Grooming a Brussels Griffon

Read all about the bathing and brushing needs of both smooth-coated Brussels Griffons and rough-coated Brussels Griffons.

By Juliette Cunliffe | May 31, 2012

There is a very important difference in coat care requirements for a rough-coated Brussels Griffon and a smooth-coated Brussels Griffon. A smooth-coated Brussels Griffon requires much less work, but whether or not it has been well looked after will always be apparent. Dealing with the coat of a rough-coated Brussels Griffon is quite different because the dog’s coat will need hand stripping usually twice a year. Although it is infinitely better to hand strip your dog’s coat, some dog owners have their Brussels Griffons clipped at a parlor. This will change the texture of the coat, as well as the color, and is not suitable for any Brussels Griffon whose destiny lies in the show ring.

Smooth-Coated Brussels Griffon Tips

  • Give your Smooth-Coated Brussels Griffon an occasional bath
  • Regularly brush with a bristle brush, which also tones the dog’s skin.
  • Neatly trim any strands of loose hair around the anus and tail.
  • Keep your dog’s eyes, ears and face thoroughly clean.
  • A smooth Brussels Griffon generally sheds his coat twice per year, at which time use a comb to remove dead hair.

Rough-Coated Brussels Griffon Tips

  • For the puppy: A rough-coated Brussels Griffon will need to learn to be patient while being stripped, so from a young age it is wise to get a Griffon puppy into the habit of sitting quietly on a table. A Griffon puppy will be ready to have his first light trim at about three or four months old. Coats vary and some Griffon puppies have rather a soft puppy coat that is more difficult to take out and will take even more patience on the puppy’s part! The soft hair needs to be removed to encourage coarser hair to grow in its place.
  • When stripping a coat, begin by thoroughly combing the dog’s coat.
  • Then, steadying the dog with one hand while also keeping the skin taut, use a finger and thumb of your free hand to lift the dead coat so that a few hairs can be taken out at a time.
  • Always pull in the direction of coat growth, and pull only at the hair, not at the skin. Provided that your Brussels Griffon’s coat is ready to be stripped, this is not as uncomfortable for the dog as it sounds. The hairs come out easily and the dog feels no pain at all.
  • Most people prefer to leave in the undercoat until the harsh hairs re-grow; later they remove the old undercoat, when it is looking lighter than its usual color and is softer than normal. Taking both coats out together will result in a very sparsely coated Brussels Griffon, not to mention your dog could catch cold!
  • Stripping order: The back, followed by neck and head, then chest and hindquarters.
  • The skin is more delicate under your Brussels Griffon’s tummy, so strip where it will not cause pain and use trimming scissors in areas likely to be more tender.
  • The tail is usually one of the final parts of the dog to be stripped. Trim some of the longer hairs with scissors, because this can be somewhat sensitive, especially around the base of the tail; indeed much more sensitive than on legs and body where hair is easy to strip out.
  • Take as much hair as possible off your Brussels Griffon’s feet, and then trim the foot so that it shows its neat, rounded cat-like shape. Remember that hair also grows under the pads of the feet, so this will also need to be trimmed.

Your dog’s head area needs very careful attention

  • Top and sides are stripped to eye level, but a Brussels Griffon’s beard is allowed to grow.
  • Hair on the earflaps should be stripped gently, because this is a particularly delicate area.
  • Hair on the ears is to be left as short as possible. Hair inside the ear can also be removed.

Other than when carrying out a complete strip, tidy periodically the coat of a rough Brussels Griffon so that it never gets out of hand. Regularly check the beard to see that food has not become entangled. If it has, simply sponge your Brussels Griffon’s beard then comb it through.

Excerpt from Brussels Griffon, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Brussels Griffon here.

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