Meet the Breed: The Brussels Griffon



  • Height: 7"- 8”
  • Weight: 6-12 pounds
  • Historical function: Rat catcher, companion
  • Modern function: Companion, watchdog
  • AKC classification: Toy

Physical Characteristics:

The Brussels Griffon may actually be referring to three varieties of Griffon: the Griffon Bruxellois, the Betit Brabancon, and the Griffon Belge. These are all identical in body shape but differ in coat color and length. In the U.S., only the Brussels Griffon is recognized and the different coats lengths and colors are considered varieties within the same breed. These dogs are small but not pampered. Their expressions are often categorized as almost human. 

History of the Breed:

The Brussels Griffon was named after the city of Brussels, Belgium where they were developed from the Affenpinscher and the Belgian street dog. The dogs made good ratters and watchdogs. The breed is considered to be rare. One was featured in the movie, "As Good As It Gets."


The Brussels Griffon is a lively small dog that is not a typical pampered small breed. It has a cheerful terrier-like personality. This dog makes an excellent companion if not overly coddled or allowed to become the pack leader (which is a temptation with such a personable, expressive tiny dog.) Gets along with other dogs, cats, and children if socialized well. May be difficult to housebreak. These dogs often bond especially well to one person, so care must be exercised to socialize them with many types of people and situations.

  • Best suited for: These adaptable dogs do well in apartments and homes.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is content most anywhere, as long as he is with his people. Can be sensitive to heat.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat needs occasional brushing and shaping every three months.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk keeps this dog in good mental and physical shape.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to slipped stifle, respiratory and eye problems. Puppies often have to be delivered by Cesarean.

Breed Club Links: National Brussels Griffon Club Perfect Pairings: Star Wars Dog Collar - Chewbacca

Have any stories about a Brussels Griffon? Please share!

Photos courtesy of Ger Dekker.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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