Meet The Brussels Griffon: A Dog Breed Guide

The Brussels Griffon

Meet The Brussels Griffon: A Dog Breed Guide


Welcome to your comprehensive guide to the Brussels Griffon, a dog breed as distinctive as it is delightful.

Hailing from Belgium, these little dogs with big personalities have charmed their way into the hearts of dog lovers across the globe.

With their expressive eyes, human-like expressions, and affectionate nature, Brussels Griffons are truly unforgettable.

Whether you’re considering adding a Brussels Griffon to your family, or you’re simply eager to learn more about this captivating breed, you’re in the right place.

So, get ready to meet the Brussels Griffon, a small breed that leaves a big impression. From their intriguing history and distinctive appearance to their unique personality and care needs, we’ll delve into what makes the Brussels Griffon a breed like no other.

The Brussels Griffon, also known as the Griff, is an irresistible breed with a heart as big as its personality. This article is your one-stop resource for everything you need to know about this charming and engaging breed. Let’s dive in.

History of the Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon hails from Belgium, having been bred from a mix of English Toy Spaniels, Pugs, and a breed known as the Belgian street dog.

Brussels Griffon

The objective was to produce a rat-catching dog, but the end result was a pup that soon found its way into the hearts and homes of many, especially those of Belgian nobility.

Early Origins

The journey of the Brussels Griffon began in the 19th century in Belgium. Originally, they were used as rat catchers in stables. Their ancestors include the Affenpinscher, the Belgian street dog, the Pug, and the English Toy Spaniel.

Becoming Companions

By the late 19th century, the Brussels Griffon had moved from the stables to the living rooms of the Belgian nobility. Their endearing looks and charming personality made them popular among the noble class.

Recognition and Development

The breed was officially recognized by the Belgian Kennel Club in 1883. With its growing popularity, breeders started to develop the breed further. They focused on creating a consistent appearance and accentuating the breed’s unique facial expression.

Arrival in Other Countries

The Brussels Griffon’s fame spread beyond Belgium, and the breed arrived in England around the late 19th century.

Here, they enjoyed a surge in popularity during the reign of Queen Marie Henriette, a Brussels Griffon enthusiast. The breed was later introduced in the United States in the early 20th century.

Survival and Revival

The breed’s population declined drastically during the two World Wars. However, dedicated breeders in the United Kingdom and the United States ensured the breed’s survival.

After the wars, the Brussels Griffon regained its popularity and has since become a beloved companion in many households around the world.

The Modern Brussels Griffon

Today, the Brussels Griffon is a well-established breed recognized by various kennel clubs worldwide. Known for its charming, expressive face and big personality, this small breed continues to win hearts and bring joy to pet owners everywhere.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

With their distinct, almost human-like expressions, the Brussels Griffon is hard to miss. They are small, typically weighing 7 to 12 pounds and standing about 7 to 10 inches tall.

Their coat can be either rough or smooth and comes in various colors including red, black and tan, and solid black.

Size and Weight

The Brussels Griffon is a small dog breed. Adults usually stand between 7 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder. Their weight typically ranges from 7 to 12 pounds, making them an ideal size for those who prefer smaller breeds.

Coat and Colors

The Brussels Griffon comes in two distinct coat types: rough and smooth. The rough-coated Griffon, also known as the Brussels Griffon, has a wiry and dense coat.

The smooth-coated Griffon, known as the Petit Brabançon, has a short, sleek coat. Their coat colors can be red, black, and tan, or solid black.

Facial Features

Perhaps the most captivating feature of the Brussels Griffon is its face. They have large, round eyes that are full of expression. Their human-like face is further accentuated by their distinctive beard and mustache.

Body Structure

The Brussels Griffon has a compact and sturdy body. Despite their small size, they are well-muscled with a balanced body structure. Their ears can either be cropped or left natural, and their tails are often docked.

Paws and Claws

The Griffon has small, round feet that are proportionate to its body size. Their nails are typically dark and should be regularly trimmed to prevent overgrowth and the potential problems it can cause.

The Brussels Griffon’s Gait

This breed possesses a gait that is unique and full of character. Their movements are agile and sprightly, reflecting their overall energetic and lively nature.

Personality and Temperament

This is a breed known for its bold and affectionate nature. Despite their small size, they exhibit an immense amount of courage and are not shy about standing their ground. At home, they are often described as clowns due to their amusing and endearing antics.

An Endearing Personality

One of the most engaging aspects of the Brussels Griffon is their endearing personality. They are known for their lively, spirited, and almost human-like expressions that can brighten up any household.

Affectionate and Loving

Brussels Griffons are incredibly affectionate dogs. They form strong bonds with their family members and are always eager to show their love. Expect a Brussels Griffon to be a loving companion who is always by your side.

Intelligent and Alert

The Brussels Griffon is an intelligent breed. They have a keen awareness of their surroundings, making them excellent watchdogs. Despite their small size, they won’t hesitate to alert their family of anything unusual happening around them.

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A Little Bit of a Stubborn Streak

While Brussels Griffons are intelligent, they can also have a stubborn streak. This trait is often endearing, but it can also be a challenge during training sessions. Positive reinforcement methods work best when training this breed.

Sociable and Friendly

Brussels Griffons generally have a sociable nature. They enjoy meeting new people and getting along well with other animals, especially if socialized from a young age.

Sensitive and In Tune with Their Families

Brussels Griffons are highly sensitive dogs that are closely in tune with their families’ feelings. They have a knack for picking up on their owners’ moods, often mirroring their emotions.

This sensitivity requires gentle and patient handling to keep them comfortable and happy.

Training and Exercise Needs

Brussels Griffons are intelligent, and with consistent, positive reinforcement-based training, they can learn quickly. They require regular exercise to keep their minds stimulated and to prevent obesity.

A brisk walk, playtime in the yard, or a challenging puzzle toy can do the trick.

Training Your Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons are intelligent dogs, which can make them both a joy and a challenge to train. They are eager to learn but can sometimes exhibit a stubborn streak. Here are some key points to consider:

Positive Reinforcement Is Key

The most effective method to train a Brussels Griffon is by using positive reinforcement techniques. This breed responds well to rewards such as treats, praise, and play. Avoid harsh training methods as they can lead to fear and distrust.

Consistency is Important

Consistency in commands and responses is crucial when training your Brussels Griffon. Ensure all family members use the same commands to avoid confusing your pet.

Early Socialization

Introduce your Brussels Griffon to a variety of people, places, and experiences at an early age. This helps to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and sociable dogs.

Exercise Needs of a Brussels Griffon

Despite their small size, Brussels Griffons are relatively active dogs. Regular exercise is essential to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated.

Daily Walks

Daily walks are a must for this breed. Besides keeping them physically fit, walks also provide an opportunity for them to explore their environment, which is great for mental stimulation.


Brussels Griffons love to play, whether it’s with their favorite toys or their human companions. Regular play sessions can help meet their exercise needs while strengthening your bond with them.

Mental Stimulation

As intelligent dogs, Brussels Griffons need mental stimulation just as much as physical exercise. Puzzle toys, obedience training, and interactive games are excellent ways to keep their minds sharp.

Avoiding Overexertion

While regular exercise is important, it’s also necessary to avoid overexertion. Due to their short noses, Brussels Griffons can be prone to heat stress and breathing difficulties.

Always provide plenty of fresh water and shade during exercise, and avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Health and Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Brussels Griffon is between 12 and 15 years. They are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia, eye issues, and patellar luxation.

The lifespan of the Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons have a relatively long lifespan for a dog, often living between 12 to 15 years. Of course, individual health, genetics, and lifestyle factors can influence this.

General Health of the Breed

Overall, the Brussels Griffon is a healthy breed. However, as with all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.

Eye Conditions

Brussels Griffons, like many small breeds, are prone to certain eye issues. These can include cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and cherry eye.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Due to their short noses and flat faces, Brussels Griffons can be susceptible to brachycephalic syndrome. This condition can lead to breathing difficulties and overheating.

Hip Dysplasia

While not as common as in larger breeds, Brussels Griffons can be prone to hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t form properly. This can lead to mobility issues and arthritis in later life.

Patellar Luxation

This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position. This can cause intermittent lameness and, in severe cases, can require surgical correction.

Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups are essential for maintaining your Brussels Griffon’s health. Routine screenings can help detect any potential health issues early, and your vet can provide guidance on diet, exercise, and overall care.

Importance of Genetic Testing

If you’re obtaining your Brussels Griffon from a breeder, ensure they perform genetic testing to screen for certain heritable conditions. A reputable breeder should be able to provide proof of health screenings for both parent dogs.

Grooming Needs Of Brussels Griffon

The grooming needs of the Brussels Griffon depend largely on their coat type. The smooth coat variety requires less grooming, while the rough coat variety requires regular brushing to prevent matting.

Coat Care

Brussels Griffons come in two coat types: rough and smooth. Each type requires a different grooming regimen.

Rough-Coated Brussels Griffon

Rough-coated Brussels Griffons have a wiry and dense coat. It doesn’t shed much, but it does require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. A thorough brush at least once a week should suffice.

Smooth-Coated Brussels Griffon

Smooth-coated Brussels Griffons, also known as the Petit Brabançon, have a short and straight coat that sheds moderately. Brushing their coat once a week should be enough to keep them healthy and shiny.


Brussels Griffons don’t need frequent baths – once every few months is typically sufficient. Overbathing can strip the skin of natural oils, causing dryness and irritation. Always use a dog-appropriate shampoo to maintain the skin’s pH balance.

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Dental Care

Like all dog breeds, Brussels Griffons require regular dental care. Brush their teeth several times a week with dog-specific toothpaste to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease.

Nail Trimming

Brussels Griffons’ nails should be trimmed regularly, usually once or twice a month. Long nails can cause discomfort and affect the dog’s gait.

Ear Care

Check your Brussels Griffon’s ears weekly for signs of infection like redness, swelling, and bad odor. Clean them with a vet-approved solution to prevent the buildup of wax and debris.

Eye Care

Since Brussels Griffons are prone to certain eye conditions, regular eye checks are important. If you notice any redness, cloudiness, or excessive tearing, it’s best to consult with your vet.

Professional Grooming

While basic grooming can be done at home, you may also consider occasional visits to a professional groomer. They can give your Brussels Griffon a thorough cleaning, trim the hair if needed, and handle any specific grooming needs.

The Brussels Griffon as a Family Pet

Despite their small size, Brussels Griffons are known for their big hearts and larger-than-life personalities. They are generally good with children and other pets, but their small size makes supervision necessary during play.

Excellent Companions

Brussels Griffons make excellent companion pets. They form strong bonds with their families and are known for their loyal and affectionate nature. If you’re looking for a dog to join you on the couch for a snuggle, the Brussels Griffon is an excellent choice.

Good with Older Children

While Brussels Griffons can get along well with older children, care should be taken around younger ones. Due to their small size, they can be easily injured by rough play.

Teach children how to appropriately handle and interact with the dog to ensure a healthy relationship.

Socializing with Other Pets

With proper socialization, Brussels Griffons can get along well with other pets. They can be particularly good companions for other dogs.

However, because of their original breeding purpose as ratters, some may still have a high prey drive and might not do well with smaller pets like hamsters or rabbits.

Adjusting to Apartment Life

Their small size makes Brussels Griffons well-suited to apartment living. They don’t require a lot of space to move around, and their exercise needs can be met with daily walks and indoor play.

However, they can sometimes be vocal, which might be a consideration for apartment dwellers.

A Companion for the Elderly

Brussels Griffons can be great pets for the elderly. They are loving, loyal, and enjoy a balance of playtime and relaxation. Their size and exercise needs are also manageable for people with less mobility.

Time and Attention

This breed thrives on human interaction and does not like being left alone for extended periods. If you work long hours or travel frequently, the Brussels Griffon may not be the best choice for you.

When left alone, they can become anxious and display destructive behaviors.

The Need for Training

While intelligent and eager to please, the Brussels Griffon can sometimes be stubborn. Early and consistent training is necessary to ensure they grow into well-behaved and social adult dogs. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

Feeding and Diet Of Brussels Griffon

Like all dogs, Brussels Griffons require a well-balanced diet. Their small size means they do not need a large amount of food, but they do require high-quality nutrients. Special attention should be paid to portion sizes to prevent weight gain.

Diet Requirements

Feeding your Brussels Griffon a balanced, nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. While individual needs can vary depending on age, size, and activity level, there are some general guidelines to follow.

High-Quality Dog Food

Feeding your Brussels Griffon high-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for their age (puppy, adult, or senior) is generally recommended.

Look for food that lists a source of animal protein, like chicken or beef, as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with fillers like corn and wheat.

Portion Sizes

Due to their small size, Brussels Griffons do not require large amounts of food. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can cause numerous health issues. Your vet can recommend the appropriate portion sizes for your dog based on their weight and activity level.

Treats and Snacks

While treats can be an effective training aid, they should be given in moderation. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.

Special Dietary Considerations

Brachycephalic Syndrome

Brussels Griffons, due to their flat faces, can sometimes struggle with eating and drinking from traditional bowls. Special bowls designed for brachycephalic breeds can help make meal times easier and more comfortable.

Dental Health

Dry kibble can be better for your Brussels Griffon’s dental health than wet food, as it can help scrape away plaque. However, regular tooth brushing is still essential for maintaining good dental hygiene.

Dietary Changes Over Time

As your Brussels Griffon ages, its dietary needs will change. Puppies require a diet high in calories and nutrients to support their growth, while adult dogs need a balanced diet to maintain their health.

Senior dogs may require a diet low in calories but high in fiber, along with certain supplements to support joint health. Always consult with your vet when making any changes to your pet’s diet.

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Fresh Water

Ensure your Brussels Griffon has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Hydration is vital for their health, especially during the warmer months, as they can be prone to overheating due to their brachycephalic nature.

Is the Brussels Griffon Right for You?

Choosing the right dog breed is an important decision. The Brussels Griffon is a charming, lively, and lovable breed that can make a wonderful addition to many homes.

However, they are also a breed that requires a good amount of attention, training, and care. Consider your lifestyle, time commitment, and what you’re looking for in a dog before deciding if the Brussels Griffon is the right fit for you.

Considerations Before Adoption

Before adopting a Brussels Griffon, there are several factors you should consider to determine if this breed is the right fit for you.

Time and Attention

Brussels Griffons thrive on attention and love being a part of family activities. If you’re someone who works long hours or travels frequently, this breed may not be the best fit for you.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

While they are not as active as some larger breeds, Brussels Griffons still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. If you enjoy daily walks and interactive playtime, a Brussels Griffon might be a good fit.


Training a Brussels Griffon requires patience and consistency. Their intelligent and sometimes stubborn nature can make training a challenge at times. If you’re up for the task and enjoy the rewards of a well-trained pet, a Brussels Griffon could be a good match.

Making the Decision

If you can offer a loving home, with plenty of time and attention to give, the Brussels Griffon can make an excellent companion. They are loyal, affectionate, and known for their unique and endearing personalities.

However, they do best in homes where they are not left alone for long periods and have ample opportunities for both physical and mental stimulation.

The Brussels Griffon’s Perfect Home

The perfect home for a Brussels Griffon is one where they are treated as a beloved family member. A mix of calm and energetic environments suits their adaptable nature.

Whether you live in a city apartment or a house with a yard, as long as there is plenty of love and attention to go around, a Brussels Griffon will be happy to call it home.

Remember, before bringing any pet into your home, make sure you’re ready for the responsibility, from daily care to potential veterinary expenses. A pet is a lifelong commitment, and every breed deserves a loving, forever home.

Adoption Is an Option

If you decide that the Brussels Griffon is the right breed for you, remember that adoption is a great option. Many wonderful dogs, including Brussels Griffons, are looking for their forever homes.

Check with local rescue groups or animal shelters, and you may just find your perfect canine companion.

Conclusion: The Unforgettable Brussels Griffon

In conclusion, the Brussels Griffon is a breed unlike any other. With their distinctive appearance, charming personality, and boundless affection, they’ve won the hearts of many around the world.

Whether they’re keeping your lap warm, playing fetch in the living room, or simply giving you their famous “Griffon stare”, these little dogs have a way of making every moment special.

The Brussels Griffon’s needs are unique to their breed, and they thrive with families that can provide them with ample love, attention, and care.

From their exercise and diet to their grooming and health care needs, owning a Brussels Griffon is a commitment, but one that comes with immense rewards.

Every Brussels Griffon deserves a loving home, and every home with a Brussels Griffon is richer for it. If you think you’re ready for the love and companionship of this breed, consider opening your home to a Brussels Griffon.

They might be small in size, but their personalities are enormous, and they are ready to fill your life with joy.

Whether you’re a seasoned dog lover or new to the world of canine companionship, the Brussels Griffon offers a unique pet ownership experience, one that’s filled with love, laughter, and the occasional touch of mischief.

So, are you ready for the unforgettable experience that is the Brussels Griffon?

Common Questions About the Brussels Griffon

Here, we answer some common questions about the breed.

Are Brussels Griffons good for first-time dog owners?

Brussels Griffons can be a good choice for first-time owners, thanks to their adaptability and size. However, they can be somewhat stubborn, so patience and consistency in training are key.


Do Brussels Griffons bark a lot?

Brussels Griffons can be somewhat vocal, but this varies from dog to dog. With consistent training, excessive barking can be managed.


How much exercise does a Brussels Griffon need?

Despite their small size, Brussels Griffons require regular exercise to stay healthy. Daily walks, combined with playtime, are usually sufficient.


What is the average cost of a Brussels Griffon puppy

The average cost can vary widely depending on various factors. But generally, expect to pay between $800 and $2,000 for a Brussels Griffon puppy from a reputable breeder.

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