Sassy, smart, and sweet, the Griffonshire is a designer dog that’s been stealing hearts left and right. Their scruffy looks and charming personality are to blame for their newfound popularity, as their cuteness leaves no one indifferent. A small breed dog, the Griffonshire is appealing to a variety of pet owners. Whether you live in a condo in a big city or have a house with a big backyard, these designer dogs could be a perfect fit for your family.
As a mixed breed dog, the Griffonshire comes from two purebred parents of different breeds. For this mix, breeders cross the feisty Yorkshire Terrier with the spunky Brussels Griffon. The unusual combination of the parental breeds results in a compact canine with a lot of spirit and character. These dogs inherit their intelligence from both mom and dad, as well as courageous nature and affectionate behavior.
However, as this is a hybrid breed, there are no guarantees. Every Griffonshire will be unique, both in looks and temperament. While some people might find this to be just one of the breed’s many charms, it also means that you should thoroughly research the breed before deciding to get a Griffonshire puppy for your family. Read on to find out everything about these dogs and most importantly- if they are a match for you.
Griffonshires are smart, affectionate and utterly charming.
Designer dogs are a relatively recent trend. Ever since the 1980s, the public has been more and more interested in what crossbreeds have to offer, both as pets and working dogs. By combining popular breeds in order to feature the best qualities of parents in hybrid offspring, breeders set out a new craze, but mixed breed dogs have been around for much longer than that.
Before people started labeling them as designer dogs, crossbreeds have been a result of accidental mixing of purebreds. That’s why it’s hard to determine the origin of a designer dog breed- unless a breeder steps out to claim the mix as their own creation. The same goes for the Griffonshire. There have probably numerous little Brussels Griffon and Yorkie babies throughout history, but there’s no way to determine when those crossbreed litters became planned. The best guess anyone can have is that the Griffonshire breed was created sometime in the last 20 years, somewhere in the United States. The majority of designer dogs had the same start, so it is highly likely that this mix is no different.
The Griffonshire is a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and the Brussels Griffon. This is a 50-50 mix of both breeds or a first generation mix. While both of the parental breeds are similar in size and even somewhat in temperament, both bring a lot of unique qualities to the table. However, you can never know which parent’s genes will be more influential in the first generation mix puppies. Sometimes the dogs will favor one breed over the other and at other times they’ll be a perfect blend of both.
The majority of Griffonshires is a first generation mix whose mom and dad are a Yorkie and a Brussels Griffon. However, multigenerational crossings of designer dogs are a common practice. In the case of this particular mix, this would mean that the Griffonshire is further crossed with either another Griffonshire or with an unrelated Yorkie or Brussels Griffon. It all depends on the breeder’s ultimate goal in terms of both looks and temperament. Multigenerational breeding leads to a more uniform standard for the dogs and could lead to eventual acceptance of the Griffonshire as an actual breed.
Not unlike most dogs, Griffonshire will need a high-quality, well-balanced diet to be healthy throughout his life. Proper food will nourish your pet and support their overall wellbeing so it’s important to choose a diet that is suitable for their own needs. For this mixed breed dog, a good choice is a diet based on premium dry food for dogs. Kibble that is made from natural, high-grade ingredients can provide all of the necessary nutrients in the right ratio. Of course, it is important to pick out the right formula. Choose kibble that is appropriate for your dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) as well as their size and activity level. In most cases, a high-quality small breed formula is a good fit for them.
In addition to choosing the right food, it’s also important to make sure you’re feeding your pet the right amounts of it. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for serving sizes- most suggest a cup of kibble per day. Split the amount into two meals for better digestion. Do not free feed your pet or overindulge them with treats or extra food. Small breed dogs such as the Griffonshire can gain weight quickly and be at risk for many health issues that obesity causes.
These designer dogs can be difficult to housebreak.
The Griffonshire is a smart dog- some would even call it an almost human-like intelligence. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these dogs will be a breeze to train. Like their parents, these crossbreeds can also be quite stubborn, and you’ll have to find the right way to motivate them to learn. In addition, they can be difficult to housebreak. Positive reinforcement methods of training have the best results with the Griffonshire, especially when paired with consistency in sessions and a firm owner. Use rewards such as their favorite treats and praise to give your pooch a motivation to do what’s asked of them. With a bit of effort and patience, your Griffonshire will be a stellar student in no time.
In addition to obedience training and housebreaking, which are the essentials of training for every dog, you should pay attention to properly socialize your Griffonshire. They’ll grow up to be friendly and well-mannered only if you make a point to expose them to a variety of people, pets, and situations while they’re young and their characters “pliable”.
If you start training your dog early and they prove to be eager learners, consider training your Griffonshire for dog sports. These small designer dogs have a good track record at agility or flyball, even though they’re small.
While designer dogs can be unpredictable in terms of their ultimate weight, the Griffonshire comes from two similarly sized parents so there shouldn’t be any surprises. The average weight for these hybrids is 7 to 10 pounds.
The mix of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Brussels Griffon is sure to inherit plenty of lovely personality traits from both mom and dad. Each dog is unique, naturally, but there are some general tendencies for certain qualities to appear in most, if not all, Griffonshires. For instance, the feisty, spunky attitude of both of his parents will make a mark on their offspring, These small dogs are courageous, extroverted and often act like they’ll completely unaware of their size. While their big dog in a small body shtick can be utterly charming, if you don’t socialize them on time- it can also evolve into small dog syndrome.
The petite Yorkie and Griffon mix might not be the best choice for families with young children, Even with proper socialization, these dogs can be a bit nervous around kids, prone to nipping when handled roughly. Not to mention that they can easily be injured if the children are not careful enough!
Griffonshires are very affectionate with their families and will be cuddly little velcro dogs. They will not hesitate to show you their love by following you around and using every single opportunity to get some quality snuggle time. However, owing to the fact that they form strong bonds to their owners and don’t like to spend time apart, Griffonshires can be more prone to developing separation anxiety. For this reason, the breed is not the best fit for singles who work long hours- they can’t stand being alone for long.
Common Health Problems
Even though many people think that mixed breed dogs are inherently healthier than their purebred fellows, it’s not always the case. Designer dogs are at risk for the issues of their parents, even if it’s sometimes lower than usual. In general, Griffonshire is a healthy dog. The cross of the Brussels Griffon with a Yorkshire Terrier should minimize some of the issues that come with each of the breeds, but there are still certain problems that these dogs will be prone to.
Tracheal collapse, portosystemic shunt, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and retinal dysplasia are some of the genetic conditions the Griffonshire can be born with. Owing to their small size, they will also be more at risk for issues such as diabetes and obesity, luxating patellas, hypoglycemia, and early tooth loss.
The average lifespan for Griffonshires is between 12 and 15 years.
The low-maintenance exercise requirements are one of the reasons for the popularity of this breed. Their minimal need for activity makes them ideally suited for seniors and retirees, as well as people who live in condos and apartments. However, just because the Griffonshire won’t need daily hikes and hours of playing in the dog park doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise at all. The Brussels Griffon and Yorkie mix is a spunky pooch with a lot of energy and will need to burn it off to stay happy and healthy. Owing to their size, though, they won’t need much activity to tire out. Circa 30 to 45 minutes spent in walks and a bit of playtime with the owner will keep them content. They can get all of their activity indoors, but it’s best if you take them outside for walks and some fresh air.
The Brussels Griffon and Yorkie mix is a spunky pooch with a lot of energy and will need to burn it off to stay happy and healthy.
The American Kennel Club and its international counterparts don’t recognize designer dog breeds. In their eyes, hybrids are not eligible for the status of an actual breed and you can’t register them for pedigree papers. However, there are many smaller organizations and clubs that do recognize designer dogs and their value. Those organizations that recognize the Griffonshire include the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry.
The coat of the Griffonshire might just be his most unpredictable trait. As a designer dog breed, the Griffonshire will vary widely in terms of appearance. Some puppies will take up after the Yorkie parent, other after the Brussels Griffon. It all depends on the genetic lottery! This is particularly true for their coat. From silky locks to wiry coat and everything in between, you can never know what your fur baby’s fur will end up looking like. As a rule of thumb, though, most Griffonshires have medium-length hair that sheds moderately. Some of them can be on the low-shedding side, too, making them suitable for people that are mildly sensitive to pet hair.
Griffonshire puppies are tiny, adorable, and full of energy- not much different than their adult version. This is the time you’ll want to spend teaching your pet some basic manners, in addition to showering them with love and kisses. Train and socialize your puppy on time to make sure they grow up into a friendly dog without behavioral issues. Griffonshires are prone to developing small dog syndrome and separation anxiety, so make sure to focus on preventing the two in your training and socialization sessions.
Photo credit: Eric Fahrner/Shutterstock; Eileen Kumpf/Shutterstock
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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