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The Bichon Frise is of Mediterranean ancestry. His oldest ancestor is the Barbet, or Water Spaniel, from which the name Barbichon came, later shortened to Bichon.

The Barbichon group of dogs evolved into four breeds:

The Bichon Teneriffe, was particularly Popular in Spanish

The Bichon Bolognese, is the Italian Bichon variety.

The Bichon Havanese, which derived from the Blanquito de la Habana, is a close relative of the original Bichon Frise. The famed Blanquito de la Habana derived from the original Spanish Bichon-type dogs and was the basis for the Bichon Havanais, a bred know for the silken texture of its coat.

The Bichon Maltese, more commonly known simply as the Maltese, is the predecessor of the Bichon Havanais and is one of today’s most popular breeds.

From the Bichon Teneriffe came today’s BICHON FRISE. These lively and affectionate dogs found their way from the Mediterranean area to the Canary Islands, specifically to the Island of Teneriffe.

The Teneriffe or Bichon made his appearance in France, during the reign of Francis I (1515-1547), the patron of the Renaissance. His popularity grew under Henry III (174-1589). A favorite Bichon legend says that King Henry so loved his bichon that he carried him wherever he went in a tray-like basket attached around his neck by ribbons. By the end of the 19th century, the pet of royalty had become less fashionable. In the late 1800’s, he became a street dog and could be found doing tricks in the circus or at the fairs.

Following World War 1, a few fanciers recognized the potential of the dogs and began establishing their lines through controlled breeding programs. On March 5, 1933, the official standard of the breed, as written by Madame Abadie of Steren Vor Kennels, was adopted by the Society Central Canine de France,. On October 18, 1934, the Bichon was admitted to the official registry of the French Kennel Club. It was the development of the Bichon Frise in the United States that was to bring about the recognition of the breed in other countries.

The Bichon Frise was finally accepted in 1971, and then fully recognized in 1973, by the American Kennel Club. This occurred more than 100 years after its recognition as a specific breed in Europe.

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