Brussels Griffon are a dog breed with Oscar pedigree.
These tiny dogs got their break on the big screen in 1997 when a little Brussels Griffon called Verdell starred alongside Jack Nicholson in Oscar winner, As Good As It Gets.
These adorable Belgian dogs are still relatively uncommon in spite of their Hollywood fame, proving a particularly big hit on social media websites such as Instagram.
Brussels Griffon are often likened to the Star Wars fictional species Ewok, in part thanks to their distinctive but charming squishy faces and teddy-bear like appearance.
Indeed, these small doggies have a long, wiry, rough coat with a bearded face. However, this trademark feature does require a lot of care, mostly in the form of regular grooming.
Their faces give a glimpse into their personalties, with these Belgian dogs possessing huge characters to match their trademark coats.
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Brief introduction to Brussels Griffon
While Brussels Griffon may have achieved Oscar fame with As Good As It Gets, the breeds’ origins aren’t so glamorous. Indeed, these dogs served an important purpose in Belgium. Their job was to hunt small rodents in barns and stables for coachmen in the European country. Their status rose when Marie Henriette of Austria, who was also known as the Queen of Belgians, became enchanted with these diminutive dogs and started to breed them. The Brussels Griffon were on the verge of extinction following World War I and World War II. However, their numbers have bounced back to see their popularity increase thanks to some breeders in the United Kingdom.
What breeds were used to create the Brussels Griffon?
To get a better understanding of these charismatic canines and all their hair, we need to take a look at what different dogs were used to create this Belgian breed.
Brussels Griffons are thought to be ancestors of a small companion dog in Belgium called Smousje.
Black pugs were also used to produce Brussels Griffon, which can help to explain their short-muzzled faces and dark colors.
Similar in facial structure to pugs, the flat-faced King Charles Spaniel played a role when it comes to Brussels Griffon dogs.
Another Spaniel had a part in the breed’s creation is the Ruby Red Spaniel, otherwise called Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and they have short muzzles unlike their relatives.
German dogs Affenpinscher, a terrier-like toy Pinscher breed of dog, are ancestors of Brussels Griffon.
Brussels Griffon coats
Brussels Griffon tend to have two different types of coats: rough or smooth.
The rough coat Brussels Griffon usually have a hard and wiry coat. In fact, for breeders, the wirier the better when it comes to this type. However, there is a wide variety of rough coats within the breed.
The smooth coat Brussels Griffon have a fluffier appearance but grooming these dogs can prove to be challenging work. They will often have an eye-catching beard and their appearance is pretty spectacular.
The hair is particularly coarse and dense in their beards and eyebrows.
Brussels Griffon with beard
Brussels Griffon are often confused for baby Pugs given their squishy face. Of course, strangers can be forgiven for making this mistake given the black Pug played a part in the breed’s creation.
However, these dogs can sport a beard unlike their toy dog ancestors. Indeed, their facial hair puts would-be hipsters to shame and makes them a firm favorite in the dog world.
Halloween is a good time of year for a Brussels Griffon and their owner given the wide variety of costume options thanks to their trademark beard.
In particular, the Ewok is a favorite of owners of these dogs thanks to their hairy faces and rough, coarse coat.
Maintaining a Brussels Griffon beard
The Brussels Griffon tend to sport a trademark beard which is an eye-catching characteristic of this breed. They can grow quite long in length, often giving this breed a windswept look.
However, it is worth noting that a Brussels Griffon beard does require a lot of care and it is important to maintain to avoid your canine sporting some rather smelly facial hair.
When it comes to grooming their beards, you can use a sponge to take care of their ample beards to make sure your dog is ready to model their bushy facial hair out and about in the neighborhood.
Brussels Griffon without beard
While they usually sport a healthy beard, there is another variation of the breed that is often referred to as Brussels Griffon that are extremely similar but don’t have any facial hair: the Petit Brabancon.
These Belgian dogs are similar in stature and size to the Brussels Griffon but tend to be even rarer.
Brussels Griffon grooming and shedding
Brussels Griffons require a moderate amount of grooming. It depends on whether you have a rough coat or smooth coat Brussels Griffon.
As a general rule, the breeds’ hair will grow to three to four inches in length before it eventually dies and falls out. It is recommended that you use a “hound’s glove” to give the coat a natural gloss and to remove and catch loose hairs.
To keep on top of the grooming of these Brussels Griffon, it is recommended that you brush their coats on a daily basis to prevent their shedding from getting out of control.
The rough coat Brussels Griffon is often hand stripped, especially if the dog is going to be shown at competition. Using a scissors or clippers is frowned upon when preparing these canines for dog shows.
Other notable traits
While these dogs are famous for their bushy beards, Brussels Griffon have another notable feature: their ears.
Their ears are located high up on their head as a result of a procedure, which means these cropped ears are usually erect.
Interesting facts about Brussels Griffon
– The average size of a Brussels Griffon is 9 to 11 inches (230–280 mm) tall, their average weight is between 8 to 10 pounds (4–5 kg).
– The Brussels Griffon breed tend to come in four different colours: red, a black and red brown called belge, black and tan, and black.
– This charming breed can suffer from respiratory problems, which is hardly surprising given Pugs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were used to create Brussels Griffon.
– Brussels Griffon have an average life expectancy of 12-15 years.
– Given these dogs remains quite rare but are so unique in appearances, the Brussels Griffon tends to be quite an expensive dog. Prospective owners could end up paying anywhere between $800-$4,000 for a puppy.