Why Is My Bichon Shedding?


Why Is My Bichon Shedding?

Bichon Frises are known for being very low shed, even hypoallergenic dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely without shedding throughout their lives.

Why is my Bichon shedding? If your Bichon is shedding, the chances are that they are changing from their puppy coat to their adult coat. This is the only time during which this largely hypoallergenic breed is prone to a fair amount of shedding.

It can be a bit shocking when your previously hypoallergenic and low-shed puppy suddenly starts dropping clots of hair all over the house. However, this is a perfectly normal part of a Bichon’s development and something that it is important you are prepared for as a Bichon owner. Here’s what you need to know about what happens when your Bichon sheds their puppy coat, as well as some other possible reasons for a shedding Bichon.

When Do Bichon Frises Shed?

For most of their lives, Bichon Frises shed very little and drop less hair than they shed, thanks to their plush, curly coat of hair rather than fur. However, as your Bichon moves from puppyhood to adulthood, they will need to shed their entire puppy coat and replace it with an adult coat. 

During this time, your Bichon Frise may shed quite a lot. Bichon Frises shed the puppy coat starting at about six months, although individuals may begin to lose their puppy coat sooner or later than that. 

Your Bichon Frise’s adult coat may not be fully grown in until they are around three years of age, although shedding usually does not remain the same throughout the entire period that they are changing coats. 

What To Do When Your Bichon Is Shedding

For several months as your young Bichon grows up, brushing shed hair and removing shed hair from your house will be an unwelcome chore. You may need to brush your Bichon Frise puppy as frequently as every day or even twice a day to keep the shed puppy hair from becoming matted with the adult coat that is growing in. 

Many people find that it is more practical to cut their Bichon short during this time to reduce the amount of brushing and shed hair. Unless you are growing out your Bichon Frise’s puppy coat for a show, this will likely be the most practical way for you to deal with the shedding puppy coat. 

However, even if you do you cut coat short, you will still need to brush regularly to help the fine, silky puppy hair to get out past the growing adult’s coat. Stimulating the skin by brushing will also relieve the itchiness that your Bichon Frise will likely feel while their coat is changing. 

Do Adults Bichon Frise Shed?

You may have heard Bichon owners or even breeders that the Bichon Frise does not shed at all as an adult. While the Bichon has among the lowest-shed and most hypoallergenic of all dog breeds, it is not true that they do not shed at all. 

All dogs shed to some degree. Bichon Frises have a double coat of hair, rather than fur. They shed about as much as a person would. The reason that you are unlikely to notice shed hair on your furniture or in your house is because of the extremely dense, curly texture of the Bichon’s coat. 

The coat is so dense and the cottony hairs are so intertwined that when a hair falls out, it is much more likely to remain trapped in the coat than it is to fall onto the floor. This keeps your home free from shed hair for the most part.

Maintaining An Adult Bichon Frise Coat

To maintain your Bichon Frise’s adult coat, significant brushing will need to be done. Since the loose hairs that Bichons shed do not fall out, they are prone to becoming matted in the rest of the coat. 

The cottony texture of the coat is more prone to matting than many other breeds. You will need to brush your adult Bichon every other day or so to keep the coup in good condition. If you do not want to maintain so much hair, you can have your dog clipped short. 

However, hair that is clipped short will be more able to drop. Those who do not want any hair in the house or those who are suffering from allergies may find that keeping their Bichon’s coat at about three or four inches long is an ideal balance between the brushing required and how well the coat keeps hair from falling out.

Do Bichon Puppy Coats Shed?

When a Bichon grows up, they replace their puppy coat with an adult coat, which involves a fair amount of shedding. However, how much do Bichon puppies shed until they begin losing their puppy coats? 

Bichon Frise puppies have a silky coat that is quite different from the adult coat. This silky hair isn’t as efficient at trapping shed hair. Therefore, you are likely to notice that your puppy sheds more.

How To Maintain Your Bichon Puppy Coat

Until your Bichon Frise shes their puppy coat as they move into adulthood, you will find that it is quite easy to maintain. In fact, your Bichon’s coat wil be easier to maintain when they are puppies than it will be at any other time in their life. 

It is all to easy to make the mistake of taking advantage of the easy coat and not brushing every day. However, it is essential to take this opportunity while the coat is easy to maintain to train your Bichon Frise to enjoy grooming and get them used to daily brushing.

Give your puppy high-value rewards whenever they are being groomed. Keep grooming sessions short, fun, and frequent. Leave your Bichon Frise wanting more of the treats and therefore more of the grooming. 

Preparing your Bichon for regular grooming is only fair. Failing to groom your Bichon Frise puppy regularly may lead to a dog that resents having their coats groomed regularly when they are adults. 

A Bichon puppy that is not well-adjusted to being groomed may even have aggression around grooming when they get older. This can quickly turn into a vicious cycle in which your Bichon keeps you from grooming them, becomes more matted, and is even harder to groom later. Get your Bichon Frise puppy accustomed to regular grooming now when it is easy and even unnecessary.

Do All Bichons Shed The Same Amount?

If you want a dog that sheds as little as possible, you may be wondering whether you should pick one Bichon puppy over another. The breed standard for Bichons calls for a dense, curly coat that isn’t prone to shedding. 

However, not every Bichon has exactly the same coat characteristics. Some retain the silky coat even when their coat changes as they go from being puppies to adults. Unfortunately, there’s not much that you can do by looking at a puppy to determine how curly the adult coat will be. 

Sometimes puppies with the silkiest coats develop the lushest, most cottony adult coats, while puppies that have relatively curly coats grow into dogs with rather silky coats. The best way to set yourself up for success in choosing a Bichon Frise with the kind of coat that you want is to talk to the breeder and choose from a line of Bichon Frises that typically have very curly coats. 

Dogs that have won at dog shows are often likely to come from lines and produce puppies that have curlier coats, since a very dense, curly coat is essential for a dog to succeed at shows.

What Kind Of Grooming Do Bichon Frise Need?

Bichon Frises have a dense coat that generally needs to be brushed every few days if not every other day. However, brushing won’t be the only thing that you need to do to maintain your Bichon Frise. 

Whether you want to handle grooming yourself or you want to bring your Bichon somewhere to be groomed, here are the things that will need to be taken care of:

  • Clipping. Whether you are maintaining your Bichon in a show coat or you choose a shorter clip, having the coat cut will be a part of your Bichon’s life. Dogs that have a short cut need to be cut every three to four weeks, on average. Bichons in a show coat need to be clipped less often, but they will still need to be scissor trimmed into the adorable teddy bear shape periodically. 
  • Ear hair pulling. Bichon Frises grow hair everywhere, including in the ear. Since it isn’t typically practical to trim hair in the ear, a special powder is used to numb the area so the hair can be pulled out without bothering your dog. Maintaining the ears in this way makes it much less likely that your Bichons will suffer from an ear infection.

Enjoy Your Bichon’s Gorgeous Coat

The Bichon has one of the most beautiful coats in the dog world. The lush coat is a pleasure to touch and sheds little throughout most of the dog’s life. This beautiful coat does require more maintenance than some other breeds, so be sure that you are committed to coat maintenance and ready for a period of shedding before you bring home a Bichon.

Coral

From the tiniest Chihuahua to the greatest of Danes, I am simply obsessed with dogs. I’ve been working with dogs professionally for nearly a decade. I managed a private dog daycare and worked as a liaison at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital. My experience as the liaison of integrative medicine, neurology, and zoo medicine at UF Small Animal Hospital gave me valuable insight into the challenges faced by pet owners with animals who have medical conditions. My time there also gave me the opportunity to care for a disabled dog and write a book about the experience. As manager of a dog daycare, I learned about how dogs play and interact, warning signs for aggression, and how to rehabilitate dog-reactive dogs. During my time there I was under the mentorship of two groomers, from whom I learned grooming essentials. I currently work with high-risk shelter dogs and manage a blog to help other volunteers and foster families. I have two dogs of my own, a Maltese and a Standard Poodle pup.

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