted in France and the name Bichon Frise was officially introduced. “Frise” simply refers to their soft, curly hair.
The first recorded Bichon Frise litter in the United States was in 1956 and the Bichon Frise dog breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club dog shows in the 1970’s.
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