With his curly, bright white coat and black button eyes, the adorable bichon frise resembles a slightly larger Maltese, but with a tight perm. This energetic pup's hair requires heavy grooming to prevent mats, and Sassy’s fur can be trimmed into various hairstyles for practical and aesthetic purposes.
Full and Fluffy
The bichon's curly double-layered coat grows constantly and needs to be trimmed regularly to keep him looking neat. The show cut, probably the most recognizable of the bichon frise haircuts, is the fullest and most groom-intensive cut as well. It involves trimming and shaping his curly coat into a length that follows the contours of his body while still allowing a springy feel. Round is the key word here, as his coat is shaped to match his body lines and his head looks like a big cotton ball stuck atop a soft, poofy bichon body. This look is usually achieved by careful scissoring to trim him properly and leave no unsightly clipper track lines. It also requires daily brushing to keep dead hairs from tangling together and forming mats.
Forever a Puppy
Although the bichon's curly coat can make for adorable poofy styles, sometimes that daily brushing can become more frustration than fun. If your pup will never see the inside of a show ring, consider having him clipped into a shorter puppy cut. This style, sometimes known as the lamb cut, trims his body hair down close to the skin while leaving his head and tail longer. The head hair is shaped to achieve the typical poofy bichon look. Even this short hairstyle requires brushing, but you'll only need to grab the brush or comb once a week to remove dead hair and prevent mats.
If the show cut seems too long but the puppy cut seems too short, try splitting the difference with a panda cut. This style takes the puppy cut and leaves some length while following the lines of your pooch's body. His head, tail and chest are left longer than his body, as is the area behind his legs. Because of the longer hair, brushing requirements increase to every day, or at least every other day to keep mats and tangles at bay.
Tips Before You Snip
Even if you've seen all the photos online and found a hundred How-To articles on cutting your pup's hair yourself, put down the scissors and unplug the clippers. Cutting a dog's hair is not for the inexperienced and could end very badly should he jerk at the wrong moment. Have a professional groomer do the trimming and clipping necessary to keep your pooch looking spiffy. Should you choose to shave your bichon, be aware that as a double-coated breed, his hair may not grow back the same if he's clipped very close to the skin.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.