The Bichon Frise is a small dog with the potential for big hair.
The Bichon Frise, whose name means "curly toy dog" is a non-shedding, small dog who, like people, has hair that grows constantly. The coat of this happy little dog consists of a thick undercoat and curly topcoat. Because of the constant growth and thickness of the white fur, monthly cuts are necessary to prevent matting and remove dander caught in the undercoat. Bichon Frises should be hand groomed at least twice a week between cuts. The three common hairstyles for Bichon Frises are the Lamb cut, Panda cut and Show cut.
The Lamb cut, also known as the Puppy cut, is a practical Bichon Frise hairstyle for those who don’t have the time for constant grooming and are not planning to show their dog. This is the shortest hairstyle for a Bichon Frise, which makes it a good choice for dogs with mats that commonly form behind the ears and the back of the legs. Groomers shave the Bichon Frise coat close to the body, leaving the dog’s head and tail with longer fur for the traditional Bichon Frise puffy face. Even though the Lamb cut is short, regular weekly grooming with a brush and comb prevents tangles and mats from reforming.
The Panda cut is similar to the Lamb cut but styled a little longer, following the contours of the dog’s body. This Bichon Frise hairstyle has longer fur on the head, tail, between the dog’s front legs and behind the legs. Groomers clip these longer areas of fur with scissors and use electric clippers on the rest of the Bichon Frise’s body and chest. This cut requires daily grooming to remove any dead fur, dirt or debris from the longer areas of fur.
The Show cut is the traditional Bichon Frise hairstyle recommended by the American Kennel Club. This is the only cut allowed for AKC breed shows. The Show cut requires the undercoat to remain thick and the outer coat must be coarse and curly. The fur should be thick enough to spring back into shape if pressed down. This cut gives the Bichon Frise a puffy appearance and outlines the shape of the dog’s body. Groomers trim all areas of the fur to form a rounded appearance, especially the head of the Bichon Frise. The fur on the dog’s face, beard, ears and tail are longer than the body. Groomers use scissors to style the entire dog’s body for the Show cut.
When choosing a professional groomer for your Bichon Frise, ask if the shop has experience grooming this breed. AKC dog show judges fault Bichon Frises if the fur is not rounded or the wrong length, so ask the groomers for references or pictures of other Bichon Frises they groomed before having your dog groomed.