Brussels Griffon

Breed History

Brussels Griffon head shot

Brussels Griffon is a short, compact, and toy sized dog. Sturdy for a dog of its size and has some unique qualities. Common descriptions of this breeds describe the dog as having a human like personality.

Development of the breed standards happens in the 19th century, but traces of the breed exist much earlier. Ancestors of this dog have been around for centuries before, but the breed has had many changes since then.

Brussels, Belgium is the place that this dog comes from. Since they come from this region, they got the name Brussels in addition to Griffon. Outside influence and exports help with the geographic names.

Traditional ratters, just like Terriers, and bred to reduce the rodent population for farmers and households suffering from this problem. Strong watchdogs that will alert owners of intruders quickly.

Crossbreeding several dogs were the result of this breed most notably the Pug that gave them their facial features. Several other dogs are in the mix as well like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and other breeds.

After the World Wars they had similar challenges as other dogs in these areas, extinction. Breeding them with other dogs let them raise from dangerously low levels of dogs within the breed.

United Kingdom was the place where these dogs were still in good enough standing to continue to breed them because they were all gone in Belgium.

Elite members of society like the ruling class and the richest in this country would own this dog. Queens and other royal members would adore these dogs and make them popular in their countries.

Still are not sought after by many they still generate a large enough following to become popular in the United States and other countries around the world.


In 1910, they got recognition from the AKC due to the exports from the U.K into America.

Top 100 in popularity every year they are still in the top 50 percent in popularity in the U.S.A.

Toy, or Companion, dog group with every major kennel club around the world.


Male Height: 7-10 inches

Female Height: 7-10 inches

Male Weight: 8-10 pounds

Female Weight: 8-10 pounds

Males and females are generally the same size in this breed, and it is hard to tell the difference upon first look. That is common with toy breeds and other small size dogs.

Litter Size

3-4 puppies are the average litter size. You will notice that they will not have an issue giving birth in normal circumstances. You should always prepare that they can have a c-section and as the owner you will need to assist the mom a lot while she recovers from the procedure.

A lot of labor and care will be something you should know is a possibility. Charging more money for a litter you must nurture and care more for is common but not always something the breeder can get compensation for.


Belgium Griffon – Has a longer coat and these two breeds have different crossbreeding and that results in a different look. Although they come from a common ancestor, they look different today.

Petit Brabancon – Biggest difference is the smooth coat and similarity to the pug with a different color. They don’t have a human-like beard and other features that are in the Brussels Griffon.


  • Belge – black/reddish/brown
  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Red

These are the most common colors you will see with this breed.


Brussels Griffon cost $800-$2,000 for a high-quality dog with papers. Paper will document the ancestors and the different kennel clubs the dog comes from. You can track where the dog came from and when it got to America since 1910 with this breed.

Without papers you can expect a lower quality dog. Understanding the breed standard will help you avoid obvious errors in the bloodline. Some colors and markings can be something that isn’t an official color and it is important that you know the details.


They need a moderate amount of grooming and feature a rough coat.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brush the dogs at least one time per week. Shedding season is not an issue due to the short length of the coat. Owners who choose not to brush themselves are at low risk of hurting the dogs coat.

Combing should happen at least once per week as well. There is no danger of tangles or matting. No painful grooming session is in the dog’s future if you don’t comb them.

Bathing the dog can happen in one of two ways. You can do it on a schedule which is great for busy clients who need the structure. Otherwise, you can do it when the dog is dirty.

Ears are going to get an infection if they’re dirty. Most inside dogs like the Brussels Griffon are at a lower risk of getting these due to ear size and being indoors. Nonetheless, you should clean once per week.

Nails can be trim in a few different ways. There is no reason to trim the nails if they’re getting daily exercise which trim the nails. If not, take the time to cut them with clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation if you don’t think you can do all the above. Considering the different style and cuts you may want a groomer may be the best fit.

Life Span

12-15 years is the life span for the Brussels Griffon. That’s a long time to own a dog and owners should be aware that they don’t live forever, but they have a long time to spend with their owners.

Health Issues

Following Evaluations are a recommendation from their official kennel club.

Luxation Patella – kneecaps are an issue with small and toy dog breeds. At some point in the first 24 months you should get an examination of the knee area. Immediate review of the knees should be done if the done is favoring or not willing to exercise freely.

Hip Dysplasia – hips are an area that can affect any dog of any size. Smaller dogs have no real issues in this area and this evaluation is precautionary. Again, if the dogs don’t want to exercise you should get this x-ray done to see if they have problems with the hips.

Ophthalmologist – eyes can be an issue for the Brussels Griffon. Getting their eyes tested by a certified professional will determine if they have any eye issues that needs attention. Some issues are less serious but there are some other issues that can lead to partial or complete blindness.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Toy Group. This is a group of dogs that are known as “lap dogs” and have been in some of the most elite circles. Royalty and the richest in countries would hold most of these dogs and only give them away as a gift.

They would have jobs as watch dogs because they weren’t big enough to guard anything. Truly a companion dog most of their existence.

Here are some of the dogs that make up the Toy Group

Exercise Needs

Brussels Griffon’s need a lot of exercise. How much exercise they need will all depend on the dog’s individual exercise needs. Your dog is the only one who can tell you how much they need and I’m going to tell you how to find out.

Truth is the dog’s behavior is always the best indicator of the dog getting too little or too much exercise. When the dog isn’t getting enough exercise, you will start experiencing some undesirable behavior.

Excessive barking, biting, nipping, digging, chewing shoes, over excitement, and many more behaviors you wish would stop. They have a funny way of telling us that they are not getting enough and are using alternative methods to exhaust themselves.

Instead you should try to give them a normal outlet where they can exhaust every single day. Okay, not everyday because most people can’t do it. Consistency will increase the speed of how the dog will improve.

Once you start to improve the exercise program and provide the outlet the behavior will improve at the same time. Finding a good medium will provide you with some rest a few days out the week while exercising them five to six days consistently.

Here is a basic outline we recommend starting off

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk, treadmill)

By using this outline daily for a few weeks, you should see if you need 2 one-hour sessions for your dog to give you regular behavior. Healthy exercise programs help us get a lot of exercise we need as well.

Owners who understand this dynamic of bad behavior and boredom will have the best dog in the neighborhood. Everybody will wonder why your dog behaves while their dog doesn’t.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Training a dog has a lot to do with fulfilling their needs and then modifying their behavior from there. Every house is built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than daily exercise. Lower excitement sets up every other part of the training program. Really, if you wanted to exercise every day and relax on the rest of the program your dog will be better off than most people’s dogs who get training without exercise. Spending most of your time here is the biggest bang for your buck.

Commands are the most popular probably because they are so easy to train and require little to no work. Dog owners with little to no training can figure out how to get their dogs to do these commands consistently. Repetition will be your best friend when teaching the dog. Using treats or life rewards will help in this area.

Socialization will be done in better fashion if the dog is exercising. Lowering the chances of fights and aggression given to dogs who are too energetic for social norms at the park. Dog parks can be a great place to have them met other dogs but most of these dogs will not have good training. Taking your dog to the park depleted will compensate for other owners who take their dog to the park for “exercise”.

Correcting the dog is a natural park of the dog’s life. Using the lowest levels of intensity all you want the dog to do is give you the attention while sitting or lying down. Hand or leash correction should follow the same procedure.

Does Brussels Griffons Bark A lot?

Barking too much is a symptom to a bigger problem. The dog is bored and not getting the proper amount of exercise. Taking care of this area with 1 ½ to 2 hours of exercise should be the first activity you do.

After finding out that the dog is barking less that will help with lowering the intensity. When the dog starts barking then you can correct, and the dog will put up less of a fight than they were previously. Remember, make the dog sit or lay after you tell them to stop barking.

If you notice that the barking is the same or slightly less increase the exercise to 2 hours per day with two sessions. Make sure one of those sessions are a run on a bike or some type of wheels.

That has always been able to stop excessive barking almost instantly. Need any additional help after using these steps, you won’t, contact us and we can help you make the necessary adjustments.

Additional Resources