The Griffon Bruxellois dog breed comes in two types: rough- or smooth-coated. The distinctive feature of a Griffon is its Pug-like face. The nose is quite short and turned up. Large, prominent eyes are another Pug-like feature as is the undershot jaw. This has led some people to liken the Griffon dog face to a monkey. This dog comes in red, black, or black and tan. Adults measure 18-20cm and weigh 2-5kg.
The Griffon Bruxellois is a Belgian breed that was created in the 19th century by crossing Affenpinschers, Pugs and Belgian stable dogs. Hansom cab drivers needed a small, intelligent dog to guard their cabs and dispense with vermin in the stables. The toughness of the street dogs, mixed with the cleverness of the Affenpinschers, proved useful to the cab drivers. Later, English Toy Spaniels were bred in to create an almost human-like face for the Griffon dog and possibly some Yorkshire Terrier was added into the mix.
The Griffon dog is not suggested as a companion for children, as their sometimes rough play can be misconstrued and make the dog fearful and unpredictable around children. Griffons can be stubborn but they are quick to learn and have been trained to do very well in various dog sports. They like to be close to their owner and can be destructive if left alone for long periods of time.
The breed does not have many specific health problems, but as with other breeds of dogs with a relatively flat face, they can be prone to breathing difficulties and eye problems. Like many small breeds, they can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). An inherited spinal disorder is recognised in the breed and breeding dogs should therefore be screened for this.
Active and with a terrier streak, the Griffon dog breed does like a good run but will adapt happily to life in a flat. As a minimum, he needs about half an hour's daily exercise.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
In the rough coats, there is a bit more length at the cheeks, chin, nose and eyes. Care of the coat is not extensive. Rough coats should be plucked three times a year, except for the facial hair, which should be scissor-trimmed. Facial hair should be combed regularly to remove particles of food. Smooth-coated dogs shed a great deal and a grooming mitt should be used quite often to remove dead hairs. Both varieties can do with having the folds cleaned frequently.