Bichon Frises are small dogs with a unique “powder puff”appearance. They are usually completely white, with thick coats that stand away from the body in loose curls. In the show ring, Bichons are trimmed to look round, while home bound Bichons may be clipped a little shorter. They have dark, expressive eyes and black noses which contrast the bright white fur. Their tales are plumed and hang over the back.
Size and Weight
Bichons are small dogs, standing only between 9 and 11 inches at the shoulder and weighing in between 7 and 12 pounds.
Coat and Color
Bichons come in one color variety: all white. Some dogs may have shocks of cream or buff hair around the ears or on the body. They sport double coats that combine to give them a distinct texture. The undercoat is thick and soft, and the topcoat is coarse. Their hair does not lay flat against the body, but rather “puffs” outward giving Bichons a cotton ball appearance.
Some people think that Bichons don't shed because they don't leave a lot of hair around the house. This is a misconception – Bichons do shed, but hair gets caught in the undercoat and doesn't drop to the ground. Regular brushing to remove the dead hair is important so that the dog does not develop tangles, matting, or skin infections.
Bichons are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming, and they are prone to skin problems and allergies, so good grooming habits are a must. Brushing is required at least twice per week and their white coats get dirty quickly, so baths are very common. Brushing should always be done before a bath, because the hair naturally tangles in the water. Tangles and mats that are present before a bath will be nearly impossible to remove and have to be cut out. The coat will need to be trimmed every six weeks to maintain a good length. Most owners keep a standing appointment every four to six weeks with a groomer to keep up with baths, trims, nail clipping and ear cleaning as grooming a Bichon is not for the faint of heart or for those pressed for time.
Bichons are prone to eye tearing which can stain the face. Veterinarians can recommend eye wipes or solutions that can reduce the tearing, relieve discomfort for the dog and help keep their white faces clean.