Brussels Griffon Guide: A Lively & Intelligent Dog Breed

Brussels Griffon dog breed

The Brussels griffon was originally bred in Belgium to hunt rats. The popular companion animal is a descendant of a rough-coated terrier type of dog and exhibits many admirable terrier qualities. The breed is still uncommon outside of Europe.

Brussels Griffon Breed Overview

The Brussels griffon originated in Belgium and is known as a stable dog. This rare breed comes in two coat varieties. The rough-coat type is known as the Brussels griffon, and the hair is wiry and dense. The black rough-coated dogs are Belgian griffons. The smooth-haired dog is known as the Petit Brabancon. The coat on the smooth-haired variety is straight, short, tight, and glossy.

Origin and History

For decades, this little dog was popular as a guard dog on horse-drawn cabs and as a ratter. In the nineteenth century, there was some pug and affenpinscher added to the Brussels griffon breed. The dog was first documented in Jan Van Eyck's fifteenth-century painting, The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini. In the late 1800s, the breed appeared in the U.S. The Brussels griffon dog is considered a toy breed despite his terrier traits.

From Stable to Royal Pet

The first Brussels griffon dogs are known as "little street urchins" and seen wandering Brussels' streets. Workers kept the breed inside stables to catch rats. One of the breed's most prominent supporters is Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium. Her enthusiasm for the breed made him popular among the wealthy in Europe.

Brussels Griffon dog in the park


This dog exhibits many terrier qualities. The Brussels griffon is intelligent, alert, and sensitive. He typically is a no-nonsense type of dog. This well-balanced breed may enjoy the country life but also adapts well to life in the city.


The breed enjoys walks, but the overall exercise requirements are minimal. The Brussels griffon is a wonderful companion for a pet parent living in an apartment. With that in mind, if there is an opportunity, this energetic dog enjoys walks in the country.


There are two types of coat. The rough and smooth coats come in a wide range of colors. The rough coat is always hand-stripped.

  • Size: Between seven and 11 inches tall
  • Weight: Weighs between eight and 12 pounds
  • Coat colors: The breed is available in red, belge, black and tan, and black

Brussels Griffon Short Hair

The smooth-coated variety or Petit Brabancon is a dog with a short and tight coat with no wiry hair. The coat requires very little care other than a seasonal raking of the undercoat.

Health Concerns

This breed is known for a few health conditions.

  • Luxating patellas
  • Eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Syringomyelia

Small Breed Diet

The Brussels Griffon's average weight is between eight and 12 pounds. This little dog may become obese if overfed. The sturdy dog needs a high-quality diet designed for small dogs. If you research the breed and see he is well-boned, this does not mean you need an overweight dog. Work with your vet on the ideal weight for your little buddy.

Caring for Your Senior Brussels Griffon

The life expectancy for this small breed is over 12 years. Small breeds need to see the vet at least twice a year! When a dog's age increases, it is essential to talk with your vet about any behavior changes. Some health conditions are breed-specific, and the above medical issues need to be addressed with your vet. Many small breeds are predisposed to luxating patellas.

Top Brussels Griffon Mixes

If you want to continue looking for breeds, a Brussels griffon mix may be the perfect dog for your family.

  • Affengriffon: Brussels griffon and affenpinscher
  • Eskifon: Brussels griffon and American Eskimo
  • Bea Griffon: Brussels griffon and beagle
  • Griffichon: Brussels griffon and Bichon frise
  • Brusston: Brussels griffon and Boston terrier

Popular in Hollywood Films

This wonderful small breed is popular in Hollywood and appeared in the films, As Good As It Gets and Gosford Park.

Reputable Brussels Griffon Breeders

The American Kennel Club is an excellent resource for pet parents looking for reputable Brussels griffon breeders. There are many questions dog lovers need to ask a breeder when researching terriers type dogs or canines in the toy group.

The Brussels Griffon Starts as a Stable Dog

This lively and intelligent breed is popular with terrier lovers. The breed was common around farms and stables to control rodent populations. Eventually, the dog became a wonderful companion animal and family pet. The Brussels griffon is available in a rough-coated and smooth-haired variety. Pet parents need to work with a reputable breeder to identify a puppy or adult dog best suited for their family.

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Brussels Griffon Guide: A Lively & Intelligent Dog Breed