Brussels Griffon is a vermin-control dog breed. In the 1800s, it was very common all over Europe for a terriertype dog (or dogs) to reside in stables to help control vermin. In Belgium and particularly in Brussels, the Griffons d’Ecurie (or wirecoated stable dog) was the most popular. This breed’s ancestry is unknown, but at some point in the mid-1800s, the Pug and the English Toy Spaniel were introduced, and the ratter moved out of the stable and into the house to become a companion dog.
The Brussels Griffon is a toy breed, standing 8 to 10 inches tall and weighing 8 to 12 pounds. The head is large and round; the eyes are very large, dark, and expressive; and the muzzle is very short. The nose should appear to be set between the eyes. The body is thick and short.
The smooth coat Brussels Griffon is short and glossy; the wire coat Brussels Griffon is coarse. The coat can be red, black and red mixed, black and tan, or solid black. The smooth coat Brussels Griffon is very easy to groom. A twice weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush will suffice. The rough coat Brussels Griffon will need twice weekly brushing as well, but also needs to be hand-stripped on a regular basis; owners of the rough coat variety can ask their dog’s breeder for instructions.
This bright, active little dog breed will enjoy walks and play sessions. The Brussels Griffon is not overly active, however, and enjoys cuddling with her people. Socialization and training should begin early. The Brussels Griffon can be wary of strangers, so socialization can help her accept new people.
A Brussels Griffon can be stubborn, especially in regard to leash training, but is intelligent and quick to learn once the owner understands how to motivate. This companion dog does not do well when left alone for long hours every day. She will thrive with someone who can spend a lot of time with her. She is too small for rowdy children or those who do not treat her gently. She is good with other dogs and cats when raised with them, but should not be trusted with small pets. Health concerns include breathing disorders and reproductive problems.
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Often described as “full of self-importance,” the terrier-like Brussels Griffon is happy, spunky, spirited, and comical.
His adept climbing skills, coupled with his curiosity and imagination, can get him into trouble. Be watchful that he does not end up too high, where he could fall and break his neck.
An alert watchdog, the Brussels Griffon may become friendly with guests or he may be cautious or even shy with new people and new situations. Socialization is a must to promote a confident, stable temperament.
Most Brussels Griffons are fine with other family pets, but if they perceive an invasion of their space by a strange dog, they can display great ferocity, though it is mostly bluff and bluster.
This is not an eager-to-please breed! The Brussels Griffon has a clever mind of his own and without a firm hand can be demanding and manipulative.
Training him to walk calmly on a leash may take time and patience, for he can be obstinate and may pitch a fit of acrobatic leaping and flinging himself about.
If you can chuckle at some of his eccentricities yet remain firm about the general rules of the household, the Brussels Griffon is very pleasant and entertaining to live with.
Like most breeds of terrier heritage, he is proud and sensitive and may become defensive if handled harshly or teased. This is not a breed for small children.