Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon looking forward

Quick Facts


8 to 10 pounds


7 to 10 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

With almost human-like eyes, they will steal your heart, but alsoΒ  will make you laugh.


The Brussels Griffon, with its expressive eyes and distinctive whiskered face, is a small dog with a big personality. Originating from Brussels, Belgium, this breed has captured the hearts of many with its unique charm and lively spirit.Β 


Often described as looking like an Ewok from the “Star Wars” series, the Brussels Griffon has become a favorite among pet enthusiasts around the world. Its rich history, coupled with its endearing appearance and character, makes it a sought-after companion for those in the know.

History and Origin

The story of the Brussels Griffon dates back to the 1800s in Brussels, Belgium. Initially bred to hunt and eliminate rats in stables, these little dogs quickly found their way into the homes and hearts of the Belgian elite. Their ancestors include the Affenpinscher and two types of Belgian street dogs. Over time, through selective breeding, the distinct features of the Brussels Griffon we know today began to emerge.


The breed’s popularity surged in the late 19th century, especially under the patronage of Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium. Her love for the breed played a significant role in its development and recognition.


While not as historically famous as some other breeds, the Brussels Griffon has had its moments in the limelight. One of the most notable appearances was in the 1997 film “As Good as It Gets,” where a Brussels Griffon named “Verdell” stole many scenes and hearts.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Brussels Griffon is a toy breed, small but sturdy. Typically weighing between 7 to 12 pounds and standing about 7 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder, they are compact but not fragile.


There are two distinct types of coat: rough and smooth. The rough coat, which is longer and wiry, gives them a somewhat tousled appearance. The smooth coat, known as the “Brabancon,” is short, tight, and glossy. Both coat types come in a variety of colors, including red, black and tan, and belge (a mix of black, red, and brown hairs).


Their most captivating feature is undoubtedly their face. With large, dark eyes, a short nose, and an undershot jaw, the Brussels Griffon has an almost human-like expression. Their ears can be either cropped or left natural, with the natural ears being semi-erect.

Personality and Temperament

Brussels Griffons are often described as being “big dogs in small bodies.” Their personalities are much larger than their petite frames might suggest. These little canines are known for their alertness, curiosity, and undeniable charm. They’re often compared to human toddlers in terms of their need for attention and their playful antics.


Griffons are incredibly loyal to their families. They thrive on human interaction and often form a particularly close bond with one member of the household. Their expressive faces, complete with a wide range of emotions, make them excellent companions for those who enjoy a responsive and engaging pet.


However, it’s worth noting that their strong personalities can sometimes translate to stubbornness. They’re intelligent and can be a bit mischievous, often finding clever ways to get into things they shouldn’t.

Health and Lifespan

Brussels Griffons, like all breeds, have their set of health concerns to be aware of. However, with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups, they can lead healthy lives. On average, a Brussels Griffon’s lifespan ranges from 12 to 15 years.


Some health issues that may affect Brussels Griffons include:

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Due to their short noses, they can sometimes have breathing difficulties, especially in hot or humid weather.
  • Eye Issues: Their prominent eyes can be prone to injuries and certain conditions like cataracts.
  • Hip Dysplasia: A common condition in many dog breeds where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly.
  • Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap can easily move out of place.

Regular check-ups and being aware of any changes in behavior or health can help in early detection and treatment of potential issues.

Care and Maintenance

Brussels Griffon grooming

Caring for a Brussels Griffon is a delightful experience, filled with bonding moments and mutual affection. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Grooming: The rough-coated Griffons require regular brushing to prevent matting and occasional trimming to keep them looking their best. The smooth-coated variety, on the other hand, has minimal grooming needs, with just regular baths and occasional brushing.
  • Exercise: While they’re energetic and playful, their small size means they don’t require extensive exercise. Daily play sessions and short walks are usually sufficient.
  • Diet: Feed them high-quality dog food suitable for their age, size, and activity level. It’s essential to monitor their weight as they can be prone to obesity.

Remember, the key to a happy and healthy Brussels Griffon is regular care, attention, and lots of love!

Training and Behavior

Brussels Griffons are intelligent and eager to please, which can make training both a joy and a challenge. Their sharp minds pick up commands quickly, but their independent streak might require a bit of patience and consistency.


Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed. They respond well to treats, praise, and play. However, it’s essential to start training early, especially for socialization. Exposing them to various people, pets, and environments when they’re young can help them grow into well-rounded adults.


Behaviorally, they can sometimes be a bit territorial. Early socialization can help mitigate excessive barking or protectiveness. They’re also known to be a bit of a “clown,” often entertaining their families with their playful and sometimes goofy behavior.

Brussels Griffon and Families

Brussels Griffon with people

Brussels Griffons are incredibly affectionate and form strong bonds with their families. They’re excellent companions for singles, couples, and seniors. While they can get along with children, it’s crucial that kids are taught to handle them gently due to their small size.


They generally get along well with other pets, especially if introduced at a young age. However, their bold nature might sometimes lead them to challenge larger dogs, so supervision is essential during interactions.


In a family setting, they thrive on attention and love being involved in family activities. Their size makes them suitable for apartment living, as long as their exercise and mental stimulation needs are met.

Adopting a Brussels Griffon

If you’re considering adding a Brussels Griffon to your family, that’s wonderful! Adoption is a rewarding experience, providing a loving home to a dog in need. When looking to adopt:


  • Research Reputable Rescues: There are many breed-specific rescues that focus on Brussels Griffons. They often have detailed knowledge about the breed and can guide you through the adoption process.
  • Prepare Your Home: Ensure your home is safe and suitable for a small dog. Consider things like securing trash cans and removing any potential hazards.
  • Meet and Greet: Spend time with the dog before finalizing the adoption. This helps ensure a good match for both you and the Griffon.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the rescue about the dog’s health, temperament, and history.

Remember, adopting a dog is a long-term commitment. Ensure you’re ready to provide a forever home filled with love, care, and attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about the Brussels Griffon's appearance?

Brussels Griffons are known for their distinctive human-like expressions, beard, and mustache, along with a pout that gives them a grumpy yet adorable appearance.

Can Brussels Griffons live in apartments?

Yes, their small size and moderate energy levels make them well-suited for apartment living, provided they get daily walks and mental stimulation.

Are Brussels Griffons good with children?

They can be good with older children who know how to handle dogs gently but might not tolerate rough play, making them better suited for families with older kids or adults only.

What health issues are common in Brussels Griffons?

They can be prone to dental issues, respiratory problems due to their brachycephalic nature, and eye injuries because of their prominent eyes.

Consecte libero id faucibus nisl tincidu. Magna etiam tempor orci lobor faculs lorem ipsum.