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I’ve had Bichon Frise dogs for over 30 years, and have always kept them in a show-like trim, even though I don’t take my current three to shows. But now I’m older, I’m finding it harder to keep on top of the coat care at home. Is there another style I can suggest to my groomer that is lower maintenance but still suits the breed?

Stuart Simons advises…

The Bichon Frise has hair that grows like a human’s. There is very little or no undercoat and the hair does not stop at a pre-determined length, but simply keeps growing. Because of this constant growth, the coat takes a great deal of care and attention to keep knot- and tangle-free. A full shave-down seems quite extreme – unless, of course, the coat is matted, in which case the groomer will probably have no choice.

I personally think a lovely alternative is a 3F (13mm) all-over shave, with a nice, tight Bichon head, and beautiful plume tail. A 3F blade leaves 13mm of hair on the main part of the body. Some people refer to this as a ‘puppy cut’ or ‘teddy bear cut’ (although if you say that to a groomer, they will probably roll their eyes and mutter something under their breath…). A puppy or teddy bear cut can mean many things to many people, and groomers can have a hard time deciphering exactly what owners want when it comes to these terms.

If you think 3F (13mm) is still too short, talk to your groomer about using extension combs.

To find a professional and qualified groomer in your area, go to www.thegroomersspotlight.com

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