The Brussels Griffon dogs are city-bred through and through, designed small and companionable from the start. They were first bred to chase and kill rats in the stables of Belgium’s horse-drawn cabs-for-hire (the predecessor of the modern-day taxicab). They are the perfect companion animals for hands-on owners.
The First Brussels Griffon Dogs
In creating the Brussels Griffon dogs, breeders cross-bred the English Toy Spaniel, the Affenpinscher, and even the Pug. These mixes combined to create a tiny dog well-suited to chasing down animals just its size. The size also helped the small dogs navigate the stables without taking up too much space.
How Brussels Griffon Dogs Became Popular
Because the dogs were so small, they became attractive housepets to both the workers and laborers who first came in contact with them, and to the nobility as well. By the late 1800s, the Brussels Griffon dogs were registered as a standard Belgian breed (Griffon Bruxellois) and allowed to enter dog shows.
As their popularity grew, the Brussels Griffon dogs caught the attention of Belgian Queen Marie Henriette. She not only owned and bred them, she eagerly spread the word of this tiny housepet in her travels to other parts of Europe. The World Wars threw the breeding off the priority list in Continental Europe, when keeping pets was an ill-afforded expense. However, the breeds in England survived, but until now the breed continues to be rare.
What Are Brussels Griffon Dogs Like?
The Brussels Griffon dogs were bred to be around people and horses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means they may demand quite a lot of attention. Despite that, they will pinpoint a person to whom they develop a special attachment, and stay loyal to that person. Their owner should be willing to give the level of attention the dog demands.
Griffons are not too patient with children, or with forced attentions such as kissing and hugging. They are snugglers, and sensitive to rough or impatient handling. Because they are so small, owners may pull them or grab them away from danger instead of using vocal commands. This may cause fear- or aggression-biting from the surprised Griffons. If you are worried about your dog, think about reading through the best invisible dog fence reviews and protecting your dog with one of those.
Despite their long history as perfect housedogs, their rat-hunting abilities will still manifest if ever their households are faced with that problem. At the same time, they are not too easy to house-train. Intensive, patient training is demanded to properly train them, and it may take many months before you are confident in leaving your Griffon in the house.
How Big Do Brussels Griffon Dogs Get?
These tiny dogs stand around 7 to 8 inches high at the shoulder, a full 4 inches short of a foot. They only weigh around 7 to 12 pounds, making them a perfect dog for the interior of the house. Their temperaments hardly make them lapdogs, however. They enjoy action and are energetic, so they need play as much as cuddling.
Brussels Griffon Dogs: Tiny Energetic Companions
Brussels Griffon dogs are perfect for owners with enough time on their hands to give them the attention they deserve. Well-adjusted, well-trained Griffons will easily do whatever is asked of them by their owners.