Brussels Griffon


  • Height: 7 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 to 15 years
  • Diet: Omnivorous (quality commercial dog food suitable for small breeds)

Brussels Griffon Overview:

The Brussels Griffon is a small, sturdy dog known for its big personality and human-like expressions. Hailing from Brussels, Belgium, this breed was originally used to hunt rats in stables but has since become a beloved companion animal. With their distinctive rough or smooth coat and pouty face, they are often described as looking like little bearded men.

These dogs are affectionate, lively, and intelligent. Their small size makes them suitable for apartment living, but their strong-willed nature means they need consistent training and socialization. They tend to be very attached to their human families and can be quite vocal, expressing their opinions freely.

Brussels Griffon Highlights:

The Brussels Griffon’s charming appearance is one of its most distinctive features. Their large, round eyes, pushed-in face, and unique “monkey-like” expression can capture anyone’s heart.

Despite their small size, they have a robust and active personality. They are often described as acting more like a big dog, displaying confidence and curiosity. Their sensitivity to their owner’s emotions and keen intelligence makes them excellent companions, providing both affection and entertainment.

Brussels Griffon Evolution and History:

The Brussels Griffon’s roots can be traced back to 17th-century Belgium, where they were used to catch rats in stables. The breed developed from crossing various small dogs, including the Affenpinscher and Belgian street dogs, with English toy breeds like the Pug and King Charles Spaniel.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the breed gained popularity among Belgian royalty and then spread to other parts of Europe and the United States. The two World Wars nearly led to the breed’s extinction, but dedicated breeders were able to revive it, and it remains popular today, especially as a companion animal.

Brussels Griffon Size and Weight:

The Brussels Griffon is a small dog, typically standing between 7 to 10 inches at the shoulder and weighing 8 to 12 pounds. Despite their petite size, they have a sturdy and well-proportioned body.

Their size makes them suitable for apartment living and easy to travel with. However, their small stature means that care must be taken to avoid injury, both in handling and in interactions with larger dogs or small children.

Brussels Griffon Personality:

The personality of the Brussels Griffon is often described as larger-than-life. They are highly intelligent, curious, and often believe they are much bigger than they actually are.

They form strong bonds with their human families and often become particularly attached to one person. Their expressive faces are known to display a wide range of emotions, and they can be quite vocal in communicating their thoughts and needs. They may display a bit of independence, but overall, they thrive on human interaction and affection.

The Adaptability of the Brussels Griffon:

Brussels Griffons are quite adaptable and can thrive in various living environments, from city apartments to suburban homes. Their small size makes them suited for indoor living, but they still need regular exercise and mental stimulation.

They can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, particularly cold, so proper protection is necessary in harsh weather. Socialization is vital for this breed, as they can be reserved or even shy around strangers. Their adaptability, coupled with their loving nature, makes them excellent companions for many types of households.

Brussels Griffon Temperament:

The temperament of the Brussels Griffon is characterized by intelligence, affection, and a bit of stubbornness. They are loving and loyal to their families but may be wary of strangers.

Their intelligence means they can be quick learners, but their stubborn streak may require patience and consistent training. They tend to be playful and enjoy being the center of attention, often displaying a comedic nature that endears them to their owners.

Brussels Griffon Maintenance and Grooming:

Brussels Griffons come in two coat types: rough and smooth. The rough coat requires regular brushing and occasional professional grooming to avoid matting, while the smooth coat needs less frequent grooming but regular brushing to remove loose hair.

Their faces need special attention to keep the folds clean, and regular care of their nails, ears, and teeth is essential for overall health. Grooming can be a bonding experience, and regular maintenance helps in early detection of any potential health issues.

The Trainability of the Brussels Griffon:

Though intelligent and capable of learning quickly, the Brussels Griffon’s independent nature can make training a challenge at times. Positive reinforcement and consistent methods are essential to successful training.

Early socialization helps in developing a well-rounded personality, and obedience training can help manage their strong-willed tendencies. They can excel in activities like agility and obedience but require a patient and understanding handler.

Exercise Needs of the Brussels Griffon:

Despite their small size, Brussels Griffons are active and require regular exercise. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation like puzzle toys are essential to keep them happy and healthy.

Their curiosity and playful nature make them enjoy various activities, and they can be great companions for outdoor adventures. However, their size and sensitivity to temperature extremes should be taken into consideration when planning activities.

Brussels Griffon Health:

  • General Statement about the health of this breed: Brussels Griffons are generally healthy but are prone to specific health problems common to brachycephalic and small breeds.
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: This condition is common in breeds with pushed-in faces and can cause breathing difficulties. Regular veterinary check-ups and weight management can help mitigate issues.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Small breeds like the Brussels Griffon can suffer from hip dysplasia, leading to arthritis and pain. Proper diet, exercise, and early detection can manage this condition.
  • Eye Problems: Their prominent eyes are prone to injuries and conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Regular eye care and monitoring can prevent or manage these issues.
  • Dental Problems: Small mouths and crowded teeth can lead to dental issues. Regular dental care, including brushing and professional cleanings, can prevent many dental problems.

Brussels Griffon Care:

Caring for a Brussels Griffon requires attention to their unique physical characteristics and personality. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming are essential, along with a healthy diet tailored to their size and age.

Their strong attachment to their human family means they need regular interaction and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Understanding their specific needs and providing loving care will ensure a happy and healthy companion.

Brussels Griffon Feeding:

Feeding a Brussels Griffon requires understanding their specific dietary needs as a small breed. High-quality commercial dog food designed for small breeds is usually suitable, but portion control is essential to prevent obesity.

Their small mouths may require specially designed kibble, and care must be taken to address any specific health concerns through diet, such as allergies or sensitivities. Regular feeding schedules and monitoring for any dietary issues are essential for their well-being.

Brussels Griffon Coat Color and Grooming:

As mentioned, the Brussels Griffon comes in two coat types: rough and smooth. Both types come in various colors, including red, black and tan, and solid black.

The rough coat requires more intensive grooming to prevent matting, while the smooth coat benefits from regular brushing to remove loose hair. Their unique facial structure also requires special attention to keep clean, particularly around the eyes and mouth.

Brussels Griffon and Children:

Brussels Griffons can be wonderful family pets, but their small size means that care must be taken with young children. They may not tolerate rough handling, and their lively nature can lead to accidental injury.

Older children who understand how to handle them gently can be great companions for a Brussels Griffon. As with any dog, supervision and teaching children how to interact safely with the dog is essential.

Brussels Griffon and Other Pets:

Brussels Griffons generally get along well with other dogs and can even coexist with cats, particularly if raised together. Their size should be considered when introducing them to larger dogs, and proper introductions and supervision are necessary.

Their prey drive may lead them to chase smaller pets, so care should be taken with animals like rabbits or hamsters. Socialization and understanding their specific personality will help in creating harmonious multi-pet households.

Similar Dogs:

  • Affenpinscher: Similar in appearance and temperament, both breeds are small, sturdy, and have a somewhat “monkey-like” face.
  • Pug: The Pug shares the Brussels Griffon’s brachycephalic face and a similar playful, affectionate nature.
  • English Toy Spaniel: With shared ancestry and similar size, the English Toy Spaniel and the Brussels Griffon have many common characteristics, including their role as companion animals.

In conclusion, the Brussels Griffon is a unique and charming breed that can make an excellent companion for those who appreciate their distinctive appearance and lively personality. Proper care, understanding, and training can result in a rewarding relationship with this small but spirited dog.