The Brussels griffon is a dog with lots of personality and an almost human facial expression. On first glance, the griffon appears to have an elfin or monkey face and is a devoted family pet.
History and Origin
The Brussels griffon originated in Brussels, Belgium. In the 17th century, coachmen needed small dogs to keep rats out of the stables. They developed a dog known as the griffin d’Ecurie. These were wire haired stable dogs. In the mid 1800s, it is thought that the pug, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Irish terrier, English toy spaniel and other breeds were crossed to the little native Belgian dog. This resulted in a dog with two distinct hair coats: the smooth and the rough. In the United States, both hair coat varieties are recognized as the same breed of dog. In other countries, they are shown as different breeds, the smooth coat being known as the petit Brabancon. Some even have another breed known as the Belgian griffon. This dog has a wiry coat that is any color other than red. The red rough coated variety is known as the Brussels griffon.
Over time, the Brussels griffon became more of a family companion than a ratter. It is a member of the American Kennel Club in the toy group.
Appearance and Size
The Brussels griffon is a small sturdy dog with a stout body. The most important characteristic of the breed is his almost human facial expression. The eyes are set far apart. The ears are small and are often cropped. If left natural, the ears are partially erect. The head is large for the body size with a domed forehead and an undershot jaw. The muzzle is short. The tail of the griffon is usually docked to about one-third.
The Brussels griffon has two different coat types: rough and smooth. The rough coat is wiry and harsh. The smooth coat, also referred to as the petit brabancon variety, is short and straight. The coat colors can be red, belge (black and reddish brown mix), black and tan or black.
The adult Brussels griffon stands around 7 to 8 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 6 to 12 pounds.
The Brussels griffon has a lively spirit and a big heart. He loves his family but if not trained properly, can be moody.
Home and Family Relations
The Brussels griffon is a happy and pleasant dog that acts similar to a terrier. They make wonderful family companions and are very affectionate but can be high-strung and demanding. The griffon prefers to be indoors with his family. He does well with older children but should be closely supervised with small children. The Brussels griffon can do well with other pets in the family if raised with them.
The Brussels griffon is an intelligent dog and with patience, persistence and positive training can be taught a variety of tricks. Some griffons may be difficult to housetrain.
The Brussels griffon doesn’t like to be left alone and prefers to spend all of his time with his family. The breed can be demanding, petulant and enjoys being spoiled.
Common Diseases and Disorders
The Brussels griffon is a hardy breed that has few known diseases.
- Females can have dystocia (difficulty giving birth).
- Patellar luxation is a disorder affecting the kneecap.
- Heat stroke is a serious concern for the Griffon due to his short muzzle which interferes with its ability to diffuse heat.
- Corneal ulceration is the loss of the corneal epithelium (the outermost cells of the cornea).
The average life span of the Brussels griffon is 12 to 15 years.
We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.