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The Bichon Frise: A Mediterranean Breed

May 8, 2008
The Bichon Frise has always been famous and was commonly known as the Bichon Tenerife that originated many thousands of years down the ages, especially from the region around the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, the history of the Bichon Frise shows that it is descended by cross breeding the Barbets or Water Spaniels with little white dogs. Furthermore, the different categories of the Bichon Frise each owe their name to place from where it developed such as the Bichon Tenerife that came from the Canary Island of Tenerife.

From the time it first began to be reared, the Bichon Frise has always been used as a companion dog and is not one that retrieves fowl from the water as its ancestor the Water Spaniel did, and instead, this toy sized breed is thus ideally suited for being a companion dog and not a hunting dog.

The Bichon Frise was forgotten and only rediscovered in the fourteenth century by Italian seamen. It was they who brought this breed back to the Continent and the Italian nobility immediately developed a strong liking for the Bichon Frise. And it was only during this time that the Bichon Frise got its characteristic lion style cut. A century or so later the Bichon Frise came to France during the reign of Francis I who was the major figure of the Renaissance.

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 current development of the Bichon Frise starts towards the end of the nineteenth century when this tiny toy breed began to be associated with circuses that traveled about from one place to another, and though it had lost some of its royal stature and became the catch-penny dog of street beggars, it continued to thrive despite royals such as Queen Victoria preferring the Pekinese and Queen Elizabeth II being partial to Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

The first Bichon Frise to be whelped in the United States was sired by Eddie White de Steren Ver in the year 1956 and a few years later some other breeders acquired the Bichon Frise and this was the beginning of the Bichon Frise in the United States.

And, in October 1972, the Bichon Frise entered into the American Kennel Club Stud Book as a non-sporting group, which is the brief history of this breed in the U.S.
About the Author
Mary Stevenson is a passionate lover of the Bichon Frise and owns a popular website where you'll discover how to have a happy, healthy and well behaved Bichon Frise. Among other topics at this website, you will find out more about Bichon Frise Training plus a whole lot more.
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