Brussels Griffon: The Ultimate Dog Guide


A Brussels Griffon is a charming and fascinating small dog breed. Their distinctive look, along with their lively and affectionate nature, makes them beloved companions. Originating in Brussels, Belgium, these dogs were initially used for hunting and killing vermin in horse stables. As they began to attract the attention of nobles, their status grew from working dogs to treasured pets. Despite their small size, these dogs have a big presence, which has helped them maintain constant popularity. Known for their roles in various films, Brussels Griffons continue to be adored worldwide.

Characteristic Description
Size Small
Weight 7 to 12 pounds
Height 7 to 10 inches
Coat Type Rough and Smooth
Colors Red, black, and tan, or a mix
Life Expectancy 12 to 15 years
Common Health Issues Eye problems, respiratory issues, hip dysplasia
Personality Traits Intelligent, lively, affectionate
Exercise Needs Moderate
Adaptability to Apartment Living High
Suitability for Families with Children Better suited for families with older children
Compatibility with Other Pets Good, with proper socialization and supervision

Physical Characteristics of Brussels Griffon

Size and Weight

Brussels Griffons are small but sturdy dogs. Typically, their weight ranges from 7 to 12 pounds, and they stand about 7 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder.

Coat and Colors

These dogs come in two coat types: rough and smooth. Colors range from red, black, and tan, to a mix of these. Their coat, regardless of the type, requires regular maintenance.

Facial Features

Their faces are a distinguishing feature. With a flat face, large round eyes, and a distinctive beard, a Brussels Griffon has an almost human-like expression.

Personality and Temperament of Brussels Griffon

General Behavior

Despite their tiny size, Brussels Griffons are known for their large and lively personalities. They are intelligent, alert, and curious dogs that can also be a bit mischievous.

Interaction with Humans

These dogs thrive on human interaction. They are typically very attached to their human families and can become quite unhappy if left alone for long periods.

Interaction with other Pets

While they generally get along with other dogs and pets, their small size can make them vulnerable. Therefore, supervision around larger pets is advised.

Health and Lifespan of Brussels Griffon

Common Health Issues

Like many small breeds, Brussels Griffons are prone to certain health issues. These include eye problems, respiratory issues, and hip dysplasia. Regular check-ups can help ensure any problems are detected early.

Average Lifespan

With proper care and a healthy lifestyle, a Brussels Griffon can live between 12 to 15 years.

Care and Grooming of Brussels Griffon

Diet Requirements

A balanced diet is important to keep your Brussels Griffon healthy. It’s best to consult with your vet about the ideal diet for your dog’s age, size, and health.

Exercise Needs

Despite their small size, Brussels Griffons are energetic dogs. Regular exercise, such as daily walks and playtime, is important to keep them healthy and happy.

Grooming and Hygiene

Regular grooming is a must, especially for rough-coated Brussels Griffons. Regular brushing, bathing, and dental care are all important aspects of grooming.

Training and Behavior Management

Training Techniques

Training a Brussels Griffon requires patience and consistency. Positive reinforcement techniques work best. Early socialization and obedience training can help mold them into well-rounded dogs.

Living Conditions of Brussels Griffon

Adaptability to Apartment Living

Brussels Griffons are excellent apartment dogs due to their small size and relatively low exercise needs.

Suitability for Families with Children

These dogs can make great family pets. However, they are better suited for families with older children who understand how to interact gently with small dogs.

Compatibility with Other Pets

While they can get along well with other pets, their small size may make them a target for larger animals. Always supervise interactions with larger pets.

Special Considerations for Brussels Griffon

Travel and Transportation Concerns

Given their small size, Brussels Griffons can easily accompany their owners on trips. Ensure they are safe and comfortable during travel.

Special Needs or Requirements

These dogs require a lot of attention and interaction. They are not suited for households where they would be left alone for extended periods.

Common Misconceptions about Brussels Griffon

One common misconception is that these dogs are aloof. In reality, they are quite friendly and sociable, with a lively personality that belies their small size.

Adoption and Purchasing of Brussels Griffon

How to Choose a Reputable Breeder

If you decide to purchase a Brussels Griffon, make sure you choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament over appearance.

Adoption versus Purchasing

Adoption is a wonderful way to provide a home for a dog in need. Many Brussels Griffons in shelters or rescue groups are waiting for their forever homes.

Importance of Rescue Groups and Shelters

Rescue groups and shelters play a crucial role in providing care for dogs in need. They are a great resource for anyone considering adopting a Brussels Griffon.

Brussels Griffon’s Show and Competition History

Show and Competition Successes

Despite their small size and cute looks, don’t be mistaken, Brussels Griffons can hold their own in dog shows and competitions. These dogs have a long history in conformation shows, agility, obedience, and even therapy work. Their intelligence, along with their desire to please, makes them versatile competitors.

Notable Brussels Griffon Champions

There have been several notable Brussels Griffons who have achieved significant success in shows and competitions. One famous Brussels Griffon named “Lincoln” even won the Toy Group at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Famous Brussels Griffon in Pop Culture

Brussels Griffons in Film and Television

Brussels Griffons have had their share of the limelight in film and television. Probably the most well-known is “Verdel” from the movie “As Good As It Gets,” who helped bring awareness and popularity to the breed.

Brussels Griffons and Celebrities

Several celebrities have been charmed by the Brussels Griffon’s unique looks and engaging personality. Notable Brussels Griffon owners include fashion designer Reem Acra and actress Hilary Duff. The charm and character of this breed truly transcend the dog park and extend to the red carpet.

The Brussels Griffon’s Role in Art and Literature

Brussels Griffons in Art

The Brussels Griffon’s distinct look has been captured in art over the centuries. They can be seen in paintings and sculptures dating back to the 17th century, often depicted alongside their noble owners. This highlights the breed’s enduring appeal and historic significance.

Brussels Griffons in Literature

Not just confined to the visual arts, Brussels Griffons also have a place in literature. They’ve been featured in a variety of works, from children’s books to novels, often characterized by their cleverness and charm.

The Importance of Responsible Breeding Practices

Responsible Breeding Practices

For aspiring Brussels Griffon owners, it’s important to source from breeders who engage in responsible breeding practices. Ethical breeders prioritize health, temperament, and longevity over aesthetics. They also adhere to breed standards and screen for potential health issues.

The Impact of Puppy Mills

Unfortunately, Brussels Griffons, like many other popular breeds, can be victims of unethical breeding practices in puppy mills. It’s crucial for prospective owners to avoid buying puppies from these sources, as it encourages harmful practices and often results in dogs with health and behavioral issues.


The Brussels Griffon is a distinctive and engaging small dog breed with a lot to offer. They are intelligent, lively, and deeply attached to their human families. Owning a Brussels Griffon can be a rewarding experience. With their lively personalities and loyal natures, these little dogs can bring a lot of joy to their owners’ lives.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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