The Bichon Frisé is a small Dog with a huge personality. With their fluffy, hypoallergenic white coat and black eyes, they look almost like living stuffed toys.
The Bichon Frisé, although bearing a French name, was actually a Spanish breed originally, treated as sailing and herding Dogs. The French eventually developed the Bichon Frisé into gentle lapDogs. The name itself, Bichon Frisé, is derived from the f\French phrase Bichon a poli Frisé, which simply means “curly-haired small Dog,” according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Bichons are flexible animal companions who can get along with just about everyone, even other Dogs and kids. Bichons make good tiny watchdogs because of their alertness and curiosity, but they are lovers, not fighters, and they view the world as a place where there are no enemies, only companions they haven’t met yet, according to a 2017 article written by Randa Kriss for AKC. They are perfect for city life because of their size and self-assurance.
As animal companions, Bichons respond well to training and take pride in showing off for their families. The Bichon Frisé breed is known for their cheerful disposition, which always seems to bring forth a wave of warm greetings and a few hugs from strangers.
Siwon is the pride and joy of Clarisse and Raymond Kang. They maintain a household that is more like a zoo, according to Raymond, who mentions that his older brother is into Bengal Cats while he is more of a Dog person. He admits that the sheer number of animals have gotten on their mother’s nerves in the past. It became so out of control that most of their Dogs reside in their Tagaytay farm, which they visit weekly.
But what about Siwon? Siwon lives at home with the Kangs, because of his regular weekly training. “Kasi medyo [we have] big plans for him,” says Raymond.
Siwon regularly competes in shows where he gets to interact with other Bichons. “Actually, wala siyang hiya,” says Raymond, who says Siwon
is also very friendly with humans. “Feeling ko nga, ‘pag naiwanan ko, mananakaw siya,” he confesses.
Are all Bichons this friendly? “Yun yung temperament niya, very good with the kids, pero it depends how they are raised. But in general, mabait talaga sila. Very clingy, gusto niyang sumisiksik sa gilid.”
Bichons tend to expect a lot of attention from their owners. Raymond explains that some Bichon guardians run into problems because they set up their Dogs’ expectations for affection high in the beginning but don’t follow through later on.
“If you don’t have the time, huwag kayo mag-invest ng emotions masyado, kasi hahanap-hanapin yun,” he explains. “Kunyare, yung puppy, masyado mong kinukulit, tapos biglang na-cut off kasi busy ka. If you think you have the time in the future, pwede i-spoil yung Dog, pero kapag hindi, medyo i-limit yung time with the Dog.”
Despite this, Raymond considers the Frisé a beginner Dog, because of their temperament, easy-going nature, and their ability to get along with young children. “Malambing sila, mabilis pakisamahan, and are good with toddlers,” he explains, “kasi hindi naman sila aggressive.” Their easygoing nature, however, is counterbalanced by a constant need to maintain their coats, which can be easily stained or matted.
Raymond explains that the main problem with white or cream-colored Dogs is often eye staining. He theorizes that it has something to do with either their genetics or the Philippine climate, which might be irritating for their eyes, causing them to tear up constantly.
“There’s something with the food ng Nature’s Protection na instead na basa, nagiging muta na dry, kaya natatanggal agad, and hindi na siya kumakalat sa face,” he says.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
The Kangs have big plans for Siwon. They had a previous Frisé who became Philippine champ, but they noticed that there was still something missing from their previous Bichon, whom they obtained from China. They began searching for their next Bichon before the pandemic hit, and they used the time to save up to get one from a better line, this time from Korea.
“Last time, parang hanggang Philippine champion lang,” Raymond says. “Si Siwon, malaki yung plans namin sa kanya, in terms of the Dog shows. Gusto namin yung parang more than PH champion.”
The Kangs are active members and facilitators of the Philippine Bichon Frisé FB group. “Yung FB group ng Bichon Frisé, nag-grow. Lahat sila active and lately nagkakaroon ng meetups lahat ng mga Bichon.” He says thirty-plus human guardians of Bichons attended the last Dog show, just to see how the canines are able to compete on a bigger stage.
The Kangs walk Siwon at night, for thirty-minutes to an hour, because of the intensive training needed for the Dog show, a mix of speed walking and commands. “Pero ‘pag pagod na, stop na,” he admits.
During one Dog show, the Kangs brought Siwon along in a stroller, but the rascal had other plans. Raymond says Siwon jumped out of the stroller and sought refuge inside a restaurant.
Despite this, they eventually wrangled Siwon to the Dog show, where he managed to win third place, an impressive feat for his first Dog show appearance.
With such a good pedigree, topnotch care, and a winning personality, Siwon will probably keep raking in the awards and medals for years to come, with a spring in his step, a wag of his tail, and a full contingent of Bichons cheering him on.