Brussels Griffon Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Brussels Griffon puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Brussels Griffon History

The breed, also known as the Belgian Griffon and Griffon Bruxellois, originated in Brussels in the 19th century. It was developed from small terrier-like dogs that were used by Brussels coachmen (cab drivers in today's terms) to rid their stables of vermin.

These dogs were created from the Belgian street dog and the Affenpinscher and were known as Griffons d'Ecurier (wire-coated stable dogs).

Later, the Pug, Ruby Spaniels and King Charles Spaniels were added to the mix. Introduction of these breeds split the breed into 2 varieties -- the rough-coated Brussels Griffon and the smooth-coated Petit Brabancon, or simply Brabancon (named after the Belgian national anthem, La Brabonconne).

Similar to many other breeds, the Brussels Griffon experienced difficult times after the end of WWI and WWII. With so many other problems to deal with, maintaining breed purity was not on top of the list. Only through few dedicated breeders in Europe did it survive.

While the Brussels Griffon was recognized by the AKC in 1910, it's not as popular in the United States as it is in Europe. But this is changing due to an increasing popularity of toy breeds -- in 2010 the breed occupied position #80 in the AKC list of the most popular dog breeds.

There was also an increased interest in this breed after a Griffon appeared in a 1997 comedy, "As Good as It Gets", starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt.

Today the breed is used mostly for companionship.

Physical Characteristics

"Monkey face" and "Ewok" (from Star Wars) are some of the names used to describe the Brussels Griffon. And there is a reason for that -- the most distinctive feature of this breed is its face with an intelligent look that's almost human in expression.

This breed is divided into two types -- one with a rough coat and another with a smooth coat. But except for coat, there are no other differences between the two.

The body is short, thick, and square, with a broad and deep brisket and well sprung ribs. The neck is medium length. The back is short and level. The tail is set high and, where allowed by law docked to about one-third (in a lot of European countries docking is illegal).

The front legs are straight, muscular, and set wide apart. The back legs are well muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. The feet are small and round, with black pads and toenails preferred.

The head is large and round. The eyes are large, set wide apart, and well open. They are black, with long, black eyelashes and eyelids that are edged with black. The nose is black, very short, and has large nostrils. The ears are small and set high on the head.

The rough coat is dense and wiry, the more wiry, the better. The head is also covered with wiry hair, slightly longer around the chin, cheeks, eyes, and nose. The smooth coat is short, glossy, and smooth.

Coat colors include red (reddish brown with some black at the whiskers and chin), beige (a mixture of black and reddish brown, with black mask and whiskers), black (solid black), and black and tan (black with reddish brown markings).

    Height Weight
  Male 7 - 8 inches 8 - 12 pounds
  Female 7 - 8 inches 8 - 12 pounds


Brussels Griffons are happy, intelligent, and adaptable dogs with many traits in common with terriers.

They get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats, and make good companions. Griffons will choose their favorite member of the family and bond most closely with that person.

But despite friendly nature, they can be wary of strangers. A Griffon will bark to let you know that you have a visitor. These qualities make them good watchdogs.

Griffons don't like noise, rough handling, being chased, and doing things they don't feel like doing. Even a well-behaved Brussels Griffon may growl or even snap when he can't escape the unwanted attention. For these reasons, they are best suited for families with older children.

Griffons are fast learners and can even be taught to perform tricks! But similar to other smaller breeds, they may be more difficult to housetrain than a larger breed, so it will take some patience on your part.

Also similar to many smaller breeds, this breed may develop a Small Dog Syndrome, a condition where a dog tries to act as a pack leader to his human family. Some behaviors common to this syndrome include excessive barking, growling and snapping, guarding, and puppy separation anxiety.

The most common cause of the above condition is when a dog is not treated as a dog. To prevent your pet from acquiring a Small Dog Syndrome, set some rules and make sure he follows them. Make sure he or she understands that YOU are the leader. If you can accomplish that, your life will be a lot easier.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

Small size and high activity level indoors make Brussels Griffons good apartment dogs.

This breed needs lots of affection and attention, and requires an owner who can provide him with both. While they require lots of time commitment, Griffons give so much back! They are ideal for senior citizens, empty nesters, and just about anyone willing to invest some time in this wonderful breed.

Some Brussels Griffon breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

The Brussels Griffon is an active dog and requires sufficient exercise to keep it physically and emotionally fit. It's fairly active indoors and can get most of its exercise from regular indoor activities

But no matter how much of indoor exercise your pet gets, all dogs need to be taken for a regular walk, and this breed is not an exception. At a minimum, take your pet for one walk every day.


The rough-coated variety sheds very little to no hair. Brabancons (smooth-coated variety) shed during spring and fall. Warm baths followed by brushing will speed up the process that normally lasts 2 to 3 weeks.

Both, rough and smooth-coated varieties require regular brushing -- 2 to 3 times per week should be sufficient. Smooth-coated variety needs to be brushed more often during shedding seasons. The rough-coated Griffons need to be clipped or hand stripped 3 to 4 times per year.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, the Brussels Griffon is susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include numerous eye problems, cleft palate, and sensitivity to heat. Some females may experience complications during whelping and may require a Caesarean section. Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health.

Buy only from reputable Brussels Griffon breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Brussels Griffon puppies is between 12 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Brussels Griffon rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Brussels Griffon Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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Brussels Griffon Puppies » Dog Breeds

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