The Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon was named for the city of his origin, Brussels, Belgium. The
griffon is a sturdily built happy little dog. Griffons are a member a member of the
Toy Group due to the small size. During the early 1800’s, most stables kept small
terrier-like dogs as ratters. Dogs during that time in Belgium were Affenpinscher-
like, known as Griffons d’Ecurie (wire coated stable dogs). Later crosses to other
breeds were done. Little is known for the reasons for these crosses. The Pug was
bred to this native Belgian wire haired ratter dog in the mid 1800s. The crossing
with this breed resulted smooth coated Griffon designated Brabancon. Also at this
time the King Charles (black and tan) and the Ruby varieties of the English Toy
Spaniel were also crossed with the Belgian dogs. The crossings with these 2 breeds
resulted in the rich ruby and black and tan colors, as well as the smooth coat.
These two short faced, big headed, large eyed breeds changed the working little
ratter into the delightful small companion dog with a strong, broad, up-swept
underjaw, and a very short, up-tilted nose placed high between very dark, lustrous
eyes with a high domed skull known as the Brussels Griffon today. All of this
together conjures that wonderful "pout", which gives the Griffon that almost
Griffons are very intelligent, loving, people oriented dogs and I don't recommend
them for people who are never home, nor to anyone who doesn't want a dog who
want to be with you all the time...there is a good reason why Griffons are called
"Velcro dogs" !
As far as size goes, most griffons end up within the range of 6 to 12 pounds.
Griffs are relatively healthy as adults, when compared to other breeds, although
no breed is completely free of health problems. Luxating patellas (slipping knee
joints), some eye problem and occasional hip dysplasia have been seen, even in
well bred dogs. Puppy mill or pet shop Griffs often have many of these ailments at
one time, and sometimes to a severe degree.
Housetraining can be a challenge but I have found this to be true with most toy
breeds. If you are vigilant and consistent it is definitely do-able, but you must be
willing to spend the time with the puppy in order to train it properly.
Rough Griffs do not shed, smooth Griffs do shed. The rough coat needs to be either
hand plucked or clipper cut about 3 times a year, so it is a trade off. Even the
smooth does not shed all that much, nothing thing like a Pug or Jack Russell.