Bichon Frise Lifespan – How Long Do Bichon Frise Live

Bichon Frise Lifespan

Prospective Bichon Frise owners often wonder – what is the typical Bichon Frise lifespan? How long do these adorable fluffballs actually live?

The Bichon Frise is a charming and lively small dog breed renowned for its cotton-ball like white coat and affectionate personality. They look almost like a child’s toy.

With origins tracing back to the Mediterranean, the Bichon Frise has a longstanding history as a beloved companion dog.

Their gentle and playful nature makes them wonderful family pets for people of all ages.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the average life expectancy of the Bichon Frise breed.

We’ll also explore the key factors that influence longevity in Bichons so you can make informed decisions about your dog’s health.

Additionally, we will share tips from top veterinarians on how to maximize your Bichon’s lifespan through proper care and preventative measures.

Average Bichon Frise Lifespan

Bichon Frise Lifespan
How Long Do Bichon Frise Live

The average lifespan of a healthy Bichon Frise is 12 to 15 years. Some Bichons live even longer, up to 18 years or more with diligent care and good genes.

Bichon Poodles have an average lifespan of 12-18 years. Bichon Poodles (also called Bich-Poo or Poochon) are a crossbreed between a Bichon Frise and a Poodle.

The lifespan of female Bichon Frise is similar to males, with females tending to live 12-15 years on average. Some key factors:

Female Bichons spayed early (before their first heat cycle) tend to live 1-2 years longer than unspayed females. Early spaying eliminates the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer.

Smaller female Bichons generally live slightly longer than larger females in the breed. The DNA of smaller dogs ages more slowly.

Bichons are generally a hardy breed with relatively few major health problems. Their longevity is on par with other small-sized breeds of similar stature. For comparison, the average lifespan for common small dog breeds is:

The Bichon falls right in line with other petite companion breeds. With attentive care, regular vet visits, a nutritious diet, exercise, and abundant love, you can expect your Bichon Frise to lead a long, vibrant life by your side.

What Factors Affect a Bichon Frise’s Lifespan?

Factors Affect a Bichon Frise Lifespan

There are several key factors that influence the lifespan of Bichon Frise dogs. Understanding these factors can empower you to make smart choices regarding your Bichon’s health and wellness to help maximize their longevity.


Smaller Bichons generally live longer than their larger counterparts within the breed. Numerous studies show smaller dog breeds live longer on average than giant breeds. The DNA of petite dogs like Bichons ages more slowly, an adaptive trait enabling them to live many years despite their delicate stature.


Genetic diversity and vigor also plays a role. Bichons from lines with greater genetic variation tend to have increased resistance to disease and disorders. Reputable breeders selectively focus on breeding the healthiest dogs, which translates to longer living puppies.


Neutered or spayed Bichons exhibit extended lifespans, typically 1 to 3 years longer than intact dogs. Reproductive cancers are eliminated when dogs are sterilized, providing vast benefits especially for females. Neutering also curbs roaming and risk-taking tendencies in males.


Feeding a nutritious, high-quality diet supports good health and longevity in Bichons. They should be fed a complete and balanced food formulated specifically for small breed dogs at their life stage and activity level. Avoid overfeeding and obesity, which strains the heart and joints.


Regular, moderate exercise keeps Bichons fit and at a healthy body weight, which takes pressure off the joints and cardiovascular system. Aim for 20-40 minutes of activity per day through leash walks, playtime, or training games. Mental exercise is also beneficial.

Preventative Vet Care

Annual exams, vaccines, dental cleanings, bloodwork, and medications like heartworm prevention allow early detection and treatment intervention for any developing conditions. Preventative care leads to better health outcomes and increased lifespan.

Socialization & Training

Proper socialization and training from a young age ensures good manners and adaptation to home environments. Well-adjusted, obedient Bichons experience less stress and anxiety. Training also reinforces the pet-owner bond.


Providing a safe, enriched home environment indoors protects Bichons from many hazards. Dogs confined exclusively outdoors experience more dangers from weather extremes, fleas, accidents, predators, and uncontrolled breeding. Indoor Bichons benefit from temperature regulation, human supervision, and regular interaction.

Common Health Issues for Bichon Frise Dogs

Health Issues for Bichon Frise Dogs

While generally healthy, Bichons can still encounter certain health conditions. Catching these issues early and providing prompt veterinary treatment is key to longevity. Here are some of the most common health problems for the breed:


Bichons are prone to skin allergies, often triggered by food ingredients, medications, or environmental factors. Symptoms include itchy skin, ear infections, and hair loss. Allergy testing and management helps minimize flare-ups.

Dental Disease

Dental disease from plaque buildup is very common, especially in small breeds. Signs include bad breath, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and spreading infection. Daily brushing, dental treats, professional cleanings under anesthesia, and tooth extractions can prevent many dental problems.

Luxating Patellas

Loose knee joints are a known disorder, causing limping and pain. Mild cases can be managed medically, while severe cases require surgery to realign the kneecap. Keep your Bichon lean to reduce joint stress.


Cataracts, or cloudiness in the eye lens, can progress over time, leading to vision loss. Cataract surgery to remove and replace the lens may restore vision.

Heart Disease

Some Bichons acquire progressive heart conditions like valvular disease or cardiomyopathy leading to congestive heart failure. Symptoms include cough, labored breathing, or exercise intolerance. Medications can help manage heart disease.

With attentive care and prompt vet intervention where required, many Bichons live happily for years despite these potential health issues. Monitoring for any changes and adhering to all veterinary recommendations goes a long way toward optimizing lifespan.

How to Maximize Your Bichon Frise’s Lifespan

Maximize Your Bichon Frise’s Lifespan

As a pet parent, you play a pivotal role in your Bichon Frise’s longevity.

Here are important tips from veterinarians on how to expand your Bichon’s lifespan:

“Choose your Bichon puppy carefully. Always adopt from an ethical, responsible breeder who health tests their breeding dogs and focuses on temperament and longevity.” – Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

“Feed a high-quality small breed formula and avoid overfeeding. Bichons should maintain a lean body weight to reduce strain on joints and the heart.” – Dr. Stephanie Liff, DVM

“Maintain annual vet exams to catch any health issues early. Vaccines, parasite prevention, and dental cleanings are vital preventative care.” – Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM

“Keep your Bichon mentally and physically active with walks, playtime, training sessions, and puzzle toys. A sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity and related issues.” – Dr. Jeremy Applebaum, DVM

“Socialize and train your Bichon young to develop good manners and adaptation to households. Well-adjusted dogs have less anxiety and stress.” – Dr. Anna Richardson, DVM

“Consider early spay/neuter before 6 months old to eliminate reproductive cancer risks and roaming tendencies. Sterilized dogs tend to experience longer lifespans.” – Dr. Nicole Ellis, DVM

Following veterinary guidance while providing plentiful love and dedicated care is the formula for maximizing your Bichon Frise’s lifespan. With attentive care and a bit of luck, your Bichon can be your happy, healthy companion for years to come!

Where are Bichon Frise From?

The Bichon Frise originated in the Mediterranean area, most notably the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and other Mediterranean coastal areas like Italy and France. They became popular pets among Italian and Spanish sailors in the 1300s-1500s who brought them along on voyages.

The cheerful dogs were a hit across Europe. The Bichon Frise was later developed as a breed in France in the 1800s. Their roots are still evident in their name “Bichon”, which comes from the French word “bichonner” meaning “to fuss over”.

Types of Bichon Frise

There are no separate distinct types of Bichon Frise dogs. The AKC recognizes a single Bichon Frise breed. However, some people loosely categorize Bichon Frise coats into two types – curly/frizzy coats or silky/wavy coats.

But these are just natural variations in individual Bichon coats, not different breeds. All well-bred Bichon Frise will have a soft, dense undercoat and a curly, hypoallergenic outer coat. Grooming styles can also change their look.

What is the oldest living Bichon Frise?

Tiki is the oldest Bichon Frise on record, having lived to the age of 22 years and 5 months. Tiki was born on December 1, 1986, and passed away on May 1, 2009.

There are other Bichon Frises that have lived long and happy lives. Rosie lived to the impressive age of 21 years and 9 months, Chester lived to be 20 years and 10 months old, Rocky lived to be 20 years and 8 months old, and Chilly lived to be 20 years and 6 months old.

Ruby, a Bichon Frise from the UK, celebrated her 18th birthday in March 2022 and could be the new British record holder for the oldest Bichon Frise.

Can a Bichon Frise live 20 years?

It is extremely rare, but possible for a Bichon Frise to occasionally live up to 20 years. The current record holder is Guinness at 21 years old. Factors that could contribute to a Bichon reaching the 20 year mark include:

  • Exceptional genetics and good health as a puppy
  • Consistent veterinary care throughout life
  • Lean body condition to minimize joint/heart issues
  • Mentally/physically active lifestyle
  • High-quality diet tailored for aging dogs
  • Luck in avoiding accidents/illness

But in general, most Bichon Frise live to be 12-16 years old. Reaching 20 years old would make a Bichon a centenarian in dog years!

Do bichons have health problems?

Bichons are typically healthy dogs, but some health issues are seen more often in the breed:

  • Dental disease
  • Allergies
  • Luxating patellas (loose kneecaps)
  • Cataracts
  • Heart murmurs

Many conditions can be managed with treatment. Working closely with your vet and providing excellent care helps minimize health problems. Well-bred Bichons from health-tested parents are less prone to genetic conditions.

Is 13 old for a Bichon Frise?

No, 13 years old is not considered old age for a Bichon Frise. The average lifespan for Bichons is 12-15 years, so a 13 year old Bichon is analogous to a person in their 60s – past middle age but not yet elderly if properly cared for. With close veterinary supervision and a good quality of life, most Bichons remain active and playful beyond 13. Some even make it to 17 or 18 years old before health problems accumulate. So a 13 year old Bichon still has several good years left.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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