Griffons can live at home without problems, although they need to exercise at least 3 times a day. They need long walks, at least once a day and they love to use their noses, so take them into the fields and into the woods where they have plenty to sniff. Many griffons also enjoy swimming (and mud baths, of course), even in cold weather. And, if learned at a young age, many griffons love to play with a stick or ball. And any games at which they can use their magnificent noses to trail their favorite food or make them work a little to obtain their snacks by hiding them inside a Kong toy or similar. Many also have a strong need to chew on things, so try rawhide, dried bull pizzle, antlers, cow ears, beef scalp, etc. It may help to save your shoes.
It’s also true that each dog has his own necessities and some of them will be more active while others are lazier. But, in general, they need to exercise a few times every day to be physically and mentally healthy.
Coat & Grooming
Griffons are very easy dogs in all senses, even when we talk about cares. They are used to living in cold environments so they deal with cold weather better than with hot weather. Their type of fur isolates them of snow or cold temperatures. Griffons have a rough coat which maintains their own heat. In relation to the rough hair of these doggies, the family need to brush the dog one to three times per week, depending on how fast their hair tangles and gets dirty from playing outside. They don’t shed much so to help eliminate loose hair, they should be brushed down. Otherwise the coat will easily mat. They need to be handstripped twice or three times a year.
The only part of the coat that can be clipped, are the hairs around the eyes and under the ears. Around the eyes you can take some hair away, especially from the brow, so that your griffon can freely see and to prevent hairs from sticking into their eyes. Many owners of griffons also cut the hairs from just under the ears, where the leather falls over the side of the head, so they get more air and to prevent ear infections.
Shaving a grifffon’s coat is not a good idea because it will damage the stiffer hairs of the topcoat and make them softer and it may even mean you clip away their color markings because in some breeds, like the Griffon Nivernais or the Griffon Bleu de Gascogne, the stiffer hairs show a different color at the root and at the tip. Shaving also results in a coat that tangles more easy. And not just that, shaving also impairs the dogs natural protection from weather conditions. In winter the long, stiff outer coat which lays over the undercoat, provides natural insulation and protects your pet from rain while in summer this insulation is precisely keeps your dog cool. The much praised stripping knives can also damage a coat in a similar manner.
If your dog has been shaved, it will take up to two years for the original coat to be restored. A knowledgeable pet groomer can help you to achieve this.
For more info on grooming your griffon, you can have a look at this article on Sarah’s Dogs wesbite. To give you an idea how handstripping is done, we found this video. As you can see, stripping your dog by hand is something you could do yourself.
Although griffons generally don’t have any important or specific breed-related illnesses, there is one things that needs special attention: their ears. Their owners should take real good care of their ears. As they are long furry ears that hang down, closing the ear canal, they can easily develop bacterial and yeast infections. It is advisable to clean the ears every other day.