Among dog lovers, small Belgian dogs are especially popular. Petit Brabancons are distinguished by their unusual appearance and excellent health; at one time they were considered the privilege of the nobility. The material in this article will be useful to those who decide to get a puppy of this breed. We will talk in detail about where Brabancons came from, how they look, what advantages and disadvantages they have, and also what are the main nuances of their content.
The history of decorative dogs with a funny appearance dates back to the 15th century. It was at that time that she was bred by breeders who crossed a Belgian yard dog with a German Appenfincher. The first dogs at one time were captured on the canvases of artists of that time.
However, breeders did not keep any records about them then.
The animals had a different type of coat, and one that more or less corresponded to the modern one was obtained as a result of mating small griffons with pugs. In addition, in the selection, according to experts, the Papillon and the Kig Charles Spaniel took part. This explains the characteristic black and tan color, the absence of a tail and its rare curvature.
In the 19th century, there were three types of Brabancons: wire-haired Belgian and Brussels griffins, as well as smooth-haired Petit Brabancons. The first Brabancons were small in size and were excellent rat-catchers. Initially, they lived in port warehouses, stables and the houses of the poor. However, soon the animals were noticed by representatives of the royal nobility, who decided to make dogs with an unusual appearance their living toys.
Aristocrats liked not only the original appearance of the Brabancons. The key point was the fact that these pets practically did not shed. And this, in turn, made it possible to preserve the beauty of outfits and expensive dresses, which was important for the nobility. Among the special admirers of decorative dogs was the Belgian Queen Marie Henrietta. It was she who began to actively popularize the breed of dogs with a funny appearance.
This was manifested not only in the popularity of animals among aristocrats. In addition, the breed began to be promoted as a separate species, participating in annual exhibition events. Belgian dogs owe it to the queen that in 1883 they were included in the Stud Book of St. Hubert.
Unfortunately, the dogs of aristocrats began to lose their basic working skills over time. They became pampered and weak, which was also facilitated by their crossing with fellows of other breeds, which was carried out to improve selection and make the dogs more decorative. Different dogs were used in breeding, which left its mark on the character and appearance of the Brabancons.
Instead of hunting rats and leading an active lifestyle, the Brabancons began to sleep for a long time on soft pillows, rode in carriages with their high-ranking masters. Many of these dogs had their own servants. The task of the pets themselves was to entertain the owners with games and warm people at night, for which they were taken to bed with them. Funny dogs were especially liked by lonely ladies who were disappointed in men.
These pets brightened up the lives of aristocratic women, captivating with their positive attitude.
A little later, smooth-haired griffons began to be sold abroad as elite and thoroughbred representatives of the canine family. And everything would have been fine if, in that era, fate had not threatened the existence of the Brabancons. World War II caused a sharp decline in the number of Belgian Griffons, and miniature dogs were also under the threat of extinction. However, it was the fact that dogs lived in the UK and the USA at that time that saved the breed from complete extinction.
At the end of the war, the breeders decided to restore the breed, although it did not work out in the form in which it was known at that time. This was partly due to the fact that breeders wanted some kind of renewal in the appearance of funny dogs. And already in 1963 the first standard for representatives of this breed was established. In May 2003 it was adjusted due to the removal of disqualification for individual colors, and since that time the dog standard has not been subject to any changes.
Petit Brabancons came to our country from the USA in 1993, they were brought to St. Petersburg to the Nevsky Hobbit nursery, where they began to breed. It was these dogs that became the ancestors of puppies that are sold on the territory of the Russian Federation. For 6 years of breeding in nurseries, it was possible to increase the number of animals up to 85 individuals. Today, these dogs are called differently (for example, smooth-coated griffon, Brabant griffon or small Brabancon).
Description of the breed
The appearance of the Brabant griffons is unusual and very eccentric. For all their compactness and decorativeness, these animals only at first glance seem fragile and weak. In fact, they have a fairly strong physique and no less grace when moving. According to the regulations of the standard, the length of the body of an individual from the buttocks to the shoulders must be compared with the height of the animal at the withers.
The size of the dog is small: the height of adults at the withers averages from 16 to 26 cm. In this case, the weight of an individual dog can vary in the range from 3.5 to 6 kg. As a rule, large dimensions and weight are characteristic of males, while girls are more compact. Inexperienced breeders are often faced with the opinion that within the breed there is a division into standard class dogs and representatives of the mini category. In reality, the breed is one and does not have any fractions.
Differences can only be associated with genetics, gender, or the structure of muscles and bones.
It is the head of the Brabancons that distinguishes them from other brethren. It is expressive, large and has a round shape of the skull. The skull is broad, the forehead is large and convex, the stop is pronounced. Against the background of the head, the muzzle seems short, its length is quite small, although visually it seems longer. This is explained by the absence of the so-called beard (a long woolen cover in the area of the jaws and chin).
The type of muzzle is upturned, if in dogs the upper edge of the nose is located under the line of the eyes, such an animal is subject to disqualification. A prerequisite for the exterior is the dark color of the lips, as well as a tightly closed mouth. The human expression of the muzzle is due to the flattening of the muzzle, the nose of the animal is black, the nostrils are wide and open, the tip is somewhat flattened. When looking at the dog in profile, it is clear that his forehead and nose are in the same plane.
The eyes of the small petit-brabancon enhance the effect of the humanity of the dog’s gaze. They are large, wide set, painted in dark brown. At the same time, they are deprived of the bulge, which gives other dogs the appearance of underdevelopment, which is characteristic of a similar body structure. Ideally, the edges of the eyes should be almost black, the protein should not be visible.
As for the skeleton, its shape tends to be square, but this in no way affects the freedom of movement of the dog. Her gait is not devoid of elegance and naturalness. She is light and casual. The physique of a purebred representative of the breed is proportional, the ears are small, set high.
According to the regulations of the established standard, they can be docked, standing pointed, and also hanging.
The tail of the animal must have a high delivery, the standard allows it to be docked by 1/3 of the length. A non-docked show animal must have a tail directed towards the back, not curled, but carried up. The dental formula of the animal must be complete, the lower jaw may have some upward curvature. Usually the incisors of both jaws in a purebred Brabant dog form straight lines, they are parallel to each other.
However, the bite itself is not quite even: the lower jaw is somewhat pushed forward. The teeth themselves are even and parallel to each other, the mouth is completely closed by the lips, the tongue fits completely inside the mouth. The lips are devoid of fleshiness, but may have slight pigmentation. The corners of the mouth are turned down, which gives the expression of the muzzle a sad look.
The Brabant Shorthair has a medium length neck in proportion to the body. His limbs are set parallel to each other, their placement is rather wide. The bones are strong, the elbows are close to the body. Small paws are slightly rounded, they are not twisted, as in other dogs. Paw pads are dense and dark, the claws of these animals are completely black.
The hocks have a normal set of paws. There should be no profitable toes on the hind legs. Brabancon wool is short, its length does not exceed 2 cm. The color of the animal can be different: for example, black and tan with reddish or red marks, deer or mixed. Regardless of the type of color, the mouth of a purebred dog must be black. A characteristic feature of the color is the presence of a dark mask on the muzzle.
The life resource of these pets is on average 12-13 years. However, a considerable part of the representatives of the breed live up to 15 years, which for these dogs is considered to be a very old age. Life expectancy is influenced by various factors, including conditions of care and maintenance, as well as genetics and the timeliness of preventive measures.
Much depends on the nutritious diet and providing the dog with walks and activities, without which it weakens.
Pros and cons
The nature of dogs has positive and negative sides. The advantages include various nuances, for example:
- great affection for its owner;
- the good nature that the animal shows towards the household;
- understanding of a good attitude from the side of people;
- lack of rancor or resentment;
- the ability to accompany the owner on a trip;
- ability in training and education;
- excellent interaction of the animal with other animals living in the house.
Among the negative points it is worth noting:
- poor tolerance of separation from the owner;
- refusal to eat when the animal is sad;
- tendency to aggression in the absence of education;
- predisposition to skin diseases of individual dogs (a representative of the breed is often allergic);
- the complexity of childbirth (often they end in a caesarean section).
In addition, these dogs are distinguished by an increased interest in everything that lies on the ground, and therefore they drag any garbage home.
In general, these dogs can be excellent companions for people of all ages. They subtly feel the mood of their owners and can become favorites in large families. They love to play and appreciate human attention, trying to return it with gratitude and good behavior. Despite the fact that they are not from the timid ten, these dogs are by no means evil and do not hold a grudge if the owner behaves unfairly towards them.
Pets are very smart, distinguished by self-esteem and can show a lot of emotions, which is liked not only by their breeders, but also by those around them. Sometimes the dog seems pensive, sometimes sad, sometimes funny or even radiant with happiness. They show a range of emotions very actively, accompanying their thoughts with actions.
Sometimes these cute dogs miss their owners so much that they go on a hunger strike.
They do not cause much trouble on trips and travels, they are accommodating and adapt to any requirements of breeders. However, houses without owners are very sad. The situation is not saved by the fact that they are left with well-known people. These dogs show true loyalty and devotion to their owners. For animals, being part of a family is extremely important, and therefore no one and nothing can replace their family, without which they consider themselves abandoned and useless.
When the owner is nearby, the dog is incredibly happy, he is obedient and enjoys every minute given to him by a person. However, in the soul, a dog that loves to show tenderness towards household members considers itself independent, it has a proud character. Living with a person for a long time, she is able not only to learn to adapt to his mood and emotional state. This little dog can take on the facial expressions of a favorite breeder, becoming a reflection of the owner.
Despite the need for communication, Brabancon will not allow himself excessive obtrusiveness, he will not get under the feet of the owners. Even as a puppy, he will try to behave well, pleasing the person so that the owner loves him. At the same time, the dog does not lose its protective qualities; if necessary, it will show its fearlessness, despite its funny appearance. In relation to other pets, she will also not be intrusive, but if desired, she will always support any game or undertaking.
Unlike his other brothers, Brabancon understands the master’s jokes and does not respond to them with malice. He does not lose his playfulness and positive attitude throughout his life, and he shows playfulness not only with adult households, he also loves children. Even at an old age, he will not deny himself the pleasure of playing with them, everyone loves the indefatigability of the animal, it is worthy of admiration.
At the same time, during the game, the dog will delight children with a mass of emotions shown, which rarely goes unnoticed.
When necessary, an animal can empathize with its owner. However, if an inexperienced owner believes that the baby is just as friendly to others, then this is not at all the case. Strangers for a Brabancon do not have the same value as members of the family in which he lives. It only seems to the owners that the dog is good-natured: practice proves that these dogs are often very wary of strangers.
They do not like others at all, which they express with appropriate emotions and behavior. It is easy to predict it: just look at the expression on the face. As for pets, the only species that pets show genuine hunting interest in are small rodents. They do not touch cats, rabbits or birds, but they can chase rats and hamsters.
Training and education of dogs is best to start from puppyhood. At the same time, the requirements of the owner must be consistent and logical. The curiosity of dogs must be directed in the right direction, since an unoccupied animal becomes stupid and can splash out its energy with unreasonable aggression towards strangers and everything that surrounds it. In general, these pets quickly understand the essence of commands and willingly carry them out.
They are very fond of showing off, and for this training is a great reason. The dog happily performs the commands given to the public in order to once again receive praise from its owner. Representatives of this breed have an excellent memory, and therefore they, as a rule, remember the memorized command all their lives.
However, in order for the dog to grow up smart and be well-mannered, it is necessary to train it without the slightest hint of rudeness and intolerance.
When training, rewards are welcome that spur the interest of the animal. The dog should not just be praised for the executed command. Given that she behaves like a malleable child when teaching, she must understand the consequences of her act. And therefore, you can’t do without some sweets and an affectionate word that she’s done well.
It is noteworthy that these dogs do not demonstrate their authority to the owners and do not try to dominate all household members. In their hearts, they already know that they are at the top of the hierarchy of their owners. However, if for some reason the animal allows itself even a little aggression towards the owner, such behavior must be stopped immediately so that it does not give its sprouts. Any allowance and weakness of the owner can lead to the fact that instead of an obedient dog, an uncontrollable imp will grow up in the house.
Petit Brabancon care will consist in unquestioning observance of the basic rules: hygiene, walks, medical examinations and excessive love with attention and care. Given the length of the coat, caring for it will not be much of a hassle. Even during shedding, she will not wallow around the house too much, as is the case with long-haired dog counterparts. These dogs do not need slickers and a large arsenal of all kinds of grooming brushes. The Brabancon fur coat does not need to be combed out daily with special fanaticism.
However, as a relaxing massage, you can purchase a special brush, which will help the puppy get used to the procedure quickly.
Fur coats for dogs of this breed are not cut, because there is no need for this. A comb will be enough to remove dead hair, dust and light dirt from the coat. Washing Brabancons is often not recommended. Usually they are bathed as they get dirty, using special zoo shampoos for dogs with a short and smooth coat structure.
In the winter season, washing is not at all desirable, since the dog can catch a cold after it if the house is cool. In this case, experts recommend drying her coat with a hair dryer, choosing the optimal drying mode that will not heat the pet’s skin too much. As for the summer, it is at this time of the year that the dog is washed more often. And it’s not even that the owner wants the animal to be perfectly clean.
The reason lies in the dirt that the pet carries from the street after each walk. It is important to understand here that the dog is washed completely only if it is too dirty. After walking, it is enough to rinse or wipe only her paws. Her coat is not long, and therefore dirt from the ground does not cling to it too much. However, in bad weather or after rain, swimming becomes mandatory.
You need to teach your dog about hygiene as early as possible, along with other rules that he must obey in the house. At the same time, a visual inspection is not enough: the owner must monitor the condition of the pet’s teeth, ears, eyes and claws.
The most important indicator of a dog’s health is its mood. If it has ceased to be positive, it is worth showing the pet to a specialist to identify the cause of dog discomfort.
Both the puppy and the adult dog need to have their ears cleaned, which constantly accumulates earwax. It should be removed with a cotton swab dipped in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. If signs of inflammation or redness of the auricles are found, the dog is urgently taken to an appointment with a veterinarian. Under no circumstances should you self-medicate, since only a doctor makes a correct diagnosis for an animal and prescribes the correct treatment. When treating the ears, it is impossible to get too deep into the auricles with a swab.
Eyes are cleaned regularly by rubbing them with a cotton swab dipped in warm boiled water. If thorns or redness are found, the pet is taken to the doctor. Teeth are cleaned in order to prevent the premature appearance of yellowish plaque and tartar. In addition, caring for the cavity of the dog’s mouth will save the teeth from early abrasion and pain.
For their hygiene, you can use a special brush and zoopaste that is suitable for dogs. The hygiene products used by humans are not suitable for animals. In addition to being disliked by dogs because of the menthol, these pastes can be hazardous to pet health if ingested and swallowed. Also, for the purpose of oral hygiene, dogs can buy special cleaning sticks in specialized stores.
From time to time, dogs will have to shorten their nails, as they interfere with their walking and movement. A special nail cutter allows you to reduce the duration of an unpleasant procedure, reducing the level of discomfort for pets to a minimum. At the same time, the length is shortened quickly and painlessly.
The owner only needs to make sure that the cuts are not too large.
It is generally accepted that petit-brabancons differ not only in endurance, but are also able to tolerate different temperature ranges well. They do not overheat in the sun and do not overcool in cool weather. However, this does not apply to regions of the country with a severe climatic background. Yet healthier dogs grow up where they have more access to fresh air. Caring owners buy colorful warm clothes and socks for their pets, which protect their paws from dirt and cold.
Since childhood, these dogs love to walk on the street, and once a day is not enough for them to splash out energy. In summer, they enjoy swimming in shallow ponds, frolic in the grass and love to explore the territory. At the same time, they cannot be called hyperactive: their interest in everything has its own point of view.
These dogs are not in vain interested in everything around them, but they must have an idea of how dangerous their environment can be for their beloved owners.
Brabancons need to walk twice a day. At first, a puppy can be accustomed to a tray with a pallet. However, the dog should not abuse the management of needs in the house for a long time, otherwise, with age, it will try to carry “everything of its own” home. And this will add problems for cleaning and removing unpleasant odors.
Walking dogs of this breed is essential, and not only to maintain good physical shape. They are also important as an element of socialization, because these pets have little communication with their owners. They need to spend some time among their fellows.
For all their merits, decorative Brabancons are considered picky eaters and often prefer to eat only what they like. Some of them are quite jealous of their own dishes. Therefore, it is extremely important that they have it personal. Despite the fact that a certain category of breeders do not see anything wrong with feeding dogs from their plates, this should not be done.
You need to feed the animal correctly, choosing a nutritious diet so that it is saturated with vitamins, proteins and nutrients. Thanks to them, the pet will grow up active and cheerful. It is worth considering that puppies should be fed more often than adult dogs. On average, babies up to six months are fed about 4-5 times a day.
Their portions differ from the volume of adult animals, they are significantly smaller and designed so that the puppies eat them completely. A six-month-old pet begins to be fed less often, but at the same time increasing its portions. By the year the animal should eat no more than 2-3 times a day. As for the choice of food for Petit Brabancons, it can be both industrial food and natural food.
If ready-made pelleted food is chosen as the basis of a nutritious diet, it is necessary to select it taking into account age and degree of activity. Also, you should buy food with a high meat content, which is typical for premium products. There is nothing useful in cheap feeds.
Moreover, with constant use, they harm the digestive system of any animal.
The size of the granules should be appropriate for the chewing capabilities of the dog’s teeth. Puppies tend to take foods with smaller granules. The feed should be balanced, consisting specifically of meat, and not of meat meal. The percentage of meat in the composition must be large, otherwise the animal will not be saturated with this food.
If you decide to feed your pet with natural food, you should especially thoroughly consider the choice of each element of the nutritious diet. For example, meat for a dog is extremely important and should form the basis of everyday nutrition. However, it should not be fatty in any way; beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit meat are suitable for feeding. You can give it to an animal in raw or boiled form.
If a decision is made not to boil the product, it is important to shorten the intervals for anti-parasitic treatment of the pet. In addition to meat, the dog should eat chicken or quail eggs, fish fillets (from river or sea fish) and dairy products (for example, kefir and cottage cheese). Vegetables can be given to her in raw and boiled form. In addition, it is necessary from time to time to treat your pet with fruits.
We must not forget about cereals and vitamin complexes for dogs. Along with maintaining a balanced diet, it is important to regularly monitor the weight of the Brabancon. It should not be allowed in excess, as this adversely affects health. No matter how much the owner would like the dog to be well-fed, it is impossible to allow fullness.
If a breeder feeds a dog with pelleted food, the amount per serving should be less than the same weight of natural food. Industrial feeds tend to be concentrated, so less is needed to saturate them. Petit Brabancons need pellets in packages designed for small dogs with a high degree of activity.
Regardless of the cost, it is undesirable to buy a bulk product in order to save money.
Few breeders think about the fact that after opening such a product begins to oxidize, which affects not only the taste, but also the degree of suitability. The longer such food will lie on the store counter, the worse it will be. The dog is small, and therefore it is better to buy small packages of food for her.
However, with regard to water, on the contrary, with such feeding, more is needed. And a bowl of fresh water should always be near the feeding areaso that the dog is not forced to look for it in other places. Water needs to be changed every day, or even twice a day. For drinking, water can be boiled and cooled. It is undesirable to take running water from the tap, since heavy metal salts are often present in its composition.
How to choose?
You need to choose a dog while it is still small, turning to a professional nursery to a trusted breeder. The puppy’s weight and size must be appropriate for its age and gender. Do not take dwarf individuals that are not included in the standard and may subsequently be disqualified. As a rule, mini versions of Brabancons may not reach more than 2-3 kg in weight.
In order not to be mistaken with the choice of a nursery, you can scroll through information about it in advance on the World Wide Web, and also ask at exhibitions about the honest name of a particular breeder. A visit to the exhibition will allow you to better get acquainted with the exterior of the animal and understand how it should ideally look. At the time of purchase, the puppy, as a rule, has the first rudiments of socialization, he learns to communicate with his brothers and sisters. At this time, he is already vaccinated and has the appropriate documents (veterinary passport and pedigree).
Puppies are sized according to their age. For example, at 3 months he can weigh 2.7 kg, at 4 months – about 3 kg. Others at 5 months weigh 3.9 kg, others a little less – 3.5 kg. The average weight of a seven-month-old puppy is 4.5 kg. The crumbs weigh about 1.7 kg at 3 months.
An experienced buyer knows that the more ancestors a baby has, the better. In order not to be deceived, you can invite a specialist to the purchase procedure, who will only need one glance to understand the conditions in which the puppy was kept, how developed it is, whether it is sick, what kind of exterior it is.
In addition, a specialist can visually determine the exact age of the puppy, assess the condition of his teeth, the level of activity and the makings of a character.
You can’t buy a puppy from your hands, like a baby without vaccinations, because he can be a carrier of various infections. When buying, you can focus on the external data of the baby, his confidence in communicating with his brothers, as well as the cost. On average, the price for a purebred puppy is 40,000-100,000 rubles. It is high because the breed is considered rare in our country. At the same time, a higher cost for puppies, which are bought for further participation in exhibitions.
Brabancon dogs have a high level of empathy, as evidenced by the reviews of their owners. If the owner feels bad, the pet can adjust to his mood and grieve for the company. This is unusual, but very touching, which allows you to get close to your pet and understand that the world is not so bad.
In addition, as the owners of the Brabant griffons assure, these animals are very charming and sociable, which captivates even those around them.
Some breeders are confident that their wards are highly intelligent and learn commands literally on the go. Others note that dogs cannot live without universal attention and care, and therefore get sick and sad when the owner is busy and cannot give them proper attention. Other dogs after training do not allow themselves inadequate behavior and aggression towards strangers. Others are generally kind enough to trust many strangers. Also, the owners in the comments indicate that their pets love children and can play with them for hours.
For more on the Petit Brabancon breed, see the video below.