The Bichon Frise is a pure white dog with a curled double coat consisting of a textured outer coat lined with a soft undercoat, the whole resulting in a springy feel to the coat. The Bichon is shown trimmed for a rounded appearance. Show dogs are trimmed with scissors; the body of pet dogs may be clipped with electric clippers though the rest of the dog still must be scissored. When properly groomed, the dog looks like an elegant powder puff. The ears are pendant. The nose is black, the eyes dark with a curious expression. The plumed tail is carried loosely over the back.
The Bichon Frise first appeared in the fourteenth century, a cross between the Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle. The Bichon was traded by Spanish sailors and became a favorite of sixteenth-century French royal courts. In the nineteenth century, the breed fell from favor and earned its keep as a street performer. It was a popular organ grinder's dog and a circus performer. The Bichon came to America in the 1950s and joined the AKC ranks in 1971. Today the Bichon Frise is primarily a show dog and companion.