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History & Origin
There are three Griffon varieties: Brussels Griffon, Belgian Griffon, and Petit Griffon. The most distinguishing factor amongst them has to do with their coat type and length.
Brussels Griffon: Wiry, longish coat.
Belgian Griffon: Long, wiry coat.
Petit Brabancon (Griffon): Short, smooth coat.
The breed originated in Belgium and started out the product of interbreeding a Belgian street dog, the Stable Griffon, with the Affenpinscher. Nonetheless, Stable Griffons’ job was to catch rats.
As a consequence, the breeding resulted in a dog that was favored by Belgian cab drivers. Their purpose was to chase off robbers. The comic personality of these dogs had the advantage of attracting customers as well.
The 1800’s has had the breed crossed with the pug. This is the reason for the breed’s indented brachycephalic head. The 1800’s also saw more crosses. These included the English Toy Spaniel and Yorkshire Terrier.
The Griffon rose to fame during the 1900’s. They were the darlings of the European nobility and were very much in demand. Their numbers, however, dwindled due to World War 1 but have since risen.
Although the three varieties of the breed are seen as separate breeds in a number of countries, the American Kennel Club Classify them all as the Brussels Griffon.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Brussels Griffon dog breed in 1910.
PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER
An alert, toy dog breed, the Brussels Griffon takes note of everything that happens in the home. Do not think he is limited by his size. He may be small, but he is dynamite in a small package.
Exceedingly intelligent, his loving personality makes him a great house pet and companion dog. They love being close to people and are often found curled up next to you on the couch. Separation anxiety is problematic when away from their family for long periods. These are ‘people’ dogs.
Much like a cat, the Brussels Griffon loves climbing. This trait sometimes gets him into difficult situations. For all their small size, though, they are not at all delicate.
A well-socialized Brussels Griffon is a great little watchdog. Socialization is necessary in order to develop confidence.
The breed has no problem getting along with other family pets. A new addition might see him acting up, but it is all a bluff. He would not harm them.
A proud little dog, the Brussels Griffon does not take well to any harsh handling whatsoever.
As they are very adaptable, they do equally well in an apartment or a home with an enclosed yard. These are, however, moderate energy dogs, so regular exercise is needed.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Your Brussels Griffon puppy’s lifespan is between twelve to fifteen years if taken good care of.
A breed that does well on both commercial dog food and raw food, adding salmon to your Brussels Griffon’s diet adds the essential fatty acids this breed needs.
When deciding on commercial dog food, ensure it is high-quality food and breed specific. Commercial dog food for large breed dogs is not suitable for smaller breeds as their nutrient needs differ. Also, ensure you buy a quality dog food. Cheaper, more popular brands of commercial dog food contain fillers and additives that are not conducive to a dog’s health. There are no laws governing what goes into commercial dog food, and fillers have no nutritional value except making your puppy feel full.
A raw diet closely resembles the one they would have in nature. It contains muscle meat, organs, and the stomach. Of course, this is difficult to copy. Feeding your dog vegetables to add the needed nutrients is a great idea. Vegetables to feed your puppy include carrots, sweet potato, and broccoli, to name but a few. Be careful, though, as certain food is bad for dogs.
Food you should never feed your puppy includes:
- Most nut
- Caffeine in any form
- Raw onion and garlic
- Human vitamins
These foods, amongst others, are bad for dogs and can make them very ill.
Small puppies need food with a higher protein, vitamin, mineral, and fat content than adult dogs. This means that commercial dog food has to be size and age appropriate. Do not feed smaller breed puppies food meant for larger breeds. Their growing requirements are very different. Food meant for adult dogs is also not good for growing puppies.
By the time your puppy is eight weeks old, he should be weaned from his mother and eating on his own. Best practice is to feed him the same food he ate at the breeder while keeping to a fixed schedule.
If you change a puppy’s food overnight, he becomes ill because his stomach is not able to handle the change. If you want to change his diet, do it gradually over a few days. He will get used to it slowly but surely.
Feeding according to a schedule allows you to keep an eye on what your puppy eats. You can adjust his food accordingly. Free feeding is a bad idea. This is when food is always available for a dog. The problem is that some dogs will eat because they are just gluttons. The result is usually obesity. Health risks that are associated with obesity include diabetes and heart problems. Feeding your puppy at certain times also helps with potty training.
A puppy, before the age of six months, needs three to four meals a day. After six months of age, this needs cutting down to two meals a day, once in the morning, and once at night.
Always remember to keep a bowl of fresh, clean water for your dog.
COAT AND GROOMING
Size and Coat
The Brussels Griffon is classified as a toy dog . It stands at 7 inches to 8 inches tall (measured from the withers to the floor) and weighs between 6 pounds to 12 pounds.
Although tiny, they are by no means frail. They are very sturdy little creatures. They are a little box-shaped with a head that is topped by a pushed-in face. Their soulful eyes will melt your heart. Tails are usually docked.
A Brussels Griffon has an expressive face that is remarkably human-like. These dogs are either rough-coated or smooth coated. Those with a rough coat have coats that are very dense and wiry. Their coats are usually longer around their chin, cheeks and eyes. The smooth variety’s coat is short, smooth, straight, and shiny. Their coats come in the following colors: black, red, belge (a mixture or red, brown, and black), and black and tan.
The breed could have black masks or black coloration around the eyes and whiskers. As they grow older, their muzzles turn gray.
The wiry coated Brussels Griffon needs regular stripping to keep its coat in shape. Many owners of the wiry variety have their dogs’ coats clipped into a specific style. Their coats need regular brushing to stay in great condition.
How often you bathe your dog depends on you. One that stays indoors most of the time does not need regular bathing. When bathing, use a good quality dog shampoo. Cheaper brands have the habit of causing skin irritations and stripping your puppy’s hair of its natural oils.
These pups need regular brushing. It gets rid of loose, dead hair while stimulating blood flow to the skin. It also prevents skin irritations while combating the problem of shed hair.
Clean your dog’s ears regularly. A damp cotton wool ball is good for this. Discoloration or discharge is a sign of an ear infection. Take your dog to the veterinarian, as this is painful.
Long nails in dogs can tear. One should avoid this, as it is very painful. A dog’s nails need regular clipping. Those that are active, however, have nails that file down naturally. It is more common in less active dogs. Pet owners who do not like doing this procedure can take their puppy to the doggy parlor or veterinarian. It is a quick, painless procedure and does not cost much.
EXERCISE AND TRAINING
Exercise, Energy, and Activities
The Brussels Griffon is a moderately active dog breed. Because they are small, they do not need a large space to work off their energy. They can do so right in the home, although they need regular walks. This makes for a great dog for apartment dwellers.
Because they are brachycephalic dogs (indented faces), they are prone to overheating. Never leave them outdoors for extended periods, especially during summer.
Their intelligence and amazing athletic ability make them great at certain sports. These include tracking, obedience, rally, and agility.
Training and Sleep/Rest
When bringing a new puppy home, the first two things on the agenda are socialization with family members and other pets, and potty training.
Potty training a puppy takes time and patience. As puppies have a very fast metabolism, they need to do their ‘business’ fifteen to twenty minutes after a meal. This is a great time to take them to their potty area. Never scold your puppy or treat him harshly if he makes a mistake. Rather praise him if and as he gets it right.
Positive reinforcement works well. When praised or doing something he learns pleases you, he will keep on trying. Dogs like pleasing their owners and will try doing whatever it is that gets him praise or a treat.
Other times to go ‘potty’ are early morning and the last thing at night. Also, take them out from every 30 minutes to one-hour intervals throughout the day. The times between potty sessions become longer as your puppy gets older and learns to control his bowel movements and bladder.
Puppies sleep a lot. About twenty hours’ of sleep a day is quite common. Do not worry about your puppy’s sleeping habits. He is a growing baby. Your puppy will need less sleep as he grows older. Soon you will sit with a puppy child that wants your attention and which wants to play. Just be patient.
Make sure your puppy’s bed is somewhere quiet and out of the way. This gives him somewhere to go to when he needs his alone time. His bed is also his safe haven. Do not let children disturb him when he is in his safe spot.
It is very important to only buy a puppy from a reputable breeder. He, or she, will be able to tell you about the breed and your dog’s history. This allows you to make an informed decision because you will know and understand any possible conditions that might arise. Even healthy dog breeds are prone to certain medical conditions.
The Brussels Griffon is a healthy breed. They are not usually prone to most of the major or minor health problems found in most dog breeds. A few health problems encountered in the breed include:
- Patellar luxation : A dislocated kneecap, patellar luxation is common in smaller dog breeds. The condition is treated by means of certain exercises and diet. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
- Canine hip dysplasia : This condition is usually hereditary but is also due to injury and incorrect nutrition. Prevention is better than cure. The condition is usually rectified by means of surgery.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) : Progressive retinal atrophy is a hereditary condition. The rods in the eye degenerate over time, ending in blindness. It is treatable if caught early, but a dog that goes blind does not suffer as its other senses make up for his loss of vision.
- Cataracts : It is sometimes an inherited condition but is also the result of trauma to the eye or another medical condition such as diabetes. A medical procedure takes care of the problem.
To Sum Up
The Brussels Griffon makes a great pet for the elderly and families. Their activity requirements are few although they need their walks to stay in shape and work off their energy.
Clever, agile, and loving, they make great watchdogs that alert their owners to anything that is not right in their world. This is a breed that is adaptable and does well both in an apartment and home with a yard.
No waiting, there are puppies for all!
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