In the dog world, you will find few animals that have as unique a physical look as the Brussels Griffon. This relatively small dog is rather short, yet has an amazing ability for holding its rather large head with grace. Many people equate the stance of the Brussels Griffon with the English Boxer. As far as other unique body traits are concerned, fans of this breed of dog will be the first to mention the strong chest these animals possess as well as the incredibly powerful hind quarters. It is also worth the effort to mention the figure forming narrow waist too.
As far as the face of the Brussels Griffon breed is concerned, their wide set eyes quickly distinguish them from other animals. They have pretty flat faces and are well known for their distinctive chin shape. These dogs are easy to recognize once you have an idea of what they look like.
As strange as it may seem the Brussels Griffon dogs can have one of two different coat types. Among fans of these little dogs, there doesn’t seem to be a preference. The soft coated dogs have shiny hair that is close to the skin and lays flat. The wiry coated Brussels Griffon needs to be brushed frequently. Matting can be a problem is this task isn’t taken care of as needed.
The Griffon comes in red, black or black and tan, with no particular color being more popular than the other
Few dogs enjoy the exciting history like the Brussels Griffon does. These diminutive dogs were actually bred to catch mice and rats in the barns of the finest European estates. It didn’t take too long for the stable boys and coach drivers to figure out that these animals make excellent companions. Their popularity increased until WWII at which time, these little dogs almost became extinct. With careful breeding and help from neighboring countries, the little dogs managed to survive.
The Brussels Griffon breed is still considered to be very rare. Interested potential owners will discover that it takes quite a bit of effort and promises to not breed their Brussels Griffon to be allowed to own one.
It’s always a good idea to do some research about the personality of a breed before deciding to bring any animal home. The Brussels Griffon is a cheerful and charming breed for the most part. However many experts will tell you that these dogs will likely be happier with an older couple or single person. Children can make them a bit nervous. The exception to this rule is if the dog has been socialized from a very young age and is acquainted with life around kids. The Brussels Griffon will still be a better dog in a laid back environment.
Another aspect of the Brussels Griffon that should not be overlooked is their loving nature. They love to interact with their owners and are happiest when allowed to share in every activity. While the owner doesn’t have to participate in rough and tumble games with these dogs, they are content to go anywhere their human companion does.
It is imperative to remember that as self sufficient as these little dogs seem, they really need a relaxed home life and consistency to be at peace with the world. Of course each individual pet owner will figure out for themselves what their dog can handle and how to make sure the dog is always comfortable.
For the most part the Brussels Griffon is a fairly healthy dog. Owners will find that most of their common ailments are directly related to their unique facial structure. The eyes especially can be troublesome. It isn’t unusual for these dogs to develop cataracts, distichiasis, and prolapse of the eyeball. For some reasons lacerations of the eyeball often occur as well. The responsible owner of the Brussels Griffon will also be cautious about the possibility of progressive retinal failure.
The eyes aren’t the only possible facial problems this breed may face. The occurrence of narrow, slight nostrils can cause problems with breathing. This condition is especially worrisome if it accompanied by an overlarge soft palate.
These beautiful and unique dogs can be used for show dogs as mentioned. If that is the case, certain grooming habits have to be completed. A grooming mitt is recommended for taking care of their coats, whether they have a rough or smooth coat. With the excessive washing used for the show dogs of Brussels Griffon breed skin damage sometimes occurs. When that happens using a pH-alkaline shampoo is most recommended. It will help to restore the appearance of the dog’s coat.
Under normal circumstances, brushing with the grooming mitt and occasional baths should be enough. Every Brussels Griffon owner will also have to become very comfortable with the hand stripping technique of removing dead hair and fur.
One of the primary reasons why the Brussels Griffon breed is so good for older adults or those with an active social life, is that they don’t require a great deal of exercise. These dogs are small enough to be able to find plenty of exercise inside their own homes even if it is an apartment.
However if the owner would like to, these dogs enjoy running tiny obstacles courses that reflect their natural ability as ratters. Interested owners can even have their Brussels Griffon entered into contests using these skills.
The one word to remember when talking about training a Brussels Griffon is patience. Like so many of the other small breeds of dogs, these guys have to be treated gently to get the job done. On the plus, obedience training is pretty easy for these smart dogs. Owners who have taken the time to bond with their dog will quickly realize that the dog’s only goal is to please them and the process is very simple. House breaking these little dogs will require time and patience, not to mention flexibility.
With the other types of training, the key element is going to be paying attention to the dog’s level of stress. This breed isn’t known for being the most courageous or even calm dogs. They are indeed very sensitive in disposition and really lose it if not treated properly. Heavy handed tactics will only yield a dog that is even further behind in the training department and afraid of their owners. It could take weeks or months to catch the dog back up. Consistency, sensitivity, and dedication are necessary to do the job right.
It is important to understand that new experiences tend to be a bit overwhelming for the Brussels Griffon. Even leash training can have its ups and downs. However if leash training is in the cards, make sure to begin the process when the dog is very young. Most experts recommend in between four to six weeks of age.