The history of the breed goes all the way back to the Romans, and, indeed, most of its ancestors were Italian. Through the centuries it was initially highly prized by the aristocracy, before moving in with the hoi polloi. They have become a very popular companion dog throughout the globe, especially over the past 60 years or so.
Bichon Frises became very fashionable in the 17th century, remaining in vogue almost continually until just before World War I. The madness of two global conflicts cost the breed dearly, but demand started to rise in the 1950’s.