A Bichon Frisé (/ˈbiʃɒn ˈfriz/ or /ˈbiʃɒn frɪˈzeɪ/; French, meaning curly white lap dog), is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to but larger than the Maltese. The Bichon Frise descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel and the Standard Poodle. The Bichons were divided into four categories: the Bichon Maltese, the Bichon Bolognaise, the Bichon Havanese and the Bichon Tenerife. All originated in the Mediterranean area.[5] Because of their merry disposition, they traveled much and were often used as barter by sailors as they moved from continent to continent. The dogs found early success in Spain and it is generally believed that Spanish seamen introduced the breed to the Canary Island of Tenerife. In the 14th century, Italian sailors rediscovered the little dogs on their voyages and are credited with returning them to the continent, where they became great favorites of Italian nobility. Often, as was the style of the day with dogs in the courts, they were cut "lion style," like a modern-day Portuguese Water Dog. The Bichon Frise is a small dog that weighs approximately 5 – 10 kg (10 - 20 lbs) and stands 23 – 30 cm (9 – 12 in) at the withers, but slightly larger dogs are not uncommon.

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