Showsight Presents The Bichon Frise

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!"#$%&'(%)($*+(,"-*%. !"#!$%&'($#)'(*+%,-.& ! 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!

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-'&($#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

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