Brussels griffons trace their heritage to Belgium, where they were bred and originally used to keep rats in stables under control before moving into homes as pets. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club in four colors; red, beige, black and tan and black. Brussels griffons come with two types of coats; rough and smooth. The coats differ completely and each has its own maintenance requirements.
The American Kennel Club sets standards for each breed that it recognizes. Judges use these standards at dog shows to grade the participants. With regard to griffons' coats, the AKC wants the rough coat to be as wiry and dense as possible without looking or feeling woolly. By comparison, the ideal smooth coat is straight, short, tight and glossy and does not contain wiry hair.
Grooming the rough coat requires a trip to a pet groomer every three months. The groomer trims the body and uses scissors on the legs and beard. Do not use clippers or scissors on a Brussels griffon that will be judged by the AKC. The AKC approves only hand stripping for grooming along with using the hands to arrange the fur. Buy a hound glove made from horsehair for the smooth coat. It removes loose and dead hair and gives the coat a polish.
Brussels griffons with rough coats do shed. Their hair will grow to about three or four inches and then fall out. Daily brushing along with regular grooming will remove some hair and keep the shedding under control. The short coat does not shed on a regular basis but has seasonal sheds twice a year, in the spring and fall. Hair falls out for approximately two weeks. A warm bath followed by a brushing encourages the shedding.
Each coat has a different feel or texture; the rough coat does not have any silky or smooth hair, while the smooth coat has the feel of short, tight fur. Both coats come in all four colors common to griffons. The red is a reddish-brown while the beige is a mixture of red, brown and black. Black and tan is black with reddish-brown markings, and black coats are a solid black.