The Bold Brussels Griffon

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Brussels Griffon
Griffon Belge
Weight: 8 — 11 lbs
Height: 9” — 11”
AKC Rank 2008: #65
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group: Toy
Origin: Belgium

Dog Breed Info - The Brussels Griffon

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Breed Overview

Origin 1800’s. Original function: Hunting small vermin, Companion. Today, Companion. Not good for families with young children. Colors: Red, Beige, mixed reddish brown and black, black and tan and all black.

Originally the Griffon were used by coachmen to keep rats out of the stables in Belgium In the late 1800’s, this mixture was then crossed with the Pug, at that time popular in neighboring Holland. The Pug Irish Terrier, English Toy Spaniel and other breeds were crossed with the Brussels Griffon giving several coat types; smooth and rough plus a variety of colors. The smooth and rough were considered to be the same breed, however, many of the smooth's were destroyed.

By 1880, the breed was sufficiently established and was recognized and was shown in Belgium dog shows. By 1900, the little street dogs had risen in popularity and found itself in demand by nobility. The breeds numbers were reduced by WWI but the breed recovered and the Brussels Griffon has since gained considerable world interest


Yes. clicker training is advised. This is a sensitive breed. Never use negative training. This kind of dog can’t deal with that.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Brussels Griffon puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Brussels Griffon puppy is sensitive and kind of tricky to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.



The Brussels Griffon has a lot of self-confidence but can be stubborn. He’s bold, mischievous and playful. The breed seems to bark a lot and likes to climb and explore so he needs a well fenced yard. The Griffon is a poor choice for families with children. The breed is difficult to potty train but do try the method outlined on this website. The Griffon can be an entertaining little fellow and a good, bold, affectionate, sensitive companion for the right family. May be prone to separation anxiety.

If you happen to get a Griffon with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Okay with most dogs. Will pick and choose dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Yes, generally okay.

The Griffon showing his huge whiskers
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Friendly Toward Strangers

No, not too friendly with people he doesn't know.


Yes, very playful fellow. Loves games. They like to train and do tricks as well as chase small balls or other toys.


Yes, very affectionate. They love family and being in the middle of things.

Good with children

Older children, 7 and up OK. Small children need very close supervision. The breed is playful, but not the kind of play small children dish out.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Griffon is fine for for seniors. Small, compact, affectionate, lots of fun, needs a ton of attention, all things a senior would have time for. Not sure about the grand kids though. If longevity or training are an issue, find a Brussels Griffon Rescue Group and get a 2 to 3 year old dog that is house trained and knows a few commands. This will prevent a lot of headaches.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, farm, city OK. Must live indoors with family. Do not isolate. This dog needs lots of friendship.

A medium size fenced yard would be nice so the Brussels Griffon could chase balls and play some viperous fetch for exercise and work off some of that energy!

A Brussels Griffon in a sweater
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Energy level

High energy. Very lively little fellow.

Exercise needs, daily

Modest needs. This is an active breed, always looking for action. The Griffon needs daily mental and physical stimulation but that can be met with an indoor or outdoor robust game or a good long walk on leash.


Very good. Will alert to anything going on.

Guard dog





Griffon Belge Smooth coat — occasional brushing with a bristle brush to remove dead hair, especially when shedding.

Griffon Belge Rough coat — comb pr brush 2 to 3 times a week and shape by stripping every 3 months by a professional.



Suggested Reading - The Brussels Griffon
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners and should be kept close at hand.


Brussels Griffon Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Griffon Belge puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Brussels Griffon Breeders with puppies for sale. If you don't find what you want here, try online with a search of Brussels Griffon Breeders.

Brussels Griffon Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Brussels Griffon Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Brussels Griffon Rescue - (Nationwide) At the time of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 121 Griffon's available in the country. In the event you do adopt one, try to find any dog health records and save them for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you are likely going to need to do some surfing for Brussels Griffon Rescue groups and kennels or adoptions to find what you want. There have to be other rescue's and kennels out there.

Dog Health Issues For The Brussels Griffon
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Griffon Belge by various vets and books.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. If your Griffon Belge has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Heat stroke- The Brussels Griffon has a short muzzle that makes breathing difficult in hot weather. Heat stroke is a dangerous illness and the dog must be kept out of the sun and in a cool place.

  • Corneal ulceration—Caused by eye injury and common to dogs whose eyes are prominent. Corneal ulcers can easily become infected. Keep all dogs with prominent eyes like Pugs, Brussels Griffon's and Boston's away from dirty, polluted, dusty areas. Infections are very hard to treat.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can lead to blindness if not treated.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Weak bladder.

Other health problems could occur with your Brussels Griffon. If you notice any problems with your Brussels Griffon, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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