Bichon Frise: Recommended Grooming Items, Kennels, Leads, Toys, Bones, etc.,

By Steven P. Williams

I created this page to hopefully help people who have obtained Bichons and would like to know the suggested items that I recommend for the care and maintenance of the dog.  It also may give someone who is contemplating obtaining a Bichon, an idea of some of the items required which equates to additional expenses.   While most breeders/owners will agree that some of these items are indeed the "required" items if you have a Bichon, there are some items on which every breeder/owner will have a different opinion. This is especially true concerning Shampoos, Shears, Dryers, Leads/Collars, and Chew toys.

I generally purchase my dog items from "wholesale" pet supply companies and have them shipped to my home.  The company that I use for most of the items (unless otherwise indicated below) is PetEdge (formerly New England Serum Company).  You can order a catalog or place orders at their web site: PetEdge  or by calling 1-800-PET-EDGE (1-800-738-3343).


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For puppies and for carrying Bichons for short distances, I recommend the "100P" size (L 21 x W 16 x H 15 ").  When the dog becomes older, if you are going to crate him/her for long periods of time or if you were to actually ship the dog on a plane in the cargo bay, then I suggest that you also get the next size up: the "200P" (L 27 x W 20 x H 19 ")

Wire Gate

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These are great if you are going to confine your dog during the day in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.  Be careful when ordering gates like this as many have plastic mesh and a dog can eat through it.  This has wire in the mesh.


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I recommend that you have three brushes.  The "Itty Bitty" size and the "Medium" size Ever Gentle slicker brushes.  Also, you should have an Oscar Frank Curved Back slicker brush (4" x 21/2"). After I bathe and dry my dogs and before I scissor, I like to completely brush the dog first with the Ever Gentle slickers, then I rebrush with the Oscar Frank slicker.  Then I do a final comb out with the comb.  Until the Bichon gets the adult coat, you can probably get by with the Ever Gentle slickers and a comb.


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I recommend the 7 1/2" Medium/Coarse comb.


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I have ceramic dishes.  You do need to make sure you periodically clean them thoroughly.  Remember to also wipe the water dish as a film can develop which can cause staining.  Many breeders/owners use metal dishes.  You do not, however, want to use/have plastic dishes. {Note: It may be a "an old wives tale," but it has been said that the use of plastic dishes may have an effect on a Bichon's pigment (i.e., make it less dark),  since this one is easy enough to comply with, why not just get ceramic or metal dishes}


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I recommend the Flat Braided Nylon collars and matching lead.  I think the flat braided style does not snag the Bichon hair and is softer.  If you want an extendable lead then I believe the Adjusta Lead brand is good.  Of course if you are going to show your Bichon then I use the Resco Show leads.  I use a white 3/16".


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I recommend the toys made with Latex over the other vinyl and rubber toys.   I think that if your dog chews and swallows pieces of the Latex that this may be less harmful than the other materials.  Also for pull toys, Bichons love the Booda "rope" Tugs.


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For chewing, I don't recommend rawhides, or ears, hooves, etc.  I only recommend nylabones.


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Every Breeder has their own shampoos and formulas for mixing.  You will probably come up with your own mixture.  Since Bichons are white and you want them to be white, you should probably use a shampoo that has some "whitening" ingredients (which usually means the shampoo has a blue color.)  But as you also probably know, some Bichons do have skin problems and you may have to use special or even medicated shampoos.  I use a diluted (with water) mixture of Lambert Kay's 10 for 1 Pet Shampoo and #1 All Systems Super-Cleaning & Conditioning Shampoo.  For conditioning, I use diluted #1 All Systems Super-Rich Protein Lotion Conditioner.  Remember when washing your Bichon, you must thoroughly rinse out the shampoo and conditioner. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse!


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For just one Bichon you could use a hairdryer or I have recommended a Superduck blow dryer. But recently a flexible arm that attaches to the grooming table and an associated blow dryer has come on the market. This appears to be a better "method" because it will free up your hands and the flexible arm is more useful than the Superduck stand.  When you use these types of blow dryers, you should be brushing the hair at the same time that you are drying.  What I would highly recommend, though, for someone with more than one Bichon (or if you just have one Bichon, I still would recommend it, but it is more costly), is an "air force" dryer like the Air Force Commander.  I like the 2 speed, 4.0 horsepower, 28,000 feet per minute model.  These types of dryers blow very little heat.  They dry the dog through the shear force of the air.   It literally blows the water off.  While these dryers are a little louder and may seem a little excessive to a "pet owner," I believe that drying a Bichon with air is less harsh to the skin than blow dryers with heat.  With these types of blow dryers, you should thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!) dry the dog after bathing, but you do not need to brush at the same time.   Immediately after drying the dog, you do a complete brushing/combing (see above where I explained how I brush/comb under the brush pictures).

Grooming Table with Arm

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Even if you are a pet owner and not interested in showing, I would recommend you get a grooming table with arm and noose.  These are indispensable when you are drying or brushing your dog.  They have several for sale at the wholesale places (PetEdge), but I believe that you probably get a better quality table from some of the vendors that sell them at the dog shows.  One such vendor that is here in Texas is Courtney's: 1-817-481-5557.

Nail Trimmer and Styptic Powder

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If you are going to cut your dogs nails you need some nail trimmers and some styptic powder.  You should try not to cut the nails back into the quick, but if you do and there is some bleeding you can put some of this powder on the end of the nail.  You should cut the nails and pull the hair out of the ears periodically before bathing.

Ear Powder and Hemostats

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To keep the ears clean, you should periodically pull out the hair that grows inside the ear.  By putting Ear Powder on the hair first, it allows you to be able to grip the hair.  I try to pull out as much as I can with the powder and my fingers.  Then I use the hemostats to get the rest.  Be careful, you don't want to puncture any ear drums!


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This is another item where everyone has a different opinion and there are so many different shears on the market!  There is one rule of thumb though, You Do Get What You Pay For!  I use Geib's (ButterCut) Kantana and All American 88 shears.  If you think you will be learning and eventually doing the grooming of your Bichon, then you should get a good pair of shears.  The Kantana currently runs about $350.  The All American runs about $250.  If this is too steep, or you are not sure that you will be grooming, or if you just want some shears to do some trimming in between visits to the groomer, then you may want to get some Gator 88's.   These currently run about $120.00 - $140.00.  You can get Geib shears through the wholesalers or you can order them direct from Geib (ButterCut Shear Company) in  Orlando, Florida at 1-800-961-4342.  I store my shears up on a shelf with them "open."   I also put a few drops of Oster brand Lubricating Oil-for clippers and blades (I buy the 4 oz bottle) on them and wipe it all over the shears (not finger grips) and wipe off any excess with a paper towel after every use.  This will keep the scissors from developing any "rust."  Please remember that these shears are very dangerous and sharp and you must use great care when using them around your dog, especially their face!


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While you generally just scissor your Bichon, periodically you can shave your bichon down (i.e., in the summer).  Clippers are great for doing most of the dog quickly.  You can also use them to clip the hair on the pads.

Clipper Blades and Snap-On Combs

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When you order your clippers they usually come with a #10 blade.  This is a general blade that you can use on the belly of your Bichon.  It cuts at 1/16".   I also recommend you get a #30 blade which you can use with a Snap-on Comb.  You put a snap-on comb over the blade to get an even cut and to leave certain lengths of hair.  You would use a snap-on comb to shave the majority of your dogs body.  I recommend  you get  a #1 snap-on which cuts down to 5/8" and a #3 snap-on which cuts down to 5/16".

Blade Wash, Kool Lube, Blade Oil

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If you just have one or two Bichons you will probably need the 4 oz clipper/blade lubricating oil (not pictured) to wipe down your shears after use.   But, you may not really immediately need the Kool Lube or Blade Wash right away for the electric clippers (i.e. you won't be using the electric clippers that much with one or two Bichons).  But if you use clippers a lot and because you also want to clean your clipper blades and keep them lubricated, you may want to get these associated items.


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You should always have a thermometer on hand,  just in case you need to see if you Bichon is running fever.

Sherpa Bag

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If you are going to travel with you Bichon on board  an airplane then I recommend you get a Sherpa Bag.

Grooming Video

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If you are going to learn to groom your Bichon, then you may want to get the Bichon Frise Show Grooming Video distributed by Sonnen.  It will give you some good concepts to start with, BUT the only way you will learn to scissor your Bichon is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.  Don't give up after the first 20 times (VBG), just keep trying and as you get the "feel" for using the shears and learning the form of a Bichon you will learn even more, and this will be the basis that you will start to be able to "pick-up" the form of the Bichon that is in a "show coat."

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