Did you know?
The Brussels Griffon seen in the film As Good as It Gets (1997) was played by six Brussels Griffons, named Timer, Sprout, Debbie, Billy, Parfait, and Jill.
Jill was the star.
Dogs…do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value they have to bequeath except their love and their faith. – Eugene O’Neill
Hailing from Belgium, the Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois) was the constant companion of coachmen driving hansom cabs in the 1800s.
He was an effective watchdog and kept the rat population under control in the stables. His expressive and impish face soon made him such a popular pet that he moved from the stables to the house as a companion and lap dog.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Belgium’s Queen Marie Henriette was a dog enthusiast who attended the annual dog shows of her country with her daughter. The Queen was a breeder of Brussels Griffons, and her interest boosted the popularity of the breed. Sadly, by the end of the second World War there were few of the little dogs left in Belgium but they were saved from extinction largely through the efforts of British breeders.
His appearance in the film As Good As It Gets, elevated his profile in North America. Today, while still not a common sight, they are more popular than ever.
Photos displayed courtesy of Maggie Blackman, Manitoba Reg’d, Alberta
This dog has a thick set, short body and weighs no more than 12 pounds (5.5 kg). There are two coat varieties, rough or smooth. The rough coat is wiry and dense, with no silky hair anywhere. The coat should not be so long as to give a shaggy appearance, but the head should be covered with wiry hair, slightly longer around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and chin, thus forming a fringe.
Either coat type may be solid black, reddish brown, black and reddish brown with a black mask and whiskers, or black with reddish brown markings. The wiry or rough coat requires regular weekly grooming and should be hand stripped to maintain it.
With their domed heads, short muzzles, and almost human expressions, fans of this breed point to the lovable Ewoks of Star Wars fame. In fact, the makeup for the Ewok characters was developed by make-up artist Stuart Freeborn, who built them from designs based on the image of the Brussels Griffon, a dog breed which George Lucas owned.
The Brussels Griffon’s quizzical expression betrays his curious and amusing personality. He is alert, lively, and highly intelligent. Wary of strangers, he is also a good little watchdog. The Griffon loves to play and is good with children as long as he is not the subject of too much rough housing. With his small size, he is better in a household with older children.
Griffons tend to bond with one human more than others and love nothing more than the company of, and to snuggle with, his master.
He gets along well with cats and dogs and other pets. However, his self-important, terrier-like disposition can get him into trouble because he has a big dog personality in a small dog body and may attempt to dominate other, much larger dogs.
As with all dogs, he will benefit from early training and socialization. He is obedient but can be stubborn, impatient, and highly sensitive to harsh training techniques. Accordingly, he responds best to a patient owner who uses consistent training methods.
Small enough to get enough exercise running around the house, this active and busy little dog really enjoys getting out for a walk.