The bichon frise is a beloved breed both for its fluffy white fur and its temperament. Bichons thrive on human companionship. They're the kind of dog who automatically assumes that all strangers are just best friends they haven't yet met, and they traverse through the world with a happy-go-lucky attitude. In other words: they're a terrible watchdog, but they're an excellent family member. This is the dog you reach for when you need a cuddle.
Bichons get along well with children and other dogs, making them the perfect family pet. They're also popular because they have a hypoallergenic coat and are a small breed that's suitable for apartment living. However, adopting a bichon frise is a commitment. The bichon frise lifespan is higher than the average dog's lifespan. Like most dog breeds, they're prone to certain health problems.
Bichon frise lifespan
As far as dog breeds go, bichon frises as sturdy and resilient — but don't be fooled. They were never meant to be sporting dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, they were initially bred to be lap dogs for aristocrats, at least until street entertainers learned that they're highly trainable. Yes, this breed has a long lineage in showbiz, from circus performing to Hollywood.
The average bichon frise age span is between 14 to 15 years old. This is a couple of years higher than the average for all canines, which is a lifespan of 10 to 13 years. In the United Kingdom, the oldest bichon frise on record lived to be more than 17 years old.
At full adulthood, a bichon frise should weigh between 12 to 18 pounds and stand at between 9.5 to 11.5 inches in height. These dogs often look permanently like puppies because of their tiny stature and fluffy coats.
Bichon frise health concerns
The bichon frise is actually quite resilient. Nonetheless, all purebred dogs are predisposed to certain health conditions. In the bichon frise, this includes allergies, vaccination sensitivities, and bladder issues like bladder stones and bladder infections. Like many small breeds, they are prone to excessive levels of protein in urine, and you may notice issues if your pup urinates frequently, has bloody urine, or has problems urinating.
Bichons can also develop juvenile cataracts, which are thought to be hereditary disorders passed down through breeding. They can also inherit hip dysplasia, which is a condition where the thigh bone and hip bone don't fit together as they should, and patellar luxation, which happens when a knee joint slides out of place. These are all common problems for small purebred dogs.
Find a bichon frise
To ensure a long lifespan for your bichon frise, it's important to adopt from a reputable breeder or rescue group. If you're adopting from a breeder, you'll want to look at the paperwork and health clearances for the parents of the dog you want to adopt.
Reputable breeders obtain clearances from organizations like The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) that ensure your dog isn't predisposed to certain health conditions, whereas disreputable breeders may knowingly breed dogs with hip dysplasia and other genetic disorders. Before adopting, your bichon frise should have health clearances for:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Willbrand's disease
- Hip dysplasia
Though you can't always certify a dog's parents if you're rescuing a bichon frise, a veterinary exam can rule out certain disorders, especially if you get x-rays to check for problems like hip dysplasia. Don't be afraid to give an abandoned bichon frise a forever home, but you may want to invest in pet insurance so you can afford healthcare if a major problem arises.