Bichon Frisé

Table of Contents

The Bichon Frisé is a charming small breed known for its playful demeanor and distinctive fluffy white coat. Originating from the Mediterranean region, these dogs have a cheerful disposition and are often cherished as companion animals. Their rounded appearance, black eyes, and a black nose give them an endearing expression. Bichons are known for their friendly nature and adapt well to various living situations, making them suitable for both apartments and larger homes.

These dogs are characterized by their curly, hypoallergenic coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Despite their diminutive size, Bichon Frisés are lively and energetic, requiring daily walks and playtime. They thrive on social interactions and usually get along well with children and other pets.

Their intelligence and trainability make them adept performers in obedience training. Overall, the Bichon Frisé is a delightful and affectionate companion, bringing joy to households with its happy-go-lucky attitude and lovable personality.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

14 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Bichon Frisé is a small, cheerful breed known for its fluffy white coat and friendly demeanor. Adaptable to various living spaces, they make excellent companions with their playful nature and affectionate personality. Regular grooming and daily exercise contribute to their overall well-being.

Bichon Frisé Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Bichon Frisé is a small, sociable breed with a distinctive curly, white coat. Known for their friendly disposition and adaptability, they thrive on human interaction and require regular grooming to maintain their charming appearance.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Appearance

The Bichon Frisé is a small breed with a distinctive fluffy, white coat, black eyes, and a black nose, giving them an endearing appearance. Their rounded features and compact size contribute to their charming and visually appealing presence.

1. Ears

Bichon Frise ears are dropped (meaning they are next to the head instead of erect and in the air), covered in long fur and frame their adorable face.

2. Eyes

Their eyes are round and face forward; their color can be black or dark brown.

3. Nose

The Bichon’s black nose stands out against their white hair.

4. Height

Male: 9.5-11.5 inches
Female: 9.5-11.5 inches

5. Coat Length

The Bichon is a double-coated pup with medium-length fur. Their undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is curlier and coarser. This gives the dog a “plushy” feel, and the coat springs back when patted.

6. Coat Color

Their coat is white and some will have apricot, buff or cream shadings.

7. Tail

They have a plumed tail that arches over and rests on the back.

8. Weight

Male: 12-18 pounds
Female: 12-18 pounds

Bichon Frisé Temperament

The Bichon Frisé boasts a delightful temperament, characterized by a joyful and affectionate disposition. Renowned for their friendly nature, these small dogs thrive on social interactions and love being part of family activities. Their playful demeanor and energetic spirit make them wonderful companions, especially for families and individuals seeking a lively and affectionate pet.

Intelligence is another notable trait in the Bichon Frisé’s temperament, making them quick learners during training sessions. Their eagerness to please and adaptability contribute to their trainability, though consistent positive reinforcement is key. Additionally, their gentle and patient demeanor, coupled with a lack of aggressive tendencies, makes them well-suited for households with children or other pets. Overall, the Bichon Frisé’s temperament combines charm, sociability, and intelligence, creating a well-rounded and lovable canine companion.

How to Care for a Bichon Frisé

To care for a Bichon Frisé, prioritize regular grooming to maintain their distinctive coat and prevent matting. Provide daily exercise and mental stimulation, as their lively and intelligent nature requires both physical and mental engagement. Additionally, offer a balanced diet, routine veterinary check-ups, and plenty of social interaction to ensure a happy and healthy Bichon Frisé.

Ensure your Bichon Frisé’s well-being with daily brushing, regular baths, and professional trims. Prioritize dental, nail, ear, and eye care, and schedule routine veterinary check-ups. A balanced diet and regular exercise contribute to their overall health and happiness.


  • Daily brushing is essential to prevent matting and maintain the Bichon Frisé’s distinctive coat.
  • Use a slicker brush or comb to gently remove tangles and loose hair, paying extra attention to sensitive areas like ears and underarms.


  • Bathe the Bichon Frisé every 3-4 weeks to keep their coat clean and healthy.
  • Use a mild dog shampoo, and ensure thorough rinsing to prevent skin irritation.


  • Professional grooming or a regular trim every 6-8 weeks is necessary to maintain the Bichon’s signature appearance.
  • Focus on the face, paws, and sanitary areas for a neat and well-groomed look.

Dental Care:

  • Regular dental care is crucial to prevent dental issues. Brush their teeth several times a week with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Provide dental chews or toys to promote oral health.

Nail Care:

  • Trim the Bichon’s nails every 2-4 weeks, ensuring they do not become too long to avoid discomfort or potential injuries.
  • Use a proper dog nail clipper, or seek professional help if unsure.

Ear Cleaning:

  • Clean the ears regularly to prevent infections. Use a damp cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved ear cleaning solution.
  • Be gentle and avoid pushing debris further into the ear canal.

Eye Care:

  • Check and wipe the Bichon’s eyes regularly to prevent tear staining.
  • Use a damp cloth or eye wipes, and consult a vet if there are signs of excessive tearing.

Regular Check-ups:

  • Schedule routine veterinary check-ups to monitor overall health and address any specific grooming concerns.
  • Discuss vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and other health-related topics with the veterinarian.


  • Provide a well-balanced and nutritious diet to support the Bichon’s coat health.
  • Consult with a vet to determine the appropriate diet for their age, size, and activity level.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation:

  • Bichons require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys can help keep them physically and mentally engaged.

By following these grooming guidelines and incorporating them into a comprehensive care routine, you can ensure that your Bichon Frisé remains healthy, happy, and looking its best.

Your clever little monkey-terrier needs training to ensure they learn manners and to understand that they aren’t the ones in charge (though, similar to small terriers like the Silky Terrier, they would really, really like to be). Affenpinschers are smart cookies, and they quickly pick up commands like sit, stay, shake or speak. Building obedience skills also builds confidence, and and means a happier pup and pet parent alike.

Housebreaking an Affenpinscher can be challenging depending on their personality traits, but consistency and patience go a long way. Start potty training immediately. If an accident happens, remember your puppy is energetic and a little bit stubborn—not malicious. Your dog is smart, so trust they will learn in good time.

Just like any other dog, start socializing your Affen while they’re puppies to get them used to many new people, dogs and situations. Puppy preschool is a great place to start. Your pup gets to meet other puppies and learn how to play nicely with other dogs, and they get to interact with other adults.

Finally, set yourself up for success by prepping your space before you bring an Affenpinscher home. What tiny spaces might they escape into? Which items should you place on a shelf instead of the floor so your pup isn’t tempted to investigate where they shouldn’t? (Remember, the Affenpinscher breed is nosy—er, we mean, curious.) Plan to use positive reinforcement and a few treats to teach your Affenpinscher which spaces and furniture are allowed versus off-limits.

Affenpinschers typically do well on a high-quality commercial dog food diet. Your veterinarian can help you nail down how much, how often and what to feed your dog. As your dog ages, you might also need to adjust to a dog food formula that fits their stage in life (puppy, adult, or senior).

Because Affenpinschers are so small, one extra pound can adversely affect your pup’s health. This is why it’s so important to keep your pup healthy. As you’re portioning out meals, don’t forget to include the snacks you give during training and just because you love your pup. (Those calories count, too!) If you see your pup gaining weight, consult your vet. They can help you put together a mealtime and exercise plan to help your pup shed the extra weight and maintain the nutrition your Affen needs to stay healthy.

“Jeopardy!” whizzes and “Wheel of Fortune” aficionados, come on down! If mental activity really gets your heart—and your brain—pumping, you have something in common with the Affenpinscher. These dogs require more mental than physical activity, but they do still need brisk walks and romps in the park. (Aim for 30 minutes every day.) Pet parents should plan to exercise their Affenpinscher once or twice a day, whether it’s a walk, a playful tussle or a fun chase around the house.

Don’t forget to exercise their minds as well. When Affenpinschers don’t have the opportunity to use their smarts and their social skills, they may get into destructive behaviors or sink into depression. A game of fetch, a chase around the apartment or an opportunity to learn new tricks can help them burn off energy. Keep in mind that Affenpinschers’ exercise needs and speed will change as your dog ages.

Thinking about welcoming an Affenpinscher into your home? The good news is that size doesn’t matter! These dogs need lots of affection, but they don’t need much space as long as their exercise needs are met. An ideal environment for Affenpinschers is one where they have plenty of companionship from humans who offer consistent, positive reinforcement and guidance.

Because they’re so active, Affenpinschers aren’t ideal for families with young children. Not only could your Affen’s sudden movements scare toddlers, but a tiny tot’s sudden movements or rough play may frighten your pup. They also have a stubborn streak, so they need an experienced pet parent who has time to train them, nurture their curiosity and stay steady and calm when they try to make their presence known as the head of the house.

Because the Affenpinscher is the nosy type, be sure to look at your home from their POV before bringing your new friend home. What curious things are at their level that you may need to place out of reach, like a child’s toy that looks a lot like your Affen’s toy? Or, are there small spaces they can escape to for an impromptu game of hide-and-seek you didn’t know you were playing?

Bichon Frisé Health

Affenpinschers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, and they are generally hardy dogs, but they do have a few health issues to watch out for. Knowing the health problems this breed is at risk for can help you keep your Affenpinscher healthy for a long time.

  • Patellar Luxation: This common issue in toy breeds occurs when the dog’s knee cap pops out of place, resulting in a limp. Your vet can screen for this issue with a standard patella evaluation. If patellar luxation occurs in your Affenpinscher, talk to your vet about surgery to correct the problem.
  • Heart Disease: Affens are susceptible to a few heart diseases, like patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and mitral valve disease. PDA occurs when an arterial shunt doesn’t close after birth and may be treated with surgery. Mitral valve disease occurs when the mitral valve weakens and doesn’t close properly. Treatments may include prescription medications or a low-salt diet. Responsible breeders should screen for heart issues before passing a puppy along to a new pet parent. If you’re concerned about possible heart anomalies, talk to your veterinarian.
  • Vision Problems: Affenpinschers can develop eye problems like glaucoma (pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve) and cataracts (gradual clouding of vision). Affenpinschers are also more likely than other dogs to have Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a genetic eye disease. Breeders should screen Affenpinscher puppies for PRA. If you think your puppy or adult dog has developed a new eye issue, talk to a veterinary ophthalmologist about treatment options, which could include medicine or surgery.
  • Breathing Troubles: Affenpinschers are brachycephalic and can overheat and have trouble breathing when temperatures soar. (Brachycephalic pups have shortened airways that give them their distinctive squishy faces.) This is easily prevented by carefully monitoring your dog on summer days. Stick to the shade, keep water handy and stop activity immediately if the dog seems to be struggling to pant.

Bichon Frisé Breed Comparison and Consideration

The Affenpinscher origin story begins in 17th century Germany, when these tiny working dogs were bred to kill mice and rats. But whether by Affenpinscher intelligence or pure cuteness overload, they made their way indoors and into the hearts and homes of their parents.

As Affenpinschers joined the ranks of European house pets, various Affenpinscher clubs formed in France and Germany. The American Kennel Club welcomed them as an official breed in 1936, shortly before World War II. The war detracted from the breed’s popularity for some time, but Affenpinschers’ qualities of cuteness, playfulness and loyalty helped them make a comeback in recent years.

Here’s a fun Affenpinscher fact: In 2013, an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe made breed history by snagging the Best in Show award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Since then, Affenpinscher popularity has skyrocketed.

Thinking of adding an Affenpinscher to your home? Generally, you can expect an Affenpinscher puppy to cost between $650 and $2,000 for a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues. Check out the AKC’s website to find a reputable breeder. If you plan to buy an Affenpinscher puppy from a breeder, prepare a list of questions about the dog’s health, personality traits and any training (housebreaking, for instance) that has been provided. You can also seek out local Affenpinscher rescues to find a loving dog to adopt or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.


Yes, Affenpinschers shed, but not excessively. Their wiry coat tends to shed less than breeds with softer or longer fur, making this breed ideal for pet parents who don’t want to vacuum up hair every day.

Affenpinscher is pronounced aaf-ihn-PIHN-sher.

The most common Affenpinscher mixes are:

  • Affenpinscher-Brussels Griffon mix (Affengriffon)
  • Affenpinscher-Chihuahua mix (Affenhuahua)
  • Affenpinscher-Yorkshire Terrier mix (Affenpinscher Yorkie)
  • Afenpinscher-Poodle mix (Affenpoo)
  • Affenpinscher-Schnauzer mix (Schnauffen)

Affenpinscher means “monkey-like terrier” or “monkey dog” in German.

Yes, Affenpinschers are known to be smart dogs. They sometimes have a bad reputation as being untrainable, but that’s because many Affenpinscher puppies are a bit stubborn. With patience and positive reinforcement, these smart, independent dogs respond well to training.

No, Affenpinschers do not typically bark a lot, but they can get yappy when anxious, scared or overstimulated. Like any dog, they can learn to quiet down on command or “talk” or bark when encouraged.

Top Takeaways

Affenpinschers are clever, entertaining pets who make great companion dogs. They are trusty, spunky little sidekicks for families without young kids, and these lionhearted dogs are eager to stick by your side, offer snuggles and make you laugh morning, noon and night.

Top Bichon Frisé Names

These are the top Bichon Frisé names as chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

Female Names


Ginger Adam









Male Names











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