The Brussels Griffon: A Complete Guide

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If you’ve never heard of the Brussels Griffon, you’re not the only one. This cute little dog looks like a mini dishevelled Bulldog.

Great for people who live in apartments, the Brussels Griffon is spunky, stubborn, mischievous, and playful.

Good with other pets and children, the Brussels will try to climb onto your lap whenever possible.

They may be small, but they have very expressive faces. Brussels Griffons look like a fragile and tiny purse dog.

But even if you can easily stash them inside your bag, they are strong and bold, and they can move and climb like a cat!

It enjoys being the centre of attention and often described by owners as hams and clowns. It gets along fine with kids and other household pets, as long as they are raised together.

Brussels Griffons love attention and affection and dislike being left alone.

They tend to be happiest and healthiest in the homes of the elderly or empty nesters because they have all the time and energy to give these attention-hungry dogs.

Brussels Griffon Puppies – Before You Buy…

A small brown Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon’s coat doesn’t shed much.

What Price are Brussels Griffon Puppies?

The average price of the Brussels Griffon is between $800 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Brussels Griffon Breeders?

You can always visit rescue groups located in your area. Brussels Griffons are usually purchased by dog owners without a real understanding of what goes into responsible dog ownership.

There are many Griffons in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescue Brussels Griffons that are not even listed publicly.

If you cannot locate a local rescue, you can look for national breed or local breed clubs. They can help and direct you to a Brussels Griffon rescue.

You can also get in touch with breed organizations where you can find more information about the Brussels Griffon.

3 Little-Known Facts About Brussels Griffon Puppies

  1. Some Brussels Griffons can be greedy eaters while others are picky. It’s best to measure their food and give several small meals throughout the day.
  2. They can be stubborn and difficult to train. Just be patient and consistent with your training.
  3. They’ll bark enthusiastically at every sound, making them good watchdogs but sometimes noisy housemates. Teaching them the “quiet” command is recommended.

Physical Traits of the Brussels Griffon

A Brussels Griffon being held
The Brussels Griffons are very clever.

“Monkey face” is a term often used to describe the appealing Brussels Griffon. This dog has an intelligent and animated look that’s almost human.

In the USA, there are two types of Brussels Griffons: The rough-coated Griffon and the smooth-coated Griffon called the Petit Brabancon.

In its native Belgium, there are three types of Brussels Griffon: the Petit Brabancon, which has a smooth coat, the Brussels Griffon, which has a rough red coat, and the Belgian Griffon, which has a rough coat that can be any colour except red.

The Brussels Griffons’ flat face, prominent chin, and large, wide-set eyes have led to many comparisons to the Ewoks or Wookie creatures in Star Wars.

Despite their tiny size and cute face, these dogs are surprisingly hefty and athletic.

Many Griffons compete in agility, obedience, and other performance sports.

How Big is a Full-Grown Brussels Griffon?

Griffons typically stand 7 to 8 inches tall and weigh 7 to 12 pounds. Occasionally, a Brussels Griffon will grow to be 20 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Brussels Griffon?

Brussels Griffons have a life expectancy of approximately 13 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Brussels Griffon

A confused looking Brussels Griffon
This Brussels Griffon looks angry.

Often described as “full of self-importance,” the terrier-like Brussels Griffon is happy, spunky, spirited, and comical.

His savvy climbing skills and limitless imagination usually get him in trouble. Be watchful that he does not end up too high where he could fall and break his neck.

It’s an effective watchdog, although it does get friendly with guests or shy and cautious with new people and situations.

Most Brussels Griffons get along with other pets in the family. But if they sense an invasion of their space by an unknown dog, they can exhibit great aggression and ferocity, although it’s mostly bluster.

This is not an eager-to-please breed! The Brussels Griffon is very clever, and without a firm owner, it can get manipulative and demanding.

Teaching it to walk calmly on a leash may be challenging and take time because it can be very obstinate. It can pitch a fit and leap and fling himself about.

If you can laugh at their eccentricities but remain firm about the rules, they can be very pleasant and fun to live with.

Like most breeds with a terrier heritage, the Brussels Griffon is sensitive and proud. It may get defensive when teased or handled harshly, a reason why it’s not a breed for young kids.

As with most small dogs, Griffons are prone to barking. They will bark at just about anyone or anything.

Early and consistent training and socialization are very important for everyone’s sanity, as well as those who live nearby.

They will also show attitude toward other dogs, but they don’t accomplish anything with it other than make a lot of noise.

Brussels Griffons tend to suffer from separation anxiety. They usually manifest this through excessive barking whenever left alone.

People who work long hours are not the best fits for Griffons, as they crave constant attention and affection.

Training a Griffon can be challenging. They are very headstrong and like to do their own thing in their own time.

Putting a leash on a Griffon can be exasperating. They have been known to leap and flip around, trying to remove themselves from the tether.

The Brussels Griffon’s Diet

A holistic, grain-free, and rich in antioxidant dog food is highly recommended. Higher quality dog food allows for better absorption.

They also don’t eat as much.  Real meat should be the first ingredient, followed by a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

You want to feed as naturally as possible. Avoid foods that are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavours, and added sugars.

Never feed your Brussels Griffon food with corn, wheat, or soy.

Some other important ingredients to look for is taurine to support heart health.  A balance of calcium and phosphorus for stronger teeth and bones. Glucosamine to protect joints. DHA to support healthy brain development.

Omega’s always a must-have because it has a tremendous benefit to the heart, skin, and coat.

Prebiotics play a very important role in your Brussels Griffon’s digestive tract as well as overall long-term health.

When combined with physical exercise, a nutritional diet can help prevent health problems in your Brussels and enable him to live a long and healthy life.

How Much Exercise does a Brussels Griffon Need?

As with other toy breeds, the Brussels Griffon can live just about anywhere. Apartments, condominiums, houses, even farms are suitable for this breed.

Though they are small, they do need to be walked daily and be allowed to stretch their legs and run when possible.

Another great reason why the Brussels Griffon breed is good for seniors is that it doesn’t require a lot of exercise.

If you live in a small space, it can get enough exercise even while indoors, no matter how small your home is.

Brussels Griffon Health and Conditions

The leading health issue in toy dogs is injury: fractures, concussions, choking on small objects or being attacked or jumped on by a larger dog.

You must keep a Brussels Griffon under constant surveillance. Too much can happen to these little guys in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, this fun-loving little breed has a deformed structure (domed skull, shortened muzzle, protruding eyes) that can cause a lot of health issues.

All Brussels Griffons suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which is associated with respiratory problems and all kinds of eye problems, especially corneal ulcers and cataracts that can cause blindness.

Hip dysplasia is incredibly common for such a small breed, and the luxating patella is also a concern.

The Brussels Griffon is vulnerable to a devastating neurological disease called syringomyelia, which causes pain and neurological symptoms that can prove fatal.

3 Important Training Tips

The Brussels Griffon is a dog with a friendly personality, but also a great deal of emotional sensitivity that a wise dog owner makes sure not to overlook during training.

It’s important to adopt the correct approach to captivate this bright little dog’s attention in what’s being taught and to make sure he or she listens to your commands and learns them by heart.

Here are a few pointers to help you get started.

  • Be kind and positive

Because this breed of dog is so sensitive, it will pick up on even understated griping and disappointment from you.

Unfortunately, this makes the Brussels Griffon get confused and hurt, and want to give up rather than work with you.

Therefore, be kind and gentle in how you praise your pet, and he or she will prove a little more earnest in trying to understand what you’re instructing.

  • Make praise matter

Smiling and petting are good ways to positively reinforce your pet, but for the Brussels Griffon, bigger is better.

You can make the fact that he or she got it right stick in the mind all the more by almost overblowing your enthusiasm and praise – lots of fuss and affection and attention. This way, your dog knows they’re on the right track!

  • Use treats sparingly

Sometimes this breed can get so caught up on the snacking that comes with positive reinforcement that they don’t concentrate fully on the lessons.

Make it clear, by being sparing with treats, that your dog’s in school, not at a feeding frenzy.

My Final Thoughts on the Brussels GriffonA white Brussels Griffon showing its teeth

If you want a dog that is easy to carry, does not need a lot of outdoor exercise and makes a great watchdog, the Brussels Griffon may be the perfect dog for you.

It’s a very spunky toy breed that looks a lot like a little terrier. It comes in a short, rough, wiry coat that doesn’t shed much.

Because they’re tiny and very energetic in the house, they make excellent apartment dogs. Although you may need to teach them not to bark at every noise they hear.

Most of all, it’s a dog that does not take himself too seriously. You will have a lot of time being amused with the Brussels Griffon for company!

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