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Brussel Griffon

Country/Date of Origin: Belgium/1800s

It is thought that the Brussels Griffon was created by blending Affenpinschers and other toy dogs, notably Pugs and Toy Spaniels. Its original job was as a ratter in stables and on farms. Nowadays it is primarily a companion and watchdog. There are three varieties of this breed. They are shown separately in Europe but as a single breed in the US. When they are divided, the smooth coated variety is called the Petit Brabancon, the red colored rough coated variety is called the Brussels Griffon and the black or black and tan variety is called the Belgian Griffon. The Griffon traveled from its native land to England in the 1880's and shortly thereafter made its way across the Atlantic.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Griffon Belge, Griffon Bruxellois

AKC Group: Toy

Breed Club: American Brussels Griffon Association

Rescue Club: National Brussels Griffon Rescue, Inc

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Body Type:

  • Stocky little terrier-type toy with an athletic build and a rough coat
  • Height: 7-8 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 6-12 pounds
  • Ears are cropped in the US to a point and are carried erect
  • Tail is docked and is held erect
  • Jaw is undershot but teeth and tongue must not show
  • Muzzle is a distinctly upward turn and is decorated with a full beard and mustache


  • Independent
  • This is not a quiet reserved lapdog. Griffs are active and exuberant
  • Intelligent but quite stubborn. Is not easily trained
  • A great bluffer; the Griff will pretend to be the aggressor in confrontations with much larger animals, although it usually backs down


  • Harsh wiry coat is double. The undercoat is soft and short
  • Rusty red, black and tan, or solid black are the allowed colors
  • Hand stripping required

Health Concerns:

  • Tiny size and fearless nature can lead to broken bones
  • Teeth require special care
  • Slipped stifle (subluxated patella) can cause the dog to have a "hitch" in its movement
  • Prominent eyes are subject to scratches and ulcers
  • Difficulty whelping. Extremely high puppy mortality
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Call this breed "Griff" for short, not "Brussels"
  • Griffon in a dog's name means it has a wiry, or rough coat
  • Both smooth and rough coated varieties can be found in the same litter
  • Not really suitable for children. Easily becomes overexcited, almost hysterical

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