The bichon frise coat requires a great deal of maintenance to keep it smooth and tangle-free. One of the most important tools in your grooming arsenal is a good quality metal greyhound-style comb designed for this purpose.
It's Not the Dog
The best comb for a bichon coat is a medium metal greyhound-style comb. The greyhound comb is not, as you might think, made for greyhound dogs. The original Greyhound combs were trademarked under that name in Europe where they were manufactured, and still are today. Now, there are many brands of greyhound-style metal combs available in varying sizes and styles.
So Many Combs
You don't have to buy a Greyhound brand comb, but you should purchase a good-quality, medium metal greyhound style. There are several lengths but the best one for bichons is between 7 and 8 inches long, with two divided sides. The teeth on one end are fine, or very close together, and the teeth on the other end are wider. Shorter metal combs are available and handy for combing facial hair, but the basic medium comb is a must for regular bichon grooming.
Once you have a comb, learn when and how to use it on your bichon. Bichons have a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a harsh outercoat. A bichon puppy will not have the harsh, outer-guard hairs until around her first birthday, but she should be trained to accept regular grooming early. Combing through her fur even as a young puppy will keep her coat fluffy and help accustom her to the grooming process. Comb your bichon puppy daily.
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
By her first birthday, your bichon's adult coat is growing. If she is not groomed regularly, her coat will begin to develop mats and tangles. Add a pin brush to your grooming kit and begin grooming sessions by brushing through the coat before combing. A bichon doesn't shed, so you will have to remove the dead hair by brushing and combing your dog or the hair will mat. Brush the coat first to loosen any early tangles or identify spots that need more work. Carefully work these with the wide end of your comb to loosen knots gently.
Drat the Mat
No matter how regularly you groom, your bichon will develop a mat or two occasionally. Never pull at these with a comb. It's painful for your dog and can damage the coat. Start at the very end of the hair that is matted and gently pull apart the tangle. Use the wide end of your comb and insert the tip into the end of the knot. Work the mat gently, a few strands at a time, until you can get the wide-toothed end of the comb through. Continue until the mat is untangled. Spray a detangler made for dogs to make the job easier.