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With an almost-human expression and a great deal of pride, this toy dog is popular not only for its looks but because it is intelligent and sturdy. There are two distinct types of the Brussels Griffon: a rough- and smooth-coated variety.

Physical Characteristics

The Brussels expresses lots of self-importance in its temperament and carriage. As it has a very human expression, it attracts the attention of dog lovers and admirers. The square-proportioned Brussels Griffon has a thick-set, well-boned, and compact body. It moves with a deliberate trot and has a moderate drive and reach.

The dog’s coat, meanwhile, which is red, beige, black, or black and tan in color, can be either rough, with wiry and hard hair that is longer circling the head, or smooth with a glossy, short coat.

Personality and Temperament

A family that wants a sensitive but entertaining pet will find a smart companion in the Brussels. Families with small children, however, may not find the dog to be sensitive enough.

The spirited Brussels Griffon is brimming with self-confidence, life, and enthusiasm. Nevertheless, some Brussels may be stricken with separation anxiety. It has a tendency to climb, bark, and certain dogs may wander, but overall it is playful, mischievous, bold, and stubborn.


Even though the Brussels Griffon cannot live outdoors, it likes to spend sufficient time in the yard. Its rough coat requires combing every week and shaping by stripping once every three months. For the smooth-coated variety, grooming is minimal, comprising only occasional brushing to get rid of dead hair.

Being a small dog, its daily physical and mental requirements may be met with a lively indoor game or a short leash-led walk.


The Brussels Griffon, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, may occasionally suffer from ailments like weak bladder, distichiasis, patellar luxation, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Fortunately, the breed is not generally prone to minor or major health problems. However, to identify some of the health conditions mentioned earlier, a veterinarian may recommend eye and hip tests for this breed of dog.

History and Background

The Brussels Griffon is a Belgian breed and its ancestors were the Griffon d'Ecurie or Stable Griffon, a Belgian street dog and the Affenpinscher. In Brussels, the breed worked as a guard of cabs, but its overconfident and comic nature attracted riders more than chasing away robbers. In the late 19th century, the dog was interbred with the Pug, a very popular breed in Holland at that time. This resulted in the smooth-coated variety or the Petit Brabançon and the brachycephalic head strain. Even though initially the smooth varieties were destroyed, people soon accepted them.

The dog was established enough to gain recognition at Belgian dog shows by 1880. At this time, some people suggested that additional inter-breeding should be done with English Toy Spaniels and Yorkshire Terriers; the former played a role in improving the shape of the Griffon's head. The Griffon became immensely popular by the early 20th century and was favored by the nobility.

By the First World War, the breed's numbers had diminished greatly but soon recovered. Since then it has gained countless fans across the world. Some countries classify only the red, rough-coated varieties as Brussels Griffons; the black rough-coats are referred to as Belgian Griffon, while the smooth-coated variety is named the Petit Brabançon.

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