GRIFFON, first sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes, was built in 1679 by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, above Niagara Falls to transport men and supplies between Niagara and his projected Illinois colony. In August of that year, the Griffon carried La Salle, accompanied by Father Louis Hennepin, to Green Bay, from which the ship was sent back to Niagara laden with furs for La Salle's creditors. Vessel and crew disappeared on the voyage, and their fate remains a mystery. Frequent reports of the discovery of its remains have been published, but all have lacked substantial foundation; the numerous pictures of the Griffon are likewise fictional.
MacLean, Harrison J. The Fate of the Griffon. Toronto: Griffin House, 1974.
M. M. Quaife / a. r.
See also Explorations and Expeditions: French ; La Salle Explorations ; Mackinac, Straits of, and Mackinac Island .
grif·fon / ˈgrifən/ • n. 1. a dog of any of several terrierlike breeds originating in northwestern Europe. ∎ (also Brussels griffon) a dog of a toy breed with a flat face and upturned chin. 2. (also griffon vulture) a large Old World vulture (genus Gyps) with predominantly pale brown plumage. 3. variant spelling of griffin.
Brussels griffon, breed of sturdy toy dog developed in Belgium in the 18th and 19th cent. It stands about 8 in. (20.3 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 6 to 12 lb (2.7–5.5 kg). There are two varieties, the wirehaired and the smooth. The coat of the former is dense and wiry with a fringe of hair around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and chin. Its color is reddish brown, black, or a combination of these two. The smooth variety, called Brabançon, has a short, finely textured coat and may be reddish brown or black marked with reddish brown, but not solid black. Believed to have been produced by crossing affenpinschers with the pug, and possibly the toy spaniels, the Brussels griffon is popular as a companion and house pet. See dog.