Brussels Griffons have compact, thickset bodies with either rough or smooth coats. Their large, rounded heads have heavy beards and almost human-looking frowns. Their eyes are large, dark and widely set. Their ears are set high and their tails—normally docked—also point up. The rough variety has a coarse and wiry coat, while the smooth-coated Brussels Griffon—sometimes called a Petit Brabançon—has a short and glossy covering. They can come in black, black & tan, red and a tricolor of red, brown & black.
Griffons are intelligent and lively companions with tons of personality. Energetic and inquisitive, they will follow you around the house all day and then jump in your lap the moment you sit down. They love nothing more than a good long cuddle on the couch. They also love to be spoiled.
Brussels Griffons blend with the whole family—children and other pets included. They may seem a little aloof at times, but that quickly melts away—especially when the snuggling or games begin. They may have moments of headstrong bossiness, but nine times out of ten they’d rather get along and have fun.
Brussels Griffons need a lot of patience while being raised and trained. They can be shy, and their feelings can easily get hurt. Griffons need to feel like true members of the family—even if the family is just you. Lots of love and attention will make them happy, neglect or solitude will not.
These dogs do lots of running around indoors, making them a good apartment dog. A daily walk and game or two on the carpet will satisfy them. Small children should be taught to handle these dogs with care. Brussels Griffons can be fragile and sensitive when it comes to rough play.
A healthy Brussels Griffon can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include respiratory problems, eye problems and issues while breeding and giving birth. Puppies, often delivered by Cesarean section, are very fragile. Rough-coated Griffons need a good daily brushing.
Brussels Griffons were originally bred in 19th century Belgium to help coachmen keep rats out of their stables. Brussels Griffons have long been categorized along with the Petit Brabançon and the Belgian Griffon, creating some confusion about their heritage. Some dog experts believe that, over time, crosses with the Affenpinscher, Ruby Spaniel and Pug caused these variations. The AKC, however, recognizes them as a single breed with different coat lengths.