Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a unique little Belgian dog breed that was originally bred to hunt and kill rats and other vermin on the street of Belgium. These dogs are extremely charming and have a healthy dose of self-importance which sometimes makes them seem comical. They are intelligent and affectionate which are some of the main reasons they are loved by humans.

This breed is very energetic and alert which came in handy when they were tasked to clear Belgian stables from rats and mice. They have a distinct facial expression and are often described to have a “monkey face”. Some owners have described them as having human expression and can “pull faces”. The Brussels Griffon became a very popular house pet in the early 20th century Belgium. They are loyal to their owners and demand constant attention.

Brussels Griffon is actually a name that represents three distinct breeds that are registered by different numbers but are considered to be a variety of the same breed. The three varieties are Griffon Bruxellois, Griffon Belge, and Petit Brabançon. These three breeds are different by coat and color.

Brussels Griffon Height

Height:

7-10 in (18-25 cm)

Brussels Griffon Weight

Weight:

8-10 lb (3,5–4,5 kg)

Brussels Griffon Origin

Origin:

Belgium

Brussels Griffon Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years

Breed History

Brussels Griffons originates from Belgium where they were used for hunting vermin in stables. In the creation of Brussels Griffons, many breeds took part including Affenpinscher, Pug, and English Toy Spaniel. As time passed these dogs were favored for their work abilities. They were also used as pets. Both World Wars decreased the number of these dogs and they were nearly extinct in their native land but they were still used in England and thanks to them this dog breed survived.

Brussels Griffons are still a rare dog breed even today.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Trainability
Intelligence
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

FCI standard

This small companion breed is fully registered and accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale or the FCI. Belgium is a full member of this huge cynology union and it is no wonder that these dogs have a standard in place under the FCI. This standard describes these dogs as well-balanced, alert, and proud. They are robust and have a square built. The FCI placed these dogs in Group 9 (Companions and Toy Dogs), Section 3 (Small Belgian Dogs). This small companion breed doesn’t have a working trial.

This standard has defined size requirements for this breed and it is only defined by their weight. Their weight should be between 7,5 - 13 lbs (3,5 - 6 kg).

This breed was registered by the FCI on the 26th of October 1954.

AKC standard

The Brussels Griffon is a breed that is also accepted and registered by the governing cynology association in the United States of America - The American Kennel Club or the AKC. This kennel club has a standard for this breed in place and the AKC standard described them as being intelligent and having a small, sturdy body. This standard also has a required size that is defined by their weight and proportion. The standard says that these dogs usually weigh between 8 and 10 lbs (3,5 - 4,5 kg) and that their weight should never exceed 12 lbs (5,5 kg).

This breed was registered by the AKC in 1910.

brussels griffon dog

Grooming

Brussels Griffon has a wiry and dense coat and although their coat is wiry it should never look untidy. If you want to keep their coat look good weekly brushing is required. Tice a year their coat needs to be hand stripped and that is not an easy job to do. Every breeder will show you how to do it but still many owners decide to go for professional help to do the job.

Brussels Griffon coat colors:

  • Red – reddish brown with a little black
  • Belge – reddish-brown and black mixed
  • Black and tan – black with reddish-brown markings
  • Solid black

The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

Exercise

Brussels Griffon is a medium active dog breed that will need a proper amount of activities to be satisfied and healthy. Whatever they do they love to do it with their owner. Long walks, chasing ball,s or even playing inside the house with their owner should do the trick and keep these dogs happy. Brussels Griffons are very intelligent dogs and they excel at canine sports such as obedience and agility.

Personality

Brussels Griffons are excellent family dogs that are very intelligent and easy to train. They are very sensitive dogs and eager to please their owner. Most dog breeds do not take well harsh training methods and techniques, and Brussels Griffon is one of them. You should make training sessions exciting, and you will start noticing great results in a matter of hours.  Involve as many treats as you can and keep the training sessions interesting.

There are many ways you can socialize your Brussels Griffon, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs.

Kids

Brussels Griffons are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Brussels Griffon can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.

These dogs don’t like rough handling and that is why they are better suited for older kids who will know how to properly play and interact with a dog. To be sure that your dog will enjoy children's company you must allow them to play from the puppy age.

Other animals

These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company. Generally, the Brussels Griffon is a great pet to have if you already have other pets at home. They are extremely friendly and love having company, so your Brussels Griffon won’t mind other pets. 

Like many small dog breeds, they are unaware of their size and will in most cases take the much bigger dog.

However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along. Some dogs require time but Brussels Griffon is generally very affectionate and gentle towards other pets, especially if they were raised together.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the Brussels Griffon can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are: 

  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • Eye infections
  • Patella luxation
  • Allergies - these dogs are prone to have allergic reactions to specific foods, products, or medications.

The Brussels Griffon is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 12-15 years

Brussels Griffon breeders

If you decide to get one of these lovely dogs, make sure you get one from a registered and reputable Brussels Griffon breeder. A good breeder will take proper care of their dog’s physical and mental characteristics. They can help you make an informed decision about how good of a fit this breed would be for you and/or your family. You can ask the breeder as many questions as possible and they should be glad to answer them and will most likely appreciate one of their dogs going to a knowledgable household.

Brussels Griffon is still a rare dog breed and if you are interested in getting one of these dogs you must be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list.

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find a Brussels Griffon dog in it.

When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust.

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