I have a bichon/westie by the name of Cody, his coat is white and very, very soft, nice to the touch. I thought all bichons had soft fur but in the last three weeks I have met two dogs that are brown/white with very curly, coarse hair and their owners have told me they were bichons. The coat reminds me of lambs wool, short, curly and not nice to the touch. One lives in our neighborhood in Ohio, and the other lives in the neighborhood of my mother-in-law in Pittsburgh. Are there different types of Bichons? I like these other dogs but I must admit that I would not have gotten a Bichon if they all had coats like that, I am the kind that needs to handle my dog a lot and cuddle with him and hold him and that other type of coat wouldn't make it in my world though the dogs are very sweet dogs.
Bichons naturally have a hard, coarse feel to their coat- a silky coat is a serious fault in the breed. It's a double coat- a fluffy undercoat, and a coarse outer coat. It allows groomers to create the marshmallow cuts they sport in the show rings- a "silky" coat would never allow for that kind of grooming.
However, a properly bred Westie has an even harder double coat. So a "responsibly bred" mix of good specimins of each breed would NOT produce your silky coated dog- another example of the way that "mutt breeders" operate. Neither parent dog was of breeding quality- there were serious faults in each to produce your puppy.
I'm glad you enjoy the feel of your dog's coat- but the standard coats of the two breeds serve a purpose- neither of which is tactile. A Westie's harsh coat protects it from undergrowth as it hunts- a Bichon's coat is supposed to resemble a powder puff in appearance.
Why someone would breed a plucky terrier to a puffy lap dog is beyond me. :(
***Edited By: LongDogs4Me on 5/3/2005 7:41:19 PM*** Reason: fluffly? :)
This info is from the AKC site and tells you about the coat and coloring of a Bichon.
Coat The texture of the coat is of utmost importance. The undercoat is soft and dense, the outercoat of a coarser and curlier texture. The combination of the two gives a soft but substantial feel to the touch which is similar to plush or velvet and when patted springs back. When bathed and brushed, it stands off the body, creating an overall powder puff appearance. A wiry coat is not desirable. A limp, silky coat, a coat that lies down, or a lack of undercoat are very serious faults. Trimming--The coat is trimmed to reveal the natural outline of the body. It is rounded off from any direction and never cut so short as to create an overly trimmed or squared off appearance. The furnishings of the head, beard, moustache, ears and tail are left longer. The longer head hair is trimmed to create an overall rounded impression. The topline is trimmed to appear level. The coat is long enough to maintain the powder puff look which is characteristic of the breed.
Color Color is white, may have shadings of buff, cream or apricot around the ears or on the body. Any color in excess of 10% of the entire coat of a mature specimen is a fault and should be penalized, but color of the accepted shadings should not be faulted in puppies.