Wily and Wiry

The Brussels Griffon will charm and challenge you — at the same time.

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Bee Gee could spot a novice from a mile away. When Denise Brusseau-Ortlman of Lawrenceville, Ill., vice president of the American Brussels Griffon Association, took home her first Brussels Griffon puppy, the tiny dog decided not to eat, walk on a leash, or do one single thing her new, eager-to-please owner asked.

“No treat or words moved her,” Brusseau-Ortlman recalls. She burst into tears as she called the breeder, afraid her new puppy would starve.

The breeder set her straight: Bee Gee was too smart to starve. “I was letting a 6-pound dog tell me what to do,” Brusseau-Ortlman says. “That day, I put on the leash, stood tall, acted like I was the boss, and in a loud, commanding voice, said ‘Let’s go!’” The little Brussels Griffon stood up and walked. “She followed me everywhere for the next 14 years,” Brusseau-Ortlman says.

Affectionate, endearing, and smarter than most people expect, the Brussels Griffon — who probably descended from a mix of streetwise Belgian Terriers and pampered lap dogs like Pugs and English Toy Spaniels — can seem like a puzzle. When you realize that this funny-faced breed contains the qualities of both the gentle toys and the fiery terriers, you’ll understand the Brussels Griffon.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2008 issue of DOG FANCY today, or subscribe to get 12 months of articles just like this.

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