Brussels Griffon Guide

Toy Dog Breeds

The Brussels griffon is square-proportioned, thickset and compact. It has good bone for its size. Its movement is a purposeful trot, with moderate reach and drive. In temperament it is full of self-importance, and its carriage reflects this attitude. Its almost human expression attracts attention and admirers. Its coat can be rough, with hard wiry hair — which is longer around the head — or smooth, with a short glossy coat.

The spunky Brussels griffon is full of itself, brimming with self-confidence and gusto. It is bold, playful, stubborn and mischievous. It is usually good with other dogs and pets. It tends to bark and climb, and some Brussels griffons can be escape artists. This breed makes a saucy companion for a family wanting an entertaining, sensitive pet.

AKC RANKING 70

FAMILY Terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN Belgium

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION small vermin hunting, companion

TODAY'S FUNCTION companion

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 9-11 Weight: 8-10

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 9-11 Weight: 8-10

OTHER NAME griffon Belge, griffon Bruxellois, Belgian griffon

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Low tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

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The Brussels griffon is an active breed, always on the lookout for action. It needs daily mental and physical stimulation, but its small size makes such stimulation possible with a robust indoor game. It also enjoys a short walk on leash. This breed cannot live outside, although it appreciates the opportunity to spend time in the yard. The rough coat needs combing two or three times weekly, plus shaping by stripping every three months. Grooming for the smooth coat is minimal, consisting only of occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: weak bladder, patellar luxation, distichiasis
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 12 – 15 years
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A product of Belgium, the Brussels griffon probably had as its forebears the affenpinscher and a Belgian street dog, the griffon d'ecurie, or "stable griffon." The breed gained favor as a guard of cabs in Brussels, where its cocky but comic demeanor was most likely more effective at attracting riders than dissuading robbers. In the late 1800s, this mixture was then crossed with the pug, at that time extremely popular in neighboring Holland. The pug crosses account for the brachycephalic head type and for the smooth-coated individuals of the breed, known then (and still in some countries) as the petit brabancon. Although the smooths were initially destroyed (after all, griffon means wiry), they were soon after accepted. By 1880, the breed was sufficiently established to be recognized at Belgian dog shows. Around this same time there is some suggestion that additional crosses were made with the Yorkshire terrier and English toy spaniel, the latter further contributing to the Brussels griffon's head configuration. By the early 1900s, the little street urchin had risen to the heights of popularity in Belgium and found itself in great demand by nobility. Although its numbers were decimated by World War I, the breed recovered and has since gained ardent admirers around the world. In some countries, only the red longer-coated dogs are classified as the Brussels griffon; black longer-coated dogs are known as the Belgian griffon; and smooth-coated dogs are known as the petit brabancon.
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