How to Groom a Bichon Frise
This cut is short enough to be practical while keeping the overall look of the Bichon, making it perfect for dogs that are active in the great outdoors.
Colby is a seven-year-old Bichon Frise that I have been grooming since she was a puppy. She may be small, white and fluffy, but she is very much a dog that loves hiking, swimming and getting herself as dirty as possible. With that in mind, her family wants a cut that is short enough to be practical, but they still want her to look like a Bichon.
This trim is not a conformation or contest groom, nor do I “fix” any faults. I use a size-A, snap-on comb on this haircut, but the length can be made shorter or longer to meet the needs of different clients. Since Colby is a frequent visitor to the salon—she comes in for a full groom about every five to six weeks—and I like to do all my brushing while fluff drying, I send her right to the tub.
Step 1: Bathe
Start the groom off with a nice bath. I wash Colby in a deep-cleansing bath and a whitening shampoo. I also use a diluted conditioner.
Step 2: Dry
Using a high-velocity dryer, blow as much water out of the coat as the pet will allow. Colby is a old pro at this and allows me to get her 90 percent dry with the HV dryer.
Step 3: Detangle
Using a slicker brush and a stand or hand dryer, line brush methodically through the coat, straightening, drying and removing any knots. Check that the dog is completely brushed out by using a comb.
Step 4: Trim Nails
Cut and file the nails.
Step 5: Clean Ears
Pluck and clean the ears.
Step 6: Trim Underneath Feet
Using a #30 blade trim around the pads of the feet.
Step 7: Sanitary Trim
Using a #10 blade, clip the sanitary areas.
Step 8: Clip Body
Using a size-A, snap-on comb, clip from behind the shoulders to the base of the tail (you’re going to leave some neck hair to transition into the head). Clip from the point of shoulder down, skimming off at the elbow. Clip the sides of the dog, wrapping under the belly.
Step 9: Clip Rear Thighs
Sticking with the size-A, snap-on comb, clip the top outside thigh area. Think Schnauzer pattern on the back leg.
Step 10: Clip Back of Rear Legs
Clip from the bend of the knee to the point of rump, going against the grain on the back of the back legs.
Step 11: Clip Belly
Using the same snap-on comb, clip the belly against the grain toward the chest, scooping out the armpits.
Step 12: Trim Feet Round
With the rear leg standing naturally on the table, round the foot.
Step 13: Finish Feet
Pick up each foot and comb the hair toward the pads. Trim any hair that hangs over the pads.
Step 14: Trim Back of Rear Legs
The length and shape of the rear legs have been set by the snap-on comb, but I like to comb the hair on the leg up and out and touch up any strays hairs. I start with her rump—Bichons are known for the bubble butts.
Step 15: Trim Front of Rear Legs
Folllowing the curvature of the knee, scissor from the tuck up to the toe.
Step 16: Trim Inside & Outside of Rear Legs
Trim both the inside and outside of the rear leg into straight, parallel lines.
Step 17: Finish Rear Legs
Create a rear angle on the hock by picking up each foot and trimming from the big pad towards the hock.
Step 18: Trim Front Feet
Round the front feet using the same steps used for the rear.
Step 19: Trim Front Legs
Scissor the front legs into parallel columns.
Step 20: Clip Chest
Use the size-A, snap-on comb to clip the top of the chest in reverse up into the “V” of the chin.
Step 21: Trim Eye Corners
Using either thinning shears or a #10 blade, clear the inner corners of the eyes.
Step 22: Trim Visor
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim a visor.
Step 23: Trim Back of Head
Scissor the back of the head, working forward and trimming the back of the ears.
Step 24: Trim Cheeks
Comb the ears and cheeks down, and trim the hair, rounding the ears into the head.
Step 25: Finish Head
Comb the hair on the top of the head up and out, and trim into a round dome shape. I use thinning shears or chunkers to go over the entire head, blending everything round and seamless.
Step 26: Finish Neck
Trim the neck to the desired length and transition into the body.
Professional groomer Annie Francis, CMG, is a grooming competitor, speaker and Andis educator. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass. Is there a breed or cut that you’d like to see featured in the Grooming Table? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.