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Originally known as the "Belgian Street Urchin", the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels) is a hunting dog breed that came from Belgium, as the name suggests. It is a charming dog with a fun-loving and mischievous nature. In fact, it boasts of terrier-like traits that made it a popular choice for families in the UK and other parts of the world. Griffon Bruxellois is a small breed with an average weight of 7 to 12 pounds and height of 18 to 20 centimetres.
Have you decided to get an endearing Griffon Bruxellois? Read on below to know more about the dog breed.
There are three variations of this dog breed namely, the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon), Griffon Belge (Belgian Griffon), and Petit Brabancon. All three are said to have descended from an ancient dog breed called Smousje, which is a small terrier-like dog with a rough coat bred to hunt and eliminate rodents. The Griffon Bruxellois was depicted in a 15th century Jan van Eyck painting, showing a little-wirehaired dog in the background of The Arnolfini Marriageis, which is thought to be an earlier version of the breed.
It was originally bred only as a stable dog to look after horses and hansom cabs in the late 1800s. However, in the 19th century, Belgium coachmen bred the Griffon Bruxellois with imported toy dog breeds such as the Pug, the King Charles Spaniel and also Affenpinscher to develop a breed that does not only guard but also get rid of stable vermin. The Griffon Bruxellois was known as a "Belgian Street Urchin" as it was a renowned street dog because of its intelligence and toughness.
In 1883, the first Griffon Bruxellois was registered in Belgium's Kennel Club Studbook and the breed's popularity increased when it caught the interest of Queen Marie Henriette, who was a dog enthusiast. This catapulted the popularity of the Griffon Bruxellois in the international scene, and many of these dogs were exported to other countries including England in 1897 and the US in 1945.
However, the number of Griffon Bruxellois declined during the First and the Second World Wars. After the Second World War, there were only a few native Griffon Bruxellois left in Belgium but thanks to some dedicated breed enthusiasts in the UK, the breed survived extinction. Today, many Griffon Bruxellois dogs are favoured family pets because of their affectionate nature and charming looks.
The Griffon Bruxellois is a small dog with a sturdy build, weighing 7 to 12 pounds and standing 18 to 20 centimetres at the withers. It has a square proportion, with its length matching its height. It has a domed-shaped head, short nose with large nostrils and huge shiny eyes that are set wide apart, and naturally adorned with long black lashes. Its eyes are also its distinct and memorable feature that gives it an almost-human expression. The Griffon Bruxellois has small ears set high above the head and can either be cropped or not. It has medium-length well-muscled forelegs, arched neck and level back that add to its robust appearance.
The Griffon Bruxellois wears either a rough and wiry dense coat or a straight, smooth and glossy coat. It often comes in a variety of colours including red, reddish-brown, beige, black and tan, and solid black. Grooming-wise, whether it's low or high maintenance will largely depend on the type of coat. For a rough-coated Griffon Bruxellois will require several brushings per week, including hand stripping every three months, while the smooth-coated Griffon will only require at least once a week of brushing. However, both coat types do not shed much but can't be considered as hypoallergenic. Bathing for both should be done as needed.
Since the Griffon Bruxellois is a small dog breed, it is prone to gum diseases and as such should have its teeth brushed and cleaned on a regular basis. Also, trim its nails once or twice a month to keep its nails in excellent condition and avoid overgrowth, cracking and splitting. Ears should also be cleaned regularly to prevent ear infections. During grooming, make sure you inspect all physical aspects of your Griffon Bruxellois, including lesions, fleas, ticks and signs of infection such as redness, bad odour, and pain.
The Griffon Bruxellois is a toy breed that was developed as first as a stable guard dog and later on as hunting dog to eliminate vermin. It may look small and fragile, but this dog breed is actually quite sturdy and fearless. It craves attention and like nothing more than to be the centre of it showing its clownish side. As such, the Griffon Bruxellois does not like to be left alone, or it can cause a lot of mischiefs. Attention-hungry dogs like the Griffon Bruxellois will thrive in homes of the elderly or families with at least one member staying at home. As with most small dogs, the Griffon Bruxellois is also prone to barking and will bark to alert when it sees people, cars, bikes and other strange things. This makes it an excellent watchdog for the family.
When it comes to training, the Griffon Bruxellois can be a challenge as it has a stubborn streak and tends to do things on its own. Still, it is an ideal choice for new dog owners who are patient and with a steady hand. Once leadership is established it will look up to their owner for instruction and guidance, especially when a reward system is in place. In fact, Griffon Bruxellois is known to excel in advance obedience and agility trials when properly trained.
The Griffon Bruxellois tends to get on well with children, although it is not the sort to love for them as children are considered competition for attention. Regardless, any interaction with toddlers and the Griffon must be supervised to make sure playtime does not become too rough to cause accidents. These small dogs are generally good with other dogs and household pets such as cats if they are raised together. However, it is unwise to leave the Griffon Bruxellois alone in a room with small animals as it will take any opportunity to chase them.
When it comes to keeping a Griffon Bruxellois healthy, it needs 1/4 to 1/2 cups of high quality dry dog food a day, equally divided into two meals. Take note that the amount of food a dog eats will depend on its size, age, health, metabolism, activity level and gender. To make sure you give the best nutrition to your Griffon, consult a veterinarian.
Typical calorie needs of adult Griffon Bruxellois per day:
The Griffon Bruxellois must be fed with a high-quality commercial dog food or a homemade diet that is rich in animal protein. As well, add salmon to its diet to make sure it is getting the right amount of fatty acids to maintain its coat.
With a lifespan of 9 to 15 years, the Griffon Bruxellois is a generally healthy breed. However, some hereditary disorders can often get in the way of living out its lifespan. Some health disorders that are hereditary include Cleft Palate, Chiari Malformation Syringomyelia, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Degenerative Disc Disease. This dog breed is also sensitive to the Leptospirosis vaccine. Always find time for its regular veterinary check-up to make sure it does not suffer from any of the disorders mentioned above.
The Griffon Bruxellois will need at least 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise since it is an energetic dog. This small dog is the best choice for owners who do not necessarily have an outdoorsy lifestyle, as long as they can keep with its exercise requirement. As with other dogs, especially one who was bred to hunt, the Griffon Bruxellois should be kept within a well-fenced area to prevent it from escaping.
When you get a dog, in this instance a Griffon Bruxellois, your main responsibility is its well-being in all aspects. Being a responsible dog owner, it follows that you have the financial capacity to raise the dog throughout its lifespan. For starters, when you buy a Griffon Bruxellois puppy, which costs around £500 to £1,200, make sure it is from a reputable breeder. Pet insurance is another financial aspect you need to consider especially considering its susceptibility to potential genetic disorders. You can choose a pet insurance coverage depending on the level of protection you want to avail. Pet insurance usually costs around £20 to £40 a month.
Let's not forget about its veterinary health checks to make sure the Griffon Bruxellois remains healthy. Veterinary consultations, including some initial vaccinations and boosters will set you back at least £800 a year. Buying high quality dog food formulated for small dogs will cost you about £40 to £50 a month. Overall, prepare to spend £70 to £100 a month if you want to care for a Griffon Bruxellois.
Are you sure the Griffon Bruxellois is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Do you think you can handle the attention-hungry Griffon Bruxellois? If you are full of doubts, take our Pet Finder to find other suggested breeds that match your lifestyle.
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