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4 Beautiful Bichon Frise Colors: Variations Explained (with Pictures)

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

bichon frise

The Bichon Frise is one of the friendliest dogs on Earth. These small dogs are joy incarnate, with a lovable demeanor and more enthusiasm than a child on Christmas morning! They’re affectionate, energetic balls of fur that love nothing more than being with their favorite human all day.

If you’re considering adopting a Bichon Frise, you should know you’re getting a pet that needs constant attention. One thing you’ll need to choose when you adopt is your Bichon Frise puppy’s color. Since there are only four of them registered by the AKC, however, that should be an easy task. To see all the beautiful Bichon Frise colors and get help making your choice, read on!


The 4 Beautiful Bichon Frise Colors

1. White Bichon Frise

white bichon frise dog sitting on the grass
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock

If you’ve ever seen a Bichon Frise on TV, in an advertisement, or in an article like this one, chances are it was pure white. The reason is that white is by far the most popular color for this delightful dog and is one that most people seek when adopting a Bichon.

You’ll also be interested to note that white is the original Bichon Frise color, adopted by the Société Centrale Canine (French Kennel Club) sometime during the 1930s. The members of the French club were enamored of the dog Milou from The Adventures of Tintin, one of France’s most beloved fictional comic characters.

2. White & Apricot Bichon Frise

white and apricot bichon frise puppy
Image Credit: Paul Antonescu, Shutterstock

Yes, this color of Bichon Frise is usually almost white and looks like it dipped its face in iced tea for just a split second. The white & apricot Bichon Frise usually has the apricot color on its face and ears, with the occasional smattering of apricot on its body.

As you might imagine, the yellow-orange color that identifies this Bichon Frise is named after the fruit, although it’s a bit lighter than a true apricot. You’ll also be surprised to note that the white & apricot combination isn’t nearly as rare as people think, even though a recessive gene causes it.

3. White & Cream Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog in a studio
Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

The white & cream coat is the most interesting of the four Bichon Frise colors. The “cream” is a red color that’s been diluted. This is caused by something dubbed the “intensity coat color gene,” which was identified by researchers at the veterinary genetics lab at the University of California, Davis campus.1

Most white & cream Bichon Frise have the cream color on their ears and face, but sometimes you’ll find one that’s creamy all over. As puppies, it’s challenging to tell the difference between white & cream and white & buff pups.

4. White & Buff Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog on a harness
Image Credit: Radovan Zierik, Shutterstock

Although the difference between a white & buff Bichon and a white & cream or white & apricot is admittedly small, it’s definitely there. The “buff” color is named after buff leather, which is a light brown and yellowish color. Some Bichon Frise fans refer to buff as ocher, which is an earthy color reminiscent of iron ore.

If you’re the lucky owner of a white & buff Bichon Frise, you’ll probably see more of the buff color around its chest and body. Then again, your Bichon might have tips on the end of its fur that are colored buff or might have more on its face, ears, muzzle, and legs.

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Which Eye Colors Are Common?

Like their coat color, the Bichon Frise has some specific guidelines for eye color, at least according to the AKC1. Per AKC rules, a Bichon Frise must have black or dark brown eyes with no other color.

Further, a Bichon Frise’s eyes must also be an almond shape and, around the eye, there must be several millimeters of black or dark brown skin. According to the AKC, this is necessary to bring out the dogs’ eyes. Lastly, the rim of a Bichon Frise’s eyes has to be black, or the dog may be penalized in competition.

Does the Color of a Bichon Frise Truly Matter?

We think you’ll agree that all four Bichon Frise colors are genuinely beautiful, but at the end of the day, does that matter? Well, if you plan to enter your Bichon into AKC and other competitions, their color matters greatly. All colors we’ve seen today are AKC registered and allow a Bichon to compete. The judges will immediately disqualify any other colors.

However, for most Bichon Frise owners, the color of their pups makes no difference whatsoever because they will never be in a competition where color is important. Also, in terms of personality, intelligence, adaptability, and affection, all Bichon Frise are lovely dogs and wonderful companions. At the end of the day, whatever the color, your Bichon Frise will be a good dog!

Bichon Frise dog lying on the grass
Image Credit: Carlos Amarillo, Shutterstock

Do White Bichon Frises Have More Health Issues?

Although the color of your Bichon Frise won’t change their personality, the color white could affect their health. That’s because white-coated dogs generally have more health issues than darker dogs due to the wonder of genetics. Those issues, while not numerous, include the following:

Skin Cancer

It’s long been known that dogs with white fur tend to be afflicted by skin cancer more often. The Bichon Frise is no different, so when out in the sun, protect their skin.

Congenital Deafness

Another health issue that affects dogs with white coats is deafness. That’s according to the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University. Their chart shows all the dogs that can be affected by this issue, including the Bichon.


White Bichon Frise’s have a higher tendency to have allergies, again thanks to their white fur. That includes skin allergies, digestive allergies, and several others.

bichon frise
Image Credit: saviera, Pixabay

Bichon Frise Coat Color Chart and AKC Codes

The chart below has all four of the Bichon Frise colors and the AKC registration codes used with each one.

Color Standard? AKC Code
White Yes 199
White & Apricot Yes 200
White & Buff Yes 205
White & Cream Yes 206

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Final Thoughts

The Bichon Frise is a beloved dog because it has so much personality and is a joy to be around. As we’ve seen, there are only four colors of Bichon that the AKC accepts. However, depending on their lineage, it’s always possible that a Bichon Frise will show another color. After all, breeders create all sorts of “designer” dogs with various colors and traits.

The good news is that whichever color yours is, you’ll have a genuinely joyful dog that will make your life more fun and exciting.

Featured Image Credit: Eudyptula, Shutterstock

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