Are you familiar with the Brussels Griffon? You may remember one stole the show from Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. Not just anybody can steal the spotlight from Jack Nicholson, but this sassy Brussels Griffon sauntered on screen and owned it!
I am REALLY dating myself, but years ago on the TV show Spin City with Michael J. Fox, and an amazing roster of supporting actors, there was a smooth Brussels Griffon named Rags. Michael Boatman played his somewhat oblivious and devoted dog dad. See if you can guess who is the voice behind Rags in this hysterical clip? The running gag was Rags was 19 years old and his doting owner could not let go...
HINT: David Letterman, yep!
The Brussels Griffon has two coat types - rough and smooth. Plus, did you know there are actually three types or varieties of the Brussels Griffon? The Brussels Griffon (Griffon bruxellois) the one we see most often with the little beard, the Belgian Griffon (Griffon belge), and the Petit Brabançon (the smooth coat) like Rags above and Gizmo below.
In Europe the different types are considered separate breeds and are not inter-mixed. Coats colors are red, a mixture of red-brown and black, black & tan, and solid black.
The rough coat is a bit more popular, but the surge of Insta-famous dogs has led to interest in the smooth Brussels Griffon. There is the sassiest smooth Griff, named Gizmo, you absolutely MUST follow! FOLLOW GIZMO HERE.
GIZMO has been featured on BarkPost, BuzzFeed and everywhere else one needs to be seen in. He is a MUST follow.
Brussels Griffons descend from Smousjes, a scrappy Jack Russell Terrier-like stable dog who were tasked with the important job of getting rid of…RATS. Luckily, in the 1800s fanciers of the breed crossed the Smousjes with Pugs and English Toy Spaniels. This toned down the terrier intensity and made for a more easy-going pet. You can see the genetic contribution both breeds played in the makeup of the modern day Griff. Plus, they are closely related to the Affenpinscher, obviously.
The American Brussels Griffon Association national breed club was founded in 1945 and accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1982. The AKC approved the breed standard in 1960, after a wee bit of dog show controversy. The American Kennel Club is the only large all breed registry that recognizes only the Brussels Griffon; in Europe, there are the three divisions mentioned earlier; the Brussels Griffon (rough red), the Petit Brabancon (smooth - any color), and the Griffon Belge (rough of any color but red).
The Brussels Griffon is a wee bit, ok, VERY full of him or herself. They have a degree of self-importance that has to be experienced to be believed. If you are bemused by the antics of a little tyrant the Griff may be for you.
They do require, make that DEMAND, the extra care any toy dog needs. They are physically smaller, so care must be taken in handling them. They thrive when in the company of the people they love, which makes them ideal for someone who works from home, is retired or can take the lucky Griff to work with them. A lonely Griff can become depressed or destructive, so be sure you are ready for this type of commitment. They are true attention sponges and revel in having someone to adore their every move. ALL. DAY. LONG.
Housebreaking can be a challenge, but that can be the case with virtually all small dogs. They will eventually "get it." Or not. Eh, buy paper towels, they are worth it.
The Griff is also very flat-faced (brachycephalic) and appropriate care must be taken to keep them from becoming over-heated. Their teeth may need extra attention, especially as they get a bit older. There just isn't enough room in that adorable pouty mouth for their teeth!
While the extra care required of a Brussels Griffon may seem like a lot, their devoted people cannot imagine life without a Brussels Griffon or two underfoot. I swear I will have a black and tan smooth one of these day...stay tuned.
The Brussels Griffon has a predisposition toward having a dry, crusty nose and guess what? We have NOSE BUTTER just for that nasty issue. Of course we do!