The Griffon Bruxellois, also known as the Brussels Griffon is a breed of dog named after the city of its origin, Brussels in Belgium.
There are three variations of the Griffon Bruxellois, the Brussels Griffon, the Belgian Griffon and the Petit Brabancon, they all descend from a dog called a Smousje, which was kept in stables to eliminate rodents. Belgium coachmen were fond of the Smousje and in the 19th century they started to breed them with imported toy dogs, breeding with the Pug and the King Charles spaniel brought about the current breed type, and was also responsible for the short black coat which led to the Petit Brabancon.
In the late 19th century the Griffon Bruxellois grew in popularity with both workers and Belgian noblemen, and was registered in the Belgium’s Kennels studbook in 1883. The breed was a favourite of Queen Marie Henriette, a dog enthusiast who along with her daughter visited the annual dog shows of Belgium regularly, and became a breeder of the Griffon Bruxellois boosting its international popularity.
Many dogs were exported to other countries.and soon there were Griffon Bruxellois in England and the USA. The First and Second World wars had a disastrous effect on the breed, by the end of the Second World war, Belgium had very few native Griffon Bruxellois left, it was only down to the vigilance of dedicated breeders in Belgium and the UK, that the breed survived at all.
Typically, a small breed, the Griffon Bruxellois stands between 9 to 12 inches tall, and weighs 4 to 5 kg. They have a domed head with a short nose and an under bite, their facial features are often likened to that of an ewok from the Star Wars movies.
The Griffon as two different coat types, the wiry/rough and the smooth coat, this is made up of hair not fur and can be red, black and tan or black and red in colour.
A loving dog, the Griffon Bruxellois has a huge heart, and love to snuggle up to the owner, in a family environment or a home with numerous people they will tend to bond with one person more than the others. They are also emotionally sensitive and should be socialised from a young age, they love to play and are good with children as long as they are not teased, they are an alert dog which is inquisitive and interested in its surroundings.
Griffons have few inheritable health problems, but should always be tested for congenial defects, like most dogs the Griffon can develop eye problems, cataracts are common, and because the Griffon has big eyes and a short snout there is little to protect their vision from foreign bodies so Lacerations may occur. The typical lifespan of the Griffon can be anything from 10 to 15 years.