Showsight Presents The Brussels Griffon

Visually thumb the mouth to determine if the dog is undershot and line up the midline in the nose with the cleft in the upper jaw and the dimple in the prominent chin. If it is within a vertical line, then the dog is not wry. If a dog appears wry then a closer examination of the mouth is required to see if the jaws align properly or if indeed the dog has a wry mouth. AC: I look very carefully at the face straight on, looking for symmetry, as well as a wide underjaw and pout. I feel with my thumb for underbite. If anything seems ques- tionable, I ask the exhibitor to show me the bite. PD: I judge by looking at the bite. I can only discern a wry bite from the outside if the teeth show. NH: If rough coated, I can lift gently the hair and look at bite. If a smooth, I can lift the lip softly to check. You can see it from the outside. If it’s wry, the lower jaw is out of line as it should be straight across. I always use soft hand or ask exhibitor to show the bite. Do not fight with the dog ever to check the bite! One bad experience isn’t good with these dogs—or any dog—as they never forget it! DV: I first look at the way the lips meet, then lift the corner of the mouth. Yes, you should be able to see if the month is wry while the mouth is shut. The lips do not line up correctly. Also the undershot will show because of the extreme upturn to the lower jaw. 3. Is movement in the Brussels Griffon important? Tail set? How do you deal with natural tails in the ring? JB: I feel movement is very important, it should be balanced front to rear. So called two-piece dogs are very prevalent in the breed at this time…dogs with very short upper arms resulting in the dog standing with the front legs forward of the shoulders. The standard calls for the tail to be set and held high, enough said. The only time I discount this is when a far superior dog in every other respect will not carry its tail in the ring. This is a bit common within the breed, but atti- tude should always be rewarded. The topline should be level and short between the neck and tail; a thick set and cobby body is called for. The world is changing and eventually we will follow suit and not allow cropping and docking any longer. I have judged abroad and placed dogs with natural tails. Jeff K finished the second natural tailed Griffon in the US. I am not opposed to natural tails, but judge it as any other fault, because the standard says the breed is docked. We crop all of our puppies unless one has been previous- ly arranged to be exported. As a judge, I also put up the first natural tailed bitch to be exhibited in the breed here in the US. As a senior judge and known breeder of the Griffon, I would draw the line at a dog being specialed with a natural tail, though I have put up natural tailed dogs in other breeds that are traditionally docked.

I think this is a case where one is a harder judge on his own breed because he has such passion for it. AC: Yes, movement is important for what it tells us about structure. A dog that doesn’t move correctly most likely has some anatomical variances that, at the very least, are undesirable in a breeding program and more seriously portend future health issues related to joint disease, lung capacity or even SM (syringomyelia). PD: Movement is straightforward. Tail set should be high and topline, level and short. Since the standard calls for a docked tail, an undocked tail is a fault. NH: Yes, the breed standard states, “Movement is a straight- forward, purposeful trot with moderate reach and drive and maintaining a steady topline.” Carriage not only down and back but in the side gate, head up and tail up. Tail set carried high and docked. The back level and short, brisket should be broad and deep, ribs well sprung, short coupled, body thickset, neck medium length and gracefully arched. I deal with natural tails by judging it. DV: Our standard asks for a docked tail to about one third, so with a natural tail it starts looking like an Affenpin- scher. Also our standard has no description of how the tail should look like if natural. So if I judge it, it is a fault and how much it takes away from the look of the dog. The Affenpinscher is very different from our breed, along with the carriage and set of the tail. The Griffon tail is high set off a level croup, carried straight up. This with the level top line is very important for the type of the Griffon. As far as movement, good movement is connect- ed to good structure. It is important, but not as important as type to me. I have to have type, then movement. 4. How do you see the look of natural and cropped ears affecting the expression of a Brussels Griffon? JB: One should know when ears are too big. The natural ear is described quite well in the ABGA Illustrated Standard. If the first thing you notice is a very large natural ear, then it is not in accord with the standard and should be noted. AC: I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the expres- sion of a dog with a cropped ear versus a dog with a cor- rect, uncropped ear. Where I see the difference is a dog with an improper ear that has been left natural. Then it makes the dog look clownish, undignified and unable to be taken seriously. PD: The standard calls for the breed to be alert, so I prefer cropped ears, as the dog looks more alert. NH: A cropped ear and a natural ear does give a different expression of the head. It’s always about the picture of balance, movement and the whole dog. We are not just judging ears or tails! DV: The ears make a very big part of the head of the Griffon and its expressions. Natural ears are very beautiful

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