Brussels Griffon

INTRODUCTION

Originally bred to hunt and kill rats, this ancient Belgian stray is a distinctive and unusual breed of dog. Although the Griffon Bruxellois is small, it is not a spoiled dog. Affectionate and lively, their intelligence, sense of humor and air of self-importance keep them one step ahead of their people, who adore their puppies anyway. Although they are purebred dogs, it is possible to find them in shelters and rescues. Remember to adopt. Don’t go shopping if you want to take a dog home. Griffons adapt well to apartment living, but neighbors may not like this little watchdog’s tendency to raise alarm bells at any sign of what they think is trouble. These dogs also have quite a bit of energy for their size and need plenty of exercise and playtime. New parents expecting a docile lap dog may find that this puppy doesn’t sit still as long as they expected. But humans who can meet the breed’s needs and follow the training will be rewarded with a loving and loyal family member.

HIGHLIGHTS

Some Brussels Griffons can be gluttons, and some are picky eaters. It is best to measure their food and feed them regular meals, rather than leaving food out all the time. Griffons can be stubborn and difficult to housebreak, so be patient and consistent, and use a cage. They will bark enthusiastically at any sound, which makes them good watchdogs, but sometimes noisy housemates. It is recommended to teach your dog the “quiet” command. Griffons are sensitive dogs and, if treated roughly, can become fear biters, that is, dogs that bite out of fear rather than aggression. Griffons are difficult to raise. They often need caesarean sections, litters are usually small and puppy mortality is high. Griffons are not backyard dogs. Like other short-nosed dogs, they are vulnerable to heat shock, and their short hair makes them vulnerable to cold as well. They need to live indoors with the family. Demand for Griffon puppies increased after a Griffon dog was featured in the movie As Good As It Gets. With the rise of the puppy market came sloppy breeding. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they are free of genetic diseases that can be passed on to puppies and that they have a healthy temperament. Griffons can be shy or aggressive, especially if they come from low-quality breeders who do not test the parent dogs for temperament problems.

HISTORY

The origins of the Griffon Bruxellois go back to Belgium, where small, terrier-like dogs were bred to hunt and kill vermin in stables, especially those of horse-drawn taxis – the equivalent of today’s taxi – in the cities. The Griffon Bruxellois, as we know it today, was created from several breeds, such as the Affenpinscher, the Pug and the English Toy Spaniel. The Affenpinscher contributed the size and texture of the coat, while the influence of the Toy Spaniel is seen in the large, expressive eyes, rounded head and upturned jaw. The smooth-coated variety of the Griffon Bruxellois is influenced by the Pug. These crosses eventually created a small dog with great rat hunting skills and an almost human-like face: the Griffon Bruxellois or, as they are called in Europe, the Griffon Bruxellois. Over time, these cocky little dogs became popular as household pets for nobles and workers alike. In 1883, Belgian breeders created a breed standard – a written description of what the breed should look like – and began showing them at dog shows. Marie Henriette, Queen of Belgium and dog enthusiast, fell in love with the little Griffon Bruxellois and began to breed and promote it in Europe and abroad. In 1889, the Griffon Bruxellois Club was founded in Brussels, and the smooth-haired variety was named Griffon de Brabant. Both the wire-haired and smooth-haired Griffon Bruxellois were exported to England in the early 1890s. In 1898, the breed was admitted to the English Stud Book, and clubs were formed to develop the breed. The Griffon found its way to the United States around the same time. In 1899, the first Brussels Griffons were registered with the American Kennel Club and were exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The American Kennel Club officially recognised the breed in 1900. Griffon numbers dwindled during World War I and World War II, when breeding dogs – or even keeping a small dog as a pet – was a luxury few could afford. By the end of the Second World War, Brussels Griffons were almost extinct in their country of origin, Belgium, but remained in England, thanks to the efforts of English breeders. Griffons Bruxellois have remained a fairly rare breed, although they became fashionable for a time in the late 1950s, and again in the late 1990s, after a griffon eclipsed Jack Nicholson in the film As Good As It Gets.

Breed Characteristics:
Adaptability:
3/5
All Around Friendliness:
4/5
Health And Grooming Needs:
3/5
Trainability:
3/5
Physical Needs:
4/5
Vital Stats:
Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Height: 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

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