Bichon Frise: From Barbichon To Bichon

Published: 24th January 2008
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The Bichon Frise is descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel, much like his cousin the Caniche and was originally known as a Barbichon, which was later shortened to Bichon. In addition, there are four different categories of the Bichon, which include the Bichon Bolognais, the Bichon Maltais and the Bichon Tenerife as well as the Bichon Havanais, and all of these categories came out of the Mediterranean region. The breed was always bred to be companion dogs and nothing more.

The Bichon Frise was a great (and, still is) companion dog and from its very early days was the companion of its owners, many of whom were sailors and thus were taken on sea voyages overseas and even became bargaining chips while being taken from one continent to another. In fact, the Bichon Frise was well received in Spain and it was the Spanish sailors that introduced him to the Canary Islands in Tenerife.

The Bichon Frise, from the time of the Renaissance was called the Bichon Tenerife, which obviously alludes to its origins from the Canary Islands. But its early masters, the Spanish sailors of the early fourteenth century, affectionately named it the Bichon Tenerife. It later became a pet most favored by both Italian and Spanish nobility and only in the reign of Francis I during the sixteenth century, did the Bichon Frise become established in French royal courts and its popularity peaked under the reign of Henry III of France towards the latter part of the sixteenth century.

Also, the famous Spanish painter named Francisco de Goya painted the minute Bichon Frise in the portrait he made of the Duchess of Alba that led to the continuing popularity and fame of the breed. In fact, the Bichon Frise was the subject of other paintings as well, and one such painting was even to become a postage stamp in Yemen. And, in the nineteenth century, under Napoleon III's reign, the Bichon Frise came to enter the French royal court as well.

The Bichon Frise is a Mediterranean breed and according to the International Canine Federation, he is a French Belgian breed that is today recognized in almost all parts of the world, though at one time he was recognized only in Italy, France and Belgium. However, once he was bred in the United States, this breed gained worldwide recognition and on September 1, 1971 the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bichon Frise.

Even though the fortunes of the Bichon Frise have undergone a fair share of ups and downs, the breed survived because of its immensely likeable nature and also because of his ability to perform tricks, and after he came to the U.S. he has won over the heart of the working class who find him to be an excellent companion as also a show dog. Thus, the one-time favorite of notable personalities such as Francis I and Henry III has now become darling of the average owner and thus continues to survive even in the modern age.

Mary Stevenson has owned and bred dogs and has also devoted a great deal of time to studying dogs and thus is considered by some to be an expert on all types and breeds of dogs. The history behind the Bichon Frise goes back to ancient times, and so there is a lot to learn about how it has survived the many ups and downs over the years. If you are looking for the history of this breed, you need to read this article that provides pertinent Bichon Frise information on the subject.

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