How to Groom a Bichon Frise With Scissors

Because of their curly, silky coat, Bichon Frises must be groomed with scissors.
Because of their curly, silky coat, Bichon Frises must be groomed with scissors. (Image: Bichon image by Olive from

The Bichon Frise is a small, playful dog with a fluffy, curly, white coat. The dog usually has a rounded “powder puff” look to its body, as well as a rounded head that reminds many people of a teddy bear. The Bichon Frise does not come by this look naturally. It is a result of careful grooming in accordance with the American Kennel Club breed standard, which mandates that the coat not be cut into a squared or overly trimmed look. To achieve the rounded look, groomers need to use scissors.

Things You'll Need

  • Brush
  • Blunt-tipped scissors
  • Thinning shears

Brush gently to remove any mats from the Bichon Frise’s coat. This breed features a silky topcoat of loose curls and a stiffer undercoat that, when brushed upward and out, will make the hair stand straight out in the desired fluffy manner.

Fluff the hair of the head and ears with the brush, then carefully trim with blunt-tipped scissors to give a rounded, even look. Go slowly, and check often as you go along to be sure that the cut is balanced. Work very carefully around the eyes and avoid trimming the muzzle.

Thin the hair under the ears with thinning shears if it is causing the ears to stick out too much. If the ears or muzzle look out of balance, thin some of the hair but do not shorten it. The Bichon Frise’s coat should be at least 2 inches long, according to American show standards.

Continue working along the Bichon Frise’s body, snipping wayward hairs and making sure to give the legs a cylindrical look. Trim only untidy ends on the chest, letting the rest of the hair grow naturally. However, from the tail to the knee joint of the back legs, the hair should be trimmed shorter.

Brush out the dog’s coat again and clip any straggly hairs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Brush a Bichon Frise daily to avoid matting.
  • Trim this breed monthly to keep its coat standing straight out and maintain its shape.
  • Hair on the ears and tail, as well as the "moustache" and "beard," should be allowed to grow naturally and combed out before a show.
  • Do not use electric clippers to groom a Bichon Frise. They may get stuck in the dog's curly coat.
  • Do not bathe a dog that has mats in its coat because the water will make matting worse. Instead, sprinkle baby powder on the matted areas and brush the dog before bathing. A de-matting spray might also come in handy when grooming this breed.
  • For owners who do not have experience in dog grooming, the distinctive requirements of a Bichon Frise's coat may be better left in the hands of a professional.

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