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Brussels griffons: Belgium's tiny hunters

Brussels griffons: Belgium's tiny hunters

Critter Culture Staff



The Brussels griffon, while a small breed of dog, is far from your typical purse puppy. Originally bred in Belgium, they were put to work in stables and farms to hunt rats and mice.

These purebred dogs have enough attitude and intelligence to keep their owners on their toes. Sometimes called "monkey face," this breed's unique appearance isn't for everyone but can be perfect for the right home.


Brussels do best with experienced owners

This small breed is known for its intelligence and affectionate nature. They are loving, curious, and cheerful dogs making them great companions. They do, however, have a stubborn streak, can be high-strung, and even moody. Brussels griffons can be demanding of their owners, making them more suitable for families or individuals who can provide them with plenty of attention.

These dogs get along well with other animals and children in the house, but typically bond with one particular person. When given the choice, they will opt to cuddle with their chosen one.

Brussels Griffon puppy for a walk in autumn Okssi68 / Getty Images


The Brussel's griffon's "monkey face"

Brussels griffons are characterized by their flat faces, prominent chins, and monkey-like, wide-set eyes. They have highly-expressive faces, giving them an air of humor and intelligence.

These dogs are often covered in a wiry and coarse coat that is usually short along the body and longer around their eyes, cheeks, and chin.

Brussels griffons are typically found in four colors: red, a red-black mix called belge, black and tan, and solid black. They don't usually feature any white fur until they grow older, turning grey around the muzzle.

Two different colored Brussels griffons Eudyptula / Getty Images


How big does this breed get?

Brussels griffons are a small but mighty breed. They range in height from 7 to 8 inches tall to the shoulder, and weigh between 7 and 12 pounds. Don't let these little guys fool you though: they are surprisingly strong and very active.

Occasionally, a Brussels griffon will grow to be 20 pounds due to its larger ancestry.

A typical Brussels griffon CaptureLight / Getty Images


Grooming and care

Because of their unique coat, the Brussels griffon requires a bit more care and attention when it comes to grooming. These dogs should be brushed weekly with a natural bristle brush or hound glove. This will help to remove dead hair and allow for new hair to grow. They should then be combed with a medium-tooth metal comb.

Twice a year, this breed should be taken to a professional groomer to be "hand-stripped," a process that involves hand plucking loose hairs to reduce scratching and shedding.

Teeth should be brushed two to three times weekly, and their nails should be trimmed monthly.

A Brussels griffon at the groomer Okssi68 / Getty Images


Are Brussels griffons hypoallergenic?

If this breed is groomed regularly and properly, it can be considered somewhat hypoallergenic. Because hand stripping reduces shedding, Brussels griffons can be an ideal breed for owners with allergies. Clipping these dog's coats can increase the amount of hair and dander released, so a natural wiry coat is a better option for those who are allergic to dogs.

A Brussels griffon with a natural wiry coat Okssi68 / Getty Images


Brussels griffons are energetic

Because these dogs are typically quite active, they are not suitable for those seeking a quiet lap dog. This breed requires regular exercise to stay healthy and wear themselves out, but they can get what they need playing in the yard, going for walks, or chasing a ball down the hall.

Being high-energy dogs with high intelligence, this breed does well in canine sports, such as agility, obedience, and tracking.

A Brussels griffon out for a run toxawww / Getty Images


Brussels are a healthy breed

Brussels griffons are generally healthy dogs, although, like any breed, they are prone to certain conditions. Some of these include hip dysplasia, slippery kneecap, eye problems, and skin allergies.

If your dog is displaying pain, lameness, issues walking, eye rubbing, or excessive scratching, have them examined by a vet.

The typical life span of the Brussels griffon is 12 to 15 years.

A Brussels griffon at the vet Okssi68 / Getty Images


Feeding your griffon

Because of their small stature, the Brussels griffon only requires 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dry dog food per day. This should be divided into two meals each day to help monitor and spread out their eating. If their bowls are kept full throughout the day, they more gorge themselves and become ill or overweight.

When choosing a dog food for your Brussels griffon, note that a higher-quality food will keep them full longer.

A Brussels griffon eating Okssi68 / Getty Images


Brussels griffons are great apartment dogs

Brussels griffons are highly adaptable to apartment living due to their small size, as long as their barking is kept under control. They are typical watchdogs, alerting the household to anything they find suspicious or exciting. Teaching your puppy the "quiet" command early on can help to curb this habit.

A Brussels griffon chewing on a bone Okssi68 / Getty Images


Training your Brussels griffon

Being a highly intelligent breed, these dogs can be trained quite well with a degree of consistency and patience. Unfortunately, along with this intelligence can come stubbornness. When facing these challenges, kindness and rewards are key. They are sensitive animals that thrive on positive reinforcement and loving gestures.

When training your Brussels griffon, try to keep sessions short and light, ending on a high note. This will keep them interested and willing to participate the next time around.

A Brussels griffon sitting nicely ballyscanlon / Getty Images


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