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Bichons frises are playful, active, and cheerful companions. Most owners choose this breed for its bright personality, but it does come with some challenges. Among other things, you need plenty of time to take care of their fur, which can be quite tedious, especially if you are a beginner.
The name of the breed loosely translates to “curly toy dog”, so you can easily achieve a puffed-up look, but it is also prone to tangles and mats. If you are unsure how to style your bichon pup, check out the following sections for ideas, tips, and tricks.
Can You Groom Your Bichon at Home?
One thing you should know before adopting a new bichon pup is that they are quite high maintenance. In fact, the costs associated with grooming can easily add up, especially since many owners choose to take their pooch to a professional groomer.
A bichon frise should be groomed at least once per month. Whether you decide to do it at home or take it to a skilled professional depends on your budget and personal preference. If you do it by yourself, you should trim the fur during full maintenance sessions. Bichons require different types of grooming to stay healthy, which will be discussed in detail in the sections below.
5 Best Bichon Frise Haircut Styles
Before we get into tips on how to groom your dog, let’s go over the most common bichon frise hairstyles. While you may find other hairstyles, they are all a variation of one of the five styles described below in one way or another.
1. Lamb Cut (Puppy Cut)
The lamb cut is one of the most practical haircuts if you do not want to spend your time on constant grooming. It may not be a luxurious option, but it is ideal if your main objective is to keep your pup healthy and groomed. Bichon frise owners who want to eliminate the mats that form in the pup’s fur may also go for this hairstyle.
To achieve this look, you should aim for short fur on its body, apart from the head and tail. While eliminating the mats behind the ears and the legs, this style retains the natural, traditional look of the bichon by keeping a “puffy” face.
You can achieve this at home by shaving your pup, and then using clippers or scissors to shorten the hair on the face and the tail. However, even though this style entails short fur, you still need to have a regular weekly grooming session. Use a comb and a brush to untangle the hair and prevent mats from forming.
One of the main advantages of this hairstyle is its simplicity. If you are a beginner, you may want to take your pooch to a professional until you get the hang of it. Then, you can style your bichon at home. Although it is short, make sure you brush and comb your pup regularly.
2. Show Cut
For a luxurious look, the show cut may be exactly what you need. It is the opposite of the lamb cut because you keep the fur longer. This also makes it more difficult to maintain, especially if your pup loves a good splash in the mud from time to time.
Generally, the show cut is used for pups that attend competitions. It is impossible not to love your puffy bichon frise and it attracts all the attention. This extravagant cut does not use clippers, so you may need to go for a professional groomer. The undercoat remains untouched, puffy and thick, which will help you achieve the “cotton ball” look. The outer layer is curly and coarse.
Apart from opting for an experienced groomer, you also need to keep in mind that you need to spend lots of time each day combing and brushing the coat. This will avoid tangles and mats, keeping your bichon healthy. Also, to maintain this look, you need to visit the groomer each month. If you want your bichon to have this cute look, you should be ready to spend some time to maintain it and keep it clean.
3. Utility Cut
If your bichon is more of a backyard buddy, the utility cut can save both of you lots of time. It is one of the lowest maintenance cuts that won’t stop your pup from happily rolling in the backyard. If you do not want the puffy look, all you need to do is cut all the hair down short.
The main advantage is that this haircut is the best if you want to keep tangles and mats at bay. Also, since all you need is some good clippers, you can easily achieve this hairstyle by yourself. It is a neat-looking style and does not require as much time as other haircuts.
For instance, the show cut might not be the best choice if your bichon loves to play outside. With the utility cut, mats and tangles are less likely to happen and your pup can play outside and enjoy maximum freedom.
4. Panda Cut (Teddy Bear Cut)
The panda cut is the compromise between the lamb cut and the show cut. More specifically, the fur is a bit longer than the lamb cut and it follows the shape of your pup’s body. Although it looks simple, you may still have to visit an experienced groomer if you are a beginner. The fur remains longer on its legs, head, and tail, giving it a bear-like appearance.
The fluffy haircut can be achieved with scissors where you need to keep the hair longer. The rest of the body, such as the belly, back, and sides, can be cut using clippers. There is no standard, but some owners opt for a quarter-inch fur on the side and back. The length of the fur is up to your preference – for instance, you could go for half-inch.
To achieve this bear look, make sure you trim the fur around the face to round it out. This will turn your pup into a teddy bear. At this stage, some owners also opt to leave longer fur on the head to put it into a top knot, but this is based on your personal preference.
As some parts have longer hair, the need for maintenance is quite high. You need daily grooming to comb and brush the coat, eliminating the debris, dirt, and dead hair that might get caught in the longer fur. It may require a lot of commitment, but all bichons do if you want to have a happy, healthy pup, so make sure you choose the best hairstyle based on your availability and budget.
5. Shave Down
Finally, if you are a practical owner, you can simply remove the whole furry look and shave your pup down to the skin. You do not need to worry about mats and tangles anymore and you can easily do so in your own home, so it’s probably the most budget-friendly hairstyle.
Many owners opt for this if their pooch constantly has mats and tangles. However, you need to keep in mind that bichons have very sensitive skin, so they can easily get sunburnt if you remove the protective fur layer and you leave your pup outdoors during summer. Also, even in this case, you still need to brush and comb your pooch every day to remove dirt, debris, and prevent mats and tangles as the coat grows.
What Is the Best Bichon Frise Haircut Style?
If you are unsure which haircut style is best for your pup, the best thing you can do is consider a few aspects that might influence your decision. Many owners pick one hairstyle and stick to it, while others prefer to change it from time to time.
However, regardless of your choice, your bichon’s health and well-being should be the priority.
Professional vs. At-Home Grooming
Bichons frises require high maintenance to stay healthy. This is why many owners opt for a combination of professional grooming services and at-home sessions – this will lower the costs and help you bond with your pooch while ensuring they receive all the care they need.
It is also possible to learn how to take care of your dog’s grooming needs at home. All you need is plenty of patience, time, and practice. One of the main advantages of this breed is that they are indoor pups, so there is a lower chance that your pooch needs frequent, urgent grooming, and bathing sessions after playing outside.
Other breeds that require more time outside might be more likely to require an urgent bath, but your bichon can be quite happy indoors as long as you have long playing sessions together.
Many bichons are pictured as completely white pups. However, many owners have come to realize that this is not always the case. It can be quite a challenge to keep your bichon’s coat white, free from stains. These can turn the white fur into pink or rust-like stains around the eyes and the mouth.
The breed is prone to develop seasonal allergies that can cause eye tearing, leading to these stains. Also, you may want to take your pup to the vet as excessive tearing may be a symptom of eye disorders. Pups can also tear when they are teething, while older dogs develop these rust-like stains because it is a normal stage in the aging process.
If you want to remove these fur stains, many specialists recommend scheduling a vet visit to identify the underlying cause. With very strict regular maintenance and proper treatment, these tear stains can disappear. Also, your vet may be able to recommend you certain products and techniques to prevent fur discoloration, tears, and to keep facial hair clean.
Grooming During the Shedding Season
Bichons are considered hypoallergenic dogs, but they still shed. The coat grows constantly all year long and the loose fur gets trapped in the coat, which can lead to tangles and mats. If you do not eliminate these tangles and mats through combing and brushing, your pup will suffer from skin irritation. Untreated, this leads to skin abrasion and even infections.
If you do not have much time available to take care of your pup’s fur, it’s best to opt for a shave down or a lamb cut as they are easier to maintain. It’s best to opt for a shorter hairstyle rather than allowing your bichon to suffer from tangles and mats. Many groomers simply shave down the mats and tangles rather than put the pup through the pain of detangling by brushing.
To keep mats and tangles at bay, you still need to brush and comb your pup at least 2 to 3 times per week. Ideally, regardless of the size of the fur, you should establish a daily brushing routine to prevent mats and tangles.
As mentioned above, you should plan at least two types of grooming sessions – regular maintenance (ideally every day) and full maintenance (once every 1 to 3 weeks). Most specialists recommend cutting the fur every month, too. If you opt for a professional groomer, you can also ask them to complete the full maintenance routine.
In your daily schedule, you should go for several activities:
- Brushing and combing to remove dirt, debris, and prevent tangles
- Daily teeth cleaning
- Taking care of the facial hair (if the case, according to the vet’s recommendations)
For the full maintenance recommended once every 1-3 weeks, you need to take care of the whole dog. Some examples include:
- Trim the fur
- Clean the ears
- Trim nails
Some people are comfortable with these tasks, so they prefer to do them at home. Alternatively, you can take your bichon to a professional, at least until you become confident that you can perform them by yourself.
All in all, bichons are adorable companions, but maintenance and care can be quite time-consuming.
If you want an extravagant look, the show cut will turn your pooch into a fluffy cotton ball. On the other hand, the shaved down or the lamb cut may be ideal if you want to easily take care of your furry friend. You can also try different cuts and see what works best for both of you.