The Brussels Griffon (sometimes written as Brussels Griffon) is a small ladies’ dog, intelligent, lively, strong, compact, short and stocky, elegant in build and in movement. With a very self-confident demeanor and a captivating, almost human expression.
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History of the origin of the breed
The history of Griffons from Belgium (“Griffon” in French means wire-haired), like many purebred dogs, is quite controversial. Even today, cynologists have no consensus on the history of the formation of the Brussels Griffon as a breed. Some believe that the affenpinscher (monkey pinscher) was their ancestor. Others strongly disagree and claim the opposite: the progenitors of the German Affen Pinscher were Griffons from Belgium. However, both of them agree that the ancestors of modern Griffons appeared in Europe no later than 1430.
Visitors to the National Gallery of London can see the first reliable depiction of the ancestor of the Brussels Griffon in the 1434 painting of the Flemish painter Jean Van Eyck “The Arnolfini Couple”. Another image of the Griffon, confirming the antiquity of the origin of the breed, is a portrait of Henry III with a dog, painted by Jacobo de Empoli in 1554-1640. So it is quite possible that the Countess de Monsoreau and her noble contemporaries received little griffons as a gift from their admirers and patrons. This tiny, precious dog – a symbol of elegance – was carried by many aristocrats with them as an indispensable addition to glittering toilets.
Elegant ladies’ dogs, cute pranksters and pranksters, entertaining guests … However, not only these qualities made griffons popular both in the highest circles of European society and among ordinary people, they allowed the breed to survive and survive to this day. Possessing a strong character, a quirky mind, courage, the griffons could not only perfectly support the company, but also successfully exterminate rats in stables, port warehouses, vigilantly guard the houses of their owners, By the way, the version that initially the griffons were brought out precisely to fight rodents in port warehouses and only then they migrated to luxury apartments, for many specialists is a priority.
This breed was first presented at a dog show in Brussels in 1880. The modern name “Brussels Griffon” did not yet exist, and the dog was called “small Belgian terrier with a hard coat”. There is no doubt that in 1880 the Brussels Griffon already had its own, very different from other breeds, appearance and shape, due to a certain, rather long period of purebred breeding – the independent development of the breed in conditions of at least partial reproductive isolation.
Apparently, already at that time the Griffon also differed from his closest relative, the Affen Pinscher, the first descriptions of the standard of which have been known since 1876. In 1892, F. Krichler, one of the leading European dog handlers of that time, points out that the Griffon differs from the many German coarse-haired Pinscher in red color and miniature size. The rapid development of the breed, thus, outlined with the transition to purebred breeding. To improve the breed characteristics of griffons, Belgian dog handlers purposefully carried out interbreeding. For this purpose, they used the blood of a pug, a Yorkshire terrier and an English pygmy spaniel.
The favorites of the Belgian royal family, the Griffons, become a national breed in Belgium and already in 1904 acquire an official standard, by the way, one of the darkest stories about the “royal service” of griffons belongs to the same period. Breed connoisseurs say that Queen Draga of Serbia, who lived in 1867-1903, suspected that her relatives wanted to hasten her death, and gave her beloved Griffon to taste all the dishes from her table. Her suspicions were confirmed when the dog died soon after.
The military cataclysms of the twentieth century sadly affected the fate of the Griffons in Europe. After the Second World War, the Brussels Griffon became even more rare in its rhodium than in Switzerland, Italy, and France. In 1993, only 25 records of newborn Griffon babies appeared in the French studbook. More or less successfully, the breed continued to develop only in England and the USA. However, in these countries, as in the cases with some other breeds, this development was quite peculiar, and the type of breed became somewhat different..
The first Brussels Griffon in Russia appeared in St. Petersburg in the summer of 1993. He flew to Russia from the USA, and the first puppy of the Brabant Griffon was born in December 1995 in Moscow in the kennel “Mitki Ekaterina” from producers from Hungary and the Czech Republic. In the Studbook of Russia on January 1, 1998, 85 Brussels griffons and small Brabancons were registered.
Description of the breed
In proportion to its size, the Griffon should be heavy in weight, indicating strong bone and powerful muscles concentrated in a small circle. This sturdy and compact dog should never come across as rough.
- The griffon’s head should be large relative to the body. In the wire-haired variety, the rather coarse hair on the skull passes over the muzzle and chin, forming a beard, which gives these little creatures a special unforgettable appeal.
- The head is, without a doubt, one of the most characteristic features of the breed, and older sources describe the special features as “almost human expression” – you can’t say it exactly! The skull is not as flat as the Pekingese, but less domed than that of the King Charles Spaniel. It is the weakly rounded skull with a rounding in the temporal region that accentuates the special expression that distinguishes the breed.
- A black nose should have wide open nostrils to prevent breathing difficulties. When viewed from the front, the tip of the nose should be flush with the center of the eyes. The eyes are very dark, large, round, clear and alert. A black edging around the eyes is desirable, but this feature is unfortunately not so common.
- The griffon’s muzzle is wide; neat lips are characterized by straight closing, with the lower lip protruding only slightly, giving the muzzle a “upturn”, which is emphasized by the prominent chin.
- The physical features of the breed include a rather powerful chest, which is due to the wide set of straight forelimbs.
- The hind legs are well muscled and, with a typical structure, provide a strong push.
- The ears of the griffon should be semi-erect, rising slightly above the level of the skull, and the canopy should drop straight forward, covering the standing part. Inside the breed, the shape of the ears is characterized by a rather large variety and takes into account only the criterion of size – the smaller they are, the better.
The weight range of these small dogs is quite wide – from 2.2 kg to 5 kg; preference, of course, is given to individuals of average weight within these limits. However, even small dogs are characterized by a greater weight in proportion to their size than it seems at first glance. Sometimes tall griffons are lighter than smaller, squat individuals, due to the heavy bones of the latter.
Smooth-haired dogs are characterized by a short, dense coat that should not be silky to the touch. Some individuals have a very thick undercoat that forms a mane and “bustle”. This variety also has a longer coat on the shoulders.
The Wirehaired Griffon has a rough coat, and in rare cases even resembles a wire, such as the Fox Terrier. Curl is excluded, but some dogs with very coarse coats and too thick undercoats tend to have a little curl. Not all individuals have an undercoat, however, its presence is encouraged. These dogs need hand trimming to improve their coat structure.
Unlike smooth-haired individuals, wire-haired griffons are characterized by the absence of seasonal molting. In this variety, each hair grows 7-10 cm long, and then dies off, and a new one grows in this follicle.
In terms of the standard, show griffons should be bright red, black or black and tan with no white markings at all. As for the pet-class dogs, the choice of color depends entirely on the tastes of the owner.
According to the standard, the red color varies from dark mahogany to fiery red and fawn, in which case the shade does not really matter to breeders and experts. However, it should still be noted that the fawn color must have a reddish tone, as otherwise, from the point of view of the expert, the color may be considered defective. In individuals of bright red shades, a darker mask and the same ears are desirable, but this feature is more typical of the smooth-haired variety.
The black should be of a deep color, however young dogs often have a rusty tinge or even a silvery undercoat. It is common for black griffons to have excess hair on both the outside and inside of the ear, so special attention should be paid to these areas when grooming.
Unlike most other breeds with this type of bite, the griffon should not show the tongue and teeth. A slight undershot as a breed characteristic suggests that the lower teeth protrude only slightly forward relative to the upper ones, and this structure of the jaw gives this small dog the characteristic expression that distinguishes the breed..
The character of the Brussels Griffon
The character of the Brussels Griffin is largely determined by the fact that these dogs are, in part, terriers. This means that they are completely devoted to their owners. Wherever their master goes, the Brussels griffins will follow him everywhere.
One of the reasons for this dependence of the Brussels griffin lies in its sensitive nature. These dogs are not overly fearful or aggressive and are often quite smug and spoiled when overly pampered. However, they need consistency and a stable environment in order to feel good and be happy.
Brussels griffins inBecause of their temperament, they do not do well as family pets, especially when the family has very young children. These dogs love to be surrounded by constant attention, but if you overdo it, they can become moody. Those who spend a lot of time with the Brussels griffin are good at capturing how much attention and love their pet needs and how much will be superfluous.
Socialization helps when passers-by want to get a closer look at the dog or even pet it. In this case, the Brussels griffin can get scared of a stranger and suddenly rush at him. Early socialization can help keep this behavior to a minimum. Also, politely requiring strangers not to touch the dog can help in this situation.
In general, Brussels griffins rely on their master. Not particularly aggressive, they can be shy with new people and get lost in unfamiliar situations. Although Brussels griffins will bark when the doorbell rings, this breed is not prone to barking during the day and night. They prefer calmness and avoid confrontation for the most part..
Brussels griffon and other pets
While they love to be the center of attention, Brussels griffins prefer to have a companion or even two, be it another dog or a different pet. There are times when the Brussels griffins, with their small size, try to establish dominance over another dog, significantly superior in size. Socialization of Brussels Griffins at an early age has a positive effect on the behavior of these dogs in the future..
Caring for the Brussels Griffon
Depending on the type of coat, Brussels griffins need different care. Coarse wool is less shedding than smooth wool, but it must be plucked in order to remove dead wool.
To perform this procedure, you need to pinch a small section of the dog’s fur between the index and thumb and gently pull in the direction of the fur growth. Dead hair is easily removed without painful sensations in the animal. As a result, the coat becomes smoother and even less harsh. This is not a difficult procedure, although it may take more than a day for an untrained person. A professional groomer will carry out this procedure in 1-2 hours.
The hair on the face of the Brussels griffin is first slightly plucked, and then with the help of scissors, the dog’s face is given the desired shape.
The grooming glove is good for grooming smooth-haired Brussels griffins, and regular use keeps the dog’s seasonal shedding to a minimum. The skin folds on the face of smooth-haired Brussels griffins must be constantly examined and cleaned regularly, otherwise these folds can cause an unpleasant smell and a source of infection.
Grocery list NOT suitable for feeding griffon puppy and adult griffons:
- Food from the table: soup, porridge, cutlets, etc..
- Sausage of all kinds
- Pork in any form
- Non-boiled chicken and other poultry
- River fish in any form
- Potato chips, all kinds of industrially made croutons.
- Chocolate, sweets, ice cream, flour confectionery
- Potatoes, legumes
- Large bones
- Boiled bones of any size, incl. chicken
Training the Brussels Griffon
Brussels Griffons do not require significant physical activity. They feel great inside the house, and when they find themselves outside, they are distinguished by considerable activity. They are completely self-sufficient and do not force the owner to rush with them..
Brussels Griffon Health
Breeding individuals of this breed has always been rather problematic due to their fragile health. Among the diseases today, problems with the organs of vision and respiration prevail. In addition, there are violations of the musculoskeletal system.
While Brussels griffins tend to get no less or more disease than other breeds, they are prone to diseases associated with unique facial anatomy.
In general, the most common diseases inherent in this dog breed are:
- Narrowed nostrils
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Distichiasis (additional eyelashes)
- Loss of the eyeball
- Difficult labor (often requires a veterinarian to perform a Caesarean section)
It is also known that miniature breeds often suffer from hydrocephalus (dropsy of the brain).
Photos of the Brussels Griffon