Breed-related disease: Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is often depicted as a French dog. Although the Bichon breed type are originally Spanish, used as sailing dogs, also as herding dogs sometimes, the French developed them into a gentle lap-dog variety. The Bichon type arose from the water dogs, and is descended from the poodle-type dogs and either the Barbet or one of the water spaniel class of breeds. Modern Bichons have developed into four categories: the Bichon Frise or Tenerife, the Maltese, the Bolognese, and the Havanese. These are often treated as separate breeds.

A good-size Bichon will stand a shade under a foot tall at the shoulder. The breed’s glory is a white hypoallergenic coat, plush and velvety to the touch, featuring rounded head hair that sets off the large, dark eyes and black leathers of the nose and lips.

With its happy-go-lucky attitude, the playful, vivacious, and bouncy Bichon dog delights everyone. It is good with kids and amicable towards pets, other dogs, and strangers. This affectionate, responsive, and sensitive dog also loves to play and be cuddled, but when it is left alone, it may bark excessively.

The Bichon dog breed, with a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years, is prone to some serious health problems like:

Heart Disease:

Bichons are prone to multiple types of heart disease, which can occur both early and later in life.

Liver Problems:

Your Bichon is more likely than other dogs to have a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt (PSS). Some of the blood supply that should go to the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly. If your friend has PSS, his liver cannot remove toxins from his bloodstream effectively.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that prevents the thigh bone from adjusting perfectly to the hip joint. Hip dysplasia is common among Bichon Frise, but it does not affect them all. The dog usually has symptoms of pain and lameness. However, hip dysplasia does not always cause discomfort in the Bichon Frise, but it can develop into arthritis as your dog ages.


Incontinence can affect your Bichon Frise at any age. If your dog has been previously housetrained, it is important to remember that loss of bladder or bowel control is a physical problem, not a behavioral one. Incontinence is most commonly found in older Bichon Frises, especially females.


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