The Griffon Bruxellois is a small but outgoing dog that is full of attitude and character. They are devoted to their families and although they can be quite self-assured and independent, the Griffon is actually very needy. Griffons are adorable, fun-loving and possess many terrier traits. Some highlights:
Great choice for first time owners
Friendly, loyal and affectionate
Intelligent, eager to please and easy to train
There are a few traits of the Griffon that you should be aware of when looking for your perfect puppy. They are a great choice for first time owners but as with all breeds there are certain considerations to take into account too. Some downsides to the Griffon Bruxellois:
Separation anxiety is likely if left alone
Frequent barking (they seem to like the sound of their own voice)
The Griffon Bruxellois have roots in Belgium, where a terrier-like dog was bred to hunt vermin in stables. These dogs were once known as “street urchins” and gained popularity thanks to their affectionate nature and cheeky expressions. The breed as we know it today was developed in the 1800s by crossing several breeds including Affenpinschers and pugs. The Griffon Bruxellois quickly became known for being intelligent, tough and street-wise. Unsurprisingly, Griffons have found their way into many hearts and homes across the world. Their initial popularity is often attributed to their place within the homes of Belgium royals. More recently the breed gained countless new admirers after being featured in the 1997 film “As Good as It Gets” with Jack Nicholson.
The Griffon is a small dog that stands at 18 – 20cm at the withers.
Adult male and female Griffons weigh between 3.6 – 4.5kg.
According to The Kennel Club breed standard, Griffon Bruxellois are available in the following colours:
Black and tan rough/ smooth
Red rough/ smooth
If you are looking for a dog with a wicked sense of humour, undeniable intelligence and a cheeky curiosity then the Griffon Bruxellois may just be the dog for you.
Yes, although small in size the Griffon is always alert and makes an excellent guard dog.
Yes, they have been known to bark a lot but this can be stopped through training while your Griffon is still young.
Yes, they are very people orientated and want to please you. They respond very well to positive reinforcement and will only become more stubborn if any negative or harsh training is attempted with them.
Yes, they are entertainers at heart and love to play. A Griffon Bruxellois has a mischievous nature that will often result in them testing limits to see what they can get away with.
Yes, providing the children are gentle and calm they will get along very well. Although it is important to note that a Griffon does not appreciate being manhandled, chased or hit and if cornered they may growl or snap in defence.
Yes, they get on with other pets but they sometimes think they are bigger than they are and will pick fights with dogs far larger than themselves so it’s not wise to leave your Griffon Bruxellois unsupervised with other pets.
As Griffons form very strong bonds with their human family they do not like to be left alone, even for short periods of time. Separation anxiety is a big issue for this breed so ideally, to avoid stress and destructive behaviour, they need to be in a household where there is always one person at home.
Swimming is usually enjoyed by this breed, particularly during warm weather.
The average life span of a Griffon Bruxellois is 12 – 14 years.
Each day, a Griffon will need at least 30 – 60 minutes of walking. Although small in size, they are very energetic and love to spend time play in a secure garden if that’s a possibility.
While Griffons are robust and live long lives there are a few health issues to be aware of, including:
Syringomyelia and Chiari-like Malformation (CMSM)
Difficulties birthing (often require caesareans as the size of puppy’s heads make natural birth problematic)
Griffons can also suffer from breathing issues because of their flat faces.
A Griffon can happily live in an apartment providing they have company and enough daily exercise and mental stimulation.
The type and amount you feed your Griffon depends on their age, size and activity level. Follow your vet’s recommendations and if you have just brought your Griffon home from a breeder it is important to follow their feeding schedule. As a rough guideline, adult Griffons only require around 70g of high quality dry food each day as they are small dogs but this amount will change based on the factors mentioned above.
You can get rough-coated and smooth-coated Griffons. The grooming requirements change depending on the coat type of your Griffon:
Rough-coated need to be brushed and combed weekly to remove loose hair and prevent mats from forming. The rough coat also needs to be hand stripped twice a year by a professional groomer.
Smooth-coated are less maintenance and require a light brush each week.
The Griffon Bruxellois shed moderately year-round although you may notice more shedding in spring and autumn.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £850+ for a well-bred Griffon Bruxellois puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £75 per month
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Griffon Bruxellois Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Griffon Bruxellois puppy buying advice:
Ensure you choose a reputable and responsible breeder, as Griffon Bruxellois are popular and expensive there is a high risk of coming across scams and amateur breeders during your search for the perfect puppy.
Although a small breed, avoid smaller than normal Griffon Bruxellois puppies as they can suffer from major health issues.
Avoid purchasing puppies that have exaggerated flat faces as this will increase the likelihood of breathing problems.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: