5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Brussels Griffon

Thinking about adding a furry little companion to your life? The Brussels Griffon might just be the perfect match for you! These pint-sized pups pack a ton of personality into a small package, making them ideal for both apartment dwellers and those with more space.

Choosing the right dog is a big decision, and there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the Brussels Griffon. They’re known for their expressive faces and charming demeanor, but like any breed, they have their own unique needs and quirks. Let’s dive into what makes these dogs so special and what you need to know to decide if they’re the right fit for your family.

History of the Brussels Griffon

Diving into the history of the Brussels Griffon, you’ll find a fascinating tale that adds layers to their charm. Originating from Brussels, Belgium, these pint-sized pups were first bred for a very practical purpose—to catch rats in stables. However, it wasn’t long before their undeniable charisma caught the eye of a more upscale crowd.

In the 19th century, these dogs began to transition from humble rat catchers to cherished companions of the Belgian nobility. Their journey to nobility’s lap was aided by their crossbreeding with the Affenpinscher and the Pug, which contributed to their distinctive appearance and endearing expressiveness.

Interestingly, the Brussels Griffon almost faced extinction during the two World Wars, with their numbers dwindling dangerously low. Thanks to dedicated breeders in the UK and the US, efforts were made to preserve this unique breed, ensuring their survival and the continuation of their lineage.

Today, the Brussels Griffon is beloved not just for their historical significance but for their strong, affectionate personalities. They’ve made appearances in various forms of media, further cementing their status as stars in their own right. Understanding their rich history not only deepens your appreciation for the breed but also connects you to the centuries-old legacy they carry with them.

Whether attracted to their storied past or simply charmed by their quirky looks, considering a Brussels Griffon means welcoming a piece of history into your home. Their resilience and transformation from working-class heroes to beloved companions are a testament to their enduring appeal.

Physical Characteristics

When you’re considering bringing a Brussels Griffon into your life, understanding their physical characteristics is crucial. These small, sturdy dogs stand out not just for their bold personality but also for their distinctive looks. Typically, Brussels Griffons weigh between 6 to 12 pounds, making them perfect companions for both apartment living and homes with more space.

One of the breed’s most captivating features is its face. With large, soulful eyes and a short snout, the Brussels Griffon often appears to be gazing at you with an almost human expression. Their unique facial structure is a result of careful breeding, especially the prominent chin, which adds to their expressive charm.

Their coat can come in two types: smooth (Griffon Bruxellois) and rough (Griffon Belge and Petit Brabançon), each requiring different levels of grooming. The rough-coated variety, with its wiry and dense coat, demands regular grooming to prevent matting. On the other hand, the smooth-coated Griffons have a glossy, short coat that is easier to maintain. Regardless of the type, regular grooming sessions are a great opportunity to bond with your Griffon.

Coat Type Grooming Needs
Rough (Wiry) High
Smooth (Glossy) Moderate

Colors of the Brussels Griffon include red, black and tan, black, or belge (a mix of red and black). Each hue lends its own charm, making every Griffon unique.

In terms of health, Brussels Griffons are generally hearty little dogs but do have predispositions to certain conditions such as dental issues due to their small mouths. Regular veterinary check-ups and a good dental care routine are essential to keep them healthy and happy.

As with any breed, getting to know the unique physical traits of the Brussels Griffon is key to ensuring you can provide the care they deserve. Their compact size and expressive faces make them adorable companions, but it’s their spirited personality that truly captures the hearts of those around them.

Personality Traits

When you’re considering welcoming a Brussels Griffon into your life, understanding their personality traits is as crucial as knowing about their physical characteristics. These little dogs are known for their huge personalities packed into small bodies. They’re full of energy, enthusiasm, and a certain level of sass that makes every day with them an adventure.

First and foremost, Brussels Griffons are incredibly affectionate. They form strong bonds with their family members and often become particularly attached to one person. Their loyalty knows no bounds, and they’ll always be at your side, ready to offer you comfort and companionship. However, this can sometimes translate into separation anxiety if they’re left alone for long periods. Ensuring they have enough stimulation and company is key to keeping them happy.

Surprisingly insightful, Griffons have a keen sense of understanding of their owner’s emotions, often reacting accordingly to uplift or comfort. Their expressive eyes and animated face play a big part in this empathy, making it seem like they’re truly conversing with you.

Despite their lapdog stature, Griffons are also quite playful and energetic. They love playtime, be it with their toys, a game of fetch, or simply a brisk walk outdoors. This playful nature continues well into their senior years, keeping them young at heart.

However, it’s important to note that their intelligence and independence can sometimes lead to a stubborn streak. Training a Brussels Griffon requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. They respond well to games and challenges that stimulate their minds, making training sessions fun and rewarding for both you and your pet.

In essence, the personality of a Brussels Griffon is a blend of affection, intelligence, playfulness, and loyalty. They’re not just pets; they’re companions through and through, bringing a unique spark to the lives of those they’re with. Understanding and embracing these traits will ensure a rewarding relationship with your new furry friend.

Grooming and Maintenance

When considering adding a Brussels Griffon to your family, one of the vital aspects to think about is Grooming and Maintenance. This breed comes in two coat types: smooth and rough. Each type requires a somewhat different grooming routine, but both need your regular attention to keep them looking and feeling their best.

For those of you with a smooth-coated Griffon, you’re in luck—maintenance is a bit simpler. Their short hair needs only occasional brushing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils, which keeps their coat shiny. Bathing should be done as needed, usually every few months, unless they get particularly dirty from an outdoor adventure.

However, if you’re leaning towards a rough-coated Brussels Griffon, prepare for a bit more grooming work. Their wiry, longer coat requires regular brushing several times a week to prevent matting and to control shedding. Rough-coated Griffons also benefit from professional grooming every three to four months to trim their coat and maintain its distinctive look. This also helps manage any potential skin issues hidden beneath their dense fur.

Both coat types will require regular nail trims, ear cleaning to prevent infection, and dental care. Brushing your Griff’s teeth several times a week or even daily is ideal to avoid dental problems that small breeds are prone to. Regular check-ups with your vet will help catch any health issues early.

Remember, grooming isn’t just about keeping your Griffon’s coat clean. It’s a bonding experience and a health check-in. You’ll get to know every inch of your pet, spot potential problems early, and build a closer relationship through your caring touch. Paying attention to these grooming needs will ensure your Brussels Griffon not only looks great but is healthy and happy.

Is a Brussels Griffon Right for You?

Deciding to add a Brussels Griffon to your family is a significant decision, one that should be made with plenty of thought and consideration. These pint-sized pups come with big personalities and a set of needs that might not suit every lifestyle.

First off, assess your living situation. Brussels Griffons thrive in environments where they can be close to their owners. Whether you live in a small apartment or a sprawling estate won’t matter as much as your ability to spend quality time with your pet. If you travel frequently or have long working hours, a Brussels Griffon might struggle with separation anxiety. They’re at their happiest when snuggled up next to their favorite human or engaging in interactive playtime.

Next, consider your household dynamics. Brussels Griffons are friendly and affectionate with family members but can be reserved or cautious around strangers. Socialization is key from a young age to ensure they grow into well-adjusted adults. If your home frequently welcomes new faces, you’ll need to dedicate time to help your Griffon become accustomed to meeting new people.

Lastly, think about your patience for grooming. As mentioned, their coats require regular maintenance, which means you’ll need to commit to a grooming routine irrespective of the coat type. If the idea of regular brushing sessions and professional grooming appointments sounds daunting, you might want to consider a lower-maintenance breed.

Remember, adopting a dog is a long-term commitment, and every breed has its unique needs and personality traits. Ensuring that your lifestyle aligns with the needs of a Brussels Griffon is crucial for both your happiness and theirs.


Choosing a Brussels Griffon is a joyful journey that brings a bundle of love into your life. But it’s not a decision to be made lightly. Remember, their need for companionship and the grooming commitment are significant but manageable aspects of bringing one into your home. If your lifestyle aligns with the unique needs of this charming breed, you’re in for a rewarding experience. They’ll fill your days with laughter, love, and a bit of mischief. So take the leap if you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime with a Brussels Griffon by your side.

About the author
Dr. Michael Thompson, DVM
Michael is a seasoned veterinarian with a special affection for Brussels Griffons, stemming from his beloved Griffon companion at home. His 20 years of professional experience, paired with his personal passion for the breed, make him a trusted expert and advocate in the Griffon community.