Brussels Griffon

AKC Toy Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © MyDogPhoto. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © MyDogPhoto. All rights reserved.

In the early 1800s, small terriers were often kept as ratters in stables in Belgium. The Brussels Griffon probably resulted from crosses between these native ratter terriers and the Pug and English Toy Spaniel. In the 1800s, the breed was popular as a cab guardian and mascot, dissuading robbers and attracting customers. In the early 1900s the Brussels Griffon became very popular, especially with the upper class. Today’s Brussels Griffon is primarily a companion dog.


The Brussels Griffon is a sturdy toy dog of square proportions with a domed head, undershot jaw, very short nose, and large eyes. The Brussels Griffon’s pout gives him an almost human expression. To some viewers he resembles a miniature Boxer. There are two types: Rough-Coated (harsh wiry and dense) and Smooth-Coated or Petit Brabancon variety (short, straight, glossy). The Brabancon needs less grooming. Comes in red, a mixture of red-brown and black, black and tan, and solid black. Ears may or may not be cropped. The tail is docked.

Key Facts

  • Height: 8 to 11 in.
  • Size: Very small
  • Weight: 8 to 12 lbs.
  • Availability: Very difficult to find
  • Talents: Watchdog and performing tricks


Difficult to breed. Dams often require Caesarean section for whelping. May be a gluttonous or picky eater. Can be difficult to housebreak. Some bloodlines are prone to slipped stifle, and eye and respiratory problems.


Intelligent, willful, and high strung—but charming. Unusually sensitive and quite demanding, this breed loves to be spoiled. Must be raised in the house with the family. Good with other dogs and even with cats.


  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Loves everyone
  • Trainability: Easy to train
  • Independence: Needs people a lot
  • Dominance: High
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness: Not generally dog aggressive
  • Noise: Likes to bark
  • Indoors: Very active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: Skilled trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Medium coat
  • Shedding: Very light
  • Docking: The ears are customarily cropped, and the tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise: Very little exercise needed
  • Jogging: A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments: Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space: Does all right without a yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Brussels Griffon Breed Standard

Brussels Griffon Breed Profile

Brussels Griffon Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon Gifts