The intelligent and cheerful Brussels Griffon has a terrier-like disposition and is known for his almost human expression. This affectionate breed comes in a variety of colors, including red, beige (black and reddish brown), black and tan, or black. This breed makes a good watchdog and can be taught to perform a variety of tricks. A Brussels Griffon was featured in 1997's hit, "As Good As It Gets", starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.
The affectionate, charming and curious personality of the Brussels Griffon makes it a good companion dog. However, this breed is not typical of the "pampered pet" stereotype of Toy breeds. Their active indoor lifestyle and small size makes them ideal for apartment life, but they still need to be taken for daily walks. The breed can have either a rough or smooth coat. Each coat needs weekly brushing and shaping periodically.
The Griff’s coat comes in two varieties: a wire coat and a smooth coat. The rough coat should be hand stripped and plucked in order to maintain the harsh texture and color. The smooth coat variety should be short, straight, and glossy without even a hint of a wire texture. The frequency of the bath depends on the coat type. It will also depend on the activity level and lifestyle of the Brussels Griffon. The preliminary bath should remove the dirt and debris from the skin and coat to return it to a neutral state. The second bath is solution oriented to preserve coat texture, enhance color, or treat the skin so it is in optimal condition.
Whether your Griff is hand stripped and on a proper coat rotation or in a pet trim wielding the artful use of clippers and thinning shears, all Brussels Griffon’s benefit from regular grooming rather than allowing them to regress to a state of scraggly disarray. If the Griff is hand stripped, it is done before the furnishings are bathed then touched up afterward. The outer layer of coat is hand stripped, while the undercoat is systematically carded to reach optimal results. If you are artfully clippering the Griff, card the coat to remove dead coat and stimulate surface circulation to encourage new, fresh coat growth. If you are stripping the coat, frequent brushing and rubbing the jacket down with a towel to remove dirt and excessive oils makes regular bathing of the jacket unnecessary. When the jacket needs to be bathed, be sure bathe in the direction the coat grows and the direction you are pulling the coat. The same goes for rinsing. It is always a good idea to cool the water temperature down to ensure there is no residue remaining. Dry the coat in the same direction as well using a soft bristle brush on the jacket rather than a pin brush. The leg furnishings and facial furnishings should be bathed frequently depending on the Griff’s lifestyle.
Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming
This cheerful little dog should be groomed on a regular schedule. In order to keep the harsh texture and vibrant color, the topcoat is maintained by hand stripping and rolling the coat weekly. It is necessary for a dog to be hand stripped to enter the show ring. It is a difficult dog to properly groom since most of the work is done by hand. A pet trim follows the same pattern and outline, but the coat is clipped rather than hand stripped. The wiry texture will eventually disappear, but the dog should be carded with appropriate carding tools, in order to keep the skin in good condition. This is the easiest way to maintain a great looking dog without the time commitment and expense of hand stripping the coat.
General Health Care
Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every grooming and bathing appointment. All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned. Some need to have the hair pulled from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation, which helps prevent bacteria and moisture in the ear canal. It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is important. Long, unsightly nails present potential health issues as well as make it more difficult to trim a neat and tidy foot. Trimming the pads of the foot helps give a pet good traction on different surfaces and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house. It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions. Good dental hygiene is the essential for a healthy pet, too.
In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.
Do they require a lot of grooming?
Griff’s do require routine grooming. If the dog is hand stripped, keeping the dog in proper coat rotation is extremely time consuming as well as expensive. If you have chosen to keep your dog in a clipped trim, plan on spending 20 – 30 minutes per week for brushing to keep the undercoat at bay and to remove dead coat and to keep the furnishings from getting tangled.
What is a common problem in Brussel Griffon?
As with any breed, the Brussels Griffon does have some health concerns that prospective owners should be aware of. Eye issues, such as corneal ulcers, corneal dystrophy, cataracts, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy are more prominent in this breed than others. Some orthopedic issues, such as hip dysplasia, are also common in the breed.
Do Brussel Griffon’s shed or cause allergies?
There are two coat varieties in this breed: smooth and rough. The smooth coat has seasonal shedding. The rough coat does not have seasonal shedding, but regular brushing and grooming is necessary. This breed is not recommended for people suffering from allergies.
Are Brussel Griffon’s good with children?
Owning a Griff is like having a baby that never grows up and remains dependent for 12 – 15 years. A Griff will bond with his caregiver so everyone in the family will have to contribute to the commitment of owning a Brussels Griffon. This breed is not recommended for families who have children under the age of 5.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene. The difference is the grooming maintenance and training for the show ring. It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of show dogs. A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Brussel Griffon Club of America, www.abga.club