The Griffon Bruxellois is an adorable looking little dog that boasts a long lifespan which when they are well cared for can be anything from 12 to 15 years. They are robust characters but like so many other pure breeds, the Griffon is prone to suffer from certain health issues. These are well worth knowing about if you are thinking about sharing your home with one. As with any health issue, the earlier a condition is diagnosed and then treated, the better the outcome tends to be for the dog.
Griffon pups are often born with cleft palates which can be a real problem especially as it means an affected pup would not be able to suckle off mum as they should. A cleft palate can be surgically corrected once a puppy is old enough to have the surgery. However, puppies with the condition would need to be bottle fed to make sure they get enough milk while they are very young because often they do not survive puppy hood.
Griffons have prominent eyes which means they are more prone to suffering injuries to them. However, the breed is prone to suffer from glaucoma which is a very painful condition where excessive pressure builds up in a dog's eye. It's an hereditary disorder that typically shows its ugly head when dogs are around two years old and once it takes hold it can very rapidly damage the eye causing total blindness. Glaucoma typically only affects one eye at a time, but a vet would need to establish if the other eye is affected and if it is, to start preventative measures to control the progress of the condition.
Cataracts are frequently seen in older dogs and it's where their eyes become cloudy. This can sometimes affect a dog's vision quite dramatically although this is not always the case as it depends on the severity of the condition. It is an hereditary condition the breed is prone to develop, but cataracts can also develop if a dog suffers from diabetes.
This is one of the more common orthopaedic health issues that affect many toy breeds including the Griffon. Untreated it can lead to all sorts of issues with the anterior cruciate ligament eventually rupturing. Symptoms include lameness very often you'll notice a dog hops and skips for a stride on one of their hind legs and tend to stretch a back leg to try to "pop" the patella back into place. A vet would normally recommend surgery if the condition is very severe.
Because these little dogs have large heads, puppies often have to be delivered by caesarian section or they need extra help.
When buying a puppy, it's important to contact a well established breeder who screens all their dogs for hereditary or congenital disorders so any puppies they produce are far less likely to inherit any from their parents. With this said, many of the bad genes responsible for genetic and congenital health issues can skip a few generations which means even with the best breeding programmes in place, a puppy may develop an hereditary disorder which is why it's best to know about them. A good place to start your search is in our Griffon Bruxellois section.
However, although not all Griffons will develop any of the conditions listed above during the course of their life times it is better to know about them so you can recognise when any symptoms start to appear. As previously mentioned, the earlier a correct diagnosis can be established and a treatment set in place, the better the outcome tends to be for the dog and the sooner they are made to feel more comfortable.