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Brussels Griffon: Personality, Health, Grooming

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About Brussels Griffon

Country of Origin, History of Brussels Griffons

The Brussels Griffon breed originated in Belgium. Once kept by cab drivers (coachmen) of 17th-century Brussels to rid their stables of vermin (rats), the Brussels Griffon became a companion breed by virtue of its appealing character.

The Smooth-coated Petit Brabancon probably owes its existence to the introduction of pug blood. It is reasonably well documented that the Pug and the King Charles and the Ruby Spaniels were crossed with the original Belgian dog. From these crossings, two distinct types of coat emerge, the harsh-coated, bewhiskered rough, and the smooth-coated Brabancon.

Some of the colorings also are attributed to these crosses: rich red, black and tan, and solid black. The Brussels Griffon was imported to England and America during the 1880s.

Brussels Griffon Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Brussels Griffon the right breed for you?

Is the Brussels Griffon the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Brussels Griffon's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Brussels Griffon's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Brussels Griffon training methods.

Is your Brussels Griffon dominating over you?

Does your Brussels Griffon bark unnecessarily? Does your Brussels Griffon come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Brussels Griffon and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Brussels Griffon?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Brussels Griffon? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Brussels Griffon Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Brussels Griffon needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Brussels Griffon Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The Brussels Griffon is a sturdy, compact little dog of squarish proportions. His thickset body is agile and sporty and serves to offset his most pronounced feature, a large domed head. The expressive nature of this breed’s face is his most noted characteristic.

The breed is sometimes known as the “Monkey Faced” dog due to its unique, almost human pout. His eyes are prominent and set well apart with long lashes and dark edges. His nose is usually very black and short. It is set back towards the eyes and up-tipped. The ears are small and set high on the head and can be cropped which will give them a pointed look or left natural giving them a soft fold forward. The jaw is undershot, and along with a natural beard, gives him a human-like expression.

Coat Color

There are four basic coat colors:

1) Red: reddish brown with a little black at the whiskers and chin;
2) Belge: black and reddish brown mixed, usually with black mask and whiskers;
3) Black and Tan: black with uniform reddish brown markings, appearing under the chin, on the legs, above each eye, around the edges of the ears and around the vent;
4) Black: solid black.

Coat Type

The Brussels Griffon coat comes in two types, rough or smooth. The coat, whether rough or smooth, should be brushed and trimmed to maintain a neat appearance while the wired type should never appear unkempt or over-groomed.

Rough: The rough coat tends to be dense with a ‘wiry’ texture but neither woolly nor silky. It can be 1-2 inches in length on the body and slightly longer around the eyes, cheeks and chin, forming a fringe around the face.

Smooth: The smooth coat has short, straight hair that is glossy in appearance.

Height: Males and Females: 7-8 inches

Weight: 6 – 12 Lbs; ideally 8 – 10 lbs

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Brussels Griffon Personality Traits

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The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent, fearless, ever-active, strong, attentive, happy and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. It is a devoted companion. It is reserved, not shy, with strangers. They can be protective and territorial.

Are they suited to families with kids?

Most of them are good with children and other animals if properly socialized.


Patience is required with the Brussels Griffon, as this breed is difficult to housebreak. Puppies are known to relieve themselves quickly and quietly around the home. As a result, the Brussels Griffon needs to receive consistent crate training. The actual training should be easy for the pup to comprehend, and the activities need to be consistent and precise. The Brussels Griffon learns quickly, but its ability to obey commands tends to be below average. Training also needs to be firm to prevent the Brussels Griffon from becoming demanding or manipulative towards the trainer.

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Brussels Griffon Activity Level

The activity level of the Brussels Griffon is high, and these dogs need to have outdoor exercise on a regular basis. This breed enjoys walking and has highly developed climbing skills. Care should be taken to closely supervise any climbing activity; the Brussels Griffon may fall and sustain severe injuries if it falls from several feet off the ground.

How Much Exercise Does the Dog Need at every stage of its Life?

Puppies of the Brussels Griffon are very active and need lots of toy play to keep them both physically and mentally exercised. Early training will serve to enlighten and occupy your pet. Without proper outlets for energy, this breed can become mischievous and destructive. Giving your Brussels Griffon the right direction in the beginning will not only allow entertainment for you and your family but give him an enjoyable start.

Adult Brussels Griffon are still quite active but need less toy play and are happy with walks or time spent in the yard.

How to take care of a Griffon Puppy?

How to take care of the Puppy?

Puppies of this breed need to be consistently supervised as they can easily become lost or harmed within an indoor or outdoor environment. An early trip to the veterinarian for a general checkup is recommended, especially if the Brussels Griffon pup was purchased from a private party.

Litter Size: 1-3 Puppies

Life Span: 8-10 Years


The Brussels Griffon needs to be brushed two to three times a week.

This breed’s rough coat requires hand stripping by a professional groomer and the financial considerations of this service should be taken into account when choosing this coat type. The dog’s facial hair should be combed frequently to remove debris and food remnants. Owners can use a grooming mitt to remove dead hair from the dog’s body.

The smooth coated types of the breed are easily maintained and usually can be done at home by their owners.

Bathing for either type of coat should only be when necessary. The Brussels Griffon’s nails need to be clipped once or twice a month.

This breed sheds little to no hair and is quite clean and odor free.

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Free Course on Brussels Griffon Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully.

All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing.

Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Clubs

British – Griffon Bruxellois Club –
US – American Brussels Griffon Association –

Other Recognition

The Brussels Griffon was recognized by the American Kennel Club and The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom in 1910.

Belgian Griffon CKC, FCI, NKC, APRI
Petit Brabancon CKC, FCI, NKC, APRI

Group: Toy Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 98

Also Known As: Griffon Belge, Griffon Bruxellois, Belgian Griffon

Train Your Brussels Griffon To Listen To You

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You'll also learn how to eliminate bad habits like barking, nipping or biting, jumping, or pulling on the leash.Here's just s small fraction of what else you'll learn in the course:

  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

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  • How to obedience train your Brussels Griffon to permanently end behavioral problems like Jumping, Aggression, Pulling on Leash.

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  • How to improve your dog's lifespan and keep it from getting overly heavy with a healthy and nutritious diet.

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  • One hidden psychological trigger that all Brussels Griffons have... that practically allows you to "analyze" and "control" your dog's every action.

  • Priority access to the free online seminars conducted by our training experts.

Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Griffon information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Griffons have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Brussels Griffon training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

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