Let’s Talk Breed Education!
W hen asked to write an article discussing my breed, I thought to myself, “What can I say that people don’t know about my breed? What is different about the Bichon? What makes them unique? What quality stands out above the rest that makes me point to a particular dog when I judge?” While I don’t profess to know everything about the Bichon, I will try to share what I have learned. As a breeder, you never know everything. Each litter surprises you with something new and different; we all have experienced this. But being in the breed for over thirty years (and producing almost one hundred champions, including the breeding program of the infamous “JR”), I do have a depth of knowledge. As a judge, I have been most fortunate in that I have judged National Bichon Frise Specialties in the United States, Canada, China, Japan and, next March, in Finland. I have seen magnificent dogs all over the world. Lastly, I am the JEC for the Bichon Frise Club of America. I just gave the AKC Webinar last month. So here lies the real challenge...What am I going to write that most of you haven’t heard from me before? The first line of our standard paints the entire picture: “ Th e Bichon Frise is a small, sturdy, white powder pu ff of a dog whose merry temperament is evidenced by his plumbed tail carried jauntily over the back and his dark-eyed inquisitive expression.” The next part of our standard states, to paraphrase…the breed has no gross exaggerations and therefore there are no reasons for lack of balance or unsound movement. So, when I first read this to teach myself about the breed. I thought...so simply put, if I put these first two paragraphs together. I want a Bichon that is happy, holds his tail, and has sound movement. I didn’t know what gross exaggerations meant and, honestly, I still don’t. (Maybe a Poodle body?) Then I came to balance. Now, having been a gymnastics judge since the 1970’s, I was certainly comfortable with this part…not so short in body as to be restricted in movement, nor too long to appear clumsy and ungainly. A dog that stands well over his front, neck arched [with] head, neck and tail carried proudly. To me, this sounds like balance. Proportions was next. I learned that Bichons are not a square dog, and when I heard the term “off-square” it was another language. Never having been good at math, I didn’t have a clue what that meant, but I learned. The body is 25% longer than tall (this 25% includes the forwardmost point of chest to the point of the rump), and is 1/4" longer than the height at the with- ers. In essence, the measurement from withers to tail, or length of back, would be a 1/4" shorter than the dog’s height at the withers. I know this sounds complicated, but if you were in front of me I could show you how to do this with just a simple movement of your fingers. The first line says “small dog.” But the actual standard says for both dogs and bitches: “9 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches.” (If an outstanding representative of the breed, it could be a half inch taller, but never under 9" or over 12".) Now I Bichon Frise the
BY MIMI WINKLER
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THE BICHON FRISE
thought to myself, that’s quite a difference. But because of my gymnastics back- ground, size never plays a part in my decision. I have seen a 10" dog/bitch take fewer steps than a 12" dog/bitch. I have seen smaller dogs cover more ground, so I know which dogs are better balanced. A free-moving dog, one without the handler’s help, is beauty in motion no matter the size. Size should never deter- mine a better Bichon. Now my favorite part: the Head. Nothing can compare to the beauty of a beautifully-balanced contrast of sparkling black eyes, a black nose, and black lips against the stark—yet soft—white of a Bichon’s coat. I want to see round eyes, facing front, surrounded by black halos, ears set slightly above; an equilateral triangle from the corner of the eyes to the nose. I want to see an underjaw that can house a scissors bite. (Out of line teeth never bother me.) I want to feel a head that is three-to-five from the stop to the back skull. Now, here’s a finger exercise I can teach you: Take your thumb and index finger, put them on the top of the nose to the stop. You see how much that distance is. [Then] take your thumb and put it where your index finger was, and put your index finger behind the head. You will feel the three-to-five ratio. (Only took me ten years to learn this!) I have not covered shoulders, but we all need good shoulders to move. Ours are a 45-degree angle. (I have not covered restricted rear movement because, in my mind, most Bichons have good rear angulation.) However, they are too straight in the shoulders, so their rear legs have nowhere to go. I have not covered coat. You know a Bichon has a double coat that suppos- edly bounces. We can have 10% color in one place or dispersed.
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THE BICHON FRISE
I was asked to write an article about the Bichon and judging. This is what I would like to say: The Bichon is a breed of illusion. A good groomer can make a mediocre dog look wonderful...and God bless them. They have a talent. But, get your hands in there. Feel the dog. Look into their faces; always from the front. not the side. Never pry open the mouths. Why would you...what for? Don’t spend time picking up each leg to check for pads. If a pink pad is the basis of a decision, reevaluate your priorities. Remember that puppies can have color. They will outgrow it. They can be under 9". They can drop their tail. (This only applies to puppies.) Give them a second chance. Remember the first line of the standard. Their coat can be softer. They are puppies, make it fun. So when I judge, I watch each dog walk in. I want to see a sense of self, a sense of assurance. Then I look at each dog’s head. I want that expression that says, “Here I am. You don’t have to go any further!” Then I stand back and look for type, and have them go around—never, ever racing. I am too old to get whiplash watching a handler run! I put each dog on the table, look closely at the face, do my stop measurement, check the bite, feel the sternum, run my hands down the legs, measure the layback, see how tight the elbows are, measure the back, check the tail set, feel the rear angu- lation, step back and look at the face again, thank the handler, and say to myself after the examination, “Well, this dog feels real good. Now let me see what he/she thinks of him/herself.” This is when I look for free and easy movement, head car- riage, tail carriage, and that sense of self. In essence, I examine a dog on the table and judge a dog on the ground. I want to see a show pony. I want that merry little dog that carries its tail jauntily over its back. Sometimes a dog just jumps out at you. Sometimes you find one that gives you chills. These are the moments we all cherish.
The Bichon is a breed of illusion. A good groomer can make a mediocre dog look wonderful...and God bless them. They have a talent. But, get your hands in there. Feel the dog. Look into their faces; always from the front. not the side.
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JUDGING THE BICHON FRISE
by ANN D. HEARN, breeder/exhibitor/judge
A s you stand in the ring with your judges book and pen in hand and check off each armband, you find it is a bit difficult to keep your mind on the paperwork requirements without moving your eyes downward to catch a glimpse of the stunning, joyous parade propelling themselves into the ring with an exhibitor attempting to get some bit of control from their entry. It’s an instant ‘feel good’ moment. Well, you smile to yourself, this ought to be fun! And, I promise you, it will be. You may be fairly new to this breed, as well as new to dogs with an abun- dance of coat, but your eyes have long been trained to see and evaluate leg movement. As you take them around the ring to the examining table, you watch to see which ones display equal dis- tance of reach in the front and matching rear. Your experience also tells you that you can have equal front and rear leg extension—and still not get anywhere. This style dog has reach in front that never gets out from under his chin, but, GloryB, the rear has the same stretch! That means the dog is balanced, doesn’t it? There’s good balance, under bal- anced and overbalanced. A Bichon was once the Circus trick dogs and as such must have a healthy reach and drive that will propel him agilely toward his goal. They want and should move right along, but not as if the Devil himself is chasing them with evil intent. It is not a race of speed, but a pace to get where they need to be efficiently—and then be ready for the next cool thing asked of them. You probably didn’t get to see the Hallmark of the breed, the face and head as they were coming in and going around, but on the examining table, you can quickly and breathlessly have your heart stolen right out of your body as you look in those sweet faces. At this point, you’re probably saying—I have got to have one of these at home so I can look at that face all day long! If the correct head and face are not maintained, the breed will totally lose its individuality, appeal and a good bit
give the most beautiful frame to the sweetest face at the dog show. Now that you have the head in your mind’s image, how do you determine if that skull is wide and rounded and the ears are not too high, or too low and houndy? Yes, you can put your hand in all of that coat to feel. It is incumbent of you to find and reward the proper structure. The exhibitor can and will fluff it back up before the down and back. Please allow just a few seconds for this repair. It is much easier to judge a dog that looks good than it is to have to judge a totally disheveled one. The Bichon coat is double and therefore, an adult coat should merely shake back into place. The coat texture is certainly not like a Maltese, Havanese, Lowchen, Poodle, etc., other than as some of these breeds, it has a soft undercoat and it is that undercoat that helps keeps the coat off- standing and prevents it from lying flat. A puppy will have a very soft texture with undercoat just developing and will, therefore, its coat will hang down- ward. Forgive that—it’s only temporary. Unless you’ve been in the breed for years and know your bloodlines well, it would be impossible for you to guess whether the puppy coat will become the full-bodied textured substance it should become. Remember ‘on the day’. In my opinion, just acknowledge that the puppy has predominately white hair and just accept it. The texture of a mature coat, while still of a comfortable soft feel, it is not like silk and smooth, but each hair is more bodied than that, with a feel of straightened curl to it. Some people sug- gest it offers a feel of cotton. I can only guess they are suggesting a pulled apart cotton ball with fibers of strength, but pleasant to the fingers. When Bichons first came to America we didn’t really know what to do with all of that hair that, by golly, just kept growing and if not brushed frequently, matted. A pattern of presentation was developed and this style of groom- ing has remained, enhanced, poofed, enhanced some more and nowadays
of its purpose as a companion dog. So, let’s begin a thorough study of what we should see in this cloud of white and prominent black portions arranged so pleasingly. The Bichon is not a narrow, elongat- ed dog with refined bone. It is a sturdy dog, with sound bone and a solid body. Therefore, the head should equal the density of the body. In other words, it is a rather broad head to allow the pleas- ing picture of two extremely bright, dark eyes to be able to look forward on a skull that is wide enough to allow the eyes to lay on the face without having to curve a bit around the too narrow skull. The eyes are totally on the front of the face—this is important. They are dark and round and have a natural (Hum, well) dark halo on the skin sur- rounding the eye and eye rims that have a dark unbroken rim. Sometimes, an extremely round-eyed dog will have a bit of a bulge to his eyeball. The Bichon does not—please! The roundness of the Bichon eye is not Coke-bottle round but is much softer. The skull is rounded slightly and is greater in width and depth than the muzzle. Actually, the muzzle is short, and with the coat parted on the bridge of the nose, with usually some wispy hairs sticking out and up, will look even shorter. A good balance of skull to muzzle is not half as much muzzle as skull, but a bit less in length of muzzle. Or, as the Stan- dard says, “Three parts muzzle to five parts skull.” However your brain visual- izes things, the point being made here is—it is not a 50–50 balance. There is a stop and not just a hint of a sloping indentation. The skull doesn’t slide down into the muzzle. And, the muzzle width and depth, while not the same circumference of the skull, must match the apparent fullness of the skull and not be narrow, snippy or chinless. The nose is somewhat prominent and very, very black. The lips are also black, thus giving a pronounced contrast of black and white. With the ears placed slightly above the eyes and being very flexible, they can swing forward at attention and
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“YOU CAN ASK ANYTHING OF A BICHON AND HE WILL DO
HIS BEST TO COMPLY. THAT’S WHY THEY MAKE SUCH EXCELLENT COMPANIONS, HOSPITAL GREETERS, AND CHEERLEADERS, AGILITY, OBEDIENCE AND TEACHERS OF CHILDREN AS TO HOW TO BE GOOD PET OWNERS.”
you will see in the ring many different perspectives. For me, that is the hard part. I had my style of pattern that I had developed from watching many differ- ent non-Bichon groomers, including a great influence from my Terrier roots and George Ward’s insistence that I give them a decent rear, as well as Bichon groomer, Joe Waterman who present- ed the gorgeous California awning of coat extending over the eyes. And so I have had to learn to accept other styles and patterns from reputable breeders, exhibitors and handlers that may not meet what I personally preferred. But, if it looks good, I can hardly argue with the overall picture. You must develop your own eye of what you want to see in the grooming presentation of the Bichons that come into your ring. It is important that you understand that some colorations in a Bichon coat is okay. Puppies frequently will exhibit a spot or two of near red in splotches, and 99% of the time it fades to all white upon maturity. It is that presence of color that aids in the good dark pig- ment required in the face and pads. As a—“I didn’t know that” thought, many Bichons that started out with color in their coats, will have it return in their senior years. That’s okay, too. Good genes! The lengthy coat of the head, the tremendous length of coat down the top ridge of the neck, to the flat topline
is pretty much the accepted pattern. There are many, many fabulous groom- ers out there, and they are all trying to enhance the outline of their exhibit. If in your opinion, for example, too much coat is left on the underside of the body making the dog appear short and low, why don’t you run your hand along the bottom of the chest and up the tuck up, holding the coat back so that you can actually see how much leg is there and if it balances with the length of the body. If you didn’t catch it as they went around, I see no prob- lem with requesting the dog go back on the table for a quick check. You cer- tainly wouldn’t want to do this with all the dogs in the ring, but only the one you really would like to consider and are trying to decide if it’s grooming or structure that is throwing your eye off. Being somewhat pushy, I don’t hesi- tate to mention grooming suggestions to the exhibitor. The professional han- dlers might look at me like they’d like to pinch my head off, but the sincere exhibitor who never gets to see his/ her finished product from a distance, appreciates the perception. Almost all groomers of Bichons will groom their dog to embellish its qualities and will do their darndest to hide the lesser traits. That is, in fact, the basic prem- ise of the dog game. Try to keep your eye from being swayed by exaggera- tions and watch for the good, sound,
all-round dog you’d be happy to take home. Flash may win the day, but what will it produce in the kennel? Help main- tain the high quality of the breed with your awards. Selecting the sounder dog with perhaps less in-ring ‘sex appeal’ does not make you a ‘giant killer’. This is a happy breed and might at some point in their inexperienced show career show signs of shyness. The tail will drop, they will go around the ring hesitatingly and generally not do a bit of good for themselves. That’s when you show your compassionate side and offer encouragement to the dog with praise, pats on the table and all the kindness you can muster. Take a bit more time with the dog so that the next time it’s in the ring the memories will be good ones and the exhibitor will think you’re the best judge in the whole USA. But, for the most part, the breed is just naturally happy, eager and so very willing to please. You can ask anything of a Bichon and he will do his best to comply. That’s why they make such excellent companions, hospital greet- ers, and cheerleaders, agility, obedience and teachers of children as to how to be good pet owners. It is a breed that is a delight to judge. Not only for the sheer joy of looking at their pure, wholesome beauty but because they fill every need a person or family could ever want in a beloved pet. Unfortunately, one is never enough.
ShowSight joins the Bichon Frise Club of America and the entire fancy in sadness at the loss of Ann. Always pleasant, always polite, and a bright spot in everyone’s day, Ann devoted her life to the sport she loved most. Our condolences to her family and friends, which we like to think includes us. –Ed
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BICHON NATIONAL JUDGES CRITIQUE A fter watching the video, I must admit that the per- spective you get sitting ringside versus standing #47. Dart Of Fires Castle JP: Such a nice dog. I had such a hard time between this dog and #51. WINNERS DOG AMERICAN BRED #72. Barberry Hillwood You’re So Vain: Nice mover, lovely outline and so full of herself. by MIMI WINKLER Judges Choice Bichons
#70. McNelson Phantom’s Baby I’m A Star: Nice expression and pretty head. She was just a little unsure of herself. OPEN BITCH #82. Dognews AW1 Marry: Beauti- ful dense coat, wonderful tailset, nicely balanced bitch and great–mover. #76. Petit Ami’s Open Your Heart: Pretty head, nice mover and great coat. WINNERS BITCH #32. Luvit Dalnavert Ministry Of Magic: My 9–12 bitch. She could not be denied on this day. RESERVE WINNERS BITCH #64. Gemstone–Lyndale Simply Spectacular: My BBE bitch. On any given day my winners could have been reversed, they were both wonderful. VETERAN DOGS 7–10 I wish I had a blue ribbon for every dog in this class. They were all deserv- ing of first place. When I looked in the catalog to write their names, I now real- ize why I was so impressed. Each and every dog presented had such an impact on breeding programs. I applaud all of these dogs, they were stunning and in such wonderful condition. They flew around the ring as if they were just two years old. I kept them in the same order as they were presented, therefore I feel they all deserve recognition. #63. GCH Parays Power & Privilege. #65. GCH Belle Creeks Flight To Deja Vu. #67. GCH Wendan Out On Parole From Musicbox. #69. GCH Absolute Affinity Agape Bullet Proof. VETERAN DOG 10 YEARS AND OLDER #71. Belle Creeks Hot Shot: As good as it gets.
in the middle of the ring can be quite different. With that said, my catalog notes are just as appro today July 12th as they were on May 5th, 2017. If my descriptions seem repetitive it’s simply because I look for and reward the same
#51. Wasilli Tuke Of Oi Le Kennel. RESERVE WINNERS DOG #47. Dart Of Fires Castle JP. Interesting side note. My winners dog was from China and my reserve winners dog was from Japan. PUPPY BITCH 6–9 CLASS #8. Cher Ami’s Hillwood Sugar and Spice: Very balanced, nice coat, pretty head, nice mover and a great attitude. #12. Wendan Diamonds Are A Girls BFF: She had a pretty head, beautiful tailset and a nice mover. Just a little bit of neck separated these two girls for placement. PUPPY BITCH 9–12 #32. Luvit Dalnavert Ministry Of Magic: This bitch never took a wrong step from the minute she entered the ring. She had beautiful balance, head, coat, neck and attitude. #40. Gaylors Red Carpet Ready: This little package has so much going for her. She too is a winner. 12–18 CLASS #46. Encore Cherish Romeos Bet- ter Half: Nice head, pretty outline and nicely balanced. #50. Waterfalls Perfect Storm Paisley Rose: Pretty, less bone, nice head and a great topline. BRED BY EXHIBITOR #64. Gemstone–Lyndale Simply Spectacular: She was a lovely bitch that was smooth when she went around the ring and so pretty on the table. She too had everything. #68. Barberry Hillwood Hot Child In The City: It was so nice to see such a hap- py bitch. She had a wonderful attitude with a pretty head and a wagging tail to match.
attributes in every class. 6–9 PUPPY DOG
#11. Belle Creek’s Who Can Make The Sunshine: Nice balance, nice neck, great attitude, pretty head, nice topline and a smooth mover. #5. Bella Allure Shades of Grey: Pretty, pretty dog and so full of himself. He will finish quickly once he settles down. Gave #11 a run for his money. 9–12 PUPPY DOG #23. Wendan I’ve Got Your 6: Nice balance, nice neck, pretty head and good topline when moving. #17. Legends Get Off My Cloud Of Lore: Pretty dog, nice head and nice eye set. When his chest drops he will be a #25. Heights Order In The Court: I really liked this “honest” Bichon type coat, movement and face. I don’t know what spooked him in the final line up. BRED BY EXHIBITOR DOG #31. Bibelot Cher Ami’s Master Of Control: Elegant, nice balance, nice neck, pretty head and good movement. #29. Solstice I Wanna Talk About Me: A little longer in body. Has to settle down. Forges his head when moving. OPEN DOG #51. Wasili Tuke Of Oi Le Kennel: So nice to go over, beautiful head, won- derful length of neck, maybe too much rear angulation, but great layback of the shoulder so he was balanced and full of himself. fabulous mover. 12–18 DOG
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BEST OF BREED #97. GCH Wendan Because I’m Happy: This dog caught my attention the minute he walked into the ring. He reminded me of a gymnast, extension through his neck, great balance, out in front, great sense of self, just scream- ing “look at me” and I looked and loved what I found. BEST OF WINNERS #32. Luvit Dalnavert Ministry of Magic: My 9–12 winners bitch. BEST OF OPPOSITE SEX #118. CH Starry–Dom Golden Girl: I loved her reach and drive, face, topline and a sort of independence. As to the rest of the dogs and bitch- es I chose regardless of size, which means nothing to me, they all exem- plify the best of what our breed has to offer. SELECT DOG #95. CH Cher Ami’s Center Of Attraction. SELECT BITCH #104. GCH Dove Cotes Bang Zoom To The Moon.
AWARD OF MERITS #106. GCH Belle Creek’s All About Aubrey. #102. GCH Phantom’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing CA. #89. CH Heights Exclamation Point. #112. CH Solstice Frostfire. If you all noticed in my descriptions of the dogs I liked, I left out eyes. All of the dogs I used had round eyes, some not as big as others but round. I also did not mention pigment, as breeders, we know where our strengths and weak- nesses lie. I found overall that we have improved balance, reach and drive. Please remember, when I hear breeders say that certain dogs have no drive “that the dogs rear legs are tucked under”, in most cases their rear angulation is suf- ficient but their shoulders are straight the rear legs have no where to go. Tail- sets for the most part were really good, which of course makes for good rears. Fronts have greatly improved. I applaud all of you who have worked so hard to achieve this. This was one of the proudest days of my life, I love Bichons. I love that you all gave me this opportunity and I hope I lived up to your expectations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I first fell in love with a Bichon Frise in 1988 while judg- ing an international gymnastic meet in Europe. My children had grown up with
Old English Sheepdogs and I vowed I wouldn’t have another coated breed. As soon as I returned from Europe, I went to a dog show to find a breeder to further my knowledge. I was lucky to meet Doris Hyde of Dove Cote Bichons, who not only mentored me, but knew of my judging and suggested Judges Choice as my kennel name. Over 29 years, I have bred 85 cham- pions. My program has produced the #1 dog All Breed in the country, Westmin- ster, All Breed Best in Show, Regional and National Specialty winners. I’ve worked hard to achieve what success I’ve attained, from the presi- dent of an all breed and Non-Sporting club, AKC delegate and JEC of the BFCA. I had the honor of judging the first Bichon Frise National Specialty in Chendu, China. The biggest honor is being your judge at the BFCA National Specialty 2017.
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stricted movement of the front legs. The lowest point of the chest extends at least to the elbow. The rib cage is moderately sprung and extends back to a short and muscular loin. The forechest is well pronounced and protrudes slightly forward of the point of shoulder. The underline has a moderate tuck-up. Tail is well plumed, set on level with the topline and curved gracefully over the back so that the hair of the tail rests on the back. When the tail is extended toward the head it reaches at least halfway to the withers. A low tail set, a tail carried perpendicularly to the back, or a tail which droops behind is to be severely penalized. A corkscrew tail is a very serious fault. Forequarters: Shoulders - The shoulder blade, upper arm and forearm are approximately equal in length. The shoulders are laid back to somewhat near a forty-five degree angle. The upper arm extends well back so the elbow is placed directly below the with- ers when viewed from the side. Legs are of medium bone; straight, with no bow or curve in the forearm or wrist. The elbows are held close to the body. The pasterns slope slightly from the vertical. The dewclaws may be removed. The feet are tight and round, resembling those of a cat and point directly for- ward, turning neither in nor out. Pads are black. Nails are kept short.
Official Stan dard for th e BICHON FRISE COURTESY THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
General Appearance: The Bichon Frise is a small, sturdy, white powder puff of a dog whose merry temperament is evidenced by his plumed tail carried jauntily over the back and his dark-eyed inquisitive expression. This is a breed that has no gross or incapacitating exaggerations and therefore there is no inherent reason for lack of balance or unsound movement. Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Bichon Frise as in any other breed, even though such faults may not be specifically mentioned in the standard. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - Dogs and bitches 9 ½ to 11 ½ inches are to be given primary preference. Only where the com- parative superiority of a specimen outside this range clearly jus- tifies it should greater latitude be taken. In no case, however,
Hind quarters: The hindquarters are of medium bone, well angulated with muscular thighs and spaced mod- erately wide. The upper and lower thigh are nearly equal in length meeting at a well bent stifle joint. The leg from hock joint to foot pad is perpendicular to the ground. Dewclaws may be removed. Paws are tight and round with black pads. Coat: The texture of the coat is of utmost importance. The undercoat is soft and dense, the outercoat of a coarser and curlier texture. The combination of the two gives a soft but substantial feel to the touch which
should this latitude ever extend over 12 inches or under 9 inches. The minimum limits do not apply to puppies. Proportion - The body from the for- ward-most point of the chest to the point of rump is one-quarter longer than the height at the with- ers. The body from the withers to lowest point of chest represents half the distance from withers to ground. Substance - Compact and of medium bone throughout;neither coarse nor fine. Head : Expression - Soft, dark-eyed, inquisitive, alert. Eyes are round, black or dark brown and are
is similar to plush or velvet and when patted springs back. When bathed and brushed, it stands off the body, creating an overall powder puff appearance. A wiry coat is not desirable. A limp, silky coat, a coat that lies down, or a lack of undercoat are very serious faults. Trimming - The coat is trimmed to reveal the nat- ural outline of the body. It is rounded off from any direction and never cut so short as to create an overly trimmed or squared off appearance. The furnishings of the head, beard, moustache, ears and tail are left longer. The longer head hair is trimmed to create an overall rounded impression. The topline is trimmed to appear level. The coat is long enough to maintain the powder puff look which is characteristic of the breed. Color: Color is white, may have shadings of buff, cream or apri- cot around the ears or on the body. Any color in excess of 10 per- cent of the entire coat of a mature specimen is a fault and should be penalized, but color of the accepted shadings should not be faulted in puppies. Gait: Movement at a trot is free, precise and effortless. In profile the forelegs and hind legs extend equally with an easy reach and drive that maintain a steady topline. When moving, the head and neck remain somewhat erect and as speed increases there is a very slight convergence of legs toward the center line. Moving away, the hindquarters travel with moderate width between them and the foot pads can be seen. Coming and going, his movement is precise and true. Temperament: Gentle mannered, sensitive, playful and affection- ate. A cheerful attitude is the hallmark of the breed and one should settle for nothing less.
set in the skull to look directly forward. An overly large or bulging eye is a fault as is an almond shaped, obliquely set eye. Halos, the black or very dark brown skin surrounding the eyes, are necessary as they accentuate the eye and enhance expression. The eye rims themselves must be black. Broken pigment, or total absence of pigment on the eye rims produce a blank and staring expression, which is a definite fault. Eyes of any color other than black or dark brown are a very serious fault and must be severely penalized. Ears are drop and are covered with long flowing hair. When extended toward the nose, the leathers reach approximate- ly halfway the length of the muzzle. They are set on slightly high- er than eye level and rather forward on the skull, so that when the dog is alert they serve to frame the face. The skull is slightly rounded, allowing for a round and forward looking eye. The stop is slightly accentuated. Muzzle - A properly balanced head is three parts muzzle to five parts skull, measured from the nose to the stop and from the stop to the occiput. A line drawn between the outside corners of the eyes and to the nose will create a near equilateral triangle. There is a slight degree of chiseling under the eyes, but not so much as to result in a weak or snipey foreface. The lower jaw is strong. The nose is prominent and always black. Lips are black, fine, never drooping. Bite is scissors. A bite which is undershot or overshot should be severely penalized. A crooked or out of line tooth is permissible, however, missing teeth are to be severely faulted. Neck, Topline and Bod y: The arched neck is long and carried proudly behind an erect head. It blends smoothly into the shoul- ders. The length of neck from occiput to withers is approximately one-third the distance from forechest to buttocks. The topline is level except for a slight, muscular arch over the loin. Body - The chest is well developed and wide enough to allow free and unre-
Approved October 11, 1988 Effective November 30, 1988
230 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2017
ThoughTs on The Breed: BICHON FRISE LORAINE BOUTWELL
MIMI WINKLER I am from Somers, New York. Outside of the dog world, I have been judging gymnastics since 1976. I’ve been involved with dogs my entire life. I’ve been showing dogs for 28 years and judging for 9 years.
I lived in Kansas and Missouri all my life until I moved to Scotts- dale, Arizona around five years ago. I keep busy with my judging, read- ing and learning desert gardening. My late husband Vic and I started in dogs with our Brittanys in Field Trials. We attended our first dog show in 1954 with our Brittany puppy winning a five-point major!
1. Describe the Bichon Frise in three words. LB: Happy, sturdy and white powder puff. AP: Fun, fun and fun! MW: Happy, carefree and independent.
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? LB: I must have a pleasing head with round, dark eyes that are properly placed with correct pigmentation and a black nose creating an equal lateral triangle. The ears frame the face. I also must have a correct double off standing coat trimmed appropriately and a balanced dog with reach and drive with a level topline. Also, the high set tail should reach halfway to the withers. AP: Halos, good balance, good coat and good tail-set. MW: Type, temperament and soundness. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LB: Some of the trims are a bit exaggerated, but that is not genetic so not a concern, I prefer a moderate trim. AP: Depending on the area of the country, heads are becom- ing exaggerated. I have seen a marked change in the shape of the back-skull and the muzzle. Length of neck is also changing. MW: Shortness of back and length of leg. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? LB: The Bichons of today are so much better is in so many ways. They are now of proper size and outline with prettier and correct expressions, and they have much better coats.
We forgot about Field Trials, although my husband still hunt- ed with our Brittanys. After being successful with our Brit- tanys, we branched out into other breeds, including Bichons. My husband became an All Breed Licensed Handler in 1964. We handled until 1980 when we started judging.
ANGELA J. PORPORA
I live in a small town in the southern tier of New York state, not far from Binghamton, around 200 miles northwest of New York City. Prior to retirement and my move to this area in 2006, I lived 50 miles north of NYC. Outside of dogs I am a retired independent insurance agent. But to keep me busy today, I drive for a local com-
munity action agency. (In a few more words, I drive Medicaid recipients to their doctor appointments.) I’ve been involved in the dog world for forty years. I’ve been showing dogs for 30 years and have been judging for the past 18 years.
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“JUDGING BICHONS IS A PLEASURE NOW; The Breeders are To Be commended for The improvemenTs in This wonderfuL Breed.”
AP: That’s a difficult question. When a judge starts judging a new breed, they usually have a different view than after having judged the breed for a few years. When I first started judging the Bichon Frise, I had different thoughts than I do today. Having said that, I feel that overall they are slightly better than when I first put hands on the Bichon. Today, I find a somewhat better structure under the coat. I am also seeing better movement and toplines. Also, I am of the feeling that as exhibitors understand what I am looking for in a Bichon, they will bring me dogs that are of a caliber to satisfy those attributes I find essential in the breed. MW: We have gone from one extreme to the other—from Basset to Poodle. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LB: New judges possibly misunderstand coat and the proper expression. AP: There seems to be a great deal of not only misunder- standing but also misconception that the faster the dogs go around the ring, the better the dog is and the better the dog will look. Nothing is further from the truth. The judge who allows the handler and dog to race around the ring does quite a disservice to the breed being judged. Also, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding about show- ing bites. There is absolutely no reason to yank the mouth open to see the teeth and the bite of the Bichon Frise. All that is needed is a simple and relaxed lift of the lip. MW: New judges may think that we are a breed of illusion. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LB: I have been fortunate to judge the Bichon National two times—in 1995 and in 2012. In the 17 years between, I saw a huge improvement in the breed. Bichons now are in size and coats are in better condition with proper texture. I was very concerned about short tails at the first national; some of the examples barely had a tail. I stated in my critique the breeders needed to watch the length of tail as it is a big part of the outline of the dog. I am happy to say the breeders have come a long way, not only with proper tail length, but also with more uniform size, proper coats and pretty heads. Judging Bichons is a pleasure now; the breeders are to be commended for the improvements in this wonderful breed. AP: The Bichon Frise is one of the breeds I just giggle at as I judge them; they tickle me so. Fortunately, I had a true breed expert as my mentor and she taught me well. I always will consider her words when I walk into the Bichon ring. Most of all, I truly enjoy the breed!
MW: Do not, and I mean do not, pry open the mouth of a Bichon—just lift the top lip.
7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LB: I have been judging 35 years so I have had a lot of funny things happen in my ring. One of the funniest experi- ences took place at a Dalmatian Specialty many years ago. I had one brace and as the two, a dog and a bitch, were going around the dog decided to mount the bitch. I quickly said, “You’re first!” Some years later while judg- ing a Dalmatian Specialty I was again judging a Brace Class and after I awarded the ribbons, one of the handlers said, “Do you remember these two?” I said, “I sure do!” However, they were much better behaved this time. AP: I have had quite a few funny things happen in my short dog career, but the funniest—and most embarrassing— took place about 5 years ago. At a show, I needed to take time out to visit the water closet. I was rushing back to my ring as I did not want to be late for the start of my next set of breeds. I was walking very fast when I heard a very good friend of mine (and the Show Chair) call my name and beckon me over to her. Once there, I explained I was rushing as I did not want to be late and she whis- pered in my ear that I was trailing toilet paper out the back of my skirt. We both had the biggest laugh over this, as I went to put myself back together and ran back to my ring. No, I wasn’t late and no one until this day has heard this tale! MW: There have been many, from having a judge tell me that he could only find one testicle (and it was a bitch) to having my puppy decide to play dead and roll over on the down and back.
t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& + 6/&
!"#$%&'(%)($*+(,"-*%. !"#!$%&'($#)'(*+%,-.& ! his is a breed to be appreciated for char- acteristics we enjoy so much in a pet, or show prospect. Th e Bichon generally is smart, clever, attentive, kind with other pets and never noisy. Th e large, dark eyes spell friendliness and add to their par- ticular style of carriage. Always notice- able is the head held high and a wav- ing, plumed tail carried gaily over the back. Th is is the appeal that brought the breed to notice in the beginning of their appearance in this country. Virtually unknown as a dog breed in America, in 1957, Francois and Helene Picault arrived from France to join family members in Wisconsin. Along with them came a few Bichon Frise pets. Th eir dogs all possessed fi ve generations pedigrees as well as being registered in France. Th e breed, registered in France and Belgium, has been active for many generations, going back to the 1930s. It was thought by the Picaults that their Bichons would be readily accepted for registration at the American Kennel Club. Th is was not to be, much to their disappointment. Once the inquiry was made they were informed about certain procedures to be followed. Most of all, this e ff ort would take many years of establishing clubs, gaining membership all over the country, with all this information and much more without the slightest encouragement. Just prior to 1960 the Picaults moved to San Diego, California. Th is would be a turning point for the breed because of a few dog fanciers. Th ey took up the cause to establish the breed and dedicated their e ff orts to work toward the goal. Th e Bichon Frise Club of America and San Diego Bichon Frise Clubs’ were
formed and direction from the AKC lead to a Stud Book being established. All Bichons were individually registered by this means, which included litters as they came along. Th e BFCA registry began with number 1 and continued on for years. All records and money obtained through the registry was turned over to the AKC. Th e fi rst accomplishment for Bichon owners was the eligibility to enter the Miscellaneous Class. Th en on to full registration and entry to the reg- ular classes. It was more than ten years of dedication to this e ff ort and a happy day in 1973 when we attended the fi rst licensed shows. Prior to this date Bichons were being exhibited at Specialties pro- vided by the BFCA and local clubs. After all the favorable comments it is important to mention the up-keep of the Bichon. Theirs is a coat that grows continually and requires constant care. The texture is soft and thick and needs brushing to the skin. Profession- al grooming care may be necessary. A two-inch length scissored makes main- tenance easy and that pet can look like a puppy forever! Show coats are left lon- ger and with styling. I have personally been involved in every aspect of Bichon activities since 1960 and wish to say I owned and worked with them for the fun of it.
My mother’s fi rst Bichon (1968) was the f irst time I had ever seen this breed and it was a powder puff with the most beau- tiful eyes I had ever looked into. At that time trimming simply meant a brush, blow dry, trimming the eyes and round- ing of the feet. Several breeders such as Bernice Richardson (who was co-breed- ing with Gertrude Fournier—Cali-Col kennels) from California as well as my mother, Mary Vogel (Vogelf light) from Virginia felt this breed needed a trim not only to enhance the look but to reveal the interesting conformation on this sturdy little breed. Mary bred and showed the Miniature Schnauzer so when she started experimenting on trimming the Bichon she decided to do all four legs as well as the underbelly like the Schnauzer and she liked the result! Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Bernice with her Poodle background, was work- ing on trimming the topline, neck and the head—the pattern was starting to evolve! While these two ladies were in no way the only ones trimming this new breed; they certainly were a great in fl uence! For the most part the trims of today are very similar worldwide with the exception of the head. Th is is not to say that one style is more correct than the other as it is a matter of personal preference. Looking at trims today will reveal extremely round heads, slightly round heads with short ears, or a slight bell shape and all are perfectly accept- able. However, one must keep in mind that Bichons are always to be pretty and merry looking, never stern or “mean” looking. Th at being said when hair is left between the eyes in the shape of a “V” it results in less than a merry look and should be avoided. Following the out- line and the lines of the body produce a correct trim although we all know the “Master of Scissors” can hide a multitude of faults!
/&%%0".1($*+(( ,"-*%.(2&"#+ !"#/+0*'$#1.2$3
-'&($#4567 " how trims on the Bichon Frise have certainly come a long way from when they were fi rst exhibited here in the US in the Rare breed and Miscellaneous classes.
210 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2014
JUDGING THE BICHON FRISE By Richard G. (Rick) Beauchamp T he first Bichons Frises (correct plural spell- ing) I ever saw were at a specialty match held in 1969 just outside of Los Angeles, California. opened their surprise package was fully convinced that theirs was the real thing and other looking dogs were obviously second rate. an unusually accurate set of proportions for the breed. Today’s AKC standard is based entirely on the original French stan- dard in all respects except that the AKC standard we wrote allowed for trim- ming which the European standard did not. Th e proportions, which the original standard defined, are illustrated here. (See Figure 1.)
Walking along the exercise pens at that f irst show I attended I spot- ted a bitch that made me stop in my tracks. Among the many versions of the breed present this one stood out like a princess among drudges. I was quoted at the time of having said, “If they all could look like that one, the breed could set the rings on f ire!” The little bitch was to become Ch. Reen- roy’s Ami du Kilkanny. Her head and expression as well as overall type was to set the style for the entire breed and the breed was highly fortunate that Ami ’s son. Ch. Chaminade Mr. Beau Monde had the ability to pass on that look to his offspring. I was fortunate to have owned Ami ’s son who became the breed’s f irst great sire and inf lu- enced the breed throughout the world. Those of us who had become involved in the breed and had some breeding experience realized that the f irst order of business was a def initive standard. Our research resulted in f inding the original French/Belgium standard of the breed that was written in 1934. It was very well written and it set down
Th is was well before the breed had even entered the AKC Miscellaneous Classes. All I knew about the breed at the time was that they were small, white, and curly and basically descended from a little white street dog in France and Belgium. Surpris- ingly there were far more entered at the match than I had imagined even existed in the United States at the time. And they came in every size and shape imaginable— long ones, short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones. There were also more people involved in the breed than I would have guessed. Some had a good eye for balance and proportion and a good many others had a lot of dogs. It should be under- stood that many here in the US who were attracted to the Bichon had writ- ten to Europe and asked for show qual- ity stock. They relied fully upon the integrity of the seller to deliver the best. The similarities in what arrived were in the fact they were white and usually curly. That was about where it all began and ended. Of course every buyer that
(Fig. 1) Proportion Chart for the Bichon Frise A-B: BODY LENGTH (sternum to buttocks) 1/4 longer than C-D: HEIGHT (withers to ground). C-E: BODY DEPTH (withers to lowest point of chest) 1/2 of C-D (withers to ground). E-D LENGTH OF LEG (elbow to ground) 1/2 of C-D (withers to ground). C-F: LENGTH OF BACK* 1/4 less than C-D (withers to ground) C-G NECK: (occiput to withers) 1/3 length of body A-B. H-J HEAD: 3/8 muzzle (H-I) and 5/8 skull (I-J) stop to occiput I-J. (*Back as described here to is the common designation of the area. In anatomical terms the back is actually that portion of the topline commencing from a point just behind the withers and ending at the loins/croup junction.)
“ OUR RESEARCH RESULTED IN FINDING THE ORIGINAL FRENCH/BELGIUM STANDARD OF THE BREED THAT WAS WRITTEN IN 1934. It was very well written and it set down an unusually accurate set of proportions for the breed.”
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What unfortunately have never been addressed in either of the standards are two very import issues if one is to ful- ly understand the breed. The Bichon’s body length is only slightly longer than the breed is tall. That being the case, the breed’s back (from well laid back shoulder to set on of tail) must then be shorter than the dog is tall. This is an indisputable fact. In addition the Bichon has a well- arched long neck. Th is gives the breed a look that can be said very much akin to that of an elegant little show pony. Th e accompanying illustration (see Figure 2) well illustrates both the essence of what is wanted in the Bichon (the pony in the background) and what is not only highly undesirable but also reverts back to the drag of the breed—a dumpy long and low look that is completely void of elegance.
The greatest disservice the judge can do is to consider the short-legged or long-bodied Bichon for any award of consequence. Any good breeder will tell you the hardest thing to hold fast in a Bichon breeding program is the breed’s correct shape. That is what I look for f irst in judging the breed. The picture of the young bitch (see Figure 3) beautifully illustrates what the ideal silhouette of the breed of the breed is. Note the elegant line that begins at the top of head and curves beautifully down to the actual highest point of the withers. (If that line extends on down to the middle of the back it’s a dead give- away for an attempt to optically shorten the overlong back.) The elegant line on the well-made Bichon then continues on in a straight line to the set on of tail and then to the
(Fig. 2) Defining Breed Character: The drawing of these two ponies helps depict the desired breed character of the Bichon Frise. The elegant show pony in the background whose stance and long elegant neck represent the correct Bichon. This contrasts with the dwarf- like little fellow in the foreground.
“In addition the Bichon has a well- arched long neck. THIS GIVES THE BREED A LOOK THAT CAN BE SAID VERY MUCH AKIN TO THAT OF AN ELEGANT LITTLE SHOW PONY.”
(Fig. 3) The Bichon Frise Silhouette: The picture of the young Bichon bitch, Ch. Tomaura’s Great Expectations, beautifully illustrates the ideal breed silhouette—an elegant sweep of lines and curves that follow the natural outline of the correctly made body. (Photo by Bill Meyer)
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