The Brussels Griffon is a sturdy and spunky breed which is reminiscent of his roguish past. A product of Belgium, the Brussels Griffon is general name used to describe the Petit Brabancon, the Griffon Belge, differing only in coat color.
The Brussels Griffon has risen above his impoverished roots to gain favor with nobility and common-folk alike. Faithful and loving, the Brussels Griffon is a handsome breed.
Brussels Griffon History
The Brussels Griffon is the Oliver Twist of dogs. This breed now well established, was once little more than a street urchin who did tricks for food until being rescued by wealthy benefactors. Hailing from Belgium, the Brussels Griffon was likely the offspring of a dalliance between an Affenpinscher and another dog of questionable moral rectitude. This progeny and others gained favour working as guard-dogs for cabs in 19th century Brussels. In truth, the early Brussels Griffon was a more effective sideshow attraction than guard, but the horsemen welcomed the business they brought.
At some point in the late 1800s, the early Brussels Griffon was bred with a Pug and the modern Brussels Griffon emerged. The Pug brought the brachycephalic head type and the smoother coats. Initially, the smoother variety of Brussels Griffon was not accepted by fanciers who were sticklers for detail – the word Griffon, after all, means wiry. But eventually, the smoother coated variety was accepted and became know as the Petit Brabancon. Other possible influences include the Yorkshire Terrier and the Toy Spaniel, although these connections have never been proven.
The early 1900s saw the Brussels Griffon gain in social status. No longer a street dog and sideshow, the Brussels Griffon became a favourite amongst the nobility. His popularity grew steadily until WW1 when the Brussels Griffons numbers plummeted. The breed has made a steady recovery since then and the Brussels Griffon continues to grow in popularity.
Brussels Griffon Appearance
The Brussels Griffon is a square and compact. He is thick through the body and has a flat head with wide set eyes. The jaw of the Brussels Griffon is undershot and the beard is left to grow. The tail is customarily docked at one third and it is held high.
The Brussels Griffon has two coat variations – smooth and rough. The smooth coat Brussels Griffon, often called the Petit Brabancon, has a coat that is short and glossy. The Petit Barbancons coat will never look woolly and there will be no trace of unruly, wiry hair. Conversely, the rough coat variety of Brussels Griffon will have a denser, woollier coat. These rough coated dogs are more precisely called either the Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois) when the coat is red or reddish brown or the Griffon Belge when the coat is black or black and tan.
The most striking thing about the appearance of the Brussels Griffon is his uncanny resemblance to an Ewok of Star Wars fame. This is no coincidence. It is widely speculated that creator George Lucas used a Brussels Griffon a inspiration for his race of alien Ewoks.
Brussels Griffon Temperament
The Brussels Griffon is a confident, active and playful dog, although his patience with children is minimal. When bored, the Brussels Griffon will seek and find ways to deviously entertain himself. Beware, the Brussels Griffon needs regular physical and mental exercise, lest he channel his mental prowess on the destruction of your stylish new feather pillows. Best to plan a less costly game.
The Brussels Griffon can and will climb. This skill is to his great advantage when he is orchestrating an escape from whatever contains him. If your Brussels Griffon will be romping in your fenced yard, regular inspections of the perimeter are wise. The Brussels Griffon can mount an escape plan that can take several days to execute, so do investigate little unexplained piles of rubble.
The Brussels Griffon is a savvy manipulator and can generally push the right buttons to get what he wants. And, he can often be possessive. The Brussels Griffon will jealously guard what he deems as his own – toys, food, guestrooms etc. Be aware that the Brussels Griffon will quickly learn how to melt your heart to yield results, so be firm with your Brussels Griffon to maintain your alpha position.
Finally, the Brussels Griffon can take a troubling position on barking, so early training will be needed here. But for all his swagger, the Brussels Griffon can suffer separation anxiety and can whine and whimper for hours. Early socialization and establishing a communal environment can ease this somewhat.
Brussels Griffon Exercise Info
The Brussels Griffon loves vigorous play in a fenced yard, but his practical small size allows similar indoor games. He is spunky and will play with gusto! The Brussels Griffon will enjoy short leashed walks but he is quite temperature sensitive. This breed can tolerate cool, but not cold weather and he is less comfortable in extreme heat. Be sure to keep your Brussels Griffon well hydrated and water readily available especially if he is playing outside.
Some owners have a two water bowl system whereby one bowl is filled half way and frozen. This bowl is then topped up with water and given to your Brussels Griffon. Meanwhile, the second bowl is in the freezing process. This system will keep cool water readily available for your Brussels Griffon for many hours. Some dogs however, will take advantage of your kindness and will fish out the floating ice and bash it around the kitchen, and will then betray you by depositing it in your bed. Bad dog.
Brussels Griffon Grooming Info
The level of grooming for your Brussels Griffon depends on whether he has a smooth or rough coat. The smooth hair Brussels Griffon is a snap to groom – a weekly brush to remove dead hair is all that is needed. The rough coat Brussels Griffon needs greater care, several weekly brushes along with stripping every three months of so. Stripping of the coat is sometimes reserved for show dogs, but the Brussels Griffons coat will become unstylishly woolly if left unchecked.
For both varieties, the Brussels Griffons facial hair should be grown and groomed around the face. The hair on the crown should be brushed upward and over the head. There can be some light feathering on the legs and feet of the Brussels Griffon which should be groomed accordingly.
Brussels Griffon Training Info
The Brussels Griffon is both stubborn and mischievous so training him will be vital and challenging. Also, because the Brussels Griffon is intelligent, he will grow quickly tired of repeating the same game or training regime over and over. For success in training your Brussels Griffon, plan ahead. You should expect a training session to last about ten minutes. After that, your Brussels Griffon will be bored, and will either stubbornly refuse to cooperate, or just mock the entire proceding. Initially, this ten minute training session may feel inadequately short, but it will hold the attention of your Brussels Griffon and you will spend much of that time bending over. Plan daily sessions until your Brussels Griffon obeys, or your back gives out – whichever comes first.
House breaking your Brussels Griffon is a greater challenge than it is with other breeds. The Brussels Griffons stubborn streak coupled with his feisty self confidence can tax your patience. Begin crate training as early as possible. Immediately following meals and naps, bring your Brussels Griffon outside. With luck and patience, you can establish an acceptable bathroom routine.
Brussels Griffon Health Info
Some health concerns for your Brussels Griffon are; weak bladder, patellar luxation, distichiasis, cataracts, PRA and CHD.
This breed is typically healthy and the aforementioned health concerns are relatively rare.
Brussels Griffon Right Breed Info
The Brussels Griffon is a ball of fun and is brimming with mischief and affection. He is an energetic breed, but the Brussels Griffon can live happily in an apartment if he is walked daily. Spatially, condos are also adequate homes for the Brussels Griffon, but some can be vocal and neighbours may not be especially charmed by this. Suburbanites can welcome the Brussels Griffon into their fenced yard, see caveat above, and rural families will be equally entertained.
The Brussels Griffon is not a dog for small children, although there are those who would disagree. Small children may tug on the Brussels Griffon or mistake his small size for docility. This breed is not typically patient and an altercation is quite possible. Best to reserve this spunky character for older owners.
On the whole, the Brussels Griffon is a fun-loving and lively breed who will wiggle and wag his way into your heart. When properly socialized and trained, the Brussels Griffon makes an amiable companion. When purchasing your Brussels Griffon, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.
More Information about the Brussels Griffon Dog Breed