The Petit-Brabant is a decorative breed belonging to the group of small Belgian dogs. Affectionate and inquisitive, Brabant griffons have a strong bond with their masters.
The Petit-Brabant is a miniature companion dog with large expressive eyes and active lively facial expressions. This breed is distinguished from the Belgian and Brussels Griffons by the absence of a “beard” on the muzzle and shorter hair. Brabancon has a calm but at the same time proud disposition and obeys only his master and his family members. Despite its small size, it is a strong dog with a strong bone, agile, and at the same time graceful in movement. By its nature, the Brabant Griffon is alert and courageous – he certainly is not one of the timid!
The distant ancestors of all Griffons lived in Europe back in the 15th century. As a result of interbreeding, the Griffons became the owners of two types of wool: the Brussels and the Belgian ones can boast of coarse hair, similar to the hair of the Irish Terrier, and the Petit Brabançon – smooth, reminiscent of the hair of a pug. One of the characteristic features of the Brabant Griffon is the upturned muzzle. The whole gamut of emotions is easily read from it.
The modern Petit-Brabant is a collective image that contains a few different breeds. By the way, that very unique muzzle – short, a bit reminiscent of a monkey – is inherited from the German wire-haired Affenpinscher. But the elegant color of this little native of Brabant is obliged to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
The new breed so captivated the aristocratic circles, especially the crowned heads, that it quickly gained immense popularity. Its representatives lived in palaces, slept on silk pillows, rode in carriages with their high-ranking masters, and even had their own servants. In those distant times, there was not even electricity, not to mention active pastime in our understanding, so the petit-Brabancons entertained their aristocratic masters for hours with merry games and warmed them in their beds on cold nights. Especially the Brabant griffons were appreciated by single ladies who were disappointed in a strong field and already desperate to ever meet love. Funny and always positive, these dogs have added color to their lives. In addition, the griffons practically did not leave wool on expensive dresses.
It was soon noticed that the Petit-Brabant had an unusual feline hobby – to catch small rodents. From that moment on, cheerful companions of single ladies have become indispensable favorites at the courts of the august persons. They were entrusted to guard the royal chambers and carriages against rats and mice.
In 1880, the World Dog Show took place in Brussels. Despite the considerable age of the breed, which by this time has already turned two centuries, the Petit-Brabancons took part in such an event for the first time. The debut turned out to be successful: they won not only an enthusiastic ovation from the audience but also high marks from the judges. This is how the breed began its ascent to true fame and recognition. But, as often happens in such cases, the pursuit of profit made its own adjustments. Wanting to sell more individuals, careless breeders have increased the number to the detriment of the quality of the exterior of the royal dogs.
It is unknown how the Brabant griffons’ further fate could have developed, if not for the Duchess Henrietta Maria Charlotte Antoinette, better known simply as Henrietta of Belgium. She was the eldest daughter of the Count of Flanders Philip of Belgium and his wife Maria Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, niece to King Leopold II of Belgium and sister to King Albert I. At the beginning of the last century, she did a lot to rehabilitate the breed. Thanks to her efforts, the purity of the Petit Brabancons returned to their previous values.
After a while, the Belgian authorities allowed the sale of elite puppies abroad. Then the Second World War broke out, threatening the extinction of many breeds of dogs, including miniature ones. Unfortunately, the Petit-Brabant was no exception. They were saved from complete extinction only by the fact that some individuals lived in the UK and the USA. After the war, breeders got involved in the restoration of the breed, and it was preserved. True, some changes have taken place in its appearance, and in the updated “design” the Brabancons have survived to this day. The breed standard was updated in September 1963 and also in May 2003. The new appearance has become so familiar and loved by fans of the breed that many do not even imagine that small Brabancons looked somehow different from what they are today.
Petit-Brabant came to Russia from the USA only in 1993. The first specimens became the ancestors of the breed in our country, they were bred in St. Petersburg, in the kennel “Nevsky Hobbit”. By 1999, the total number of Brabant griffons in the Russian Federation was already 85 individuals.
Petit-Brabant is a small, decorative, “ladies” dog. Due to their small size, a deceptive impression can be created that they are weak and fragile. In fact, this is not so: the physique of the representatives of this breed is strong. The appearance of the Brabant griffons is rather eccentric, it harmoniously combines the originality of forms and graceful movements.
The height at the withers of adults can vary from 16 to 26 cm. The weight of the natives of Brabant reaches values from 3.5 to 6 kg. The breed standard establishes the following important proportions: the length of the body from the ischial tuberosities to the shoulder should correspond as much as possible to the height of the dog at the withers.
Many people think that within the breed there are such varieties as “mini” and “standard”. This is not true. The Petit-Brabant breed is one, there are no “factions” in it. If there are some differences, then they are insignificant and are associated with genetics, the sex of the animal, the structure of muscle and bone tissue.
The head is the most expressive part of the body of the Petit Brabancon, it is also the most characteristic, distinguishing it from other breeds. In comparison with the body, it is quite large. The skull is rounded, wide. The forehead is convex. The stop is clearly defined.
The muzzle against the background of the head is short, its length does not exceed 1.5 cm, while visually it can look longer due to the absence of the so-called “beard” – long hair in the area of the jaws and chin. The muzzle is upturned. If the top line of the nose is below the line of the eyes, it is considered a significant defect in the breed.
We can say that the Petit-Brabant has a mouth always closed, that is, neither the teeth nor the tongue should be visible. The width of the jaws is also of great importance, that part of the chin that protrudes forward. A healthy specimen must have a complete set of incisors.
The lower jaw has a characteristic upward curvature. It is wide and protrudes beyond the upper jaw, but at the same time, it is not pointed. The incisors of each jaw should form a straight line so that they are parallel to each other.
The eyes of the Brabant griffons are large in size, round in shape, wide-set, and at the same time, they are not protruding.
The eye color is brown and the darker the better. The edges of the eyes should be black, ideally, the whites are not visible.
The ears of the Petit-Brabant are small, set high, with a sufficient distance between them. If the ears are not cropped, they will stand halfway up and droop forward. Cropped ears are completely erect and “equipped” with sharp tips.
Both cropped and uncropped ears are equally tolerated by the breed standard, although too large are undesirable because they will hang over the side of the head.
The nose is wide, black in color, the nostrils are wide open, located at the same level as the eyes. The tip is tilted back so that when viewed from the side, the nose and forehead appear to be on the same plane.
The lips are also black, fit tightly to each other. The upper lip covers the lower lip without drooping. If the upper lip is excessively pendulous, this spoils the human expression on the muzzle inherent in the representatives of this breed.
The neck of the Petit-Brabant is of medium length, while harmoniously combined with the shoulders of the forelimbs.
The length of the body and the height at the withers is almost identical. This creates the visual impression of a small, but still strong dog with a characteristic square shape. The withers itself is somewhat raised.
The loin is short, slightly convex, with a well-developed muscular corset. In general, the back is short, straight, and strong. The croup is also straight, wide, and somewhat sloping.
The chest is well dropped to the elbows, it is also wide. The sternum is distinguished by a clear expression; when looking at the dog from the side, it seems that the chest protrudes somewhat forward.
The ribs are not strongly convex, but they are not flat either. They are well sprung. The bottom line is formed by a slightly tucked belly. The groin line is well defined.
The Petit-Brabanttail is set high and raised upward. At the two-thirds level, it is usually stopped. If desired, you can leave the tail of its natural length. In this case, it will be directed upwards, but the tip will “look” in the direction of the back, but at the same time, it should not touch it or twist.
The forelimbs are parallel to each other. They are quite wide apart, they are distinguished by a good backbone. The elbows are close to the body.
Paws are round, small in size, not turned inward or outward. The wrists are strong, the fingers are tightly closed. However, in no case should they be spliced. The paw pads are thick and the darker the better. The claws of the Petit-Brabantshould be as dark as possible or completely black.
The hind limbs are parallel to each other and have strong bones. The angles of the hind and forelegs are balanced. The hock joints are normally set and strongly drooping. The feet should be the same as on the front legs. The presence of dewclaws on the hind legs is not allowed.
The coat of the Petit-Brabant is shiny and short, barely reaching a length of 2 cm. In the area of the back, paws, and muzzle, the hair is even shorter. The coat of the Petit Brabancon is very dense and moderately harsh. The breed is characterized by the absence of a brush in the area of the muzzle and eyebrows.
A certain “democracy” is allowed in the color of the coat. Representatives of the breed can be completely black, black with certain inclusions (reddish, reddish, and deer), as well as deer and mixed. But regardless of what color the Brabant Griffon is, his muzzle must be equipped with a mask of a dark shade.
- Since the Petit-Brabantare naturally squares in shape, the elongated body is considered a deviation. The presence of “arrival” also does not fit into the breed standard.
- There are certain prohibitions regarding the eyes. They should not be convex, too light, slanted, or too small.
- A naturally short, broken, or distinctly curled (“ringed”) tail is a serious fault. Plus, it shouldn’t touch your back.
- The presence of white hairs in the area of the muzzle or sternum is considered a violation of the norms.
- The location of the nose is not at eye level, ears that are too large and rounded are classified as defects.
- Exceeded or underestimated parameters of height and weight are also considered a deviation from the accepted norms.
- If a wonderful, seemingly, in all respects pet behaves overly shy or, conversely, aggressively, then this is not just a vice – it is a direct path to disqualification.
- An extremely undesirable defect is also the pigmentation of the nose of colors other than black or its complete absence.
- When the mouth is closed, the tongue is completely hidden, and the upper jaw should not protrude over the lower – otherwise, the Brabançon faces disqualification.
- The coat may not have patches of white or colors not described in the standard, such as gray, brown and tan, blue and tan, and liverwort.
- Any individual with physical and mental disabilities must be disqualified.
Petit-Brabant is an open and sociable pet, for them, the attention of people comes first. Representatives of this breed are strongly attached to their owners, becoming, thanks to their playful nature, wonderful companions to all household members, and especially children. The almost-human seriousness written on the face of the griffons makes them especially funny and cute. If they are experiencing vivid emotions, it is also easy to read “in the face”. You can observe joy, sadness, and just thoughtfulness – just like in people!
Brabancon is a nimble, extremely attentive dog, from whose gaze nothing escapes. She has developed a sense of self-esteem, which is guessed in her very posture, in the way she surveys the surroundings. By its nature, this dog is not aggressive, does not know how to be offended, and does not suffer from rancor. At the same time, the Brabant Griffon is distinguished by high intelligence and, as they say, knows his own worth. Despite its small size, the dog is not shy at all.
Petit-Brabant does not like it when the owners go somewhere even for a short time, so it is better to take your pet with you. If for some reason this is not possible, then the pet should be left in the care of only people who are familiar with him. Otherwise, the dog may “go on strike” by completely refusing to eat.
Representatives of the breed are distinguished by curiosity, they practically do not bark and very quickly adapt to the lifestyle of their owner. At times, Brabancons prefer solitude, having gone to rest in a secluded corner of an apartment or house, where it is cozy and there are no drafts. As indoor dogs, they love to sleep in the same bed with their owner, gently snuggling up to him. It can be very funny and at the same time touching to watch how Brabancon comes up to the cherished bed and begins to look with incredibly sad eyes, begging him with all his appearance to take him under the covers. At the same time, he can whine quietly, putting his head on the edge of the sofa or the owner on his knees. In such a situation, it is difficult for a Brabant to refuse a request – he expresses it so convincingly that it is impossible to resist.
The great advantage of this breed is that the Petit-Brabancons, being very smart and quick-witted, can subtly feel the mood of the owner and the general atmosphere in the house, so if the situation does not have it, then they will not bother too much with requests and caresses.
Griffon, by nature very sociable, will be glad to the arrival of guests. The dog loves the attention of the public and will do everything to charm the relatives and friends of the owners. The pet will show sincere affection and interest, will try to pay attention to each person, but will not annoyingly get underfoot, and will not interfere with communication.
Despite their natural delicacy and developed intelligence, the Petit-Brabant still needs a good upbringing from an early age. All the qualities inherent in them need to be developed, and how successful this process will depend only on the owner.
The Brabant griffon’s quick wits will be of great help during training. The main thing is to teach him to obey the learned commands for the start (desired) signal. The training of puppies of this breed allows for some variety in terms of performance options. For example, discipline commands should be clear. Other teams leave the opportunity for your pet to think and take the initiative himself. The first group includes the command “To me!” Without exaggeration, it can be called vital, since it allows you to stop the petit-Brabançon at those moments when something clearly could threaten his life and safety – for example, when he happily runs towards a driving car. The commands of the second type include “Take a walk!” In this case, the order, although it comes from the owner, Brabançon himself leads him wherever he wants.
During training, it is necessary to ensure that the puppy learns: a command, as a specific signal, must lead to a clear result for him. For example, a kid should understand that if he correctly observes the commands, then he will receive a tasty treat and praise, but not ignorance or, even worse, physical punishment, even if it is mild, in the form of a spanking.
When raising Petit-Brabant, one must not forget that, although small, he is a predator. All manifestations of aggression, the desire to bite or attack should be suppressed in the bud so that an uncontrollable dog does not grow up. Representatives of this breed can participate in agility.
Competent training, taking into account all these nuances, will save you from difficulties in the future and at the same time help build trust with your pet. A well-bred and trained petit-brabançon will surprise the owner with his intelligence and resourcefulness more than once.
Petit-Brabant does not belong to “street” dogs, so life in a yard kennel is not for them. These small companion dogs should be kept in a city apartment. A private house is also suitable, but only if it is cozy, warm, and without drafts. Brabancon can be taught to go to the toilet “like a cat”, that is, in the pallet. However, this does not eliminate the need to take the pet for a daily walk. Being outdoors is essential for Griffons to keep fit and good for their mental health. Given their natural sociability, communication with other dogs is vital, and it is possible mainly during walks.
The Brabant Griffon does not need specific care: it is enough to comb the dog daily. Bath procedures should be arranged only when it gets dirty. After bathing your pet, you should not leave the wool to dry on its own, it is better to dry it with a hairdryer so that the griffon does not freeze and catch a cold. For the same reason, it is not recommended to bathe him in the winter.
Brabancon ears need regular cleaning once a week. For this purpose, a conventional 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is used. During the processing of the auricles, do not penetrate deeply. In cases where an unpleasant odor is felt from the ears or dark crusts appear on their inner side, and the dog will “fidget” when cleaning, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. Such phenomena may indicate the onset of a serious illness, which will help to get rid of properly selected treatment and good care.
It can be difficult to feed the Petit-Brabant since he is picky enough and will only eat the foods he loves. It is recommended that you immediately buy a special bowl on a bracket for your pet to adjust it as the dog grows to maintain posture. It is important to follow the diet, give food at about the same time, and not overfeed the griffon. Up to 6 months of age, puppies are fed fractionally, 4-5 times a day, and then gradually reduce the number of meals to two.
If you plan to feed your petit-brabançon with natural foods, include in your diet:
- lean meat (veal, turkey, lamb),
- porridge (rice, buckwheat, oatmeal),
- fruits and vegetables,
- boneless fish fillets,
- cottage cheese, kefir, yogurt.
Be sure to add vitamin and mineral complexes to the main menu and monitor the weight of Brabancon.
However, the vast majority of Brabant Griffon breeders opt for ready-made dry food. Super-premium and holistic products are completely balanced in composition and do not require the purchase of additional dietary supplements. The Petit-Brabant are ideal for drying small, active breeds.
The Petit-Brabant is a breed that boasts good health and a fairly long lifespan. However, this does not relieve dogs of risk factors that can lead to poor health. Let’s call them: improper care and feeding, neglect of prevention, contact with sick animals.
Petit-Brabant, as a rule, does not suffer from allergic diseases, however, they are characterized by congenital pathologies of the eyes and teeth, due to the peculiarities of the structure of the skull. Here is a complete list of these ailments: retinal atrophy (can also occur as a result of trauma, sometimes complicated by visual impairment and partial blindness); proptosis (prolapse of the eyeball, which is a problem for all snub-nosed dogs with a round skull); distichiasis (accuracy of cilia); twist of the century; non-falling of milk teeth; cleft palate. The same list includes narrowing of the nostrils, a tendency to various viral, skin, and fungal diseases, dislocation of the patella. It should be noted that childbirth is difficult for dogs of this breed; they are prone to obesity.
To avoid many health problems, the little Brabant needs timely vaccinations. The first vaccination should be given to a puppy between 2 and 2.5 months of age. Before this procedure, it will be necessary to drive out the worms from the body. Comprehensive vaccinations are optimal to protect your pet from several diseases at once. After a month, it is necessary to re-vaccinate the puppy. After another 7 months, he should receive a rabies vaccine. Until the baby is fully vaccinated, you need to try to protect him from contact with unvaccinated dogs.