Small and energetic with curly white coats, the Bichon Frise is a popular dog breed. Originally descended from the Tenerife Terrier, the Bichon Frise is closely related to several other breeds of Bichon, although only the Bichon Frise and the Maltese are officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Maltese--like the Bichon Frise--is a small dog, weighing 12 to 15 pounds when fully grown and known for its fluffy white coat. One noticeable difference between the two dogs is that the coat of the Maltese is straight, while the coat of the Bichon Frise is wavy or curly. The Maltese takes its name from the Isle Of Malta, where it is believed to have originated as a result of interbreeding between Bichons and Spaniels. The Maltese is smaller then the Bichon; some weigh only 4 pounds when fully grown.
More commonly called the Havanese, this dog was originally developed by breeding German Poodles with the Blanquito de la Habana of Cuba, a breed of Bichon now extinct. Like the Bichon Frise, the Havanese is a small dog, weighing approximately 7 to 13 pounds, but unlike the Bichon Frise, it has a longer coat and comes in a variety of colors. This breed has been admitted to the American Kennel Club, but has not been officially recognized.
Very similar in size and appearance to the Bichon Frise, the Coton de Tulear's coat is very fluffy and usually white, but can be black and white or black, yellow, and white as well. These dogs weigh approximately 12 to 15 pounds and are considered a rare and not officially AKC recognized breed.
The Bichon Bolognese is known for its long, curly, coat, which can be either white or champagne colored. Similar in size and temperament to--and often mistaken for--the Maltese, this breed is not officially recognized by the AKC.
- Bichon image by Olive from Fotolia.com