Bichon Frise are beautiful dogs, but as their powder puff image suggests, they require a lot of high-end grooming. With a double-layered coat made up of a smooth, dense inner layer and a curly, thick outer layer to help regulate their temperature, they require consistent and careful grooming to prevent uncomfortable matting.
Bichon Frise grooming can be very high-maintenance. Due to the nature of their coats, trimming once every four weeks can help to remove any matting and keep everything in check. Alongside this, it’s worth noting that your Bichon will probably benefit from everyday brushing using a slicker brush, to prevent any mats from forming.
Grooming a Bichon Frise can be both difficult and time-consuming, so it’s worth bearing in mind that whilst achievable, it may take you a while to successfully master your Bichon Frise’s grooming routine. A professional groomer may be the best choice for more restless or rowdy dogs that struggle to sit still, but if your pooch is happy to be pampered and you have the time, the introductory steps to grooming your Bichon are as follows:
You should already be brushing your Bichon daily, but doing it before a bath is essential. Water can tighten mats in fur and make them difficult to brush out, so a simple once over with your slicker brush before bathing can be a great solution.
For a full Bichon grooming session, we’d recommend starting at the head and wetting down towards the toes with warm water, followed by a dog whitening shampoo. Allowing the shampoo to sit for a while will brighten the coat, whilst extra applied to the paws and around the eyes will help remove any staining. Bichons have sensitive skin, so it’s important to choose a natural or breed-specific shampoo and avoid bathing your dog too often, as this can remove the necessary oils that keep their coats and skin healthy.
Start by gently towel drying your Bichon until they’re damp. Then, brush in downward strokes with a slicker brush working from the shoulder to the paws, under the eyes to the bottom of the muzzle and from the top of the head backwards. Blow-dry your dog (being mindful of heat temperature), then brush their fur in every direction to pull it straight. After one last brush, your dog is ready to be clipped.
When considering how to groom a Bichon Frise, the clippers you choose are an essential part of the process. Bichons have thick fur, so you’ll need to choose high-quality clippers that will glide through their coat without tangling or pulling it. If your dog is nervous, choose quiet clippers to keep them calm. A high-quality double speed clipper like the Andis Ultraedge Super 2-Speed Brushless Clipper built for thick fur, has a powerful setting for removing mats and is quiet too, to keep your dog at ease.
Grooming scissors will be your best asset when trimming your Bichon, but clippers will be most useful for trimming their body. For best results, clip in downward strokes, then use blending scissors at the top of your dog’s legs to blend cut and clip lengths. Moving onto the legs, use grooming scissors pointing down the leg length to cut a straight line from the body to the ends of the paws.
If your Bichon Frise was professionally groomed, its head would appear to be bigger than its body. Rounded at the top of the head and flat at the bottom, we’d recommend using scissors for better control. Brush the hair on the top of the head up to trim and for the hair on the rest of the head, trim downwards. Ears should be even with the bottom of the chin.
It’s important to trim around your Bichon’s eyes to prevent poor visibility and possible infection. Use the middle part of your grooming scissors to cut, with the points of the scissors facing upwards to prevent accidents.
A Bischon’s face is quite a tricky thing to keep clean, particularly as they get a lot of red staining around their eyes from their tear ducts. Water down your Bichon’s shampoo and clean their face with a clean, damp cloth, being mindful of the eye area
To remove the staining from your Bichon’s eyes, one of the kindest remedies is to use a homemade, baking soda paste. Mix baking soda with a few drops of water to make the paste, and apply to the surrounding eye area with a cotton bud. Leave for an hour or so, before washing away with a damp cloth.
The red stains that come from a Bichon’s eyes are the result of a pH imbalance, creating yeast which causes staining. By simply adding a teaspoon of white vinegar to your dog’s water, you can alter its pH level, limiting production and reducing the severity of the stains. It’s a naturally safe way to keep your dog’s eye area clean.
Although Bichon Frise grooming can be difficult, their double-layer coat helps to provide them with insulation in the winter and helps to regulate their temperature in the summer, when their undercoat naturally moults. By shaving the coat, you are removing the mechanism that triggers your dog's undercoat to do this, and for this reason, you should avoid shaving your Bichon Frise.
Regular bathing with all-natural puppy shampoo that doesn't strip moisture and oils should be enough to keep your Bichon puppy clean.
A Bichon Frise puppy doesn’t develop its adult coat until it's around six to eight months old, so it shouldn’t need a trim before then. How you groom your Bichon Frise puppy will be a totally different experience during the first six months of its life, as its fur will be much finer, less dense and easier to manage. Regular brushing will help to establish a grooming routine that will prepare your puppy for longer, adult grooming sessions later in its life