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Adopt a Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


terrier, companion

Area of origin:


Original function:

small vermin hunting, companion

Average size of male:

Ht: 7-8, Wt: 8-10

Average size of female:

Ht: 7-8, Wt: 8-10

Other names:

griffon Belge, griffon Bruxellois, Belgian griffon

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Brussels Griffon Dog Temperament

The spunky Brussels griffon is full of himself, brimming with self-confidence and gusto. He is bold, playful, stubborn and mischievous. He is usually good with other dogs and pets. He 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.

Brussels Griffon Dog Care

The Brussels griffon is an active breed, always on the lookout for action. He needs daily mental and physical stimulation, but his small size makes such stimulation possible with a robust indoor game. He also enjoys a short walk on leash. This breed cannot live outside, although he 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.

Brussels Griffon Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: weak bladder, patellar luxation, distichiasis
Suggested tests: none
Life span: 12-15 years

Interested in the history of the Brussels Griffon dog breed?

A product of Belgium, the Brussels griffon probably had as his 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 his 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 himself in great demand by nobility. Although his 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.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Brussels Griffon Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Brussels Griffons ready for adoption:

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