Thursday, November 17, 2011
Bichon Frise in America
The American history of the Bichon Frise is being lived by all of us at this very moment. The Ground work has been accomplished with thoughful care, and the breed is standing on the threshold of what will undoubtedly be the most rewarding and exciting period it has known. Certainly it is off to a fine start, in the hands of dedicated breeders and an ever-increasing host of new owners and admirers.
It was indeed the start of something big when Mr. and Mrs. Francois Picault emigrated to America in 1956, acompanied by their bichons, Eddy White de Steron Vor and Etoile de Steron Vor. In 1957 Etoile whelped her first letter, consisting of five puppies, sired by Eddy White. That same year the Picaults added two more importations, Gypsie de Warnerbry and Gavotte de Hoop. It can be truthfully said that these Bichons became the "pillar of the breed" her. Regretfully, Mr. Picault passed away of a heart ailment in January 1972, but Mrs. Picault and her daughter, Mrs. Dahl, survive to see the progress which has been made by their beloved breed.
In 1957 Mrs. Azalea Gascoigne met the Picaults and became attracted to the Bichon. She purchased Hermine de Hoop,one of the Eddy White-Etoile offspring from them in 1958. She eventually bred Hermine to Jou Jou de Hoop, fro which resulting litter came April and Andre de Gascoigne. In 1962 Mrs. Gascoigne mad a trip to France. While there she attended the Paris Dog Show and upon her return how she was accompanied by three Bichon bitches purchased from M1le. Miligar, among them Lady des Frimousettes. Bred to Andre, from the original Hermine-Jou Jou offspring, Lady in one litter produced the incomparable sire Mexican Champion Dapper Dan de Gascoigne, whose influence on the breed has been so noteworty, and Duffy de Demeret de Gascoigne, a consistent winner for Dr. Irving Kohn in the Milwaukee area.
Howinteresting it is to read Mrs. Gertrude Fournier's description of the early Picault dogs, which she knew and worked with personally, in a recent issue of Bichon Tales. Mrs. Fournier had been a breeder and exhibitor of Collies until the Bichons won her heart, soon after the Picaults and their dogs arrived in San Diego. Friends had told her of the newcomers and of the fact that the Picaults were having difficulty selling the dogs, since they were not of a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Mrs. Fournier went to see them: she became intrigued by their canine charms, and that is how the Cali-Col Bichons began. From Mrs. Fournier's comments, we learn that Eddy white, who had 17 French championship wins, was very small, eith tremendous coat, and color on his ears and body; and the Etoile was entirely white, slightly larger, with heavy. loosely curled coat, and that Gipsie was approximately 10 1/2 inches tall, had no color on body and ears was slightly cobbier than the others, and excelled in front and hindquarters. No description of Gavotte de Hoop is included, but comment is mad on very petite Gigolo and on Gigi de Hoop, at the other extremed, measuring all of 14 inches and possessor of a wooly coat. Gigi was a daughter of Eddy White and Etoile. The Wide range of type of these early Bichons makes the present standardization of the breed all the more noteworthy and to the credit of those who have brought it about. By breeding from these Bichons and with Belgian outcross, carefully selecting the best from each litter in temperament, size and conformation, gradually the desired type has been established. The task has required knowledge, patience, devotion, study and talent, probably combined with more than a little disappointment along the way when one thinks of the extremes that had to be met and overcome, and of the wide differences even within the same litter that occured. But Mrs. Fournier had the preseverance to accomplish her aim, and today the Cali-Col Bichons speak for themselves.