The Bichon Frise is a small dog that weighs approximately 5–10 kg (10–20 lbs) and stands 23–30 cm (9–12 in) at the withers, but slightly larger dogs are not uncommon. The skull is slightly rounded and the muzzle is not pointy. The tail is groomed to be long and curly and is carried over the back. It has a black nose and dark round eyes, its white hair consists of a curly, dense coat with little shedding (much like a poodle in this), although many of the breed do tend to have less curly hair than others. A small amount of buff, cream, or apricot color may be seen around its ears, snout, paws or body, but normally these colors do not exceed 10% of its body. Coat colors are solid white, apricot or grey. A white coat is preferred in the show ring. The head and legs are proportionate in size to the body, and the ears and tail are natural (not docked or cropped). The coat is trimmed often to make the hair seem like an even length. Bichon Frises can have a medium-high intelligence
The American Kennel Club (AKC) refers to the Bichon Frise as "merry" and "cheerful", and the breed standard calls for a dog that is "gentle mannered, sensitive, playful and affectionate". The Bichon Frise loves human company and demands much of your attention. They are generally very sociable and do well with an owner that takes them along on outings. They are charming, affectionate, and intelligent. Bichons do well with children because they are playful and have lots of energy. If affiliated with a particular territory and encouraged by owners, they can become very territorial. Bred to be companion dogs, the Bichon Frise tends to get along well with both children and other animals.
Bichon Frise in (combined) UK and USA/Canada surveys had an average life span of about 12–13 years, with Bichon Frises in the UK tending to live longer than Bichon Frises in the US/Canada. This breed's longevity is similar to other breeds of its size, and somewhat longer than purebred dogs in general. The longest lived of 34 deceased Bichons in a 2004 UK survey died at 16.5 years.