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.
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.
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.
General Health Care
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, www.Bichon.org