Brussels Gri ff on Q& A
understand the dangers that await any Toy breed. Besides protec- tion, the new owners must understand that highly intelligent breeds are not always the easiest to train or live with. In a home that lav- ishes “positive training”, love, protection and a large dash of humor the Griff will thrive and give years and years of companionship and love. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? The breed is NOT a Terrier (and should not be sparred in the ring). A ‘stable ratter’ is only part of the make up of this breed. Two other main breeds known to be ancestors are Pugs and English Toy Spaniels. Both having a more laid back disposition. A correctly bred Griffon will show a blend of these traits both physically and temperamentally. Please read our ABGA Illustrated Standard at our ABGA website. What special challenges do Brussels Griffon breeders face in our current economic and social climate? From what I see, no doubt also due to rise in popularity, the breeders are enjoying abundant sales for their puppies. The Challenge would certainly be the same as always—don’t breed to sell puppies. Breed to improve the breed and only when you want to keep something. Know your buyers well and make it clear if ever they don’t want the dog—it returns to YOU. Be available for the entire life of every dog that you bring into the world and check on each one regularly. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I am watching and carefully scrutinizing every whisker from birth on! At birth I look for a nice, broad, wide muzzle and large nosepad, balanced with a wide skull and jaw. Some bloodlines “fold” with a low set nose folding up between the eyes to finish off with a quite lovely head somewhere around 15 months. My line generally is there at birth or not at all. At about eight weeks I can usually see balance and a little miniature of what the adult will be. Do I have any preference on color? Breeders are allowed pref- erence. If Judges of the Brussels Griffon have a preference, they should stop judging our breed. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Type, type, type. Study the Illustrated Standard (which includes the Standard) and attend the parent club’s Judges Education presentation as often as possible. By the time a person has a Judges License, they should know skeletal structure, various types of movement in general, temperament and purpose of every breed they judge. But the type of each breed is what makes them unique from all other breeds. In our breed, our head is what exudes our type. We provide the following statement to every judge. It is pretty clear. “The Brussels Griffon is a small, compact, double tracking Toy dog with normal structure and moderate angles front and rear. It should appear square, relatively thick set, cobby and well boned. The rib cage is well sprung and the loin short with no obvious tuck- up. The tail is set high and carried up”. That being said—we move on to head type which sets our breed apart from other breeds. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Always be courteous, encouraging and helpful to everyone, whether you are judging them in the ring or meeting them walking their dog on the street. My ultimate goal for the breed? To hold true to our breed type as written and expressed by the “old people”. The people who wrote the Standard and the Illustrated Standard. To have future Standard, Illustrated Standard and Judges Education Committees to hold our breed type true through the years and fads! To not be taken in by some on the European continent who falsely believe dogs must have a “length of nose” to breath properly and be healthy. To continue to put great emphasis on our breed’s soundness and health. My favorite dog show memory? I have been fortunate to have over 50 years of wonderful Dog Show memories. Special dogs, spe- cial lifelong friends and special moments.
Not only is she a wonderful lady, but one of the pillars of our breed in the US. She remains a great friend and mentor. Our favorite dog show memory is being selected by a Breeder- Judge as BOB at the ABGA 2019 National Specialty. Rhonda: There are numerous memories that I can recall. Some of my favorite go back to one of my first mentors, JoAnn Adamson. Her spark, love and enthusiasm for this breed and this sport is what I hope to always be able to emulate. Our show weekends when I first began are ones I will never forget. We will always remain the best of friends. Also, the journey we are on now with our dear friend Ruth Pereira with one of the top winning Griffons (Booker) of all time has given us memories we will always cherish. LORENE VICKERS-SMITH Lorene has been “in dogs” all her life. Her parents and paternal grand- parents bred Boston Terriers. Lorene established the Wisselwood line of Pugs in 1964 and added Brussels Griffons about 15 years later. She has been dedi- cated to establishing and improving the black color in both of her breeds. Lorene is past President of Ingham County K.C. and enjoyed membership in both her breed clubs in England. Lorene became an AKC judge in 1980. She is honored as a Life Member of both her breed parent clubs. Lorene Chairs the Judges’ Education and Illustrated Standard Committees for the American Brussels Griffon Assoc. She is a past director of the Pug Dog Club of America and also served on their Ethics Committee, Judges’ Education Committee and Chaired the first Pug Illustrated Standard Committee. Lorene was long time President of the National Brussels Griffon Club. She founded the Mid Michigan Pug Club in 1979. Lorene has long been considered an expert in brachycephalic head types, presenting many comparison studies to Judges Groups over the last 30 years. When Lorene is not doing judges education, her time is divided between public education and breed rescue. I live in Tucson, Arizona but we spend summers at our Lake Huron Cottage in Michigan. Most of my “dog life” was based out of Ohio and Michigan. My first Homebred Champion from my first litter won WB and BW when I showed her at my first National Specialty in 1971. I started showing my own breeding as a teenager and successfully continued as Breeder of the Year in our National and several of my breed clubs. After 1980 I rarely showed dogs when I started actively judging. Outside of dogs, my husband Greg and I play Old Time music with different groups of fine musicians. We love to walk, cook, eat and spend time with our dogs and close friends. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I feel that popularity always has a negative effect on a breed. The breeds conformation, health and temperament are compro- mised by careless ‘breeders’ hoping to get on the band wagon. I have watched many breeds dear to my heart struggle under popularity and overwhelm breed Rescue (and no doubt shelters as well) So, no, I would not like Brussels Griffons to become any more popular than they are. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? The Brussels Griffon is the ideal companion for the right type of home. It’s the home that needs to be ideal FOR the Brussels Griffon. This breed is not for everyone. The home the Griff goes into needs to
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