Bichon Frise Dog Breed Information

Known for most of its existence as the Bichon Tenerife, the Bichon Frise originated thousands of years ago around the Mediterranean Sea. The Tenerife belongs to the Bichon family of dogs, which traces its lineage back to crossings between Barbets (similar to a Water Spaniel) and small white dogs. Each Bichon dog takes its name from the place credited with its development, and the Tenerife is no different, since it developed on the Canary Island of Tenerife.

During the 16th century the Bichon Tenerife was brought to France, where its popularity waxed and waned depending on the tastes of those in power; Francis I, Henry III and Napoleon III are known to have helped boost the popularity of this dog. Portraiture from this period often featured royals posing with their puffy white Bichons.

The 19th century saw a severe reversal of the Tenerife?s fortunes. Banished from the comfortable parlors of the aristocracy, the Bichon Tenerife now found itself on street corners among street performers and organ grinders, entertaining passers by. In this capacity, the dog was greatly aided by its facility for learning and performing tricks, and it was this skill that preserved the dog until World War I, when it was nearly wiped out.

During the 1930s a group of French breeders began an effort to preserve the breed, and in 1933 it was officially recognized under the name Bichon Frise by the F餩ration Cynologique Internationale. The Bichon Frise was brought to the Untied States during the 1950s and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1971. Since that time, the breed has enjoyed a modest but stable rise in popularity.

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