Showsight Presents The Brussels Griffon

Brussels Gri ff on Q& A

Je ff Bazell & Je ff Kestner continued

and dew everywhere and thousands of dogs and huge white tents, wonderful life long friends sharing a bottle of wine while getting dogs ready for a show, getting children and grandkids ready to head into the ring for the very first time, long rides home after a fun day at the show, watching something you brought into this world win BIS at some of the largest shows in this country, losing something you brought into this world/having it leave you while holding it in your arms with tears running down your cheeks, and walking into that big ring and pointing your finger for the first time. Sad, happy, thrilling, confounding—the dog world is complicated. As you can tell from some of our answers this is not an easy breed, it is not for everyone, nor should it be. It has an interesting history, is difficult as far as husbandry issues go, can be loving or care less about you, can be notoriously hard to raise and train and can lead a very short life or live forever. They are a study in contrasts and you will be rewarded in return for what you give to them. No effort, no reward. ANNE CATTERSON

so do not expect them to be. But, if you are a sound breeder and not doing breeding to sell puppies at a profit this must be done. Cesarean sections are common in the breed and quite expensive. Prior to breeding an outside bitch we bluntly ask the owners if they and their bank accounts are prepared to take care of the mother and puppies. The cost of veterinary care has risen astronomically in the last decade and tough questions should be asked by both stud owners and owners of potential broods if they can afford to do a breeding properly and whelp and raise a litter. Puppy mortality in the breed can be quite high especially if the puppy’s lungs are not afforded extra attention. At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Personally we are dealing with a very old, tightly line-bred, family of dogs that breed true to type due to these factors. I hear people say they pick their pick on birth and stick to it....we do not. We want to see a litter of healthy puppies that have no glaring faults nor glaring virtues. The breed is a study of moderation. Moderate angles and moderate in movement. They are not to be raced around a ring like a sporting dog. We start training puppies to stack and move on lead around five to six weeks and evaluate them weekly. We have whelped, raised and completed the championships on two lit- ters containing eight puppies each. We evaluate puppies and decide what type of home we want for them at ten weeks of age then work on developing a system for placement according to what living situ- ations those prospective homes provide. Sometimes a top potential show puppy goes to live with what we believe to be a perfect pet home and that is just fine with us. We agree that a great pet home is far better than a poor show home and place the pups accordingly. There are many choices equally valid under the Standard: rough, smooth, red, belge, black and tan, black. Do we have a pref- erence? According to the standard rough and smooth are equal in all respects except coat—always remember that. Now for our pref- erences. Bazell was raised amongst black and tan breeds and loves them to live with and look at. But REAL Belge is his favorite—not what some unknowing folks call Belge, but REAL Belge with pat- terning. They are very rare and less than 4% of the Griffon popula- tion. As people age in the breed we think they tend to become more fond of smooths because of the coat work. To properly maintain a rough coated Griffon in show coat requires real devotion and time, approximately 12 hours of flat work each week per dog. Clippered coats are just a mess to maintain and destroy the breed’s outline and integrity. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Do not be fooled by “flash and dash” that is so apparent in the breed currently. Think working structure, front legs directly under the withers, head larger than normal for the body with proper features, short backed and thick, and moderate in all respects, except head. Care should be taken to get under the coat on a rough dog. Groomers can easily hide an incorrect head under hair. Never call the breed “Brussels” for short or people in the breed will know you do not know the breed. The best way to attract newcomers to our breed and to the sport? Easiest answer, be kind and be professional in all your dealings. Our ultimate goal for the breed? Bazell has been most fortunate to have spent the last 50 years working with this breed and watch- ing the family develop, as with any long standing relationship there have been major disappointments and mind blowing success. Our goal for the breed is to leave it better than we found it and we have succeeded in that already. It will surely be a long time that the St John family and genetics will still be recognized and that is our legacy to the breed and its people. Our favorite dog show memory? There are truly so many that we cannot set one apart from the other so here is a partial list—early morning drive onto the Polo Grounds at Chagrin Falls with fog

Anne Catterson has been breeding and exhibiting since the ‘80’s, start- ing with Boston Terriers and adding Brussels Griffons to the household shortly thereafter. She has bred doz- ens of champions under the Bobcat prefix. Bobcat dogs were always own- er-handled, either by Anne or by son, Paul, first as a Junior and now as a pro- fessional handler. Anne has been an AKC judge since 1999. She is currently

approved to judge the Non-Sporting group, several Toy breeds, Australian Shepherds and Jr. Showmanship. In addition to judging for AKC, she often judges for ARBA (American Rare Breed Asso- ciation) and ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America). Anne participates in several dog organizations in various capaci- ties: Secretary and Show Coordinator for the Pasadena Boston Ter- rier club; Vice-President of the Sand-to-Sea Non-Sporting Asso- ciation, and Governor on the Board of Directors of the American Brussels Griffon Association. Her all-breed affiliation is with the Kennel Club of Riverside, where she is Treasurer and Show Chair. Anne edits and publishes the ABGA Bulletin , the parent club publication, and writes the Brussels Griffon breed column for the AKC Gazette . She has also had articles published in Top Notch Toy and Dog News . I live in Southern California. Outside of dogs, I am a retired RN. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with their placement? It’s a comfortable place to be. Those of us who suffered through popularity after the movie “As Good As It Gets” featured a Griff are happy to be on the down-low. They neither help nor hurt. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Griffs only want to be with their person/people. That makes them the per- fect couch potato if that’s the plan for the day, but also the perfect traveling companion, because they just want to be with us wherever. In households with children, most Griffs will gravitate to the adults for companionship. Any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? They are not yappy. What special challenges do Brussels Griffon breeders face in our current economic and social climate? The “shop don’t adopt” men- tality is a challenge to all preservation breeders, but if that’s their philosophy we’d rather they’d adopt. Cropping ears and docking tails is always a target animal rights groups.


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