11 Fluffy Facts About the Bichon Frise

David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images

These small canines have big personalities. Get to know the dog under all that white fluff.

1. The pronunciation is French.

 Bichon Frise sits in a cart
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

According to the American Kennel Club, the correct pronunciation is bee-shon free-zay.

2. There are many different kinds of bichon dogs.

The fluffy white dogs originated in the Mediterranean. Their ancestor is the barbet (water spaniel), which gave them the name barbichon. This moniker was later shortened to just bichon, which means lap dog in French. From there, the group was divided into four subsets: the bichon Bolognese, the bichon Havanese, the bichon Maltese, and the bichon Tenerife. Each name refers to the region where the type was bred. 

The bichon Tenerife eventually became the bichon frise. Frisé means "curly" in French and refers to the pooch’s locks.

3. Sailors took them overseas. 

Italian sailors kept the companion dogs to be used for bartering. They eventually found their way into the hearts of Spaniards, and flourished on the Island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where the bichon Tenerife originated. Italian sailors eventually rediscovered the dogs in the 1300s, and brought them back to mainland Europe. The tiny dogs were a big hit among Italian nobility, who would give the pups lion-style haircuts. 

4. The French loved them, too.Bichons made their way over to France during the Renaissance under Francis I, where they enjoyed a new burst of popularity. Their admiration only grew under Henry III, who loved the fluffy lap dogs. Rumor had it the king even wore a ribbon-clad basket around his neck so he could take his pets everywhere with him. The French court doted on these dogs, lavishing them with everything from satin bows to perfume. 

5. Their fancy lifestyle led to a new word.

The treatment of bichons was so extravagant, it inspired the word bichonner, a French verb meaning “to pamper.” 

6. But the party didn’t last forever.

Eventually, the love affair with the bichon faded and the little dogs were turned loose in the streets. Thanks to their intelligence and sunny disposition, the canines were used in street performances and circus acts. Gypsies favored the dogs for their ability to do tricks and charm audiences.

7. They’re always white.

bichon frise
iStock

Bichons are entirely white, with just a small amount of apricot, buff, or cream by the ears. Black eyes and a little black nose complete the look. 

8. Artists have been painting them for years. 

Famous artists from Albrecht Dürer to Auguste Renoir loved to add these dogs to their paintings. You can peruse a whole curated collection here

9. There’s no need to grab the allergy pills. 

While there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, some breeds come close. The bichon frise does not shed and produces less dander than other dogs. As a result, sufferers of allergies might have little to no symptoms in the dogs' company. 

10. You still need to pamper them. 

prepares a Bichon Frise prior to judging
Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Your bichon frise may not be living it up in the royal courts, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some primping. To keep your dog’s fur white and fluffy, occasional brushing and baths are needed. Regular combing will keep their fur from getting matted or tangled.

11. One probably has more Facebook friends than you. 

Ozzie the bichon frise can skateboard, do laundry, and melt your heart. Owner Kayleigh Langdon set up a Facebook page to show fans what the dog is up to. Thanks to a wide array of props and tricks, the dog never disappoints his 4000+ followers. “Ozzie has always been a diva so it's great that he finally has the fans to go with it,” Langdon said.

A Nubian Goat Named Lincoln Was Just Sworn in as the Mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont

iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia
iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia

Lincoln the goat may not be housebroken, but she had no problem winning the race for mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. The new mayor was officially sworn in on Tuesday, March 12, and before signing the oath of office with her hoof print, she marked the occasion by defecating on the town hall floor, the Boston Globe reports.

Prior to getting into politics, Lincoln the droopy-eared Nubian goat lived a simple life. A local family looking for a way to maintain the unruly vegetation on their property had purchased her two years ago when she was 1 year old. At age 3, Lincoln transitioned from munching grass full-time to running for public office.

Though Lincoln's win is impressive, her election didn't involve beating any human candidates. Town Manager Joseph Gunter came up with the idea to hold an election for honorary pet mayor of Fair Haven as way to raise money for a new playground. For a $5 fee, local kids were allowed to nominate the pet of their choice to be town mayor. Lincoln bested more than a dozen candidates, including a gerbil named Crystal and a pacifier-sucking dog named Stella, for the position.

The stunt didn't raise much money—the town came away with just $100 for the playground—but it did earn Fair Haven international attention. In order to go down in history as world's longest-serving animal mayor, Lincoln has to stick around for a while; Stubbs the cat was mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 years.

[h/t Boston Globe]

The 10 Most Popular Puppy Names of 2019

iStock.com/Lakshmi3
iStock.com/Lakshmi3

If you brought home a new dog or puppy recently and named it Luna, you’re far from the only one. The name, which means moon in Latin, is the most popular puppy name for 2019.

This analysis of cute canine monikers comes from Trupanion, a provider of medical insurance for pets. The company looked at its database of 500,000 dogs and crunched the numbers to identify the names that are currently having a moment. (Although some of the names that cracked the top 10 list, like Daisy and Max, have been around for quite some time.)

Interestingly, Luna wasn’t always popular. As Trupanion points out, “Looking back 10 years, Luna was barely a blip on the name game chart … not even cracking the list of top 20 names.” Nor did it appear on ​Banfield Pet Hospital's list of the 10 most popular dog names of 2018.

Often, there's some overlap between popular pet names and baby names. Luna was the 31st most popular baby name for girls in 2018. This is perhaps linked to the popularity of the Harry Potter character Luna Lovegood, as well as the publicity the name has received in recent years from celebrities like John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, as both couples named their daughters Luna.

Second on the list of popular puppy names is Bella (its longer form, Isabella, was the fifth most popular baby name for girls last year). Check out the top 10 list below to see if your pooch’s name is trending right now.

1. Luna
2. Bella
3. Charlie
4. Bailey
5. Lucy
6. Cooper
7. Max
8. Daisy
9. Bear
10. Oliver

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