The Brussels Giffon – The Small Dog From Belguim
The Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois) is a classic ‘Euro-dog’, the result of blending bloodlines from a diverse set of other dogs in Europe to produce friendly, amusing, reliable and alert companion. As with most small breeds of terriers, the Brussels Griffon was originally bred to eliminate vermin found in kitchens and granaries.
The breed originated in the 1800s but became exceptionally popular between the world wars, where there were thousands of brood bitches alone in Brussels. However, today its breed’s popularity has declined and has been succeeded by one of its ancestors, the Yorkshire Terrier. The Brussels Griffon is still the most popular dog in Belguim.
Brussels Griffon Key Facts
- Colour – There are three main colours that the Brussels Griffon comes in; Black, ‘Black Tan’ and a Brownish Red colour. Its coat has a distinctive harsh, wiry texture if properly maintained.
- Weight – They weigh between 2.5 to 5.5 Kgs (6 to 12lbs).
- Height – They will be 18-20cms (7 to 8 inches) at the withers.
- Life Expectancy – 11-14 years
- Other Names – Griffon Belge
- First Use – Vermin Hunting
- Use Today – A Companion Dog
Brussels Griffon Training and Temperament
This breed is known to have a huge heart and wants to be with its master all the time, even if that means snuggling in with them at night. Griffons tend to get on with other animals very well, even cats, ferrets, and other dogs. They are normally suitable for children, provided that they are not teased by them and supervised by an adult at all times. This breed can be trained fairly easily with most owners instructions.
As a terrier, this dog emits a number of characteristics that all terriers have – and that is they tend to be active dogs, curious, adventurous.
Brussels Griffon Video
For those wanting to know more about this breed, here is a video describing its history and breed today:
Brussels Griffon Heath Issues
Because of its diverse genetic background with several breeds culminating in the 1800s to develop this breed, the Griffon Brussels has few inherited health problems. There are two known congenital defects that can be tested for before purchasing this breed:
Syringomyelia: Is the growth of a cyst or cavity forms inside the spinal cord. Over time, this can cause pain, weakness, paralysis, and stiffness in the shoulders, back and extremities. This is a rare disorder and you will be able to speak to your vet about it.
Chiari-like malformation: Is where there is an obstruction in the fluid-filled cavities or syrinxes inside the spinal cord. The most common sign of this disorder is that the dog shows pain consistently, particularly in the face. A young Brussels Griffon that shows signs of this disorder should have surgery to minimise the development of the disease.
As with all dogs, the Brussels Griffon will age and will succumb to the common diseases that all dogs have, such as degradation of their eyesight and general ill health. There are suitable herbal, and medical remedies that you can purchase to ease any issues that might arise as your dog gets older.
Brussels Griffon Food Requirements
Being a small breed, it is common sense that the amount of food that a Brussels Griffon will consume is a small amount daily. There are obviously various qualities of food available in the marketplace these days and I’ve gone through and provided details of the best foods for smaller breeds and the healthiest foods for dogs overall.
For more information on feeding the right foods for your Brussels Griffon, see the following pages:
Please note that all individual dogs diets depend on the dog itself, are they active, are they growing, are they large or their breed? There are a number of different factors that determine the amount of food that you feed your dog. What I really don’t like seeing are fat, overweight dogs that clearly haven’t been exercised sufficiently and have been fed too much.
A simple method to find out if your Brussels Griffon is overweight is to, run your hands down the chest of your dog and you should be able to feel their rib cage without having to press too firmly. If you are unable to feel his ribs, then he is being fed too much and isn’t getting the required exercise necessary.
Brussels Griffon Grooming And Care
Brushing Their Coats
The coats of the Brussels Griffon are either rough coated or smooth coated. Both will need grooming care a weekly basis, but they differ in the care and attention required to maintain their coats.
Smooth coated Brussels Griffons have a short, straight, glossy coat that rests very close to their bodies, with little traces of any wiry hair. While rough coated Brussels Griffons dogs have a denser coat with only traces of silky in their coats. Consequently, there are different grooming requirements for each of the breed coat types.
Smooth-Coated: Require perhaps only weekly grooming and a bath whenever they start to develop the ‘doggy smell’ that all dogs eventually acquire. When choosing a suitable shampoo, try to look for shampoos that do not dry out your dog’s skin or fur.
Rough-Coated: It is ideal to brush your rough coated Brussels Griffon it is advisable to maintain a weekly brushing schedule. Please use a natural bristle brush or a hound glove to eliminate the dead hairs, then move onto a medium-tooth metal comb. A specialised groomer will need to treat the coat twice a year to ‘hand strip’ the coat, plucking out the older hairs by hand. This permits the new hair growth underneath the older hair to develop. This method helps maintain the coat and reduces the scratching and shedding, allow this coat to become more friendly to anyone with allergies.
Not only will your Brussels Griffon need to be groomed regularly, but I would suggest that you aim to brush their teeth a few times a week to establish good levels of dental hygiene. This will allow your dog to become accustomed to allowing you to actively open their mouths and invade their personal space peacefully.
Washing and Clipping Your Brussels Griffon
On a monthly basis, or even every two weeks you should consider washing your Brussels Griffon to clean out any dirt that you are unable to get out manually by brushing. After cleaning, they will need to be dried and have their nails clipped if they are long. As this is a small dog, you will probably find that your own hair dryer will be sufficient to dry your dog and there is no need to purchase a dog only hairdryer.
For all my recommended products and equipment that are suitable to keep your Brussels Griffon both healthy and cared for, please visit the Equipment and Products For A Brussels Griffon for reviews and suggestions.
Please note, whenever introducing cleaning, grooming or clipping to your Brussels Griffon they will initially be unaware of the procedure and consequently be nervous around the brush, toothbrush, and hairdryer. The easiest way to make sure they soon become used to this is to simply apply constant praise to them and reward them every time you have completed one of the tasks in maintaining your dog – a simple dog treat is a good idea.
Lastly, as part of grooming, you will want to apply monthly flea prevention once they are clean. I personally use Advantage as this has kept fleas away from Leo.
Insurance Rates for A Brussels Griffon
Remember, a Brussels Griffon is a purebred and will likely suffer from genetic health issues as they got older. Although I listed the main health issues this breed is likely to suffer during their lifetime, there are additional potential health issues that can give your dog an unpleasant trip to the vets and at the same time giving your wallet a potential shock to treat those health issues.
You easily find that a trip to the vets for a number of their common conditions can range from $200 to over $20,000 (£150 to £15,000 in the UK), it would, therefore, be prudent to make sure your Brussels Griffon has the right insurance coverage. When you take out insurance for your Brussels Griffon make sure that the insurance covers the following:
- Accident Coverage
- Illness Coverage
- Orthopaedic Conditions
- Hereditary Conditions
- Prescription Medications
Cost of Insurance For A Brussels Griffon
Throughout the US, expect to pay between $300 to $450 annually to provide sufficient insurance coverage for your Brussels Griffon. You can find deals in the UK for anywhere between £150 and £300, with similar coverage. Because of this dog’s genetic diversity, it will be less likely to suffer any major illnesses or disorders, and is generally cheaper to insure.
All Dog Insurance details and recommendations can be found on my Dog Insurance page. As this website has been created for all English speaking people, there are different rules and insurance policies available for each of the following countries:
Brussels Griffon References and Resources
For further information about the Brussels Griffon and if you think this breed of dog is suitable for you, please visit the official UK and the USA kennel club sites:
Finally an interesting fact with the Brussels Griffon, George Lucas owned one during the filming of the Return of The Jedi and the visual effects editor used the face of the Brussels Griffon as a template for the Ewoks.
To return to the Toy Dog Breed Section.