The Adorable Brussels Griffon: A Comprehensive Guide

Described as alert, curious, and loyal, the Brussels Griffon is a pint-sized dog with an enormous personality.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the “bearded” dog with a human-like facial expression.

History and Origins of the Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon has an interesting history that dates back to the early 1800s and starts with the simple task of catching rats and mice.

The Early Beginnings of the Breed

The Brussels Griffon was developed by crossing Pugs, English Toy Spaniels, and Brabancons (old Belgian dogs). The goal was to create a small and agile dog that could catch rats and mice.

The breed quickly became popular among the working class in Brussels. These early Brussels Griffons were known for their tenacity and ability to catch rats, making them highly valued by their owners.

As the breed’s popularity increased, breeders focused on creating a companion rather than a working dog. With these efforts, the Brussels Griffon became a more elegant dog and caught the eyes of Belgium’s upper class.

The Brussels Griffon’s Royal Connections

Queen Marie Henriette was a fan of the breed and had several Brussels Griffons as pets. This helped increase the popularity of the breed, especially among the upper class in Brussels.

The Queen’s love for the breed inspired many others to adopt Brussels Griffons as pets, leading to a population surge. In 1883 the first Brussels Griffon was shown at the Brussels Exhibition, helping establish the dog as a recognized breed in Europe.

The Breed’s Popularity in the United States

The Brussels Griffon first arrived in the United States in the late 1800s. The breed quickly gained popularity and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1910.

The breed’s popularity continued to grow throughout the 20th century, and today, the Brussels Griffon is a frequently owned dog. One of the reasons for the breed’s popularity in the United States is its adaptability.

The Brussels Griffon is a small dog that can thrive in both urban and suburban environments. Plus, the dog gets along with children, hence being an excellent choice for both families and single individuals.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Brussels Griffon is a small breed cherished for its charming and unique appearance. Here is a closer look at the breed’s physical traits.

Size and Weight

The Brussels Griffon is a compact breed with a body that is longer than it is tall. It has a broad chest that gives a balanced and elegant appearance. Breed members are 7 to 10 inches tall at the withers and weigh around 8 to 10 pounds.

Although they are small, Brussels Griffons are known for their big personalities. They are lively and energetic, with a playful and curious nature that makes them a joy to be around.

Coat Types and Colors

The Brussels Griffon comes in two coat types – rough-haired and smooth-haired. The rough-haired variety has a longer coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. The smooth-haired variety has a short and easy-to-care-for coat that requires minimal grooming.

Both coat types come in a range of colors, including belge, black, black & tan, and red. Some Brussels Griffons also have white markings on their chest and feet, which adds to their unique and distinctive appearance.

Facial Features

The most distinctive feature of the Brussels Griffon is its face. It has a short snout, large and round eyes, and bushy eyebrows that give it a human-like expression.

Its head is square-shaped, and its ears are small and pointy. The black muzzle and whiskers give the dog a “bearded” look and are probably the hallmark of the Brussels Griffon breed.

Brussels Griffons have expressive faces, which can convey a wide range of emotions. They are often described as having a comical and endearing stance, which makes them a favorite among dog lovers.

Personality and Temperament

While small in size, Brussels Griffons have a big personality. These little dogs also have a spunky and playful side that is sure to keep you entertained. They love to play and have fun and are always up for a game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Affectionate and Loyal Companions

Brussels Griffons are affectionate and loyal to their owners. They are social and enjoy spending time with family members. While they may be wary of strangers, they typically warm up quickly.

In addition to being affectionate and loyal, Brussels Griffons are also brave and courageous. Despite their small size, they are not afraid to stand up for themselves or their owners and will bark to alert you of any potential danger.

Intelligence and Trainability

Brussels Griffons are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and are quick learners when it comes to basic commands and obedience training.

However, it is important to note that Brussels Griffons can also be stubborn at times. They have a mind of their own and may require a bit of patience and persistence when it comes to more advanced training.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Pets

As a breed, Brussels Griffons are known for being friendly and social. They typically get along well with other pets and children, although they may be better suited for families with older kids who can handle their small size.

Socialization is key when it comes to ensuring your Brussels Griffon gets along well with other pets and children. Expose your puppy to a variety of people, animals, and situations from a young age to help it develop into a well-adjusted and confident dog.

Health and Lifespan

Like all breeds, Brussels Griffons are prone to certain health issues. However, with proper care and preventative measures, these can typically be managed.

Common Health Issues in Brussels Griffons

Brussels Griffons are prone to several health issues, including:

  • Orthopedic Issues: The breed is susceptible to orthopedic conditions, like hip dysplasia and luxating patella 
  • Eye Problems: Common eye issues in this breed include cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Heart Conditions: Heart problems are frequent, and heart failure is the leading cause of death in the breed 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To ensure the health and well-being of your Brussels Griffon, it is important to take a preventative approach to its care.

This includes regular checkups with a veterinarian, as well as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Trim the nails, clean the ears, and brush the teeth regularly for optimal care.

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Brussels Griffon is around 12 to 15 years. By providing proper care and attention, you can help ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy for as long as possible.


If you are looking for a small and affectionate companion, the Brussels Griffon might just be the perfect breed for you. With their adorable appearance and friendly personality, they make wonderful pets for both urban and suburban environments.

As with any pet, proper care and attention will help ensure that your Brussels Griffon stays healthy and happy for years to come. Also, before buying, find a reputable breeder.

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