Brussels Griffons are toy dogs with a short and thick body. Their coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, black and tan, red, and beige, which is black and reddish brown. This breed comes in two coat variations: rough, which is dense and wiry, and smooth, which is short, straight, tight, and glossy. Brussels Griffons are known for their large, black eyes and human-like expression. Their ears are small and set high on their head. These dogs weigh 8 to 10 pounds and live as long as 15 years.
Brussels Griffons were developed in Belgium from the Affenpinscher and the Belgian street dog, which was similar to the Fox Terrier. These dogs were usually housed in stables and used to catch rats.
Intelligent and cheerful dogs, Brussels Griffons overflow with self-confidence. They have a great sense of humor, but they are not always the easiest dogs to live with. This breed gets along well with other animals, but it is not the best choice for families with kids. This is because the Brussels Griffon insists on being the center of attention at all times.
This breed starred in As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Brussels Griffons also made appearances in Gosford Park and First Wives Club, as well as on the television show Spin City.
These dogs are affectionate, charming, and curious, and their small size makes them ideal for apartment life. They need daily walks and plenty of playtime inside. Brussels Griffons get along well with other pets, including dogs, but they should be introduced carefully to households with children. This breed loves to be the center of attention and may become unhappy if forced to compete with children in this area.
Brussels Griffons are bold and playful dogs, but they can also be stubborn. They may follow their humans around all day, and then jump into a lap as soon as one is created. They are an active breed that needs daily mental and physical stimulation to remain healthy. Fortunately, because of the tiny size of these dogs, they can get vigorous exercise without ever leaving the living room.
These dogs cannot live outside, but they like to play outside. They love to cuddle and are far too dependent on the attention and affection of their human family members to be happy living in a yard.
Brussels Griffons suffer from certain health conditions more often than some other breeds. These dogs are prone to weak bladder, patellar luxation, and distichiasis, which is a condition that affects the growth of the eyelashes. Cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and some other eye disorders are also seen in this breed. Additionally, Brussels Griffons are at risk for developing a neurological condition called syringomyelia. In dogs with syringomyelia, fluid-filled cavities form in the spinal cord, near the brain.
These dogs may develop respiratory problems during their life, and they are very sensitive to high temperatures. In hot climates, they should be kept in air-conditioned conditions to prevent heatstroke. Brussels Griffon puppies are born very fragile and are often delivered by Cesarean section.
Routine vaccinations and veterinary care, along with regular exercise and proper nutrition, help ensure Brussels Griffons live a full life of 12 to 15 years.
Not all people can handle sharing a home with a Brussels Griffon. These dogs are a lot of fun and can be taught to perform tricks, but they have their moments of bossiness and stubbornness that make them challenging to live with. They are intelligent and may respond to some training, but they don't like to follow rules and their feelings are very easily hurt, two issues that may complicate training.
These dogs think they run the household and do not like anything or anyone that implies otherwise. They can be a bit naughty and will act out if they feel they are not getting enough attention, even breaking house training or becoming destructive. They are also prone to barking and climbing, and they will try to escape from any yard or room to which they are confined.
Early training and socialization, combined with firm and consistent house rules, can go a long way toward improving the behavior of Brussels Griffons. Making sure these dogs receive massive amounts of affection and attention also helps.
Brussels Griffons are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, although the two different coat types require different care. Smooth-coated dogs benefit from regular brushing to remove dead hair and minimize shedding, but additional coat care is rarely necessary. Rough-coated dogs need brushing twice weekly and shaping every three months. If the rough-coated dog is not going to be shown, the hair can be clipped and the rough texture will no longer be obvious. Anyone unfamiliar with hand stripping should seek out the help of a professional groomer.
These dogs should only be bathed when necessary to remove dirt or other substances from the coat. Only a pH-balanced, canine shampoo should be used. The nails should be clipped every few weeks, or as needed, to shorten the length and prevent snagging. Nails that are allowed to grow too long can cause pain and other problems.
Periodontal disease is more common in this breed than in some other dogs, which makes regular brushing essential to health. Between brushings, a drinking water additive or dental health treat can help reduce tartar and protect the teeth from decay. Routine dental examinations are very important to catch problems early.
Brussels Griffons were developed in Belgium from the Affenpinscher and the Belgian street dog, which was similar to the Fox Terrier. These dogs were usually housed in stables and used to catch rats. They eventually moved inside and became companion animals.
In the late 1800s, these dogs found their way into the homes of royalty. Marie Henriette of Austria began breeding Brussels Griffons, which increased their popularity in England and the United States.
Breeding these dogs with various other breeds over the years has slightly altered their appearance and temperament and may explain the existence of the two distinct coat types seen in the breed.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Brussels Griffon in 1910.