BRUSSELS GRIFFON APPEARANCE:
The Griffon Bruxellois is really three dogs rolled into one, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon. Identical in standard except for coat and colour differences, in most standards they are considered varieties of the same breed, much like Belgian Sheepdogs.
A sturdy toy dog with a thick set, well balanced body, that should give a squared apperance 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 will often feel heavier than it is for such a small size. Because they are judged by weight rather than shoulder height, proper proportioning is essential to determine if a dog is too fat, too slim or too tall for their size.
Weight standards, especially upper range disqualification, vary from standards, but the ideal weight is 3.6-4.5kgs (8-10 lbs) for both sexes.
The neck is medium length and arched slightly. The chest is deep, and the back level. The tail, either cropped to one-third it's length or natural in standards than allow for that, 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 cannot be shown unless they can be cropped below the kink to standard.
For centuries, rough coated, short nosed toy dog breeds have been found in Belgium, but the true history of the Griffon Bruxellois started in the 1800s, not in royal palaces, but in coach houses.
To help keep rats away, Belgium coachmen used to keep small terriers called Griffons d’Ecurie in their stables. These Affenpinscher-like dogs were friendly and popular At some point in the 1800s, these coachmen bred their Griffons with imported toy dogs, such as the Pug, the King Charles Spaniel, bringing about the change in coat types that lead to the Petits Brabançon, which was originally a fault of the breed. The spaniels also brought the rich red and black and tan colour of the modern Griffon Bruxellois and Griffon Belge.
The Griffon Bruxellois grew popularity in the late 1800's with both workers and noblemen in Belgium. Queen Marie Henriette was a dog enthusiast who visited the annual dog shows in Belgium religiously, often with her daughter, and became a breeder and booster of Griffon Bruxellois, giving them international fame and popularity and indirectly leading to two Griffon Bruxellois clubs starting in England and America.
The First World War and World War II proved to be a disasterous time for the breed. War time is difficult on any dog breed, and the recovering numbers after the First World War were set back by increased vigelance in breeding faults such as webbed toes. By the end of the Second World War, Belgium had almost no native Griffon Bruxellois left, and only through the vigilence of dedicated breeders, in England particularly, that the breed survived at all.
The breed has never been numerous or popular, but had a brief vogue in the late 1950's, but now is generally an uncommon breed. There has been a recent increase in interest in the United States due to apperance of a Griffon in the movie, As Good as it Gets, and also because of a general increase in interest in Toy dogs.
The Griffon Bruxellois is known to be a bit sensitive, to have a huge heart, and to have a strong desire to snuggle and be with his or her master. They have an air of self-importance that can be especially charming. A Griffon should not be overly shy or agressive, however, they are very emotionally sensitive. Because of this, they should be socialized carefully at a young age. They will be alert and interested in their surroundings.
Griffons tend to bond with one human more than others, and because of this, along with their small size, may not be suitable as a family pet, especially one with very small children. They tend to get along well with other animals in the house, such as cats, dogs and ferrets, but can get into trouble because they have no concept of size, and will attempt to boss around dogs much larger than themselves.
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.