Brussels Griffon

History

The Brussels Griffon was developed in Belgium from crosses between various breeds. These were the Smousje, a terrier like rodent catcher, the Affenpinscher, and another Belgian dog called the Griffon d'Ecurie. There was further cross breeding in the late 1800s with the Pug, creating the BG's characteristic face. By the early 1900's, the breed had gained massive popularity in Belgium. In some countries the black rough coated types are known as Belgian Griffons, the smooth coated as Petit Brabancon, and only the red rough coated classes as Brussels Griffon. Griffon means 'wiry'.

Behaviour

Brussels Griffons are happy little dogs who like to be around people. They tend to latch on to one family member more than others, but will be happy just to be around you. Following you on trips to the bathroom and anywhere around the house will be standard. They will want to cuddle up to you on the sofa and you will have a hard time getting them off your bed at night. They are plucky, active and are good with children as long as they aren't teased. They are rarely shy and often forget how small they are, so could get into trouble with larger dogs if you're not careful. They generally get on well with strangers, other dogs and other pets if properly socialized.

BGs are alert and interested in their surroundings, so will bark when someone is at the door. They can be sensitive at times, but are happy to please you, so reward and fuss based training works well. They pick things up quite quickly and like performing tricks, as this brings them attention. Griffons enjoy competitions such as agility, and are surprisingly good at it.

Seen as a 'court jester' dressed in a fur suit, they are comical and content dogs, given enough love and affection. Due to them bonding closely to one or two family members, it is best to socialize them with as many people as possible from an early age to prevent them being too protective. They aren't snappy dogs, but problems could arise if they get too dependent. They dislike being left alone as they miss their owners too much. Their love of games and playing makes socialization with others very easy. They can play fetch and with a ball and seem to never tire when fun is concerned. Once they've had enough, they'll curl up on your lap for a well earned nap. They need a shortish walk every day on a lead or a chance to run around outside, but aren't demanding. Their recall is usually good.

Grooming of the rough coated variety needs to be carried out two or three times a week with a decent brush to remove dead hair, plus stripping a few times a year. The smooth coated variety needs weekly brushing.

Temperament

Brussels Griffons are playful and self-confident. They form a tight bond with their owners, love attention, and can be very playful. They can sometimes find rowdy children a bit too much, but will get along with well-behaved children, most other dogs, and other household pets.

BGs can be noisy and mischievous, adept at escaping from whatever is enclosing them.

Health Problems

Brussels Griffons are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), patella luxation (dislocation of the kneecap), eye problems including cataracts, some allergies, and weal bladder.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years
  • Weight: 8 - 14 lb
  • Height: 9 - 11"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: No Garden
  • Breed Type: Toy Dog
  • Size: Small
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Up to 30 Minutes

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