A Bichon Frise is a charming little dog with a snow-white coat that is incredibly fluffy. Paired with the large, dark eyes, the fluffy, curly coat is an absolute showstopper. If you’ve been wondering when your little Bichon Frise is going to develop this gorgeous coat, don’t become frustrated. It can take years for a Bichon Frise to fully develop the fluffy coat that we all know and love about the breed.
When Does a Bichon Frise’s Hair go Curly?
Your Bichon Frise hair will probably start to go curly when they are about a year old, although it may take until they are 3 years old for the coat to become entirely curly. Some Bichon Frises develop a straight, rather than a curly coat.
Here’s what you need to know about exactly when a Bichon Frise will start to develop curly hair and what you need to know about maintaining it.
A Bichon Frise’s coat will change completely from the time they are a puppy until they are adults. The Bichon Frise’s puppy coat is generally much easier to maintain than the adult coat.
However, this coat change doesn’t necessarily mean that it will get curlier. Usually, when the harsh guard hairs grow in as your puppy matures, the coat will become curlier. However, in some cases, the adult coat is less curly than the puppy coat.
Genetics are the best way to tell how your puppy’s coat will turn out. Puppies that are descended from a long line of Bichons with curly hair will likely develop curly hair as adults as well.
However, gene traits can easily stretch back multiple generations, and it is always possible that you may end up with a Bichon that does not develop curly hair despite great bloodlines.
What Happens When a Bichon Frise’s Hair Changes?
Until your Bichon Frise starts growing in their adult coat at about eight or nine months of age, you will find coat maintenance to be very easy. Until this time, your Bichon Frise only has their soft, silky undercoat, which is not prone to matting and is quite easy to brush out.
It is essential not to overlook grooming while your Bichon Frise is a young puppy, since they will need to be trained to accept grooming now before they are older and grooming is a necessity.
By the time your Bichon Frise is about a year old, they will begin growing in the harsh guard hairs, which will cause extensive matting as the soft puppy coat falls out and is replaced by a double-layered coat.
During this time, you’ll need to brush your Bichon Frise every day and sometimes multiple times a day to prevent them from developing painful mats. Your dog may look patchy and a bit rough during this time as well since hair can sometimes grow in unevenly.
Tips for Dealing With a Changing Coat
You will have new challenges to deal with as your Bichon Frise changes their coat. It is almost effortless to maintain your Bichon Frise’s bouncy puppy coat, but as they grow up and the coat matures, it can be a lot harder to keep it in good condition.
Many people choose to cut their Bichon Frise short when the coat begins to change. This makes it much easier to maintain the changing coat. Unless you want your Bichon Frise to be in shows, it may be best to go ahead and cut the coat before it begins to change so that you won’t have to deal with as much coat maintenance and your Bichon Frise won’t have to deal with mats.
Mats aren’t just extremely uncomfortable to your Bichon Frise. They can also lead to secondary problems like infections in the skin and injuries as mats tear at the skin.
If you can’t commit to brushing your Bichon Frise every day or several times a day while their coat is changing, it is probably best for you to clip the coat short and make life easier for you and your dog.
When will I Know Whether my Bichon Frise has a Curly Coat?
From the time your dog is a little less than a year old until they are about three years old, the coat will continue to change. By the time your dog is about three, you will likely be able to tell just what their adult coat will be like and how curly it will be.
Generally, once your dog begins to grow in the adult coat, you can tell whether the hairs are coming in curly or straight, but you won’t be sure until the coat is fully in.
Why do Bichon Frise’s Have Curly Coats?
If you are thinking that it seems like it would be a lot easier to maintain the single layer puppy coat than the curly, plush adult coat, you may be wondering whether it is really desirable to have a fluffly coat or whether a silky coat would be preferable. The Bichon Frise has one of the highest-maintenance coats in the dog world.
The double coat traps hair whenever it is shed, so it is up to you to brush your Bichon Frise regularly enough to remove any trapped hair. There are a couple of reasons why this kind of plush, curly hair is desirable, some of which are more important than others:
- Hypoallergenic. The Bichon Frise’s dense double coat catches any hair and dander before it has a chance to fall. Since people are allergic to dander on the dog’s skin that gets caught in the hair, this lush coat provides a layer of protection. Dogs with silkier hair that do not trap hair as easily may be less likely to prevent most of the hair and dander from falling.
- Cute. The denseness of the Bichon Frise’s coat is what allows it to be shaped into the adorable fluffy cuts that we know and love. A silkier coat, such as that of a Maltese, would not fluff out as well.
- Warmth. Perhaps the most practical use for the coat, as far as your Bichon Frise is concerned, is how good it is at keeping the dog warm. This dense, curly coat tends to keep out moisture and provides a strong insulation layer against the cold. A Bichon Frise with at least a couple of inches of hair will likely be warm even in very cold temperatures.
How To Groom A Bichon Frise To Be Curlier
How you groom your Bichon Frise has a dramatic effect on how the coat looks. If a Bichon Frise is allowed to dry naturally, the hair will have a much curlier and softer appearance, whereas if it is blow-dried, the hairs will be straightened out, causing your dog to look poofier.
Most of the time, it is best to blow dry and brush out your Bichon Frise whenever they get a bath since this will keep the hair from matting and let you know if there are any mats forming between baths.
However, if you’d like your Bichon Frise to look curlier and less poofy, you can allow them to dry naturally between baths. Brushing your dog’s hair with a wide-tooth comb can help to work out any tangles while simultaneously helping to maintain the curly effect.
What if my Bichon Frise is not Developing a Curly Coat?
A curly coat is desirable in the Bichon Frise according to AKC standards, but not every Bichon Frise has a curly coat. You may not know whether your dog will develop a curly coat until it is a few years old.
If your dog doesn’t have a curly coat, they may not be suitable for showing in dog shows, but there are unlikely to be any other adverse consequences. Your family dog does not need a dense coat to protect them from the elements.
If you have not suffered from allergies from your puppy, you are unlikely to have more allergies as a result of them not developing a curly coat as adults. In fact, you may find that you are actually glad that your Bichon Frise has a silkier coat, since these coats tend to be much less prone to matting and require less maintenance.
There is no reason to have any concerns if your Bichon Frise does not have as curly of a coat as some other Bichons. It does not point to any flaw in the dog in any other way or necessarily indicate bad breeding. It is just that some dogs have a coat that is looser, sometimes coming from genes that go back for many generations.
Look Forward to a Curly-Haired Bichon Frise
When your Bichon Frise’s coat is changing, it can be exhausting to deal with, but the gorgeous, curly, adult coat is very likely worth all of the effort. The Bichon Frise’s curly, fluffy coat is a hallmark of the breed. It is extremely hypoallergenic and low shed, making it a great coat for all kinds of people and their dogs.