Showsight Presents The Brussels Griffon

THE BRUSSELLS GRIFFON

“THE BRUSSELS GRIFFON’S EYES CAN CONVEY HURT, LOSS, ANGER, DISGUST, NEED, COMFORT, AND PRACTICALLY THE WHOLE SPECTRUM OF HUMAN EMOTION.”

The eyes must be set well apart to allow room for the extremely short, well laid back nose to fit deep in line between them. The very large prominent eyes are a part of what gives the Griffon that “almost human” expression so important to breed type. The eyes are not really black but very dark brown, appearing almost black. Eye rims should be edged with black adding to the intensity of the dark eye. Well opened eyes are essential for correct expression. From studying other breed standards, I know that some also mention the resemblance to humans. Most always these are brachycephalic breed standards. I think, for starters, that the lack of foreface sticking out puts them in more of a human category. It probably would be more difficult to see the “human expression” in a dolichocephalic or mesaticephalic canine. The level of intel- ligence of some of the breeds with “noses” may arguably be higher, but Griffons are EXTREMELY intelligent in their own right. While looking into a brachycephalic face, it is probably easier to see a little person looking back at you. When judging our breed, it is important to recognize that because of this high intelligence and ability to show their feel- ings, you must approach and handle table exams carefully. Any wrong move that you make that could be interpreted by the Griff as threatening, could forever ruin a future show dog.

I’ll conclude by leaving the conformation ring and talking about living with our breed. I believe that every canine, wheth- er used for breeding, performance, conformation, field or whatever, deserves to be a family member under their human’s care. This unique bond with humans is what sets domesticated dogs apart from their wild ancestors. When people form an intimate connection with their pets, they are more closely “in tune” with their pet’s feelings and desires. It has been writ- ten about for ages that many domesticated dogs have become pseudo children for their humans; fur kids, fur babies, etc. Many people easily transfer their own feelings and needs to their dogs. Perhaps this is the case with our breed in particular because of its large, expressive eyes. The Griffon’s eyes defi- nitely are the “windows” to their soul! The Brussels Griffon’s eyes can convey hurt, loss, anger, disgust, need, comfort, and practically the whole spectrum of human emotion. I think that because of the Brussels Griffon’s extreme intelligence, it is possible that this “human likeness” is in the owner’s mind more than in the actual physical features of the dog.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lorene Vickers-Smith, Wisselwood, Reg.

Lorene has been “in dogs” all her life. Her parents and paternal grandparents bred and showed Boston Terriers. Lorene established the Wisselwood, Reg. line of Pugs in 1964, and added Brussels Griffons about 15 years later. She dedicated her life to establishing and improving the black color in both breeds. Lorene became an AKC judge in 1980. She is Judges’ Education Chairman for the American Brussels Griffon Assoc. and she served on that same committee over many years for the Pug Dog Club of America, and formulated the Illustrated Standard for both clubs. Lorene has the honor of being Life Member of both parent clubs. She was longtime President of the National Brussels Griffon Club. She founded the Mid Michigan Pug Club in 1979. Lorene is past President of Ingham County K.C. and was a longtime member of both her breed clubs in England. When Lorene is not doing judges education, her time is divided between public education and breed rescue.

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