Showsight Presents The Bichon Frise

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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