The bichon frise is a popular, energetic, small dog breed, with white fluffy hair that looks like a cotton ball when brushed out. Bichon frise require regular grooming because their fur grows rather than sheds. And like most popular little dogs that require grooming, there are several haircuts to choose from each requiring different levels of skill to complete and maintain.
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Three popular bichon haircuts are the classic cut, the bichon frise utility cut, and the popular puppy or lamb cut. Which one you choose depends entirely on why you have a bichon or what kinds of activities you'll do on a regular basis. The utility cut, for instance, works well for active pets, and bichon frise make great family pets — confidence and size also make them good city dogs.
Bichon haircuts and grooming
The bichon frise has two coats of hair: The outer coat is curly, and the undercoat is silky. The bichon needs to be brushed at least once or twice per week to avoid mats. Mats usually need to be cut out with scissors once they form, since mats sometimes pull on the dog's skin and cause pain and irritation.
The classic bichon cut
The classic bichon cut is also known as the show cut. It is the style that bichons are required to have when competing in dog shows. This cut is more time consuming than other cuts because of its longer length, but some bichon owners consider it worth the effort. Usually, when people envision a bichon, this is the cut they associate with the breed.
To do a bichon cut, groomers use only scissors, no clippers. Instead of removing a lot of fur, the groomer works with what's there, fluffing out the fur starting with the soft under coat and working toward the top coat. The head is trimmed slightly square but left long; the body coat is uniform and also several inches long. The classic bichon cut is best left to the professionals, especially if the dog is headed to the show ring.
Bichon frise utility cut
The bichon frise utility cut is an informal style worn by active bichons that are considered pets, and not show dogs. The purpose of the utility cut is to keep the hair short and out of the way, so the dogs can play and go on outings without causing the owner too much worry about the fur getting matted or messy. This is a good bichon frise summer cut for very active pups.
The utility cut is also the easiest bichon frise hairstyle to do at home because it's essentially an even clip all over the dog because the utility clip has close-cropped hair around the body and head. Clipping carefully around the ears and eyes is particularly important, for both safety and practicality. Keeping hair trimmed around the eyes will also help with staining issues, common among white dogs.
The bichon puppy cut
The puppy cut, also called the lamb cut or the pet cut, is slightly more challenging than the utility cut to complete, and it's the opposite of a show cut. The lamb or puppy cut involves closely cropping or clipping the fur all over the trunk and legs but keeping the fur longer around the head and tail to add some bouncy cuteness.
The puppy cut requires slightly more time and effort than the utility cut, possibly requiring brushing at least three times a week. Many pet owners choose this cut for its blend of attractiveness and manageability. The puppy cut also makes a great bichon frise summer cut because the fur is short allowing the body to cool, but still maintains a bit of the fluff ball characteristic bichon frise are known for.