The Brussels Griffon is absolutely a well-kept secret. Faces that you cannot help but smile at, a variety of coat types – from smooth to rough, and sass galore! Plus, they are small and easy to take with on any adventure.
The Brussels Griffon was named for their city of origin – Brussels, Belgium. You didn’t think it was for SPROUTS, did you? Here in the USA we call the rough and smooth the Brussels Griffon, but the rest of the world breaks them down into three separate breeds – the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon. All that separates them is color and/or coat type.
The three variations are believed to descend from an old type of dog called a Smousje, a rough Jack Russell-like dog kept in stables to get rid of rats and other vermin. The little wire-haired dog in the foreground of the Jan van Eyck painting The Arnolfini Marriage is thought to be an early form of this breed. In the 19th century fanciers of the breed crossed the little terriers with Pugs and the English Toy Spaniel (no wonder I adore Griffs). The influence of these breeds is evident in the Griffs of today..
In 1883 the first Brussels Griffon was registered in the first volume of Belgium’s kennel club studbook, the Livre des Origines Saint-Hubert (LOSH). Queen Marie Henriette was a dog enthusiast who became a breeder and booster of Griffon Bruxellois which helped them gain international fame and popularity.
As with many breeds, the World Wars I and II was disastrous time for the breed. There were almost no Brussels Griffons left after this time and the breed may have died out completely if not for the dogs in the United States.
If you are a movie-phile, you had to have seen As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson and the Griffon, you have seen a great example of a Griff. The breed had a teeny bit of a surge of popularity, but they have never been a “popular” breed. Hard to find, if you set your heart on one of these be be prepared to wait for the right one.
I am just smitten with these dogs. I told Steve I wanted another dog and after we picked up the pieces from his head exploding, I sowed him a picture of one and he melted. One of these day…stay tuned!
Have a Griff? Of course we have NOSE BUTTER featuring a pair of Griffs.