The Bichon Frise is one of the most charming little dogs around, with their tightly curled fluffy white coat and large, expressive eyes. If you’ve been hoping that a Bichon Frise can be a good choice for your allergies, here’s what you need to know about choosing this sweet little dog.
Are Bichon Frises hypoallergenic? Bichon Frise are among the most hypoallergenic of dog breeds, thanks to the dense, curly coat that does not shed much but catches any hair that is shed. Like all dogs, they do produce dander that can cause an allergic reaction. Reactions will vary by individual.
If you’ve been trying to decide whether the Bichon Frise is the right hypoallergenic dog breed for you, this is what you need to know about their coat and how it may affect your allergies.
How Hypoallergenic are Bichon Frises?
No dog is entirely hypoallergenic, but just how hypoallergenic is the Bichon Frise? The Bichon Frise is one of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds, since any hair that does fall out tends to be caught up in the dense undercoat.
Most people who are allergic to dogs are allergic to dander in the saliva which is dropped on the coat when the dog licks its coat and is then left in the house when the dog sheds. Since Bichon Frises do not drop even the hairs they do lose, they are among the most hypoallergenic of any breed. Their degree of allergy-causing can be compared to other curly-haired breeds like the poodle.
Grooming the Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise has a dence, white, curly coat made up of two layers that are more or less indistinguishable from one another. The reason they are so hypoallergenic is that they shed very little and whatever hair is shed tends to be caught in the undercoat.
This characteristic, while wonderful for making this breed hypoallergenic, does have a downside. You will likely find that you need to brush your Bichon Frise at least several times a week. However, every day is best to keep the coat mat free.
If your Bichon does develop mats, they can be very painful and extremely difficult for you to work out, thanks to the extremely dense nature of the coat. Other coated breeds can go longer without brushing, but the Bichon Frise has a very high-maintenance coat.
Your Bichon will also need to be clipped once a month or so. The hair will grow continuously, so if it is not clipped around the eyes and feet, the dog may not be able to see or walk properly.
Long or Short Coat?
The Bichon Frise’s fluffy coat can be cut into practically any shape. Many pet owners prefer a puppy cut, in which the hair around the head and face is left long while the hair on the body is cut short.
It is entirely up to you how you cut your Bichon Frise’s coat. However, if you want maximum hypoallergenic qualities from the coat, it may be in your best interest to keep the coat a bit longer.
Part of the reason that the Bichon Frise is so hypoallergenic is because hairs that are shed are caught in the long undercoat. If you shorten the coat, there is less opportunity for the coat to catch shed hair. if you are extremely sensitive to dog allergies, a longer coat may be best for you.
Hypoallergenic Maintenance for the Bichon Frise
Choosing a well-bred Bichon Frise with a tight, curly coat sets you up for success. However, There is more that you can do to make sure that your dog affects your allergies as little as possible. Here are some tricks to consider:
Brush your Bichon Frise Outside Everyday
If you have severe allergies, it may be best that somebody else in the household performs this activity, but whoever does it, it is ideal to brush your Bichon Frise outside every single day. This way, any hair or dander that is shed will do so outside where it will not contribute to allergies. Regular brushing is also essential to keep your Bichon’s coat mat-free and in great condition, so you have multiple motivations to brush regularly.
Wipe Your Bichon Frise Down When They go Outside
Lots of people who are allergic to dogs actually find that they are allergic to some of the environmental things that their dog brings in on their coats. Therefore, it is wise to regularly wipe your dog down when they go outside so that they won’t track in any allergies.
It is especially critical to wipe down your dog’s paws, but since so many dogs enjoy a good roll in the grass, it’s a good idea to wipe down the whole body. You can use a gentle oatmeal based cleanser or just use water.
Have Your Dog Sleep in a Different Room
You love your Bichon Frise and would probably prefer that they sleep in the room with you, but for many people, having a dog in the room with them is just too much for their allergies.
Your allergies may be worse because you are never giving yourself an opportunity to fully recover. Having your dog sleep in another room gives you a space where you can recover and allow your air purifiers to do what they need to do.
Use Furniture Covers
Iit is simply unrealistic to think that you won’t want to have your Bichon Frise on the couch and in your lap. Therefore, it is wise to use furniture covers so that you can allow your Bichon Frise to be on your lap without being concerned that you will have to clean everything.
It’s a good idea to have a dog bed on the couch. Most Bichons love curling up in a fluffy dog bed, so your Bichon Frise is very likely to choose their spot on the couch by their own choice. This way, you can enjoy having your Bichon Frise on the couch or even on your lap and just change out blankets and beds as needed.
People are usually allergic to a dog’s saliva, not the dog’s hair itself, so it should come as no surprise that it can benefit your allergies to prevent your dog from licking themselves. Many dogs lick their own coat, especially the paws, out of boredom, self cleaning, and occasionally due do allergies.
While you may not completely be able to stop your dog from licking, you may be able to reduce how much they lick. To reduce licking from boredom, try giving your Bichon Frise food dispensing toys or chew toys that they enjoy. That way, your dog will occupy itself by chewing and licking at the toy, rather than chewing and licking at itself.
This is effective for dogs that chew out of boredom and for dogs that chew out of anxiety. If your dog chronically licks at their feet and paws, they may have allergies. Talk to your veterinarian about techniques for treating your dogs allergies and preventing licking.
Changing your dog’s food or putting them on a small dose of Benadryl can do a lot to reduce allergy symptoms in your dog. If your dog is still licking despite all of your changes and if you are still working out potential medical causes, they are products that you can buy to spray on your dog’s coat to discourage them from licking without doing any harm.
Get a Robot Vacuum
Too many people assume that since their dog is not shedding, it isn’t worthwhile to have a robotic vacuum. However, remember, you are allergic to your dog’s dander, which is present in the saliva, not in the hair itself.
Dander can easily be dropped from your dog’s skin even if they are not shedding much hair. Therefore, you will likely find it very helpful to run a robotic vacuum that can continuously pick up not only dropped hair but also any dropped dandruff before it causes allergic reactions.
Is the Bichon Frise the Most Hypoallergenic Dog?
In general, the most hypoallergenic dogs are the ones that shed the least hair and which catch the hair most readily in their coat before it can cause an allergy. The Bichon Frise has a wonderful coat for both of these goals.
The Bichon Frise does not shed hardly at all, but when they do shed, it is typically effectively captured in the curly, dense coat. This makes the Bichon Frise one of the most hypoallergenic of all dog breeds, equal with the poodle.
Few other dogs combine this highly effective curly coat with a very low shed rate. If you are trying to find a breed that will be equally hypoallergenic but more outgoing than the poodle, the Bichon Frise is a superb option.
If you are still allergic to the Bichon Frise, along with most other dogs that have hair rather than fur, your best option may be to choose a dog that doesn’t have any fur or hair at all.
These dogs can still have dander on their skin and cause allergies, but you can wipe them down over and over again throughout the day to remove these allergens before they cause you any trouble. This is usually the best bet for people who are allergic enough that even Bichon Frises bother their allergies.
Enjoy Your Hypoallergenic Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a lovely little dog with a wonderful temperament, a convenient size, and one of the most hypoallergenic coats in the dog world. If you are looking for one of the most hypoallergenic dogs you can find in an adorable and fluffy little white package, this is a great option for you.