Showsight Presents The Brussels Griffon

examine the mouth. The undershot jaw can be checked without prying the mouth open. I prefer to have the judge ask me to “show them the bite”. If the judge prefers to examine the bite they should be very careful not to close off the dog’s airways by covering or push- ing against the nose. They can actually check the bite visually and, with just the fingertip, lift the lip. The lower jaw is prominent, rather broad with an upward sweep. A wry mouth is a seri- ous fault. Disqualifications are an over- shot bite or a hanging tongue. The heads usually get broader by the time the dog is mature and the under jaw will tilt up to its maximum poten- tial which should place the nose higher and in deeply between the eyes form- ing a layback. The skull shall be large and round, with a domed forehead. The forehead shall not be flat. The judges should examine the head to be sure the groomer didn’t leave a lot of hair on the dog’s skull to make it look like it is domed. A smooth Griffon shows every- thing it has, no cover–ups. What you see is what it is. A rough-coated Griffon with a good groomer can cover a lot of faults. I have seen pin heads look like they had large heads with domes when in fact it was just hair left longer and left in the shape of a dome. Nose is very black and extremely short. When I bred my first two litters I got “button noses”. I thought they were so cute. Then I really started studying other dogs in the ring and the breed standard and learned that the nostrils should be large. I like to see a nice sized nose pad now rather than the “button noses” I used to get. A Dudley or butterfly nose is a disqualification.

The body should be a thickset, short body. Brisket should be broad and deep, ribs well sprung. The Brussels Griffon is a slow maturing breed. It usually takes the breed 2 ½ years for the head to be fully developed and the ribs to spring and the chest to drop to the maximum. The body a judge sees in a youngster will be quite a different body in the same dog at maturity. The weight is usually 8 to 10 pounds and should not exceed 12 pounds. There are larger dogs being shown and the standard says type and quality are of greater impor- tance than weight. There are also small- er dogs being shown and the standard states a smaller dog that is sturdy and well proportioned should not be penal- ized. Let me make emphasis on the fact that the smaller dog should not have spindly legs and be stringy in appear- ance nor shall the larger dog be built like a Border Terrier. Their bodies must be thickset, compact and with good substance. They must be well boned however they must not be Terrier–type. The neck should be of medium length with a graceful arch. The back should be level and short. The tail should be set high and held high. Our standard states that the tail shall be docked to about one third. There are dogs being shown with undocked tails. It is up to the judge’s discretion whether to use the dog or not. On the scale of points the tail is grouped with general appear- ance (neck, topline and tail carriage). They count for ten points. The forelegs are of medium length, straight in bone, well muscled, set moderately wide apart. The toes shall be well arched and the feet round and small (almost cat like in appearance).

There should be balance between the front assembly and the width of the rear and the shoulders should not look front loaded and the overall picture should not be a pear shaped body. The hind legs should be set true with strong thighs that are well muscled. Sti- fles bent and hocks well let down. Both front legs and rear legs should not turn in or turn out. There are two types of coat. The rough coat is a wiry and dense coat. We are seeing very short coats in the ring. The rough coat should be long enough for the judge to be able to examine the texture. Sometimes the beards and leg furnishings look sparse on a very harsh coated Griffon. This is a proper coat. The soft coats will have what appears to be beautiful and full. This is improper. The harsher the coat, the better it is. The rough coat is hand stripped and there should never be scissor marks. The smooth coat is straight, short, tight and glossy, with no trace of wiry hair. White hairs are a serious fault except for frost on the muzzle of a mature dog. White spot or blaze anywhere on the coat is a disqualification. The movement is a straightfor- ward, purposeful trot, showing mod- erate reach and drive and maintain- ing a steady topline. I would end with ‘please judge dogs by the standard’ and not what the current trend is. Some breeders have several dogs in the ring that are of similar type. A judge might look at the quantity of dogs that look alike and discount the dog that is proper according to the standard. If judges would judge by the standard it would force breeders to breed to the standard.


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