Griffon Bruxellois

Griffon Bruxellois Breed description: Character & Co


The Griffon Bruxellois is a very distinctive dwarf Griffon from Belgium.

The origin of the Griffon Bruxellois

There are three Belgian dwarf Griffon dogs that are very similar. In fact, the Griffon Bruxellois, Griffon Belge and Petit Brabançon all share the same ancestor. For centuries, a small breed of dog called the "Smousje" lived around the Belgian capital. The main task of the Smousje was to keep the horse stables free of rats and mice and to guard the carriages.

In the 19th century, Affenpinscher, King Charles Spaniels and Pugs were crossed in, eventually giving the dog the appearance it has today. Queen Marie-Henriette of Belgium was considered a particular lover of the breed. Many emulated the noblewoman and wanted to have a Griffon Bruxellois.

The royal cynologists opened the first pedigree and stud book for the Griffon Bruxellois in 1883.

The breed characteristics of the Griffon Bruxellois

The trademark of this small dog is the shortening of the skull known as brachycephaly. In the Griffon Bruxellois it is deliberate and has become standard through breeding selection.

Most of the dogs get along with it. However, animals are also born with jaw malpositions and breathing problems. The problems within the breed are so far within limits that the brachycephaly is not considered as torture breeding at the moment.

The FCI lists the Griffon Bruxellois under Standard No. 80, Group 9 and Section 3: Small Belgian Dog Breed.

  • first rat catcher, then noble society dog
  • favourite dog of Queen Marie-Henriette of Belgium
  • with prominent shortening of the skull
Banner: Shutterstock / Csanad Kiss
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Alternate Name Griffon Bruxellois, Brussels Griffon
Origin Belgium
Life expectancy 12 - 15 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level low
FCI group Small Belgian Dogs
AKC group Toy Group
KC group Toy Group

Character traits and nature of the Griffon Bruxellois

The Griffon Bruxellois is a very affectionate and loyal little fellow. They are watchful and alert, but not overly yappy. They much prefer to cuddle or do something with their masters and mistresses. The temperament is moderate, nevertheless they like to move. Due to their well-balanced nature, they are also well suited for keeping in the city. If he has a conspecific, he can also stay alone for a longer time. The Brussels Griffon is an excellent companion for senior citizens.

  • affectionate and cuddly
  • alert, but not a yapper
  • also suitable for the city apartment and seniors
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Breed-typical diseases of the Griffon Bruxellois

Besides the already mentioned consequences of the shortening of the skull (respiratory, jaw or eye problems), these dogs can have a tendency to patellar luxation. In addition, there is a hereditary disease of the spine. Animals carrying this disease are excluded from breeding.

Breeding, acquisition and keeping of a Griffon Bruxellois

The keeping of this dog is really very uncomplicated. Whether in the city or in the countryside, this frugal little guy will feel at home anywhere.

Belgian dwarf Griffons are offered from time to time by ambitious hobby breeders. Because of the mentioned hereditary disease, you should make sure that only tested and healthy dogs were bred.

If you are interested, you can also contact the Belgian Kennel Club directly.

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The coat must always be coarse according to the breed standard. The Griffon Bruxellois has a distinct beard. Together with the shortened shape of the head, this facial feature gives it its typical appearance. The hair colour is reddish, although small dark patches at the ends of the hair are permitted. The coat must be trimmed regularly.

The build is tight and compact. The Griffon Bruxellois carries the tail erect or even bent a little over the back.

In the past, this dog's tail and small rose ears were docked. This practice is no longer common today.

  1. always rough-haired
  2. distinctive beard and head shape
  3. coat is reddish with few dark hairs

Size, weight and life expectancy of the Griffon Bruxellois

The breed standard does not impose any size restriction. The height at withers is about 25 to 30 cm. In terms of weight, the Brussels Griffon weighs 3.5 to 6 kg.

The average age of a Brussels Griffon is 12 years.

Fur length medium
Fur rough-haired
Ear shape Tilt-ear
Tail short
Anatomy slim, square
Size ♀ 20 - 25 cm
Weight ♀ 3 - 6 kg
Size ♂ 20 - 30 cm
Weight ♂ 3 - 6 kg
Suitable For Beginner, Children, Seniors


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  • Patellar problems

    Problems with the Patellar can be a displacement or weak kneecap, which is one of the most common causes of lameness in dogs, also because of overweight.

  • Eye diseases

    Often occur with allergies and intolerances.

  • Spinal disorders

    However, as the dog ages, this elasticity can be lost and completely inhibited by diseases such as spondylosis.

  • Breathing problems

    Dogs with shortened muzzles can often experience respiratory problems.

Sources and relevant links


Accessed on 15.05.2023

Allgemeiner Rassehunde Club Deutschland e.V.

Accessed on 17.05.2023

Horst Hegewald-Kawich (2015). Hunderassen von A bis Z. GRÄFE UND UNZER Verlag GmbH.

Eva-Maria Krämer (2017). Der KOSMOS-Hundeführer. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-Gmbh & Company KG.

A. Ketschau (2021). Treue Freunde. Books on Demand.

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