1) Brussels Griffon
The Griffon Belge is one of the three breeds of Brussels Griffon. The other two are Petit Brabancon and Griffon Bruxellois and the only thing that separates them apart is their coat type and coloration. Some clubs, such as FCI, recognizes them as separate breeds, while others, for example the AKC, recognizes them as one breed with three varieties.
So how does the coat of Griffon Belge differs from the coats of other Brussels Griffon? The Griffon Belge is the rough coated type, which is naturally harsh and slightly wavy. It has the same coat type as the Griffon Bruxellois and the only thing that is different is the color. The Griffon Belge is always all black or black and tan. The tan markings are typically situated on the legs, chest, cheeks, chin, below the tails, above eyes and inside the ears.
The coat of Griffon Belge is definitely one of its distinctive appearance traits, but i am sure the first thing you will notice about this breed is its expressive face. Some people describe it as human like, monkey like or baby like. Its most likely thanks to their huge dark eyes that are set well apart. The Belge Griffon also has short muzzle and small ears that are set high on the head. The head is round and quite large in relation to the body.
The Griffon Belge is a small dog with height between 9-12 inches, which is 23-30 cm and weight is usually between 8-13 lbs, which is 3,5-6 kg. Even though very small, this dog is definitely not fragile or delicate. These dogs have quite sturdy and strong body. The size differences between males and females are very small.
The Griffon Belge is not ancient dog breed. Its main ancestor is a dog that lived in large numbers around the city of Brussels and that was known as „Smousje“. This dog was similar to todays Dutch Smoushond. The breed that evolved from the „Smousje“ was known as Griffon d’Ecurie. In 19th century, these dogs were crossed with imported toy dogs, such as King Charles Spaniel and Pug, which is how the modern breed was created.
The Griffon Belge has pretty descriptive name. The word Belge means Belgian and the word Griffon is typically describing French and Belgian dogs that are characterized by rough or wiry hair. So the Griffon Belge can be translated as Belgian Rough haired dog.
Originally, the Brussels Griffons were used as vermin hunters and ratters and indeed, they are very lively, courageous and adventurous, but today, they are almost exclusively kept as companion dogs. They are known as velcro dogs that creates extremely strong bond with its owner and is always by its side. It is definitely not a coach potatoe and they are great suited for families who are looking for playful and lively pet with affectionate, devoted and adaptable personality. They can live with other dogs in the family, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood and they can make good playful partners for kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
The two world wars were disastrous for the breed. At the end of the Second world war, the breed was almost non-existent, especially in its home country – Belgium. The breed survived in some other countries in small numbers, particularly in the United Kingdom and especially thanks to the dedicated effort of the English breeders we still have this amazing breed around. Since than, the popularity of Griffon Belge is slowly rising, but it is still considered to be quite rare dog breed. But you can find these dogs all around the world today, especially in Europe and North America
The Griffon Belge does require some grooming, but it is nothing terribly hard. The coat should be brushed weekly in order to keep it mat and tangle free and to remove all the dead hair and dirt. The coat should also be stripped few times a year. Just like with all dog breeds, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Griffon Belge, just like all the Brussells Griffons, is pretty healthy dog breed and its average lifespan is around 13 or 14 years. Even though it is a brachycaphelic dog with flat muzzle, they do not suffer much from breathing issues or overheating. They might suffer from some eye problems like cataracts or lens luxation, heart problems, allergies or infections, but overall this is usually healthy breed.