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Brussels Griffons are best for moderately active pet parents and families with older kids. They get along well with cats, and they can do well with other dogs in the home if socialized together from puppyhood. And because of their compact size, these pups are great for those who live in apartments.
Brussels Griffon Traits
What makes the Brussels Griffon a Brussels Griffon? Let's find out how they stack up.
Brussels Griffon Temperament
Put a pair of wings on the Brussels Griffon, and you would have yourself a social butterfly on four legs. The Brussels Griffon’s temperament is friendly and eager to meet new humans, as well as the occasional pooch or feline. As they were originally bred to keep rats and other vermin out of stables, Brussels Griffons may not look so fondly on pets that speak to their inner hunting instinct (we’re looking at you, hamsters and gerbils). However, they’ll do well with other pets the same size or bigger than themselves. And they’re not known to be aggressive or biters, but they can—if not trained properly—be barkers.
The Brussels Griffon breed is active, confident and wants nothing more than to be with their family. They are known to be Velcro dogs. They thrive in environments where they can be physically and mentally active, so if you’ve ever wanted to see a tiny dog crush an agility course, raising a Brussels Griffon is right up your alley. They can be great family dogs and are good with kids who are older and understand that the Brussels Griffon, while part of the Toy group, isn’t actually a toy.
How to Care for a Brussels Griffon
Brussels Griffons have a friendly, personable temperament, and ensuring they have ample time to get their energy out will do a world of good for both pet parent and pup alike. And positive reinforcement training is great to engage both their brain and their body. While grooming won’t be a daily chore, if your Brussels Griffon has a smooth coat, they’ll need regular brushing.
Brussels Griffon Health
Brussels Griffons have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. As playful and loyal as these pups are, they’re generally healthy but do have some health issues that pet parents need to be aware of.
- Breathing Issues: While part of the Brussels Griffon’s utter adorableness is their flattened face, that same characteristic can equal breathing problems for the breed, especially in hot weather. Be sure to keep your pup indoors with the AC cranked during hot days and give them lots of fresh, cool water to drink.
- Joint Issues: Hip dysplasia is a health problem when the hip joint is malformed and causes your pup pain. It’s also not uncommon for Griffons to have patellar luxation, or kneecap dislocation. Treatment for both includes weight management, physical therapy and surgery, depending on the severity.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: While their wide, searching eyes are what so many people love about the Brussels Griffon, it is a fact that those eyes can also cause big problems for the small pups. Their eyes can be prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which eventually can lead to blindness. This breed is also prone to cataracts in older dogs. There is no treatment for PRA, but surgery may be possible with cataracts.
Brussels Griffon History
Originating in the early 1800s from Brussels, Belgium—where they are known as Griffon Bruxellois—the Brussels Griffon is the result of crossbreeding the Affenpinscher with several other breeds, including Pugs, King Charles Spaniels and English Toy Spaniels. (Unsurprisingly, the coachmen and stablemen who had a hand in the breeding didn’t keep clear records).
These small dogs are tiny but mighty and originally bred as ratters, i.e., to keep rats and other small vermin out of stables. Around 1870, however, history notes they got a boost out of the stables and into the lap of luxury when Queen Henrietta Maria of Belgium couldn’t resist the smushed faces of the Brussels Griffon breed and made them a household name. That also paved the way for official recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC), which registered the first Brussels Griffon in 1910. In 1982, the American Brussels Griffon Association was elected to AKC membership.
While their origin moved quickly up the ranks from stable to castle, today’s dogs are most known for their pouty faces and loving, longing eyes that people can’t seem to resist. And their intelligence and playfulness make them stars—literally! If this sweet pup’s face seems familiar, and you’re a fan of Jack Nicholson films, you may recognize the Brussels Griffon as the dog who stole the show in the movie “As Good As It Gets.”
So, where’s the best place to find Brussels Griffon puppies today? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club website. What’s the average Brussels Griffon price? Depending on the breeder, expect to spend about $1,500 to $2,500 for a pup. But for that, you usually get a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues, and they might even come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to Brussels Griffon rescue organizations to adopt one of these pups or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.
Do Brussels Griffons shed?
Whether or not Brussels Griffons shed depends on the type of coat the pup has. Those with rough coats do not shed, but Brussels Griffons with smooth coats do, though thankfully only about twice a year in the spring and fall.
How long do Brussels Griffons live?
Brussels Griffons have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
How big do Brussels Griffons get?
Brussels Griffons don’t get very big at all—they weigh in around eight to 10 pounds and are no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder.
Are Brussels Griffons easy to train?
Yes, Brussels Griffons can be easy to train as long as they’ve gotten their sillies out. These are smart dogs and very playful, and since they bond strongly with their pet parent, they also want to please. For their training to be effective, pet parents need to be patient and make sure their pup is engaged.
Are Brussels Griffons good family dogs?
Yes! Brussels Griffons are good family dogs overall but better suited for families with older kids. They are people-lovers in general and get along well with other dogs and cats. But know that, as a terrier breed, any pets smaller than your pup might be seen as foe rather than friend.
What are the most common Brussels Griffon mixes?
The most common Brussels Griffon mixes are:
- Brussels Griffon-Chihuahua mix (Chussel)
- Brussels Griffon-Pug mix (Brug)
- Brussels Griffon-Yorkie mix (Griffonshire)
- Brussels Griffon-Poodle mix (Broodle Griffon)
- Brussels Griffon-Shih Tzu mix (Shiffon)
Looking for your soulful-eyed pet soulmate? Then you and the Brussels Griffon are MFEO. This spirited and dedicated pup will love being by your side at all times, whether you’re running errands or chilling around your home. Great for families with older kids, the Brussels Griffon, with outsized swagger that belies their size and star-power to spare, might just be the cutest member of your household.