All You Need to Know About Brussels Griffon Dogs

Brussels Griffon dogs are an adorable breed that belongs to the toy group of dogs. With their expressive faces, they have an almost human-like appearance. Despite their small size, they are brave, intelligent, and affectionate. Read on to learn more about Brussels Griffon dogs.

History of Brussels Griffon Dogs

The history of Brussels Griffon dogs is a little murky, but most experts agree that they originated in Belgium. Here are some key events in their history:

Origins in Belgium

The origins of Brussels Griffon dogs can be traced back to Belgium, where they were bred in the city of Brussels. The exact history of their creation remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that they were developed from a mixture of breeds, including Affenpinschers, Pugs, and small spaniels. These dogs were popular among the working class in Belgium during the 1800s, and they were often used as ratters in stables and homes. Over time, Brussels Griffon dogs began to gain popularity among Belgian nobility, and they eventually spread throughout Europe and into the United States. Despite their modest beginnings as working dogs, Brussels Griffons have become beloved pets known for their affectionate nature and distinctive appearance.

Popularity in the 1800s

During the 1800s, Brussels Griffon Dogs reached peak popularity in Belgium primarily due to their exceptional rat-catching abilities. They were kept in stables and on ships, where they hunted rodents in an efficient and fearless manner. Soon enough, the breed's charm and intelligence caught attention beyond their working abilities. Aristocrats, including Queen Henrietta Maria of England, became enamored with the adorable breed and brought them into their homes as companions. They also appeared in paintings, further boosting their popularity. Despite the breed's decline in the early 20th century, Brussels Griffon dogs are still cherished by many for their loving personalities, making them excellent family pets.

Almost Extinct After World War I

After gaining popularity in Europe as a fashionable pet, Brussels Griffon dogs almost vanished post-World War I due to the devastation wreaked on Belgium during the conflict. Those who owned them had to abandon their homes and flee the country, which greatly impacted the breed's population. Additionally, rationing and food shortages made it difficult to care for pets, leading to a decline in their numbers. Without enough breeding stock, the Brussels Griffon dog faced extinction. It took dedicated breeders, who carefully selected and bred the few surviving dogs, to bring the breed back from the brink of extinction. Thankfully, they succeeded and today, the Brussels Griffon dog remains a beloved companion around the world.

Resurgence in Popularity in the 20th Century

The 20th century brought a resurgence in the popularity of Brussels Griffon dogs. After being nearly extinct during both world wars, breeders worked tirelessly to preserve the breed. Thanks to their efforts, Brussels Griffons made a comeback in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, they have continued to capture the hearts of dog lovers around the world. These charming dogs are often featured in Hollywood films and television shows, which has only added to their popularity. Despite their small stature, Brussels Griffons have an outsized personality that has helped them become one of the most beloved toy breeds today.

Physical Characteristics of Brussels Griffon Dogs

Brussels Griffon dogs are a small breed that generally weigh between 7-12 pounds. They have a distinctive look and several physical characteristics that set them apart from other breeds. Here are some of their key physical characteristics:

Facial Features

One of the most striking physical features of Brussels Griffon dogs is their expressive faces. Their large, round eyes give them a shrewd, almost human-like expression. Their furrowed brows and shortened muzzles, along with their prominent chins, further enhance their distinct appearance. The fur around their ears and eyebrows give them a comical yet charming look. While each individual Brussels Griffon dog may have some differences in their facial features, they all share the breed's unique, attention-grabbing look. It's no wonder that many owners of Brussels Griffon dogs say that they have an almost human-like expression on their face, as every feature seems to catalogue an emotion.

Coat Type and Colors

One of the most recognizable features of Brussels Griffon dogs is their coat type. They have a rough or smooth coat that can come in a range of colors, including red, black, and tan. The rough coat has a shaggy appearance and requires regular grooming to maintain. On the other hand, the smooth coat is short and sleek, making grooming much simpler. However, no matter the type of coat, Brussels Griffon dogs shed minimally, which is a huge plus for those who don't enjoy cleaning up dog hair regularly. Their coat colors can vary greatly, from solid to a mix of colors, adding to their charm and appeal. Overall, the coat type and color of Brussels Griffon dogs are just a couple of their distinguishing characteristics that make them so beloved by their owners.

Height and Weight

Brussels Griffon dogs are small in stature, typically weighing between 7-12 pounds. Despite their small size, they have a sturdy and muscular build, which gives them a strong appearance. The average height of a Brussels Griffon is between 7-10 inches, making them one of the smallest breeds of dogs. Their small size, however, does not affect their energy level. They are incredibly active and athletic dogs and require plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Due to their compact size, they are easy to handle and make great pets for people living in apartments or those with limited space. Overall, their small size and distinctive features make them a popular choice among dog lovers.

Temperament of Brussels Griffon Dogs

Brussels Griffon dogs have a unique temperament that sets them apart from other toy breeds. They are affectionate towards their owners, but can be wary of strangers. Here are some key characteristics that define their temperament:


One standout aspect of Brussels Griffon dogs is their intelligence. They have a remarkable ability to learn and are eager to please their owners. They are capable of utilizing a diverse vocabulary, which can be cultivated through consistent training and positive reinforcement. They can understand a variety of commands, from basic obedience to complex tricks. Their high intelligence also means they are quick to pick up on routine, so it's important to keep their daily schedule consistent. This breed's sharp intellect is evident in problem-solving situations, as they are known to outsmart their owners at times. Overall, the intelligence of the Brussels Griffon makes them a joy to train and a great companion for those seeking a smart, affectionate dog.


One of the most striking features of Brussels Griffon dogs is their bravery. Despite their small size, these dogs are not afraid to take on larger animals perceived as a threat by their owner. Their courage often means that they are willing to defend their family at all costs, which makes them great watchdogs. In fact, Brussels Griffon dogs have an innate sense of protection that allows them to recognize when their owners are in danger. This breed is also highly intelligent, which means they can assess situations quickly and act accordingly. Although they can be wary of strangers, their bravery also allows them to adapt easily to new environments and situations. Overall, the bravery of Brussels Griffon dogs is what makes them an exceptional companion for anyone seeking a loyal and protective pet.


Brussels Griffon dogs possess a fascinating mix of independent and social tendencies that make them a unique toy breed. Their affectionate nature towards their owners shows their deep loyalty and sensitivity. Additionally, they can take care of themselves, which showcases their independent spirit. However, they can be wary of strangers, displaying a reserved or protective nature. This breed's intelligent and brave characteristics complement their unique temperament, making them a perfect companion for those seeking love in a small-sized dog. Their expressive faces enable them to communicate their needs clearly without needing to bark excessively, which is a trait desirable in such small confined spaces. Therefore, Brussels Griffons are an ideal choice for dog owners keen on an intelligent and independent pet that loves petting as much as it loves to play.


One of the defining characteristics of Brussels Griffon dogs is their lively temperament. These little pups are full of energy and love to play, whether it's with their favorite toy or with their owners. They are incredibly social animals and thrive on human interaction. Their lively demeanor is reflected in their facial expressions, which convey a range of emotions. From excitement to playfulness, you never know what mood your Brussels Griffon dog will be in! They are an intelligent breed, and their lively nature means they have a curious and exploratory personality. With a diverse range of physical features and a unique personality, Brussels Griffon dogs are an unforgettable breed.

Training and Exercise Needs of Brussels Griffon Dogs

Brussels Griffon dogs are intelligent and trainable, but they can be stubborn at times. They also have a moderate energy level and require exercise on a regular basis. Here's what you need to know about their training and exercise needs:

Positive Reinforcement Training

One of the most effective methods of training a Brussels Griffon dog is through positive reinforcement. This technique involves rewarding desirable behavior with treats, toys, or verbal praise. You'll want to utilize a diverse vocabulary when rewarding your dog, using a variety of words such as "good job," "excellent," or "way to go." By mixing up your language, you can keep your Brussels Griffon engaged and excited about the training process. It's also important to avoid repeating the same verb more than twice in a paragraph. Doing so could cause your dog to become bored or disinterested. To keep your dog motivated and engaged, try incorporating a variety of toys or treats into the training process. Remember to focus on positive reinforcement, and your Brussels Griffon is sure to learn quickly and enjoyably.

Shorter Exercise Sessions

As Brussels Griffon dogs have a moderate energy level, they do not require intense workouts. Short, regular sessions of exercise would suffice. It would be advisable to keep their exercise sessions engaging and diverse, to avoid monotony. You can take them out for a walk, play fetch, or even engage them in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles or obedience training. Shorter exercise sessions allow you to keep them active throughout the day without overexerting them. Incorporating frequent breaks between sessions can further prevent boredom and increase their focus and energy during each workout. Making their exercise sessions fun and exciting goes a long way in ensuring that they remain healthy, happy, and fulfilled.

Training to Address Separation Anxiety

Brussels Griffon dogs are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners. However, this can lead to them developing separation anxiety when left alone for too long. To address this, training is essential. One technique that can be used is to utilize a diverse vocabulary when giving commands to avoid the dog getting bored. For example, use words like "come," "here," and "approach" interchangeably to add variety. Repetition of the same verb is not recommended as it may cause the dog to tune out. Consistency and positive reinforcement are essential in this training process. With patience and determination, it is possible to train a Brussels Griffon to ease their separation anxiety.

Socialization with Other Dogs

Socializing Brussels Griffon dogs with other dogs is an essential part of their upbringing. Start socializing your Brussels Griffon puppy early and in a positive way. Utilize a diverse vocabulary during the training process to help the puppy develop a wide range of language skills. Introduce your puppy to different breeds and sizes of dogs in various locations to help familiarize them with different environments and behaviors. When your Brussels Griffon puppy socializes successfully with other dogs, reward them with their favorite treat or praise. With proper socialization, your Brussels Griffon dog will grow to be a confident and friendly member of your community.

Common Health Issues of Brussels Griffon Dogs

Like all dog breeds, Brussels Griffon dogs are prone to certain health issues. Some of these issues can be genetic, while others are related to lifestyle or environment. Here are some of the most common health issues that affect Brussels Griffon dogs:

Patellar Luxation

One of the most common health issues that affect Brussels Griffon dogs is patellar luxation. This condition occurs when the patella or kneecap moves out of its natural position. It is often inherited and can cause discomfort and pain for affected dogs. Symptoms of patellar luxation include lameness, a hopping gait, and an inability to straighten the leg fully. Treatment may include pain management and surgery depending on the severity of the condition. As a dog owner, ensuring that your furry friend exercises safely and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent the development of this condition. Keeping a close eye on your Brussels Griffon can help to catch this condition early and start treatment.

Eye Problems

One of the most common health issues that Brussels Griffon dogs can face is eye problems. The breed is prone to a variety of eye conditions, including cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and corneal ulcers. Cataracts can cause cloudy vision and can lead to blindness if not treated promptly, while progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative condition that can result in complete blindness. Corneal ulcers can be caused by injury or infection and can be painful for the dog. It's important to have regular eye exams for your Brussels Griffon and to seek veterinary care if you notice any changes in their vision or any signs of eye discomfort.

Breathing Issues

Breathing issues are one of the most common health concerns amongst Brussels Griffon dogs. These can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, obesity, or even structural problems in the throat or respiratory system. Some of the most prevalent breathing difficulties that these dogs face include reverse sneezing, brachycephalic airway syndrome, and collapsed trachea. Reverse sneezing is a common occurrence in many small dog breeds, including Brussels Griffon dogs, and can often be easily treated with gentle breathing techniques. However, brachycephalic airway syndrome and collapsed trachea can be more serious and require immediate medical attention. Regular checkups with a veterinarian and proactive management of weight and allergy concerns can help reduce the risk of breathing issues in Brussels Griffon dogs.

Dental Problems

One of the common health issues that affect Brussels Griffon dogs is dental problems. Due to their small size and toy breed classification, they are more prone to dental issues such as overcrowding, periodontal disease, and gum infections. These issues can cause pain and discomfort, making it important to schedule dental check-ups with a veterinarian. Poor dental hygiene can lead to more serious health issues, such as heart disease or kidney problems. Therefore, it is essential to keep their teeth clean by regularly brushing their teeth, providing them with chew toys, and feeding them a well-balanced diet. Don't overlook their dental health – it can have a significant impact on their overall well-being.

Grooming Needs of Brussels Griffon Dogs

Brussels Griffon dogs have a distinctive coat that requires regular grooming. Grooming your dog not only keeps them looking great, but it also helps to keep them healthy. Here's what you need to know about grooming your Brussels Griffon dog:

Coat Type

The Brussels Griffon dog's coat is short and wiry, with a dense undercoat. This makes it not only adorable but also weather-resistant. The coat should be brushed at least once a week to remove any loose hairs and prevent matting. Additionally, a monthly bath with a mild dog shampoo can keep the coat clean. Although the coat is relatively easy to maintain, it may require trimming every few months to keep it looking neat and tidy. This breed's unique coat type makes Brussels Griffon dogs stand out from other toy breeds and adds to their charm.

Brushing and Bathing

Maintaining a healthy and well-groomed coat for your Brussels Griffon dog requires a consistent brushing and bathing regimen. Brushing your dog's coat a few times a week will prevent matting and tangles, which can lead to skin irritation and other health issues. Use a slicker brush to remove any loose hairs and dirt from their fur. Regular bathing is also important to keep your dog clean and eliminate any odors. When bathing your Brussels Griffon, use a mild shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dogs to avoid drying out their skin. Remember to rinse their coat thoroughly to avoid any soap residue. By keeping up with regular brushing and bathing, your Brussels Griffon will not only look fabulous but also maintain optimal health.

Ear Cleaning

Keeping your Brussels Griffon dog's ears clean is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. To prevent infections and other related issues, it's important to clean their ears regularly. To do this, start by gently wiping the inside of their ears with a soft cloth or cotton ball. Avoid using cotton swabs as they can damage the ear canal. You may also use an ear cleaning solution specifically designed for dogs. Be sure to apply the solution as directed, and never overdo it as this could lead to irritation. Remember to always reward your Brussels Griffon with a treat after the ear cleaning process to make it a positive experience for them. With proper care, your furry friend will have healthy ears and will be able to hear all the snuggles and affection coming their way!

Nail Trimming

One of the most important aspects of grooming your Brussels Griffon dog is maintaining their nails. These dogs have small paws with sharp nails that can easily get caught on carpets and other fabrics, causing discomfort or even injury. To prevent this from happening, it's recommended that you trim your Brussels Griffon's nails on a regular basis. You can easily do this at home using a pair of clipper scissors specifically designed for dogs. Make sure to only trim the tip of the nail and avoid cutting the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain. If you're unsure how to do this, contact a professional dog groomer for guidance. With proper nail trimming, your Brussels Griffon can enjoy a happy and healthy life.

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