Bichon Frise

  • Overview

    Bichon Frises make cheerful, affectionate companions who enjoy cuddling and playing games. These small dogs are always white with a soft, dense inner coat and a spirally, coarse outer coat. Bichons enjoy being pampered — they appreciate a frequent bathing or brushing much more than a jaunt around the town. They delight in learning tricks, but can be difficult to house-break.

    View Grooming Diagram for bichon frise
  • Personality

    The Bichon's defining characteristic is his cheerful manner. These dogs' charming, inquisitive expressions are indicative of their gentle dispositions. Bichons are small dogs. They usually measure in between 9.5 and 11.5 inches long and weigh no more than 12 pounds. They should always be alert and enjoy activity. Instead of a long walk they will most enjoy romping through the yard and socializing with their human friends. Their playful streaks occasionally cause them to tire quickly after extreme bursts of excitement or activity. They love to welcome visitors, whether human or animal. Bichons also enjoy barking, so make sure your little friend has plenty of positive outlets for his energy in order to avoid unnecessary disturbances.

    You will soon see that your Bichon loves learning new tricks, but his main goal is to please you. Therefore, these sensitive little powderpuffs require a gentle approach in training, especially when they make mistakes. They can be quite difficult to housebreak, so crate training is recommended.

  • Coat Care

    Bichons may be born in apricot or cream hues, but in adulthood, they are always white. The coat is slightly hypoallergenic because it grows continually and does not shed. Their curly double coat should never be wiry to the touch. Instead, the coarsely textured outer coat should feel fluffy and plush. The silky undercoat gives the Bichon's coat its soft feel. The coat should spring back when petted and should never appear limp or flat. The coat should stay long enough to be plush.

Brushing

The Bichon's curled double coat must be groomed frequently to maintain its puffy appearance. Your dog will need to be brushed at least twice a week — preferably once a day — to prevent tangling and matting

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but breeds with curly and wavy hair should be done more frequently, usually in the six-to-eight week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

Hair Clipping

Around the head, Bichons are trimmed and rounded to give the dog the appearance of a cotton ball. The long tail is plumed and moves festively with the Bichon. The hair around the eyes and between the paws should be trimmed regularly to prevent any discomfort. Show dogs are meticulously trimmed with scissors, but pet Bichons will appreciate being clipped with an electric clipper to maintain their puppy cuts.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Curly and wavy coated dogs have large, sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Poodles are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.