Bichon Frise Alternative Trim

For this article, I have chosen Comet, a five-year-old male bichon frise. I had been using Comet’s brother in competitions, set in a traditional bichon trim. However, because these boys are tall, the traditional bichon cut is difficult. We decided a Portuguese water dog-inspired hair cut would look cute and be more appropriate. 


Step 1: Trim Nails
Trim the nails to the quick, and file rough edges.

Step 2: Pluck & Clean Ears
Pluck hair from the ear canal using ear powder and your fingers or hemostats. Then swab with ear solution and cotton.

Step 3:
Bathe with a whitening shampoo and a light conditioner.

Step 4: Force Dry
Force dry hair until the dog is 90 percent dry. Never put a curly coated dog under a cage dryer; it causes the hair to dry curled and makes it extremely difficult to straighten later.

Step 5: Fluff Dry
Move methodically through the dog’s coat with a slicker brush, straightening, drying and removing any knots. Remember to keep the dryer on the hair that is being brushed.

Step 6: Trim Pads
Trim the pads with a 30 or 40 blade, taking care not to trim any of the hair from the outer sides of the feet.

Step 7: Corners of the Eyes
Clean the corners of the eyes using a 10 blade. Do not trim the hair on the bridge of the nose.

Step 8: Sanitary Areas
Using a 10 blade, shave the sanitary areas.

Step 9: Body
Using a size 0 snap-on comb, clip the body. Start at the shoulder blades and clip to the base of the tail. Then from under the ear to the top of the front legs. Clip the sides into the belly. Clip over the hips and the top of the rear legs, as well as the back of the rear legs, leaving hair on the butt cheeks to be scissored later.

Step 10: Clip Legs
Using a size C snap-on comb, skim excess hair from the legs.

Step 11: Rear Legs & Feet
Lift the rear leg up and comb the hair down towards the pads; trim any hair hanging over. Place the foot back on the table and trim the foot round.

Step 12: Tail
The tail is trimmed close, from the base to where the tail naturally curves over the body. I prefer the tail to be thicker at the base, becoming tighter toward the flag.

Step 13: Finish Rear Legs
Start by shaping the buttocks with shears. Comb the hair up and out. Standing behind the dog, scissor the outside of the leg, starting from the rear and working forward. I recommend scissoring vertically, holding shears up or down; scissoring horizontally makes it more difficult to get a smooth finish.

Scissor the inside of the rear leg; this should be a straight line from inner thigh to the foot. Scissor the curvature of the back of the rear leg, and the front of the leg. Then scissor the bottom of the rear leg into a column shape.

Step 14: Blend
Blend the tuck up into the underside and smooth any stray hairs from underline.

Step 15: Finish Front Legs
Repeat the same method used on the back feet: comb hair down and trim any over hanging hair, then replace the foot on the table and scissor round. Comb the hair on the leg up and out. Scissor the leg into straight, parallel columns. If the legs are not straight, it may take some creative grooming to make them look straight.

Step 16: Head
Start by combing the hair above the eyes forward. Using shears, cut the hair above each eye at an angle, leaving a v shape in the middle of the eyes. Then scissor the throat tight, defining the jaw line. Next, start scissoring from behind the ear and blend the neck into the head. Scissor the top of the head round. Scissor the jaw line level with the ears. The ears are shaped like the bottom of a heart and blend into the head. The muzzle should be scissored short, using thinning shears to make it smooth.


Professional groomer Anne Francis is a grooming competitor and speaker. 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 mkalaygian@petbusiness.com.

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