Originating from Belgium, Griffon Belge is small dogs and part of the Griffon Bruxellois breed. They are available in black, black and tan, blue, red, beige and brown. They are small dogs and weigh approximately 3 to 6kgs. They grow up to a height of 23 – 26 cm. They are great family dogs, especially since they are hypoallergenic, i.e., they do not shed hair. Their lifespan is between 12 and 15 years.

Overview

Name Brussels Griffon
Other Names Griffon Belge, Griffon Bruxellois, Belgian Griffon Griff, Bruss
Origin Belgium
Breed Group Toy (AKC: 1910) Companion Breeds (UKC)
Size Smallest
Type Purebred
Life Span 12-15 years
Temperament Confident, Alert, Inquisitive, Watchful, Self-Important
Height 7-8 inches (23-26 cm)
Weight 6-12 pounds (3-6kg)
Colors Red, Black, Brown, Belge, Black, and Tan
Litter size 1-3 puppies
Puppy Price USD 1500-2000

Origin

This breed originated from the breeding of the Affenpinschers to the Belgian Street dog or Griffons d’Ecurie. These dogs have been popular in Europe for centuries. They were used in stables to catch rats. It was in the 1870s, and it graduated from being a rat dog to a lapdog when it passed the fancy of the dog-loving Queen Henrietta Maria of Belgium. This royal patronage boosted international interest, and Griffs were exported to America and England.

Appearance

The species have good bone structure. They are sturdy and well balanced. 

They have a short coat that is either rough or smooth but tousled longer hair around the face and below the eyes. Their big black eyes have almost human-like expressions. 

The eyelids are edged in black, and the eyelashes are long and black. The whiskers and long hair below the chin earned them the name “Bearded Dogs” in Belgium’s old folk songs. Their ears are short and set high on the head. The nostrils are large and set back between the eyes. They have a broad rounded forehead, and the head is large compared to the rest of the body. The chin juts forward, and the nose tilts backward. The muzzle is tiny, the lower jaw undershot, but usually neither the teeth nor tongue are visible.

Griffs have a square torso and a well-muscled back, which gives them a muscular and stocky appearance. The slightly protruding sternum makes the Griff look like it is standing with its chest puffed up in pride. The tail is carried straight and tall and curls forward without touching the back. Both the hind and forelegs are strong, giving the dog a confident gait.

Temperament

  • The Griffon dogs are small in size but have huge personalities. They are stubborn and cannot be forced to do anything. But they are happiest when snuggled on the lap of their favorite person.
  • Intelligent, playful, energetic, they adapt well to small spaces and are hence good city pets. 
  • They are easily trained, but you must be consistent and generous with your praises and correct them gently while teaching them. 
  • They respond better if the training becomes a part of a game. They are alert and friendly and are tolerant of other dogs and pets like cats. They dislike being alone and are easily prone to separation anxiety. 
  • They are very affectionate with the family members, especially older children and senior citizens. 
  • They are a bit wary of strangers and tend to bark. This makes them excellent watchdogs. They do not like rough handling and very often react by nipping.
  • These dogs are slow to house-train, so having an indoor cage for crate training is an excellent beginning to this training.

Popularity

Starting as vermin hunters in stagecoach stables of Belgium, the Griffs are popular, although rare, lapdogs today. Their popularity has grown mainly since they have been featured in several Hollywood movies like ‘As Good as it Gets,’ ‘Sweet November.’ ‘First Wives Club, Gosford Park’ and ‘Teaching Miss Tingle.’ 

Major Concerns

  • The Griff enjoys the cold but cannot tolerate the heat. Because of their shortened snout, heat strokes are a significant concern for this breed. 
  • Extreme heat can cause severe respiratory issues. They also have trouble whelping, so as a breed, Griffs are not very common and need careful breeding. 
  • They are prone to overeating; hence obesity is a risk they often face. They, therefore, require regular exercise and short walks. 
  • Without training, these dogs may become destructive and yappy. 

How to care for the Belgian Griffon

You will need to brush Griff’s coat a couple of times a week to remove dust and prevent matting of its fur. They enjoy a warm water bath too. Clipping and trimming them every few months is also necessary. Regular trimming of nails will prevent them from cracking or breaking.

Good quality dog food or home-cooked food that is recommended by a vet is what a Griff needs. A quarter to half a cup of dry dog food is recommended for them. Please keep an eye on their calorie consumption to prevent them from overeating. Clean and fresh water should be available all the time.

Eyecare is an essential aspect of caring for your Griff since they tend to develop a cataract as young adults. Ulcers around the eyes too tend to linger and may require a surgical intervention.

Cleft palates are common among this breed, and this causes milk to dribble into the nasal channel and the airways. This should be corrected by the surgical procedure as early as possible.

The hip, legs, and shoulder in a Griff also tend to develop problems causing the poor dog immense pain. It is best not to ignore any of this and take it to a vet immediately.

Crossbreeding

The Belgian Griffon has contributed to the evolution of many designer dogs like Cockergriffon when mated with a Cocker Spaniel, Brug when mated with a Pug, Griffonese mated with a Pekinese, Broodlegriffon when mated with a Poodle, Beagriffon when crossbred with a Beagle. These are just a few of the designer lap dogs that we see in the world today.

Conclusion

Griffon Belge and the many designer dogs it has contributed to creating are known as toy dogs and are a favorite with socialites who like to have their pet as their constant companion. No wonder they are Hollywood favorites as well. 

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