Bichon Frise - Breed and Grooming Tips

A cheerful, happy dog, the Bichon Frise is small and sturdy with a dark-eyed inquisitive expression and a plumed tail it carries merrily over the back. The breed is often compared to a cotton ball due to its curled double coat, which consists of a textured outer coat and a silky undercoat. The coat must be white, but may have shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or on the body.

Right Breed for You?

The Bichon is a gentle, playful dog. He loves activity and requires regular exercise. His hair grows continually and does not shed, so extensive grooming is a must to prevent mats. Bichons also tend to be a good breed for allergy sufferers.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


Bathing and General Grooming

The Bichon Frise is a high maintenance dog that requires regular bathing and grooming.  This white, powder puff dog with its merry, joyful temperament has a double coat that needs to be bathed as frequently as every week and no longer than every 3 weeks.  Frequency of baths depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle. The care and maintenance of the coat sets the foundation for maintaining healthy skin and coat.  Regular baths promote coat growth.  A dirty coat will mat and tangle much easier than a clean coat.  When the coat is dirty and breaks, the hair shaft becomes rough and eventually breaks down, which will lead to further damage of the coat.  Therefore, keeping the coat clean and healthy is of utmost importance in order to maintain the powder puff look of this double coated dog.

Selecting the appropriate products and using them correctly is necessary to maintain the coat, which is the hallmark of the breed.  A properly cared for coat contributes to the glamour of the Bichon Frise’s every step.  Keeping the coat clean, conditioned, and mat free is the key to a beautiful coat.  The most important thing when bathing this breed is to be very thorough.  Sink your fingers deep into the coat while massaging the shampoo into the coat making sure every part of the coat is shampooed and rinsed well.  If you choose to use whitening shampoo, do not use it every time you bathe.  If you do so, the hair shaft will open up causing the coat to stain more easily.  Every time you use a whitening shampoo, make sure to condition the coat in order to seal the hair shaft to produce the efficacious result you were striving to achieve.  A good rule of thumb is to use a whitening shampoo, every 3 or 4 baths to keep the coat a nice crisp white color. Condition the coat every other bath being careful not to add too much weight to the coat. Do this on a maintenance bath day, rather than a full grooming day, in order to achieve a beautiful end result.

Recommended Products

Hypoallergenic Shampoo:  A tearless solution for pets with super sensitive skin that is chocked full of Aloe, Coconut, and Vitamins A, D, and E.

Bright White Shampoo:  A optical brightening shampoo that removes dirt and stubborn stains to reveal the beautiful coat that is hiding underneath.

Keratin Oil Shampoo:  A shampoo that helps strengthen the coat while simultaneously providing a brilliant glow and luminescent shine.

Flea and Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner:  A luxurious conditioner to provide the coat with an abundance of hydration leaving the coat full of luster and shine.

Finishing the Dog:  Tools and Finish Grooming

The coat should be line dried completing one section at a time before moving onto the next.  The coat is curly when wet, but with the use of a soft slicker brush, it is gently pulled straight when dry.  This is best achieved using a force dryer then finishing with a fluff dryer.  The coat should closely resemble a powder puff with a velvet like smooth finish.  In order to achieve the velvet smooth finish, a wide tooth comb should easily glide through coat all the way down to the skin.  Once the coat has been worked to achieve this beautiful finish, then the pattern can be set.  Everything about this breed and trim is soft and rounded.  The entire outline should be entirely hand- scissor to set the basic pattern.  Pet dogs can be modified into a shorter style using the same basic pattern.  The trim should be well balanced, maintaining the integrity of the breed standard by being slightly longer than tall.

Recommended Products:

Quick Finish Styling Spray:  Cut drying time and ease brushing and combing with this styling spray.

Detangling & Dematting Spray: Take the drama out of combing and dematting with this spray.

Aloe Hydrating Spray:  Formulated to provide extreme hydration allowing the skin’s healthy oils to permeate the skin adding luxurious shine to the coat.  The inner filet of the Aloe plant allows the skin to maintain perfect hydration.  This spray also works well on the tail to seal the ends of the coat and lay correctly over the back.

High Sheen Finishing Spray:  To add that extra shimmer to the finish.  It will also help manage any fly away hair.

Boost Volumizing Spray: A great added touch to add volume to areas of the coat that need a little extra attention without adding weight to the coat and being invisible to the touch.

General Healthcare

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming.  Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, anal glands, and proper dental hygiene.  Mastering these skills sets the professional pet stylist apart from the rest.  Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment.  All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.  Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal.  This allows the ear to have proper air circulation.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris.  It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor.  Proper nail care is also very important.  Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on.  Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Anal glands should also be checked and expressed if they are full.  Some caring pet owners prefer to have the anal glands done by their veterinarian. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care:  This ear cleaner has a blend of oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Ear Powder:  A must for removing the hair from the ear canal.  It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.

Paw Balm: Use weekly to keep paws pliable and soft.  Paw Balm will aid in the prevention of pads to dry out and crack.

3 in 1 Healing Cream:  If your pet gets a wound, this cream promotes cell regeneration and healing.  It is formulated with Bitrex to discourage licking and chewing.

Tear Stain Aloe Wipes:  These wipes help remove odor and drainage while revitalizing the hair.  May be used as a facial wipe to clean the mouth area and face to restore freshness.

Hot Spot Foam: Soothing Aloe, Tea Tree Oil, and Chamomile relieves itching and burning while promoting and accelerating healing.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.

Frequently Asked Questions

1/  What products do I need if I just purchased a Bichon puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Facial Cleanser

Aloe Hydrating Spray

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Tear Stain Aloe Wipes

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

Bichons do require routine grooming.  As a young dog, it is imperative that you get the dog used to regular grooming.  A full brush out 2 to 3 times a week is best with baths every 1 to 2 weeks.  Never brush a dry coat, always lightly mist with a hydrating spray.  If the Bichon is kept in a shorter trim, weekly brush outs are still preferred. Routine baths ranging between 1 to 3 weeks is desirable.   This is a breed that requires their caring owner to stay on top of routine maintenance.

3/  What is a common problem in the Bichon Frise?

Every breed has its set of health concerns, and fortunately the list for Bichons is relatively short.  Juvenile cataracts, slipped stifle (knee issues), and hip dysplasia are the most common problems in the breed.  The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) promotes the health and welfare of companion animals by decreasing the incidence of genetic diseases through testing.  OFA tests for these genetic issues that are prevalent in the Bichon Frise.

4/ Does the Bichon Frise shed or cause allergies?

The Bichon Frise makes the top 10 list for the most hypoallergenic dogs.  This breed does not shed or at least the shedding is absolutely minimal.  Because of this, they tend to cause less severe reactions in people who suffer from allergies.  However, before bringing a Bichon Frise into your home if you have allergies, you should spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have a reaction.

5/ Are Bichon Frise’ good with children?

The Bichon’s enthusiasm for life makes this breed great for children.  However, it is important that the child is respectful and kind to the dog.  As with any breed, a small child should never be left alone with a dog.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion quality dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  A major difference is the method of grooming that is required and the conditioning for the show ring.  The Bichon Frise’s abundant show coat can sometimes be overwhelming to maintain.  It is quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you and lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of showing dogs.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Bichon Frise Club of America,

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