Works of art
| Group: Non_Sporting
This is a very old breed that descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel. His name derives from the diminutive form of Barbet, or "Barbichon," later shortened to Bichon. The breed originated in the Mediterranean area and was divided into four distinct categories: the Bichon Maltais; the Bichon Bolognese (named after the city of Bologna, where it existed in medieval times); the Bichon Havanais, and the Bichon Tenerife (or Bichon a Poil Frise). It is the dogs in the last category, the Tenerifes, that have become enormously popular in recent years in the United States, England, and on the Continent.
Historians believe that Spanish sailors introduced the breed to the Island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. In the fourteenth century, Italian seamen brought the Tenerifes back to the Continent where they quickly became the favorites of Italian nobility and the prosperous new middle class of merchants.
The Tenerife or Bichon appeared in France during the reign of Francis I (1515-1547). However, it was during the reign of Henry III (1574-1589) that the breed enjoyed its greatest success. The King adored his Bichons so much that he carried them in a tray-like basket attached around his neck by ribbons. This fashion was quickly adopted by the French noblewomen, who pampered, perfumed and bedecked them with ribbons (the verb bichonnier, to pamper or make oneself beautiful, is still in use today). The breed was also very popular in Spain, especially with the nobility, and many Spanish artists, including Goya, immortalized them in paintings.