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


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Pet Boss Nation Creates New Mentor Program

The new program for pet industry professionals will award 1,000 minutes of free consultations during its August Facebook giveaway.

The Pet Industry is (Virtually) Going to Washington

This year’s Pet Week on Capitol Hill will continue the important work of helping pet care professionals establish relationships with key members of Congress.

Hofseth BioCare ASA Appoints Vice President of Sales North America

The vice president of sales North America will help introduce new innovations into the supplement category.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags