Everything You Need To Know About The Affectionate Brussels Griffon

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

The Brussels Griffon, also known as the Griffon, Griff, Bruss, or Griffon Beige, is an adorable doggo growing in popularity. 

There’s a lot to love about this pooch, but it also requires a lot of attention. This dog breed expects to be the center of your world, but they make an excellent companion dog.

Black Brussels Griffon lying down and sticking its tongue
A cute black Brussels Griffon

Are you curious about this purebred? Then keep on reading.

Where Did the Brussels Griffon Originate?

The Brussels Griffon is named after their city of origin, which is Brussels, Belgium. This dog breed may also be referred to as the Griffon Bruxellois, Griffon Belge (Belgian Griffon), or Petit Brabancon. Similar to Belgian Shepherd Dogs, these names are different variants of the Brussels Griffon.

This purebred was created from a few different breeds, such as the Affenpinscher, English Toy Spaniel, Pug, and a Belgian street dog.

In the early 1800s, this pooch was bred to catch vermin in stables. Today, they’re lovely lapdogs and family companions.

These small dogs were brought over to the United States in the early 1900s. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this dog breed in 1910.

They weren’t too popular at first. The breeding of this pooch decreased during World War I and II. But, once the Jack Nicholson movie, As Good As It Gets, released featuring a Brussels Griffon dog named Verdell, people fell in love with this toy breed.

For example, Squid the Griff has gained more than 250,000 Instagram followers. Newton, another Brussels Griffon, won the 16th annual National Dog Show.

Despite their growing popularity, though, this doggo is rare to come by. This is because they have small litters and are difficult to breed.

What Does a Brussels Griffon Dog Look Like?

A close-up picture of a tan Brussels Griffon standing on the grass
A Brussels Griffon showing its puppy eyes

According to the AKC’s breed standard, this pooch has a thickset, short body. However, they are alert, sturdy, and have human expressions.

Also known as Monkey Face or described as an Ewok, the Brussels Griffon’s head have large eyes set well apart from one another.

The ears are small and set high on their head. The skull is large and round, with a domed forehead. 

Its back is level with a neck that’s medium in length and arched. The tail is held high and docked about one-third.

The forelegs are medium in length, straight, and muscled. They stand well apart from one another. This small breed has round feet that are small and compact. The hind legs are strong and well-muscled.

How big does a Brussels Griffon dog get?

Male or female, the Brussels Griffon will grow to be about 7 to 10 inches (17.7 to 25.4 cm) tall. They’ll weigh between 8 and 10 pounds (3.6 to 4.5 kg).

This doggo is adaptable and will be a fine apartment dog. However, they will also appreciate a small fenced-in yard to romp around.

What does the Brussels Griffon coat look like?

Brussels Griffons as Bearded Dogs can have two types of coats. They can have a rough coat or a smooth coat, that’s also called Brabancons.

The smooth coat is short, straight, and glossy. There’s no wiry hair. On the other hand, the rough coat is wiry and dense. It’s not silky.

This pooch can also come in a few different coat colors. Colors recognized by the ALC are red, belge (black and reddish-brown), black & tan, and black. Other colors may be blue, brown, chocolate, tan, and wheaten.

For Brussels Griffons that are black and tan, they can be black with reddish-brown markings.

Are Brussels Griffons Good Family Dogs?

A belge and a black Brussels Griffons standing on wood
Source: @griffons_gang / IG

Yes, Brussels Griffons are affectionate with their family members. In fact, this doggo is also known as the Velcro Dog because they tend to cling to their owner.

Brussels Griffons are also friendly with small children and other pets, such as dogs. However, they might be wary at first, so they’ll need to be well trained and have early socialization.

Also, if you have young children at home, then the Griffon may not get along with them. But, again, this is because they love to be the center of attention.

This pooch can have an aggressive side if they feel threatened by a stranger or unknown dogs despite their size. They’ll be okay with dogs and cats in the same family, but smaller animals should be kept away from them.

The Brussels Griffon, like most toy dogs, believe they’re bigger than they are. They will be a good watchdog, but if you’re looking for a guard dog, this won’t be the right pooch.

Do Brussels Griffons bark a lot?

Even though the Belgium Griffon acts high and mighty, they are quite sensitive. They bond with their family and, if left home alone for too long, they will get separation anxiety.

Crate training is a must if you leave this pooch home alone. Otherwise, they will become destructive such as knocking over the trash, chewing the furniture, unrolling the toilet paper, and more.

In addition, this doggo will bark a lot. They’ll become vocal if they feel the need to alert you or if they’re not getting enough attention from you. Of course, most toy breeds, such as Chihuahuas tend to be yappy. The Brussels Griffon is no different.

Brussels Griffons are known to be full of self-importance and can be bossy. This is why they need to begin training as early as possible.

The Brussels Griffon is smart when it comes to housetraining and obedience, but they can be stubborn. So, training won’t be easy. If they don’t feel like doing something, they won’t. So, when training this doggo, you’ll want to use lots of positive reinforcement.

Since they are sensitive and stubborn, training should be a fun and positive experience. Unfortunately, Griffons won’t respond well to harsh corrections and other typical training methods.

How to Take Care of Your Brussels Griffon

A tan Brussels Griffon standing on a brick floor, near the flowers
Source: @gingembre5 / IG

The Brussels Griffon is a high-maintenance dog. Even though they are small dogs, they require a lot of care and attention.

This tiny pup should be kept most of the time indoors and supervised outside. Cold weather might be too harsh for them, given their small size and light coat.

On the other hand, they can easily overheat in hot weather and get heatstroke due to their pushed-in nose (brachycephalic).

Exercising your Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons have moderate energy levels though they love to be active. They will do well in obedience and agility classes since they’re intelligent and enjoy the work.

In fact, this breed needs plenty of mental stimulation. However, they don’t require too much exercise.

About 30 minutes per day will keep them healthy and happy pups. After that, your Brussels Griffon will enjoy going on a walk with you or romping in the backyard, chasing a ball. As long as the activity involves the two of you doing something together, they’ll be excited. 

Do Brussels Griffon shed a lot?

A Brussels Griffon being groomed
A Brussels Griffon enjoying a trim at the groomer

Grooming will depend on the type of coat your doggo has. However, two kinds of coats are considered to be hypoallergenic. So, if you suffer from allergies, then you’re in luck.

If your Brussels Griffon has a smooth coat, they will shed during shedding season in the spring and fall. When this happens, you’ll want to brush your dog’s coat at least once per day to keep the shedding at bay. During the non-shedding season, you can get away with weekly brushing.

In addition, bathing on occasion will also help remove loose hair.

If your doggo has a rough coat, then they won’t shed at all. You may need to clip their beard yourself or by taking them to a professional groomer, but that’s about it.

Like with all dog breeds, be sure to clip their nails, brush their teeth regularly, and check their ears to clean them.

How much food should a Brussels Griffon consume in a day?

Every dog is its individual. So, when it comes to feeding your pooch, you should talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s diet.

However, for the average Brussels Griffon, it’s recommended to feed them ¼ to ½ of high-quality dog food every day divided into two meals. 

Never feed your pup table scraps. Some human foods are okay for them to eat. In fact, some are actually quite nutritious. However, if you’re going to try something new with your dog, be sure to consult with your vet first.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Brussels Griffon?

A senior Brussels Griffon bundled up on a stroller
Source: @liza_jane_mulvey / IG

Brussels Griffon have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years if properly cared for with a well-balanced diet and good exercise.

Like with all other dog breeds, this pooch is prone to certain health conditions.

For example, Brussels Griffon may have health issues such as skin allergies, syringomyelia (AM), Chiari-like malformation (CM), cleft palate, birthing complications, weak bladder, distichiasis, or Legg-Perthes disease.

In addition, other health problems may be eye defects such as cataracts, eye lacerations, lens luxations, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), or glaucoma.

They may also have orthopedic problems such as patellaluxation, hip dysplasia, and breathing problems due to heatstroke or snoring.

Heart problems are also an issue. In fact, heart failure is the most common reason of death for this dog breed.

Luckily, there are plenty of health screenings and tests you can get. For instance, there’s an ophthalmologist evaluation for Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), ERG test for PRA, and an MRI for Syringomyelia.

You can also get clearance from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hips evaluation, patella evaluation, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease.

In addition, there’s also clearance from Auburn University for Thrombopathia.

It’s always a good idea to bring your doggo to the vet for a regular check-up at least once or twice per year. This way, you can make sure your pooch is as healthy as can be.

How Much Does a Brussels Griffon Puppy Cost?

A Brussels Griffon resting on a yellow blanket, on a sofa
Source: @obi_wan_griffonb / IG

If you think this pooch is right for you, there are a few ways to get a Brussels Griffon. Unfortunately, the litter size is small, with only 1 to 3 puppies. So, it may be difficult to find this breed, especially if they’re high in demand.

Depending on where you find the dog and its bloodline, the average cost of a puppy is $2,300.

However, you may be expected to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $4,000. You’ll be able to get the puppy at a lower cost if you adopt through a shelter or rescue rather than going through a breeder.

Stay away from pet stores and puppy farms. Unfortunately, these places are only looking to make a profit from the puppy. Your best bet is to go through a reputable breeder or a rescue.

Finding Brussels Griffon Breeders

If you have your heart set on getting a Brussels Griffon puppy, then you can go through a reputable breeder.

A good breeder will have a vast knowledge of the breed as a whole. Plus, they’ll want to improve upon the breed.

The breeder will want to meet with you in person and meet with the puppies and at least the mother or the father of the litter. In addition, they’ll give you the family tree and health history of the puppies.

The puppies shouldn’t leave their mother until they are at least eight weeks of age. A good breeder may already begin getting the litter vaccinated as early as six weeks of age. In addition, the puppies will be well socialized before being adopted. 

You can find reputable breeders through the AKC Marketplace or the American Brussels Griffon Association.

Adopting Brussels Griffons

Of course, it’s always a good idea to adopt and not shop. There are plenty of dogs out there who do not yet have a good home.

You can call your local animal shelter and see if they have purebred Brussels Griffons available. Alternatively, you can check a breed-specific rescue nearby that helps this certain breed.

Take a look at the National Brussels Griffon Rescue, Inc. to find a rescue near you.

Curious About Brussels Griffon Mixes?

There’s more where that came from. You can enjoy this loveable dog breed as a crossbreed. Brussels Griffon can be mixed with other smaller dog breeds to create hybrids to share traits and appearances.

Shih Tzu Brussels Griffon Mix

A White Shih Tzu Brussels Griffon Mix nipping the grass
Source: @dancintreeartstudio / IG

The Shih Tzu Brussels Griffon mix, also known as a Shiffon, is a delightful pup. This hybrid is loyal, outgoing, and affectionate. This designer dog is full of energy but easy to train and sociable with others.

In other words, this crossbreed is more sociable than the purebred Brussels Griffon. They’ll be great family dogs but will still prefer older children over younger kids.

Yorkie (Yorkshire Terrier) Brussels Griffon Mix

A Yorkshire Terrier Brussels Griffon mix lying on a chair
Source: @lobanoodle / IG

Have you heard of the Griffonshire before? This pooch is a nice blend of the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) and the Brussels Griffon.

This pooch may have smooth or rough hair like the Griffon, or it can have silky hair like the Yorkie parent. Similar to the Brussels Griffon parent, on the other hand, this doggo might be difficult to train.

Overall, this lapdog is intelligent, energetic, and happy. However, they’re loyal to their family and prefer to have a friend at home with another dog. Otherwise, they might get separation anxiety when left home alone for too long.

Pug Brussels Griffon Mix

A Pug Brussels Griffon mix dog
Source: @ellathepuggriffon / IG

The Pug Brussels Griffon mix, also known as the Brug, is another pretty rare hybrid. This toy dog is outgoing and full of self-importance, similar to the Griffon parent. 

They are loyal to their family but expect to be showered with affection and attention at all times by their family members. In addition, this pooch will cling to its owner, but they’re very sensitive to its owner’s feelings.

This doggo is another great companion dog, as long as there are no young children in the home.

Who Should Get a Brussels Griffon?

A Brussels Griffon in a knitted dress, standing on a brick floor
Source: @mymiapuppy / IG

There are many pros to this dog breed, and yet, there are a lot of setbacks as well. Brussels Griffons are awesome dogs, but they’re not right for everyone.

If you’re home most of the time can shower your pooch will lots of love, can keep up with the expenses and their stubborn streak, then you might be able to bring this doggo home.

Brussels Griffons make great watchdogs, they’re sensitive to their human’s emotions, and they’re adorable to boot.

As long as you don’t have any young children living at home, this pup will be a great companion dog for you.

Are you thinking about adopting a Brussels Griffon? Let us know in the comments below.

Further reading: Similarly Sized Breeds to the Brussels Griffon

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