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How Much Exercise Does a Bichon Frise Need? Vet-Reviewed Advice

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 28, 2024 by Dogster Team

bichon frise dog sitting on a wooden surface

How Much Exercise Does a Bichon Frise Need? Vet-Reviewed Advice


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The Bichon Frise is a popular dog breed that is friendly, loving, and considered great for many people with dog allergies. You also can’t deny the cuteness that comes in this little package. For people who are considering a Bichon Frise as their next pet, or have recently added one to their family, learning more about their care requirements is understandable.

This is especially true when it comes to their exercise needs. As a small dog breed, they must get the activity they need daily for optimal health. If you’re asking the question, how much exercise does my Bichon Frise need, we have the answer. These playful dogs need between 30 minutes to an hour of exercise daily. Let’s take a deeper look into these requirements and ways you can ensure your Bichon Frise is getting the activity they need.

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A Bit About the Bichon Frise

When you look at these white powder puffs, it is hard not to fall in love. Looking at those sweet little faces you can understand why they have been so loved throughout the years. While a lot of their history remains a mystery, what we do know is the Bichon Frise got its start on the Canary Islands.

In the 13th century, this dog breed found its way to the European mainland. Here they were beloved by royals and spent time being adored. However, in the 18th century, things changed for these little dogs as revolutions spread across the world. They found themselves living on the streets where street performers learned of their great dispositions and antics and they found fame as circus dogs and organ-grinders’ dogs. Unfortunately, the World Wars left people without a need for circus performers and the animals they shared with the world. This left the Bichon Frise near extinction.

The Bichon Frise made its way to the United States in 1956. Soon after, the Bichon Frise Club of America was formed in 1964. By 1973, this toy breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club and people around the country fell in love with their sweet dispositions and love for their humans.

How Much Exercise Does a Bichon Frise Need?

bichon frise dog doing an agility course training
Image Credit: Ivana P. Nikolic, Shutterstock

A Bichon Frise can be an energetic dog, at times. They aren’t known as one of those little dog breeds that never slow down. Of course, they are usually in the mood to play, but without the same energy levels of other similar dog breeds, this keeps their exercise needs at a relatively low amount. As we mentioned, 30–60 minutes of exercise per day is plenty for these dogs. You’ll be pleased that this doesn’t need to be intense exercise. These dogs love going for walks or spending time playing in the backyard with you and the family. You can even include a game of fetch or other indoor games your pooch enjoys as part of their daily exercise.

One thing you will need to keep in mind is mental stimulation for this dog breed. The Bichon Frise is an intelligent animal. This is why they were used as circus performers in the past. Teaching your Bichon Frise tricks or other tasks to perform is a great way to keep their minds sharp. They also do well at agility courses and obedience competitions.

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Things to Keep in Mind When Exercising Your Bichon Frise

While the Bichon Frise is a very adaptable dog and can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures well, this doesn’t mean they do well with extremes where weather is concerned. You should also consider your dog’s size when allowing them to play with other animals and other safety concerns. Let’s take a look at a few of these below so you can be better prepared.

  • Do not exercise your Bichon Frise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Protect your pet’s feet in the event of hot asphalt.
  • Protect your Bichon Frise’s feet from cold snow and ice with booties.
  • Use coats or sweaters when your Bichon Frise goes outside when it is windy, rainy, or cold.
  • Keep your Bichon Frise leashed when not protected in a fenced area.
  • Use supervision when allowing your Bichon Frise to play with other dogs, especially larger dogs or those that get excited easily.

Exercise and Your Bichon Frise’s Age

bichon frise standing on the grass
Image Credit: Ieva Tvaronavicute, Shutterstock

Most dog owners know a dog’s energy level changes as they age. The Bichon Frise is no different. Like most dogs, this toy breed is most active as a puppy. While some Bichon Frise pups could be more energetic, the often quoted rule of thumb is to provide them with 5 minutes of exercise per month for their age, twice a day. However, the most important thing for puppies is to avoid high impact exercise while they are young and growing. Avoid high intensity games of fetch or games that involve jumping for example. Of course, you don’t want to under-exercise your pup so pay attention to individual needs.

When your Bichon Frise becomes an adult, you’ll know more about their habits and needs. This is where the 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day average comes into play. However, you can’t expect these little dogs to always keep up that pace. As your Bichon Frise ages, you may notice a bit of a slowdown. This is especially true for senior dogs. When your pooch reaches its golden years, exercise remains important but you’ll find that they simply can’t keep up the same routine as when they were in their prime.

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Final Thoughts

The Bichon Frise can make a perfect pet for any family in search of a friendly, loving, and playful companion. When taking one of these dogs into your home, you’ll quickly find that this small breed isn’t a non-stop ball of energy like many breeds of similar size. Instead, your Bichon Frise is happiest when spending time with you. To ensure they get their 30 to 60 minutes of exercise needed per day you can take them for walks, play games, or simply spend time having fun outside. No matter what form of exercise you choose, these little dogs will be thrilled to be doing it with you.


Featured Image Credit: Spill Photography, Shutterstock

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