The Bichon Frise belongs to a group of bichon type dogs that includes breeds like the Havanese, Bolognese and Maltese. But make no mistake, his winning personality, charm and beautifully white, puffy coat make him a one of a kind dog.
And to top it off, he doesn’t shed much at all.
Bichon Frise are a very low shedding breed and, according to the American Kennel Club, have a hypoallergenic coat. So if you’re looking for a low shedder that’s less likely to cause allergies, this is it. However, Bichons are high maintenance, so unless you plan on hiring a professional groomer, you’ll need to brush and trim his coat regularly.
Read on to learn more.
Bichon Frise Shedding
Bichon Frise are a very low shedding breed.
They’re not completely “non-shedding” though.
All dogs with hair shed (or molt) at least some hair. It’s just that breeds like the Bichon Frise shed very little. And because of the texture of their coat, when they do shed, much of the loose hair gets caught up within their coat. So instead of falling off of their body and onto your floors and furniture, a lot of it will end up in the brush.
Why don’t they shed as much as other dogs?
How much a dog molts really depends on the breed and, in particular, the rate at which their hair grows, stops growing, and falls out. Which is known as the hair growth cycle. The more delayed this is, the longer the hair tends to grow and the less it tends to shed.
Related: Dog Shedding FAQ (Why Do Dogs Shed?)
This compounded by the fact that they’re a small dog, so there’s only so much hair that can drop off of them in comparison to a larger breed.
So, overall, you’re not going to notice much hair floating around if you adopt a Bichon Frise. Especially not if you keep up with grooming them properly, which is a must with this breed.
What if you are noticing excessive shedding?
There are some things that can cause excessive shedding (or molting), such as allergies, poor diet, or fleas, among other things. So if you are noticing heavy shedding, or if you have any concerns at all, speak with your veterinarian for advice on what to do.
Are They Hypoallergenic?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Bichon Frises have a hypoallergenic coat. But it’s important to understand that that doesn’t mean they’re 100% non-allergenic, it means that they are generally considered to be more suitable for allergy sufferers than most dogs.
The truth is, no dog is completely hypoallergenic.
Even hairless and so-called non-shedding dogs can trigger allergies in some people. Because the dander (dead skin), sweat, saliva and urine are actually what cause the allergies, not the hair itself. It’s just that dander binds to hair so dogs that shed more tend to spread their dander more around the home.
In any case, Bichons are among the lowest allergen dogs, so if you’re looking for a low shedding, non-allergenic dog, this is about as good as it gets.
Grooming Your Bichon
Bichons may not shed much, but their coat is fairly high maintenance.
To start with, they have a double coat. Which means they have an outer layer of hair and an undercoat of fur.
The undercoat is soft and dense, and this is what helps insulate him from hot and cold conditions. While the outer coat (sometimes called guard coat) is curly, more coarse and puffy looking. And this combination of coat takes effort to groom for a couple main reasons.
Firstly, given the length and texture of the outer coat, it is prone to mats and tangles. And this is especially true since the hair they shed tends to get caught up within the undercoat. So regular brushing is needed to remove these mats before they cause your Bichon pain and discomfort.
Second, their hair tends to just keep on growing. So not only does it require constant brushing, but you’ll need to trim him every couple of months in order to keep his hair at an appropriate length.
Trimming does make it easier when it comes to brushing, since the hair isn’t as long. But it’s also a chore in and of itself. Which is one of the reasons why many owners have their Bichon professionally groomed each month. Which normally includes a trim, bath and brush, as well as nail trimming and ear cleaning session.
So, either way, you’ll be spending some time learning and grooming him yourself, or outsourcing the job to a professional. And even then, they need to be brushed at least a few times per week, or preferably daily to ensure their coat doesn’t get matted up.
Given their rather intensive grooming needs, it’s worth getting them accustomed to being groomed at a young age. Preferably once they develop their full adult coat after 12 months of age. As this will make the process of bathing, brushing and clipping them much easier.
It is possible to do it yourself. A metal comb and pin brush is really all you need on the brushing front. And when it comes to bathing, a good quality dog shampoo that doesn’t dry out his coat.
And there are plenty of great resources dedicated to helping you learn how to groom a Bichon Frise. Like this video for example:
So, with the right equipment and know how, you can save yourself some money by grooming him yourself. But of course, that will take more time than having someone do it for you.
Can you shave them?
Some have their Bichon clipped down to a reasonable length, a cut which is often referred to as a puppy cut. But it’s never a good idea to completely shave any dog with an undercoat, like the Bichon Frise, right down to the skin. Unless your vet specifically recommends doing so. Because the undercoat is what helps insulate him and protect him from things like sunburn.
And despite some conflicting information online, Bichons do have an undercoat, which is stated within the official AKC breed standard. So if your Bichon doesn’t have an undercoat, he’s probably a mixed breed because a pure bred does have one.
Bichons are playful, adorable, intelligent dogs that make excellent companions. And they’re ideal for people who want a low shedding breed with a hypoallergenic coat.
Just keep in mind that no dog is completely hypoallergenic, and Bichons do take some effort to groom. So if you’re looking for a dog that sheds very little, but that is also low maintenance, then there are some other great dogs worth considering. Like the Basenji for example.
Either way, I hope you found this helpful!