Bichon Frise, believed to be oldest in UK, has died

A Bichon Frise, believed to be the oldest in Britain, has died.

Afro Ken passed away two weeks after his 18th birthday, beating the previous record shown in the UK of a Bichon Frise - held by a 17-year-old Bichon Frise from Hastings called Nellie, who died in July 2017.

Afro Ken’s owner Michelle Torgerson, 48, said: “Everybody kept telling me 18 was an old age, but little dogs can live long and I did meet a 20-year-old dog the other month. But it was somebody I know whose family’s always had Bichons who said to me, ‘no, 18 is a really old age for a Bichon’. So I got to thinking about that, and I Googled it and sure enough the (Hastings Observer) newspaper article came up saying that the oldest Bichon lived to be 17.”

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She said Afro Ken - named after a Japanese anime character - was an “amazing” dog and had his own Instagram account. He liked skateboarding and was born and raised in Minnesota in America. Michelle brought him over when he was 12 when she moved back to the UK. “He’s been everywhere, he’s been on road trips, he’s been on Mount Washington, he’s seen Niagara Falls, he’s swam in Lake Superior,” she said. “He’s been hiking, camping, snowboarding. He was a real little character. He just loved everything. He was a really cool dog.”

Afro Ken on his 18th birthday. Picture: Michelle Torgerson.

Michelle, who makes bath bombs for her brother’s business and lives in Kinmel Bay, north Wales, took a picture of Afro Ken on his 18th birthday on October 25. “Literally that day he started to go downhill,” she said. “He sadly died on November 13.”