The Bichon Frise is usually a joyful little character – very small, with abundant hair which needs daily attention. Breed experts say that the Bichon’s hair needs to be combed thoroughly on a daily basis. Light brushing is not enough and will result in matting. A prospective owner needs to be prepared to give the time to this. He is definitely a lap dog and needs his home comforts, but like all dogs he also needs daily exercise. They need consistent but fair reward based training as some Bichons can be head strong. Bichons love to be part of the family and to participate in all family activities.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 10.8% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS80.24
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
The Bichon’s coat definitely cannot be left to its own devices. If it is not groomed daily and trimmed regularly, skin problems and a great deal of discomfort will result.
- Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (HD) (annual testing).
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Heart disease: Patent ductus arteriosus (duct between aorta and pulmonary artery fails to close, resulting in a murmur)
- Portosystemic shunt (an abnormality of the blood circulation, resulting in blood from the heart bypassing the liver and entering the general circulation)
- Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia
- Patella luxation (dislocated kneecap)
- Diabetes (type 1 diabetes mellitus)
- Urolithiasis (formation of stones in the urinary system)
- Primary ciliary dyskinesia (respiratory disease)
- Haemophilia (blood clotting disease)
- Ciliary dyskinesia (recurrent pneumonia-type disease)
- Episodic cerebellar dysfunction (neurological disease)
- Secondary glaucoma (related to cataract)
- Cancer: basal cell tumors
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: