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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Griffon Bruxellois

Well-balanced and square in outline, the Griffon Bruxellois is a cobby and robust little dog with an endearing appearance due to their short muzzle and large eyes. Often described as having a monkey-like expression, the Griffon Bruxellois comes in two coat types – rough coated, with a harsh, wiry coat that is free from curl, and smooth coated with a short, shiny, tight coat. 

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Can live without a garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed may encounter health problems

The Griffon Bruxellosis breed is brachycephalic and you can read about the problems that may be associated with this here. 
The breed can also be prone to:
- Patellar luxation
- Legg-Perthes disease

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Weight:  2-5 kg
Height:  12 - 20 cm
Colours:  Red, black or black and tan
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Two Griffon Bruxellois are standing


Clever and quick, the Griffon Bruxellois is really a terrier, despite being within the Toy group. Although small in stature, this surprisingly weighty and robust dog is capable of long walks, vermin control and a variety of games and dog sports. They will also, if kept entertained and well exercised, enjoy any amount of pampering, sofa cuddles and lap-time, so can be considered a multi-role dog, companion and hard worker. As with most terrier types they are not inclined to tolerate heavy handed treatment from adults or children, but will respond well to consistent and kind training. 

Griffon Bruxellois is lying on the road

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Belgium 
Originating in Belgium, the Griffon Bruxellois was created in the 19th Century by crossing Pugs, Affenpinschers and Belgian stable dogs. Their role was to ride alongside the hansom cab driver and act as a watch and guard dog when the driver had to leave the cab and horses. In the stables they also provided vermin control, and so while small, they can be considered a tough little dog. 
Later, the addition of the English Toy Spaniel and possibly the Yorkshire Terrier added larger, rounder eyes and a more appealing baby-like face. 

In the late 1800’s it was very much the fashion for sporting young gentlemen of the upper classes to own a smart but game little terrier type dog, so it is not surprising that the Griffon Bruxellois was first shown at Crufts in 1896, and the first UK breed club founded in 1897. 

Did you know?

Did you know?

  • Despite their rarity, the Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon has starred in several films, notably six Griffon Bruxellois played the role of ‘Verdell’ in the 1997 film ‘As Good As It Gets’ alongside (and often upstaging!) Jack Nicholson. They have also appeared in the films ‘First Wives Club’ and ‘Gosford Park’ and the sitcom ‘Spin City’. 

  • The Griffon Bruxellois is another breed whose popularity is due to royal ownership. Queen Marie Henriette became a breeder and supporter of the Griffon Bruxellois in the late 1800’s and just as today’s celebrities will influence dog ownership in the general public, so it was then!