You bought a Wire-Haired Dog. What does this mean anyway?
The Griffon coat is a double coat. This means it has 2 hair types. The longer coarser hair with a wiry texture and a softer more downy undercoat that is felt underneath the longer wire hairs and is more abundant on the ears/head.
The wire coat and the long course hair can look a bit unruly with the beard and brows, giving your griffon that lovable scruffy look.
Understanding the coat is important, this will help to make grooming your Griffon easier to understand.
Dogs with this type of coat are able to tolerate a wide range of weather conditions, the coat protects them from both the heat, the cold and debris in the field like burrs. This is why you NEVER EVER SHAVE A GRIFFON. It will ruin the coat.
The hallmark of this breed is its double coat.
In Canada, lack of undercoat is a disqualification in this breed. There is no such thing as a slick coated griffon, only one that is poorly bred with a bad coat. (I may be unpopular with some for speaking this truth.)
The Griffon goes through a series of coat changes as it matures/hormonal cycles etc. The puppy coats of a Griffon are much softer, and generally need to be "Stripped out" at around 5-7 months of age to allow the coarser adult coat to come in.
Before we get into what hand stripping is and is not, it's important to understand how the wire coat grows.
The canine hair follicle supports more than 1 single hair. The follicle can contain 1 or two primary hairs and just a few to up to 22 secondary hairs that make up the undercoat. The undercoat has a soft, downy appearance and works in conjunction with the guard hairs to protect the skin from superficial injuries, cold & wet weather and bug bites. The new hair that comes up pushes up next to the old hair, the old hair is either shed or stripped out. To create a healthy coat, the older hair must be removed to allow the growth of new healthy hair.
With puppies especially, stripping & carding are necessary as the softer undercoat grows more profusely than the harsher top coat and can block the wire hair from coming in. Excess puppy coat during this age of hair transition is what often frustrates owners with matts, snarls & debris in the coat.
Groom that puppy coat correctly and the harsher adult coat is a lot less maintenance.
It is true that Griffons have some variation in the coat, some with need more regular grooming than others, largely dependent upon the rate of growth, the harshness of outercoat and the amount of undercoat. It is very possible to improve a griffon coat through correct hand stripping/grooming.
If you end up having someone shave your griffon, the old hair along with the natural oils and debris can block the hair follicle causing clogged follicles and sores along with a soft coat that is difficult to strip and does not grow properly, it also removes the hair pigment giving that faded look. NEVER SHAVE YOUR GRIFF.
The art of hand stripping is simply removing the hair by pulling it from the follicle. By pulling the hair the body provides a rapid response of growth with a harsher healthier hair.