The Brussels Griffon. Find Out About This Rare Bearded Dog.

Brussels Griffon

An eager to please, affectionate bearded companion.

The Brussels Griffon is a fun, inquisitive, watchful little companion dog who is very eager to please! They have huge hearts and are so affectionate – they just love jumping up for snuggles!

A Brussels Griffon looking up at the camera, standing against a white background.
photo courtesy of public domain wikipedia

Brussels Griffon – Temperament

Brussels Griffon’s must have human company. They absolutely crave it and will become depressed and withdrawn if denied. They tend to bond extremely closely with one person in the family so may not be the best choice if you are looking for a dog who will love everyone equally.

The lucky person who the Brussels Griffon chooses as their favourite can expect to have their little friend with them 24/7. And I do mean 24/7 – sleeping on your bed, waiting outside the loo for you and even following you around whilst you’re doing the household chores!

If you are looking for a dog to share your home with, rather than with the world’s cutest stalker then you might want to think about a different breed!

Brussels Griffons get on well with other household pets such as dogs, cats and, despite their terrier disposition, even ferrets. However, they seem to have no concept of their size and may try to stand up to a much larger dog as the more dominant one.

Oh, and try to avoid feeding your little bearded companion scraps from your table as it could go one of two ways. You either end up with a dog that is a picky eater. Or you end up with a greedy, overweight dog!

Breed History

A Brussels Griffon wearing a small dog harness, sitting down on a grey floor indoors.
Flickr pic courtesy of andreaarden

The Brussels Griffon are actually 3 different types of dogs which are very similar:

  • The Brussels Griffon (Griffon Bruxellois)
  • The Belgian Griffon (Griffon Belge)
  • The Petit Barbancon

The Griffon Bruxellois and the Griffon Belge are extremely similar. Their rough coats vary slightly in length and color. The Petit Barbancon has a smooth coat and no beard or mustache around the face.

They are originally from Belgium and were used in the coach houses and stables by coachmen to keep the rats away. The coachmen became very fond of their little companions and the dogs were often seen perched up on the coach next to their master whilst out riding on the streets.

The dogs looked slightly different back then – they resembled the Dutch Smoushond but in the 19th century the dogs were bred with imported toy dogs and became the breed we recognise today. It is thought that the Pug, King Charles Spaniel and Affenpinscher all played roles in the development of the breed.

The Griffon Bruxellois is a difficult breed to find not only because the females struggle whilst giving birth (a caesarean is usually required) but the mortality rate is also very high in puppies.

Their low breed numbers were not helped by the First And Second World Wars which almost put an end to them. However, thanks to diligent breeders mostly in the UK, the breed has come back a little although it still remains very uncommon and difficult to find Griffon Bruxellois.

Vital Statistics

  • Height: 18-20 cm (7 – 8 inches)
  • Weight 4 –5 kg ( 8–10 lb)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 14yrs


  • Red
  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Belge (a mixture of red and black which gives a “shadowed” sort of look)

Ease Of Training

The head of a Brussels Griffon Puppy looking out from a handbag.
Flickr pic courtesy of andreaarden

The Brussels Griffon is fairly difficult to train. You might have to spend quite a lot of time house-breaking him too.

The good news is that he is eager to please so will try his hardest to learn for you.

He does not respond to hitting, rough handling and shouting so training using positive methods is essential. Using treats and lots of praise will help him understand what you’re trying to teach him.

Griffon Bruxellois are also very active indoors and often this is enough exercise for them. They do like short walks every so often too though.

But if you have an apartment then this little bearded breed is perfectly suited for this environment.

I found this cute video of Paris the Brussels Griffon having a great time running about in her garden.

That’s one way to get your exercise! 🙂


The Griffon Bruxellois is not aggressive.

However, he does bark when a visitor arrives although he is often shy and unsure in new situation so may well cling to his favourite person until he feels a bit more settled.


A Brussels Griffon dog in snow with some white dusting on its whiskers
Flickr pic courtesy of andreaarden

The 3 different types of this breed have slightly differing hair.

The Belgian Griffon has a long, wiry, rough coat with a bearded face.

The Brussels Griffon’s coat is even longer than the Belgian’s and is also wiry and rough.

The Petit Brabancon has a smooth coat and no beard. This smooth coat sheds twice a year and the shedding last for around 2 weeks.

Brushing once a week will keep your dog’s hair from getting matted if you are keeping him as a pet. And clipping the coat is also a possibility.

Health Considerations

Griffon Bruxellois suffer from relatively few inherited ailments but the most common ones are:

  • Syringomyelia
  • Chiari-Like Malformation
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Lens Luxations (can lead to blindness)
  • Respiratory issues in major heat
  • Females may have problems giving birth

Famous Brussels Griffon

In the Film “As Good As It Gets”

In the film “The First Wives Club”

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