The Bichon Frise, easily recognizable by his plumed tail and powder puff appearance, is at the top of our Bread & Butter list. True, their skyrocket rise to popularity since their AKC recognition in 1972 has created an abundance of short legged dogs looking more like Bassets wearing a fluffy suit, but we must do our best to offer the “correct” illusion to the best of our ability.

That said, even the pet bred Bichons are improving in structural quality. It is the responsibility of the professional pet groomer to offer their clients a breed profile trim regardless of the dog’s structure.

Creating a picture in your mind’s eye of what the breed is supposed to look like will help you to implement your skills and offer your clients what they deserve: A trim that is true to the breed standard, even if the model is less than what the standard calls for.

As in all Bread & Butter articles, all prep work is assumed and a scissored dog MUST be fluff dried.

Fig.1)

Create a level topline using long straight shears. Trim the topline from croup to a few inches behind the withers or about 1/3 of the body length from point rump to sternum. This will leave room to create a crest.

Fig.2)

Trim the base of the tail approximately two inches from base of croup. The tail base should appear to be an extension of the topline if held out straight. Once scissoring of the entire body has been completed, tidy the tail band again to ensure a smooth transition from tail set to topline.

Fig.3)

Use curved shears to set the rear from the back of the upper thigh, rounding up to the croup, then to the level topline.

Fig.4)

Blend from the point of rump to the outer upper thigh. When viewed from the rear, the hips should appear rounded and not
sharply angled.

Fig.5)

Lift the rear leg and use curved shears to trim around the pad. Trim from the back of the pad up to the hock, angling outward to form a rounded hock.

Fig.6)

With the rear foot on the table, scissor around the foot. The dog should appear slightly up on his toes in the rear.

Fig.7)

Trim the front feet with the foot on the table. Trim across the front of the foot, then around the foot.

Fig.8)

Lift the front foot and trim only the excess coat that protrudes over the pad and nails. There is not an apparent bevel and the dog should not give the appearance of standing on his toes (front feet). The bottom of the foot blends onto the leg in a column extending directly from the table to the leg. Try not to expose the nails.

Fig.9)

Use curved shears to blend from the upper thigh along the flanks, stopping at the shoulders.

Fig.10)

Trim the underline, following the natural under carriage of the dog. Lift the front leg to trim a continuous underline through the front legs, then sloping upward to the chest. Do not trim the tuck-up area (where the rear leg meets the loin). Blades such as #7, #5, or #4 can also be used for the belly, but do not shave into the tuck-up or up to the chest. For long, low dogs use the shortest blade.

Fig.11)

Trim the fore chest to the jawline with straight shears. Use curved shears to trim between the front legs to just above the sternum.

Fig.12)

From the rear moving forward, use curved shears to set the left shoulder at about a 45° angle.

Fig.13)

Set the right shoulder, moving from the front toward the rear.

Fig. 14)

Continue moving from the front toward the rear, using curved shears to trim the flanks and blend onto the topline and into the undercarriage.

Fig.15)

Use curved shears to trim the upper foreleg and shoulder, setting the front legs under the body.

Fig.16)

Lift the front leg slightly and trim the front and inside to form a column.

Fig.17)

Place the foot on the table and trim the outside of the foreleg from elbow to table.

Fig.18)

Trim the back of the foreleg from the elbow to table.

Fig.19)

Use straight shears to shape the rear legs into parallel columns.

Fig.20)

Use curved shears to shape the foot into the sides and front portion of the rear leg. (The rear portion of the hock was already shaped in Fig. 5.)

Fig. 21)

Shape the front portion of the rear leg, making sure to leave a subtle indication of a bend in stifle (the knee).

Fig.22)

Use curved shears to blend the upper rear leg into the tuck-up and underline.

Fig.23)

Use curved shears to blend the shoulder into the neck and the neck onto the crest.

Fig.24)

Blend the arch of neck using curved shears. First use the shears in a scooping motion from behind the withers to the back of the neck, then flip them around and in a rounding technique, shaping the back of the top-skull onto the neck.

Fig.25)

Use a #30 to lightly trim a fine line between the eyes. Then skim the front of the eyes from the inside corner to the outside eye corner. Do not shave, just skim. If the dog will not hold still, use blunt nose scissors or thinning shears.

Fig.26)

Shave the front of the lips the width of the nose.

Fig.27)

Use curved shears to create a shelf over the eyes from outside eye corner to outside eye corner.

Fig.28)

Trim the jawline, rounding in a semi-circle toward the ear. Do not trim in front of the ear. Do not lift the ear to trim under it.

Fig.29)

Pull the ear forward to the nose and trim the semi-circle again.

Fig.30)

Use long curved shears to shape the top and sides of the head to form a circle. Best scenario, the eyes are in the center of the circle. The ears are part of the headpiece and should not be apparent.

The pets that adorn our Bread & Butter list are not all show dogs.  But as professionals, we can try our best to replicate and create the best profile, considering what we are presented with.  Sometimes the silk purse really is underneath that sow’s ear. Do your best to educate your client and find that silk purse.

For more information on the Bichon Frise:  www.bichon.org