.,from the book "This is the Bichon Frise" by Joan McDonald Breadley and Anna Katherine Nicholas

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Bichon Frise Standard

   - A sturdy, lively dog of stable temperament, with a stylish gait and an air of dignity and intelligence.

  - Solid White, or white with cream, apricot, or grey on the ears and /or body.

* HEAD: 
   - Proportionate to the size of the dog, Skull broad and somewhat round, but not coarse, covered with a topknot of hair.

  - Of Medium length, not heavy or snipey. Slightly accentuated stop.

* EARS: 
  - Dropped, covered with long flowing hair. The leather should reach approximately halfway the length of the muzzle.

* EYES: 
   - Black or dark brown, with black rims. Large, round, expressive and alert.

* LIPS: 
   - Black, fine, never, drooping

* NOSE: 
   - Black, round, pronounced

* BITE: 
   - Scissors

* NECK: 
   - Rather long, and gracefully and proudly carried behind an erect head.

   - Well-laid-back. Elbows held close to the body.

* BODY: 
   - Slightly longer than the tall. Well developed with good spring of rib. The back inclines gradually from the withers to a slight rise over the loin. The loin is large and muscular. The brisket well-let-down.

* TAIL: 
   - Covered with long, flowing hair, carried gaily, and curved to lie on the back.

* SIZE: 
   - The height at the withers should not exceed 12 inches nor be under 8 inches.

* LEGS and FEET: 
   - Strong-boned appearing straight, with well-knit pasterns. Hindquarters well angulated. Feet, resembling cat's paws, are tight and round.

* COAT: 
   - Profuse, silky and loosely curled. There is an undercoat.

   - Scissored to show the eyes and to give a full, rounded appearance to the head and body. Feet should have hair trimmed to give a rounded appearance also. When properly brushed, there is an overall "powder puff" appearance. Puppies may be shown in short coat, but the minimum show coat for an adult is two inches.

  - Cowhocks, snipey muzzle, poor pigmentation, protuding eys, yellow eyes, undershot or overshot bite.

   - Corkscrew tail, black hair in the coat.

I understand that the size of a Bichon usually ranges between nine to eleven inches at the shoulder, some slightly under, some a bit over, so long as the limits mentioned in the Standard are not exceeded. The ideal weight is determined by balanced and symmetry.

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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

History of The Bichon Frise

From rags to riches, from riches to rags. Thus fortune has fluctuated for the delightful representatives of the canine world now known as the Bichon Frise. Through the ages, these little dogs have given pleasure, sometimes from the streets and allesy of European cities, sometimes from the palaces of rayalty, sometimes as performing dogs. And they have filled each role with charm, humor and aplomb, in keeping with their versatile, enchanting personalities.

Origin of the Breed

 Descended from the Barbet, or Water Spaniel, the "Barbichon" group consisted of four categories: the Bichon Maltaise, the Bichon Bolognese, the Bichon Ravenese, and the hero of our story, the Bichon Teneriffe. All belonged to the Mediterranean region. Historic references to the Bichons, dating as far in the past as 230 B.C., bear testimony to their antiquity. And from paintings, sketches, and other artistic depictions of them, we learn that they have changed little in appearance through the centuries existence. Rumor also has it that the Bichon touches all the way back into the times of the illustrious Cleopatra, to whom its presence was known during her reign as Queen of the Nile. It is also said that Cleopatra herself possessed a few of these little dogs and that their image can be found in Egyptian sarcophagi.

 For many years the Bichon Frise was known as the Teneriffe, causing it to be said that it was a native of the Canary Islands, most especially the largest of this group, Teneriffe Island. We read that the Romans discovered the existence of the Canary Islands through Juba, King of Mauretania, whose account of an expedition there about 40 B.C. mentions "Canaria, so called from the mulititude of dogs of great size," substantiating that dogs were indigenous to the Canaries. But, from the description, it hardly seems plausible that these were the forebears of the little Bichon. Far more acceptable is the belief that the Bichon Teneriffe originated on the Spanish mainland, from where the dogs were transported by Spanish sailors who used them for sale and barter. That the dogs took well to the Canaries is certainly true and their popularity with the people of Teneriffe is attested to by their having become known as the Bichon Teneriffe, under which name they flourished for many generations. Perhaps Bichon Teneriffe was considered as more exotic sounding title then just plain Bichon, adding to the trading value of the dogs. Whatever the reason, the name was retained for the breed through several centuries.

The Renaissance found the Bichon Teneriffe appearing in Italy, undoubtedly traded by the sailors at the busy and important Italian ports. Quickly the little dogs became firmly entrenched as pets of Italian nobility and of those striving to emalute the nobles' tastes. Interestingly, during this period the Bichon Teneriffe dogs were trimmed and groomed in lionlike patterns, conforming to the style popular for other breeds of the day.

The French invasions of Italy during the latter part of the fifteenth and throughout the sixteenth century, saw the Teneriffe dogs among the prizes brought home to France by returning warriors. And then it was that the era of their greatest success began.