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Brussels Griffon

The Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon is a breed of toy dog, namedfor the city oftheir origin, Brussels, Belgium. The GriffonBruxellois may refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon. Identical in standard except for coat and colour differences, in some standards they are considered varieties of the same breed, much like Belgian Sheepdogs.

Appearance

All three breeds are generally small, with a flat face, prominent chin, and large wide-set eyes that give the Griffon an almost human expression. They are sometimes compared to an Ewok from the movie Star Wars. All three breeds are sturdy toy dogs with thick-set, well-balanced bodies, giving a squared appearance in proportion when viewed from the side. A proper Griffon should be muscular, compact, and well-boned, and should not seem delicate, racy, or overly cobby. The Griffon often feels heavier than it is for such a small size. Because they are judged by weight rather than by shoulder height, proper proportioning is essential to determine whether a dog is too fat, too slim, or too tall for its size.

Weight standards, especially where the upper limit is that might disqualify the dog from the show ring, varies among the breed standards, but the ideal weight is 8 lb (3.63 kg) to 10 lb (4.54 kg) for both sexes.

The neck is medium length and arched slightly. The chest is deep, and the back is level. The tail is either cropped to one-third its length or is left its natural length in breed standards than allow for that; it should be set high, and when showing, should express the alert, keen demeanor of the breed. Kinked tails are not uncommon in the breed, and are invalid for the show ring unless they can be cropped below the kink to a length acceptable in the breed standard.

Overview

Griffon Bruxellois overview

Weight: 6-12 pounds (2.5-5.5kg)
Height: 7-8 inches (18-20cm)
Coat: Two types: Rough-Coated (harsh wiry and dense) and Smooth-Coated or Petit Brabancon (short, straight, glossy)
Litter size: ~2 puppies
Life span: 12-15 years

Head

The head is the most important characteristic of this breed, and the most well-defined aspect of the breed standard.

The rounded head should be large in proportion to the body, but should not appear to unbalance the dog. Depending on the standard, the forehead is referred to as "rounded" or "domed". In either case, the appearance or the skull should be of a circle (minus the features of the muzzle) rather than an oval, and the forehead should not bulge or protrude.

The ears should be high set but well apart, small, and carried semierect if left uncropped. Cropped ears are preferred in US show rings, but most European countries ban cropping.

The dark, wide-set, black-rimmed eyes are very large and expressive, giving the face its essential human-like qualities. They should be prominent but not bulging.

The nose is broad with wide nostrils, black, and set at the same level as the eyes. There should be a very pronounced stop, and the muzzle between the nose and forehead should not be more than 1.5 cm in length. Many standards prefer the stop to be so strong as to leave no visible distance between the nose and forehead. The nose should angle upwards. The muzzle from nose to chin should not be in line with the face, instead, it should slope towards the skull, giving a turned up or layback look. The broad chin should be undershot and prominent, sweeping up to the lips.

The lips should be black, and close fitting. The top lip is short under the nose, and should not overlap the bottom lip, nor should teeth or tongue be visible. The upper lips should not be pendulous in any way. The teeth should be strong and straight, with none missing or askew.

Coat Griffon Belge

Griffon BelgeIn the Griffon Bruxellois and the Griffon Belge, the coat is wiry, harsh, anddense. By breed standards, at no time should it look or feel woolly. It should be short enough not to disrupt the form of the dog over the body, and long enough to distinguish the texture and type from the Petit Brabançon. Furnishings around the face form a fringe around the eyes, nose, cheeks and chin, but should not be allowed to grow into a long, flowing beard. Rather, they accentuate the natural form of the chin and cheeks. The eyebrow, moustache and beard look is essential to the human-like expression sought after in the breed. There may be some furnishings around the legs as well, though shorter than the head.

To accomplish this harsh coat the hair must be groomed with a technique known as stripping. This involves pulling out the dead hair by hand. If the coat is left to grow naturally it will become soft and woolly looking.

In the Petit Brabançon, the coat is short, straight, smooth, glossy, and flat, with no trace of wiry hair. Its coat should look rather like a Pug or Boston Terrier.

Color types

There are three distinct color types recognized for the breed. The actual color of each dog can vary depending on how they are groomed. If the hair is cut or clippers are used the color of dog will be considerably lighter than is expected by breed standards. The three color types are as follows:

  • Griffon Bruxellois: Red or reddish-brown; black allowed on muzzle.
  • Griffon Belge: Black, Black and tan (a black and tan pattern with emphasis on a rich red shade), Black and red (black mixed evenly with reddish-brown hairs). Black and red may have a black face mask.
  • Petit Brabançon: All colours allowed for the other standards. Until recently, black short may have been a fault, but it is now allowed in all standards. A black mask is expected on the red or reddish brown coat. Grey hair from age is not penalized.

Temperament

The Griffon Bruxellois is known to have a huge heart, and a strong desire to snuggleDespite being a Toy dog, the breed is very active. and be with his or her master. They display a visible air of self-importance. A Griffon should not be shy or aggressive; however, they are very emotionally sensitive, and because of this, should be socialized carefully at a young age. Griffons should also be alert, inquisitive and interested in their surroundings.

Griffons tend to bond with one human more than others. This, along with their small size, may make them unsuitable as a family pet, especially for a family with very small children. Griffons tend to get along well with other animals in the house, including cats, ferrets, and other dogs. However, they can get into trouble because they have no concept of their own relative size and may attempt to dominate dogs much larger than themselves.

Some say: "Having a Griffon means having a true constant companion. They need their favorite person all the time, and will be very unhappy if left outdoors or alone most of the day. A Griffon Bruxellois will want to follow you about the house, on your errands, and to bed."

More Info on Brussels Griffon

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