Bichon Frise Coat 101: 9 Common Questions Answered


Bichon Frise Coat 101_ 9 Common Questions Answered

Bichon Frise Coat 101. If you are thinking of welcoming a Bichon Frise into your family, consider the amount of time that will be required for maintaining his snow-white, powder puff appearance. Bichons do not shed, which makes them excellent companions for allergy sufferers, but because the

The curly coat grows continuously, diligent grooming is essential to prevent mats and tangles.

Once you get your bichon buddy accustomed to grooming, his healthy coat can be maintained with a combination of daily brushing and monthly professional trimming.

Bichon Frise Coat 101: 9 Common Questions Answered 1
Bichon Frise Coat 101

The Bichon Fise Breed is considered to be relatively hypoallergenic, as the dog breed sheds very little because the shed hair is caught up in the undercoat. We have had as much as 9 Bichons in our house and we never see hair on our clothes or furniture.

Grooming a Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise Coat 101 / Do Bichon Frise have Fur or Hair?

Bichons have hair, not fur so they need to be professionally groomed every 3-4 weeks. They are NOT the type of dog you can wash, as they matt immediately if not groomed correctly. A groomer needs to fully comb them out from root to tip for their entire coat, then washed, conditioned, and blow-dried with a brush out so they don’t matt and get that fluffy cotton ball look that bichons are famous for. Once this is done, that lasts about 3-4 weeks before they need another bath and they will need haircuts every 2-3 months depending on how long you keep them. This is true for any dog that has hair and not fur.

Does Bichon Frise Coat Change Color?        

It’s important to know, that your Bichon Frises coat will change drastically from puppyhood to adulthood. Their baby coat can be curly, straight, or wavy. This does not mean that they will have the same hair when they are fully grown. No one can guess what your baby will look like. The look of the parents will help to determine that, but no one can guess how many generations back your babies look will come from. Some straight-haired babies develop a lot of curls and some curly babies get straighter hair as adults. Each puppy is different. When you first get your Bichon baby, she probably had a light fluffy fur coat but at around three to six months of age this will change and she will start to grow in her beautiful soft baby coat.

Bichon Frise Coat 101: 9 Common Questions Answered 2

Your puppy may drop its infant coat from the neck down to the tail and look as if the night elves were taking out her hair one at a time. If you look closely you will see short hair growing in underneath. This new baby hair will continue to grow and get thicker until the puppy is an adult at 3 years of age. She will lose her first hair (infant’s hair) and go through a stage of having a thin, patchy, ugly coat, followed by growing into a thicker adult coat. This can happen anywhere from 3-6 months. Her full adult coat should be in place by 3 years of age. And yes, breeding and bloodlines do determine exactly how full a dog’s coat will be. The boy’s hair tends to grow faster than the girls do.

The Bichon coat is unique. The undercoat is soft and dense, the guard hairs coarser and curlier. When trimmed, the coat follows the lines of the body and is left long enough to give the breed’s characteristic poufy appearance, with hair left longer on the head, ears, beard, and tail. The coat should not be wiry, limp, or over-soft.

A baby Bichon can also have the buff, cream, apricot shading.

These blushes of color fade during the baby’s first year until your puppy becomes a white lap mop. Adults with these shadings are heavily penalized.

Alison Rogers, winner of UK Groomer of the Year for 2012, gives a step-by-step guide on how to groom a pet Bichon Frisé

Pro Grooming Tips for Showing Bichon Frise

Can a Bichon Frise have Straight Hair?

It’s important to know, that the Bichon Frise’s coat will change drastically from puppy to adulthood. Their baby coat can be curly, straight, or wavy. This does not mean that they will have the same coat when they are fully grown. No one can guess what the Bichon’s coat will look like. The look of the parents will help to determine that, but no one can guess how many generations back your particular Bichon has come from. Some straight-haired babies develop a lot of curls and some curly babies get straighter hair as adults. Each puppy is different.

When you first get your Bichon, he/she will have a light fluffy fur coat but at around three to six months of age this will change and he/she will grow in her beautiful soft coat. Bichon Frise will lose his/her (infant’s hair) and go through a stage of having a thin layer coat, followed by growing in a thicker adult coat. This can happen anywhere from 3-6 months. His/her full adult coat should be in place by 3 years of age. And yes, breeding and bloodlines do determine exactly how full a dog’s coat will be. The male’s hair tends to grow faster than the female does.

The Bichon coat is unique. The undercoat is soft and dense, the guard hairs coarser and curlier. When trimmed, the coat follows the lines of the body and is left long enough to give the breed’s characteristic poufy appearance, with hair left longer on head, ears, beard, and tail. The coat should not be wiry, limp, or over-soft.

A baby Bichon can also have the buff, cream, apricot shading. These blushes of color fade during the baby’s first year until your puppy becomes a white puff of cloud. 

A Bichon Frises fur is white but their skin will develop black or dark pigment spots. These spots so I have been told tell that they indicate that the dog has very good immunities. I am not a scientist so I can’t tell you why. The skin pigmentation is what breeders try to achieve, and your puppy will eventually look like a piebald all over when bathed.

This pigmentation gives the puppy his/her black lips and halos around her eyes as well as her black button nose.

Bichon Frise Coat 101: 9 Common Questions Answered 3

Do Bichon Frise have a Double Coat?

The bichon’s double coat should be white, with or without minimal shading of cream, apricot, or buff. His undercoat is thick and soft, and his outer coat is naturally curly and coarse. The combination of the two gives a soft but substantial feel to the touch which is similar to plush or velvet and when patted springs back. When bathed and brushed, it stands off the body, creating an overall powder puff appearance. A wiry coat is not desirable. A limp, silky coat, a coat that lies down, or a lack of undercoat are faults. His coat should not feel wiry or silky to the touch and should spring back into place when petted. Brushing out his coat removes the tight curls and enhances the powder puff appearance. Trim his coat to enhance the natural outline of his body and round off the contours. His head exhibits a slight pouf, his mustache is defined and the hairs on his beard and ears are kept longer than the hairs of his legs and torso. His tail should resemble a plume that rests over this back.

AKC Bichon Frise Standards

The link provides breeders and future dog owners what should be characteristic of the Bichon Breed.

  • White Color with light Peach or apricot coloring permissible on ears
  • Black Halos around the eyes and mouth
  • Full Breed Standard
  • Over 10% color change considered Fault
  • When Bathed and Brushed Stands soft off of Body
  • Head, Mustache, Beard, Tails remain longer
  • Wiry Coat is a fault
  • Properly Groomed creates a Powder Puff Appearance
Grooming a Puppy Bichon Frise

Conclusion

The White Powder Puff appearance makes these Dogs so Highly desirable. Their Hypo-allergic characteristics is great for people that are suffering from allergies. One of our girls had problems with asthma, and never had any reactions to our dogs. Our Breeding Dogs lived inside our houses with us. Their cages were in our their bedrooms.

Bichon Frise Resource Links

Bichon Frise Club of AmericaUnited StatesLink
Bichon Frise AKCUnited StatesLink
Bichon Frise United Kennel ClubUKLink
Resources for Bichon Frise Owners and Breeders

Recent Content