Sniffon

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Germany <> Belgium -> U.S.A.
Translation
Francis Vandersteen

A brief presentation of the Sniffon

The Sniffon is a designer dog, the intentional blend of two highly skilled ratiers that are more commonly kept as pets today: the Brussels Griffon, originating in the Brussels region of Belgium, and the Miniature Schnauzer, developed in Germany. These dogs are highly intelligent, but they're more likely to use their intelligence to get into things than to learn tricks, and they should never be left alone outside, even in a fenced yard, as the Schnauzer is a master digger and the Brussels Griffon has a serious talent for climbing things. They are quite calm, usually barking only when needed, and don't need much exercise, making them excellent apartment dogs.

History of the Sniffon

The Sniffon is a deliberately mixed breed, often referred to as a designer dog, in this case a combination of two small dogs, both bred to be very good ratter dogs, the Miniature Schnauzer from Germany and the Brussels Griffon from their neighbor, Belgium.

 

        

A little of the Miniature Schnauzer

        
The Miniature Schnauzer is a relatively recent breed, although the Schnauzer is derived from a much older breed, dating back to the Middle Ages in one form or another. The Schnauzer's characteristic coloring and harsh coat didn't appear until the 1800s, when contributions were made from the Poodle and the gray Wolfspitz, better known as the Keeshond. Towards the end of the 1800s, breeders sought to create a smaller Schnauzer, designed to hunt and kill vermin. They achieved their goal by mating the smaller Schnauzer with other small Schnauzers and with other small Terrier and Pinscher dogs, including breeds such as the Wire Fox Terrier and Affenpinscher, and the first Miniature Schnauzer was registered in a German stud book in 1888.
Standard of the Miniature Schnauzer

 

        

A little of the Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons are the descendants of small, wire-haired retrievers that were commonly used by coachmen to eradicate vermin from the stables where carriages and horses were kept. These dogs, known simply as Stable Griffons, were then mixed with companion dogs such as Pugs, Affenpinschers and English Toy Spaniels, eventually giving the dog an almost human face, with large round eyes and an upturned mouth. These little dogs became highly sought-after by the Belgian elite after Queen Henriette Marie of Belgium took an interest in them and granted them royal patronage. While the United States recognizes the Brussels Griffon as a single breed, other European registries divide this group of dogs into three breeds according to coat color and type, the Brussels Griffon with a rough red coat, the Petit Brabançon with a smooth coat of any color, and the Belgian Griffon, which has a rough coat of any color except red.
Standard of the Brussels Griffon

Appearance of the Sniffon

The Sniffon is a small dog, generally measuring just over 30.5 centimeters at the shoulder, with a robust, spiny body structure. The head can have either the short, slightly rounded skull of the Brussels Griffon or the longer, flatter skull of the Miniature Schnauzer, and while some can inherit the shortened muzzle of the Brussels Griffon, most have a slightly longer muzzle, more representative of the Miniature Schnauzer. Their eyes are generally very dark brown and round, although those who favor their Brussels Griffon heritage will have larger eyes than those who favor the Miniature Schnauzer, and their triangular ears are set high on their head and fold either forward or to the sides. Triangular ears are set high on the head and fold forward or to the sides. Both breeds are often seen with cropped and pricked ears, and some Sniffon owners and breeders may choose to do the same, although this practice is forbidden in many countries.

Temperament of the Sniffon

This dog is extremely lively and spirited, with lots of energy. Both dogs are thought to be descended from the Affenpinscher, a well-known clown in the dog world, making the Sniffon a rather playful and amusing companion. They tend to do well with children, although interactions with young children and toddlers must be closely supervised for the safety of both child and dog, and they are generally pleasant with other dogs and cats, although they may chase cats for fun due to their Schnauzer heritage. As for small pets such as rodents and birds, keep them away from your Sniffon, as the Sniffon is a very agile and fearless hunter of small things. These little dogs are highly intelligent and versatile and should be closely supervised and kept in a secure environment when you're not at home, as they tend to use their intelligence for things like opening cupboards and drawers to get food and toys, and because of their Brussels Griffon heritage, they like to climb and can get themselves into precarious situations.

Needs and activities of the Sniffon

This cross-breed has high energy levels but doesn't need the vigorous exercise of many other dogs, partly because of its small size. He's usually content with around an hour's exercise a day, which is more effective if spread over several short, intense sessions throughout the day. Although these dogs are small enough to do much of their exercise indoors, playing challenging games of fetch or hide-and-seek, they really enjoy their time outdoors and should make as many forays into the outside world as possible.

Maintenance of the Sniffon

This hybrid has moderate grooming needs. A bath is only necessary once every few months or so, and usually only requires weekly brushing or combing, although two or three times a week is preferable. Many Sniffons have a hard coat that needs to be hand-plucked at least twice a year to keep it healthy and encourage regrowth. Some have the abundant coat and beard of the Miniature Schnauzer, which may require shearing around the face and legs, and their beards almost certainly need to be inspected and cleaned to remove stray food particles and give them a clean, fresh smell.

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