Brussels Griffon


A small Brussels Griffon
Brussels Griffon Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)8-12in (20-30cm)
Weight8-12lbs (4-5.5kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan15-17 years
Energy LevelLow
Litter size2-3
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsLow
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftHigh

The Brussels Griffon is a stout, toy dog with a terrier-like disposition. The short and stout body is agile with straight, dainty legs and a cropped tail. The large head is dome-shaped with a short muzzle, an undershot jaw with beard, a short black upturned nose, small high-set ears that can be cropped or left natural with a forward fold, and prominent eyes. This mixture of facial features give the dog the ability of almost humanlike, quizzical expressions. The coat comes in two varieties: rough and smooth. The rough coated version has a wiry, harsh coat, and the smooth coated variety has a short, close fitting coat. The colouring tends to be black, red, or black and tan with white markings. The Brussels Giffon may actually refer to three seperate breeds: the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabancon, which are all identical apart from their coats and colours, although some consider them to be varieties of the same breed. A famous example of this dog can be seen in the movie, As Good as It Gets (1997) starring Jack Nicholson.


Brussels Griffons are alert and spirited small dogs with huge personalities. Curious by nature, they can also be highly entertaining and comical at times, and cosy lap partners at others, and are pretty active despite their toy size. They are affectionate and make great companion pets but tend to bond with one person more than any others, and so may not be suitable for families. Also, these dogs do not like being left alone or outdoors for long periods of time. They are generally not shy or aggressive and often display a visible air of self-importance, but they do require early socialisation at young ages as they are very emotionally sensitive. These dogs are intelligent and normally easy to train providing owners have confidence and use the right training methods. However, they can also be independent, difficult to housebreak and rather manipulative if not properly trained and managed. Therefore they are more suited to those with some expericence of dog ownership and training rather than novices. Brussels Griffons get along with older, more considerate children, but are not suitable for younger boisterious kids due their small size and the fact that they don't like to be teased. They generally get along fine with other household pets but can be wary of and even aggressive towards strange dogs if they feel challenged. This can land them in trouble because they have no concept of their small size. They can also have jealous streaks and can be very possessive of their food and belongings. Their reaction to strangers can vary from friendly to nervous depending upon their individual personalities.

History & Skills

Brussels Griffons originate from Brussels in Belgium, and descend from a type of dog called a Smousje, which was a small terrier-like dog kept in stables to kill rodents. Belgium coachmen became fond of their wiry coated stable dogs and bred them with imported toy dogs in the 1800s, such as the Pug and the King Charles Spaniel. This breed almost became extinct as a result of the two World Wars and have never been very common or popular, despite enjoying a brief vogue in the late 1950. They are becoming more popular though thanks to an appearance of a Griffon in the movie, As Good as It Gets, and also because of an increase in interest in toy dogs generally.

Breed Specific Ailments

Brussels Griffons tend to live between 15-17 years, and some of the health concerns noted in this breed includes Syringomyelia, cleft palate, luxating patella, Legg Perthes, seizures, heart problems, lens luxation and cataracts. Their eyes are susceptible to injury such as lacerations due to their large size and short snout offering little protection, and this same short nose means they are also prone to heat stroke. Caeserians are often required during birthing of pups.


The grooming requirements for Brussels Griffons depend upon whether they are the smooth or rough coat variety. The short and glossy smooth coat variety only needs occasional brushing, whereas the rough coat variety will need brushing at least twice a week, and in addition the bottom area should be trimmed for hygiene reasons. However, like with many smooth-coated dogs, the smooth variety is also a seasonal shedder and grooming may need increasing during these times.

Exercise & Environment

Brussels Griffons tend to live indoors and are suitable for small homes, such as flats and apartments, and both rural and urban environments. Their exercise requirements are low and can often be met by playing indoors or by a short, brisk walk. As a result they should have access to toys, and it is important to prevent uneccessary weight gain. Due to their short muzzles they are susceptible to heat stroke and respiratory problems, and so should not be left outside for long periods of time, nor should they be over exercised.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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