Breed History
The Griffon Bruxellois has been said to be a 19th century hotch-potch of several breeds that, more by luck than judgement, resulted in the dog we have today.

Its origin is something of a mystery because if, as has been suggested by some exponents, the Griffon did not have any identity before the 19th century, it is strange that small dogs greatly resembling the Griffon Bruxellois were featured by artists long before that time.  

From the little information available regarding early Griffons in Europe it would seem that, although some of the continental Royal Families kept Griffons as pets, they were much more likely to be found on the waterfronts and in the stables, particularly in the Brussels are of Belgium, where the cabbies kept them as ratting dogs.  They used to ride on their masters' fiacres and became well known for their monkey faces and pert expressions, which endeared them to passers-by.

During the 1880s the first Breed Standard was drawn up and in 1883 the first breed classes were classified at dog shows in Belgium.  One of the early Belgian show dogs was a female called Miss, owned by a hackney coachman in La Place Royale; she produced  a celebrated stud dog known as Champion Fox.  Champion Fox was mated to a small Yorkshire Terrier and produced another well-known dog called Petit Fox.  A stud dog called Petit Waterloo was mated to a female Pug and produced a dog known as Tom who sired a number of winners and is said to be a distant ancestor of many modern dogs.

In about 1894 Queen Astrid of the Belgians, who was interested in several breeds of dog, became attracted to the Griffon Bruxellois and started to breed these dogs and improve their quality.  As a result of such royal interest the Griffon in Belgium became very fashionable.

Shortly after the First World War there were about 5000 female Griffons in Belgium, most of them in the Brussels area.  It is incredible that, after such popularity, there are not as many in the whole of Belgium today.

Luckily the story in Britain is very different.  The earliest importations were around 1880 and registered ones occurred in 1894.  The first Griffons to achieve Championship honours in Britain were Bruno, bred in Belgium by Monsieur Tielemans in 1895 and owned in England by Miss Wimbush, followed by Mousequetaire Rouge and litter sister Marquerite Rouge, born 1899, Bred and owned by Mrs Moseley.