Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Groom a Bichon Frise - Grooming for Maximum Poof

Here are instructions for daily and full grooming of a Bichon Frise.

The Bichon Frise is the powder puff of dog breeds. A well groomed Bichon Frise will be the talk of the neighborhood. Daily grooming allows for maximum poof and easier clean up on white dogs.

The secret to the Bichon Frise, shortened to Bichon, is the poof of the coat. If you've never seen a Bichon ready for the show ring, you are missing something beautiful. I also have to admit I've never met a Bichon that did not tolerate the grooming process well. The breed is just fun to work with in general.


Large pin brush, slicker brush, steel tooth comb, mat rake or breaker, thinning shears, grooming scissors, blunt end scissors, grooming clippers, #10 blade (other blades optional), ear cleaner, ear powder, tear stain remover, cotton swabs, toenail trimmers, styptic powder, nail file (optional), toothbrush and dog toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, towels and blow dryer.
Daily Grooming for a Bichon Frise

1. Use the slicker brush and pin brush in the direction of tail to head on the Bichon's body. Also back brush the fur on the legs up to the body. Don't forget the inside of the legs, this is where mats often form. Break and comb through all mats. Trim away any loose hairs with thinning shears or grooming scissors as needed.

2. Comb through the fur on the dog's face and under the jaw. Break any mats and comb out. Blend in any fur stray with thinning shears.

3. Comb the fur on the dog's head straight up in all directions to form a circle. The Bichon head should appear round all the way around. Shape with thinning shears as needed.

4. Use tear stain remover as needed under the eyes. Place a small amount of veterinarian approved tear cleaner on a cotton swab and carefully wipe the stained area. Use care not to get the cleaner directly in the dog's eyes. Report any severe tearing to your veterinarian.

5. Comb through the Bichon's ears and remove any mats. Trim the ears straight across at the bottom or just remove any stray hairs with grooming scissors.

6. Flip over the dog's ears and check for any dirt or parasites. Use veterinarian approved ear cleaner as needed to remove wax and dirt. Report any parasites to your veterinarian. Look in the ear canal for any hair growing. Place a small poof of medicated ear powder in the ear, then remove the hair by pulling with your fingers. Do not use forceps or any other tools unless you are a professional.

Keeping up on ear hair removal daily in Bichons keeps it from becoming a major issue at the veterinarian or groom shop.

7. Check the paws of dog for injuries or staining. Report any severe staining to your veterinarian. Look at the bottom of the foot and remove any hair growing between the pads with blunt end scissors. Trim the dogs toenails as needed.

8. Comb through the tail and remove any mats. Trim any stray hairs. Lift the tail and trim any hair away from the anus. Use care to not let any tools come in contact with the anus.

9. Brush the dog's teeth daily using an approved doggy toothpaste.

This seems like a lot of work, but if done daily it only takes a few minutes. A quick trick for whitening up your Bichon between grooming appointments is to use a tiny amount of talc while brushing through the coat. Do this only for special occasions like picture day.

Instructions for a Full Groom on a Bichon Frise

1. Complete steps one through eight above. It's important to remove all mats from the dog's coat prior to bathing.

2. Grab the shampoo, conditioner and towels and head to the bathing area. Place the Bichon in the tub and completely soak with water.

3. Use diluted shampoo to bathe the dog until a thick lather forms. Scrub the dog all over until all dirt is loosened. Rinse the dog until the water runs clear. Use diluted conditioner all over dog's body, working it down to the skin. Rinse until the water runs completely clear and the dog's coat feels free of any shampoos or conditioners. Towel dry the dog as much as possible before leaving the tub.

4. Use a blow dryer to complete the drying process. Back brush the Bichon during the final drying to achieve as much poof as possible.

5. While brushing the hair up away from the body, use the scissors to trim the hair until you achieve the rounded powder puff look all over the dog's body. Groom in front of a mirror or continue to alternate sides to ensure both are even.

6. Brush the Bichon's legs from foot to body to fluff the hair. Scissor trim the legs straight down from the body to achieve a pole look on the front. Do not indent at the feet. The feet should blend into the fur on the legs. Remove all the hair between the pads of the feet with blunt end scissors.

7. The back legs are more rounded and blend them into the rear end by brushing the hair up and away from the body.

8. Comb through the tail and trim to desired length. The tail should be left long for a show clip, but some owners prefer a shorter trim.

9. Using a #10 blade on clippers, carefully shave away a small amount of hair at the corner of the eye to help with tear stain removal. Follow step four above to finish cleaning the eyes.

10. Style the Bichon head by following steps two and three above. Lift the ears and trim away anything thick growing hair so the ears lay flat and natural. Do not indent at the ears of the dog, the entire head should appear round from side to side and front to back. Here is a video showing how to groom a Bichon.

11. Comb through the ears and trim to desired length, straight across at the bottom edges. Remove all hair growing in the ear canals. Tell your veterinarian about large amounts of hair you can't remove, or about any parasites in the ears.

Some Bichon owners opt for a teddy bear clip or a field clip to keep grooming to a minimum between appointments. Both short trims look good on the small dog and you can still have a puffy head with ribbons and bows to your liking. Remember to bring a sweater or jacket for your Bichon if temps are cold after a short hair cut.

The biggest bonus for pet owners is that Bichons do not shed. That is to say, there will be no hair flying through the air in the house. Every dog loses some hair in daily grooming, but Bichons and Poodles are the best for lack of hair loss and dander. Your Bichon does still require some daily grooming to keep that coat a sparkling white and free of mats.

Photo credit:
Blooming Rose Bud owned by Mr Spiers.
Photo by Sannse at the City of Birmingham Championship Dog Show, 29th August 2003


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