Brussels Griffons


Brussels Griffons

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Breed Notes

In Belgium, there are three small terriers which are collectively known as the Belgian Griffons. They include the Petite Brabancon which is smooth coated, the Brussels Griffon which has a red rough coat, and the Belgian Griffon which has a rough coat of colors other than red. They were introduced to the United States and Great Britain in the 1880s. They are shown separately in Europe while in the United States and Great Britain, all three are recognized as one breed, the Brussels Griffon. Originally they were bred to keep vermin out of stables, particularity those of urban hansom cabs (the equivalent of today's taxi). Their full ancestry is unknown but believed to be a mixture of various toy spaniels and terriers.
The Griffons are very affectionate and likeable dogs. They are intelligent, sensitive and alert with a jaunty good nature. They need and enjoy association with people. The smooth coated variety needs little grooming other than brushing and occasional bathing. The rough coated varieties need periodic hand stripping. Clipping the coat may eliminate the rough feel. The Griffons enjoy a good romp in a large fenced area.
The head of the Griffon is large and round with a domed forehead. There is a well defined drop (or stop) between the skull and muzzle. The chin is large and prominent. The lower jaw is longer than the upper giving the Griffon an undershot bite. Teeth and tongue should not show when the mouth is closed. The nose is large and black. The ears are small, set high and naturally semi erect. If cropped, they are cropped to a very sharp point. The eyes are large, round and black and set wide apart. The chest is deep and the back is short and level. The legs are of medium length and well muscled. The feet are small, round and compact. Tails are usually docked short. There are two distinct coat types. The rough coat of the Brussels and Belgian Griffons is wiry and dense. The coat on the head is slightly longer than elsewhere, forming a fringe around the head and a beard. The smooth coat is similar to the Boston Terrier or English Bulldog with no wire hair allowed. Color is as described above. The average height of the Griffon is between seven and eight inches. The average weight is between six and twelve pounds.


mzchow@earthlink.net of Kentucky writes:

Know your breeder &shyp; a well-bred Griff is a treasure.
I've lived with six Griffs over the past twelve years. I'm not a breeder. Rule #1: find a REPUTABLE breeder. The sudden popularity of Griffs caused by movies and TV exposure, is the cause of breeding "for profit" that has ruined many other breeds as well. Do your homework. Do NOT buy on impulse from pet stores or backyard breeders. A GOOD Brussels Griffon is everything you could want in a dog that is your constant companion. They are very smart, can be house-trained, and have charming personalities. They can do obedience and agility work and learn endless tricks, if taught. What would you expect from a dog that has been caged for months and never taught anything? Try that with a child and see what you get! You who complain ... have you taken the dog to a training class? Do you know anything about the breed standard; ever seen your dog's parents? Don't blame the dog for failing. YOU are the one who is to blame. Good breeders don't give up their puppies to people who don't have a good home situation for a Griff. Most young children play too rough for any Toy breed. The cost of a good quality Griff is high and they aren't easy to get, because good breeders protect them. If you are lucky enough to convince a recognized breeder or BG rescue to let you have one, you will be addicted for life. Please remember, you get the dog you deserve. Not many people deserve a Griff!


Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Best of all breeds.
These are the best little dogs I have owned. To date I've owned six females. I have put championships, obedience , agility and K9 good citizen titles on them. They have passed the temperament testing and qualified for registered therapy dogs. With the proper socalizing (very important) they grow to be proud, confident dogs. Very eager to please their master when training with kindness. This breed is very smart and if not treated with respect you will not get results (can you blame them?). In other words you get what you give. As far as housebreaking, the same goes. All my girls are wonderful and very clean. You also get what you pay for, beware of puppymills and pet shops. If you want quality you're going to have to pay for it.


mmlhelm@aol.com of Connecticut writes:

Not the sweet little dog I thought I was getting.
I recently purchased a Brussels puppy as a second dog. My first is a sweet little Bichon Frise. I was told he was a sweet little lap dog. He is always trying to bite my Bichon. He will sleep near or on you but hates to be held. He can walk, run, and play for hours. I would not recommend keeping them confined to small spaces. We are having a tough time housebreaking him. He prefers to do his business in the house and not always on newspaper. He is always grunting, growling and crying. If you talk to him he answers you in a weird high-pitched voice. He is very determined and tries and tries until he accomplishes what he wants such as jumping on the bed. He is very clownish and dances around on his back legs. It has taken a while to get used to him. If he was one of my children he would be the one that would turn my hair gray!


wjbair@i2k.net of Michigan writes:

Wonderful companions!
Throughout our 46 years of marriage, my husband and I have been fortunate to be owned intermittenly by three Brussels Griffons. What a precious little delightful, affectionate and intelligent companion they are. It's impossible to misunderstand their feelings just by the way they cock their beautiful heads when you talk to them. I feel sorry for the lady in these comments who says she doesn't like her Griff. All I can say is it sounds as though she should NOT EVER own an animal/pet. I only hope your little Griff has found a new home that is worthy of her love and faithfulness and that you have not maimed her dear little life.


Name withheld by request of Annapolis, MD writes:

Sweetest, most sensitive, loyal companion.
I actually came upon my Brussels Griffon accidentally. I have rabbits and the place where I bought feed for them happened to have this sad-looking, monkey-like, puppy for sale. As I have always had rescue dogs from the ASPCA, never purebred, I wasn't interested in buying this dog. However, the pet shop was not a good one and the poor pup languished in this cage for three months. Finally, my kids and I bought him just to spring him from jail, so to speak. He is the sweetest, most loyal pooch. This dog just wants to be with me. He knows my moods and would gladly follow me anywhere. He is a dignified little guy, though. He does like his daily runs down to the lake where we live by himself, but for the most part; where I am, he is. He lays with his head on my pillow and he is fiercely protective of me and my kids. Downside; he was difficult to housebreak and still sometimes has accidents. Also, do not get this type of dog if you are gone from home a lot. I don't work, so it's perfect. They are so hard to discipline also; they look human-like or monkey-like. Very expressive so it is hard to be angry with them because they are so disarming. Great dogs, though. I'll never not own another.


Name withheld by request of New Zealand writes:

Smells horrible and is huge.
My Brussels Griffon is a brat. When we first got her we were told they were smallish (medium cat size). This is not true. She pees everywhere and escapes all the time; sheds all over my clothes and furniture; knows no tricks, can't even sit or stay. She bites strangers. I can't buy her any cute little harnesses, or collars, because she is too big. She gets gooey eyes which have to be cleaned every day. She has an enlarged heart. She never cuddles and would rather attack our cat than sit near us. She is not a lap dog and hates children under twelve.


colleen@socal.rr.com of the U.S. writes:

A great companion.
I am an owner of a Brussels Griffon and after having had several dogs during my lifetime, this is the best there is for me. She is a constant companion and will follow from room to room. She is very intelligent and looks almost human as she listens to my instructions. She is fun to be around and approaches every new experience with joy. I would not recommend this dog for a family with small children since the dog is small and could be easily hurt. Mine is trained, walks on a leash well, knows her routine although still a puppy. This is a great dog.


Name withheld by request of Australia writes:

Bloody awful.
I can't stand my Brussels Griffon. She pees everywhere, eats everything, barks constantly, hates children, and is so dirty and unhygienic. She always bites my kids and they are scared of her. We want to give her away but she cost a couple of hundred dollars and my husband likes her. Personally, I would never suggest anyone to buy one. I was told how quiet and tiny they are, gosh that is untrue! When she is in heat she bleeds everywhere and climbs up the gate to escape. I can understand why they aren't popular. My girl has had hip problems and this is apparently common in the breed. They are demons!


purpleones@aol.com of Tennessee writes:

These dogs are not very "dog-like."
I have now had the pleasure of owning three of these marvelous little dogs. All three had very distinct personalities but also some similar characteristics. None of my Griffs (all were male) would play much, if at all, with typical dog toys. They did not like to chase things, chew things, pull at things or any other typical dog playtime activities. Their favorite thing was (and still is) to be with me. Whatever I am doing, they want to be there and participate. I am self-employed and have a retail bird store attached to my home. My boys love to be in the shop working with me (they of course are lounging on their snuggle balls) and they are fantastic at greeting customers and letting me know that someone is coming in. I have heard them described as "Velcro dogs," and I absolutely agree with that assessment.
If anyone is contemplating adding one to the family, the negatives to this breed are heavy shedding (in the smooth coat variety) and difficulty housebreaking. I finally got smart and took up all the carpet in my house. Laminate flooring is the way to go with as many animals as I have.
I absolutely adore my boys (I still have two at this time) and can't imagine my life without one of these little dogs. Just be prepared to spend plenty of time with them because then you will get the complete experience of having a Griff. I would guess that a Griff left alone for large periods of time would not thrive quite as well.
I have personally not had any major health problems with any of the three, but two have had some problems with bladder/urinary tract matters. The toughest thing about owning a Griff is finding one to purchase. They are difficult to locate and from what I have been told, may be due to breeding difficulties and problems with actually delivering healthy puppies. Try to find a breeder you trust and who seems to be reputable.


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