BREED SPOTLIGHT

Breed Spotlight: Brussels Griffon

Four Minutes Oct 06, 2022

Brussels Griffon Quick Stats

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Weight: 8 – 10 lbs.

Height: 7 – 10 inches

Do I shed?: Yes

Personality: Expressive, alert, human-like

Common health problems: Syringomyelia, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation

Brussels Griffon: How Do I Look?

Brussels griffons — affectionately known as griffs — are a thick and sturdy toy breed. One of the brachycephalic breeds, griffons have a flat face that gives them their signature grumpy look. Their grumpy expression is framed by a bushy beard and eyebrows.

Coat Type and Colors

Brussels griffons, also known as the griffon Bruxellois, have a coat that comes in two texture variations: wiry (aka rough) or smooth. Griffs with a wiry texture typically have a medium-length coat but are sometimes called long-haired Brussels griffons. Short-hair Brussels griffons have smooth, double coats.

The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) official breed standard for Brussels griffons lists the following colors:3

  • Beige
  • Black
  • Black and tan
  • Red

While these are the standard colors, griffs’ coats may also be blue, brown, tan, and wheaten.

Shedding and Grooming

Some Brussels griffons shed, and some only shed minimally. It all depends on the coat type of your Brussels griffon. Hypoallergenic Brussels griffons are typically rough-coated, while smooth Brussels griffons are considered moderate shedders.

Smooth Brussels griffons will release their double coat twice a year, during the spring and fall. Throughout shedding season, they require daily brushings to help remove their full undercoat. Outside shedding season, weekly grooming sessions should be enough.

Although rough-coated griffons don’t shed much, many owners keep everything but their beard clipped short.

Ears and Tail

Griffons’ ears may be natural or cropped, and their tails are partially docked. Although cropped ears and docked tails are part of the AKC’s official standards, the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes cosmetic cropping and docking.3,4

Drooling Level

Griffons are unlikely to drool.

A black Brussels griffon with a red bandana.

Griffon: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

If you’re looking for a quirky companion with lots of love to give, I’m your pup. I might look grumpy, but I’ll always be happy to see you.

Behavior

Brussels griffons make excellent pets for adults and families. Adaptable and sociable with moderate energy, the Brussels griffon’s personality is individual to each dog. Early socialization and obedience training will help griffs let their uniquely big personalities shine with few issues.

Griffons are known to develop poor behaviors if regularly left alone for too long. Keep this in mind if you’re unable to meet their attention needs.

Trainability

Brussels griffons are intelligent and eager to please their owners. This combination makes them easy to train. Due to their sensitive side, they’ll respond best to gentle training methods, not harsh tactics.

Like many toy breeds, spend extra time and attention on house breaking griffons.

Exercise Needs

Griffs don’t have very high exercise needs. A half hour of moderate activity a day will likely be enough. Consider play time and brief walks to satisfy their needs.

Are Brussels Griffons Good With Kids?

Griffons make good family dogs. They very much want to be part of their family, but they may not be best for young children. As a toy breed, Brussels griffons can be injured by little ones who are still learning how to play nicely with their pets.

Are Brussels Griffons Good With Other Pets?

When properly introduced, Brussels griffons should do fine with other pets. Like any dog breed, griffs’ early socialization is important to mitigate risks with any new pet encounter.

Barking Level

Brussels griffons are a vocal breed and bark often. Although they make great apartment pets, keep your neighbors in mind before deciding to own a griff.

Griffon Bruxellois Fun Facts

  1. Brussels griffons are called a few different names, including griffon Bruxellois, griffon belge, and petit brabançon.
  2. The griff was officially recognized by the AKC in 1910.5
  3. “Star Wars” director George Lucas and make-up artist Stuart Freeborn designed the Ewoks after Brussels griffons.
  4. A griffon famously starred opposite Jack Nicholson in the 1997 film “As Good As It Gets.”

Common Brussels Griffon Mixes

This breed is not commonly mixed, but some sought after Brussels Griffon mixes include:

  • Brug: Brussels griffon and pug mix
  • Chussel: Brussels griffon and Chihuahua mix
  • Shiffon: Brussels griffon and shih tzu mix

7 Brussels Griffon Health Issues

Brussels griffons are a generally healthy breed, but they can experience health issues common to brachycephalic and toy breeds. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals encourages owners to screen and monitor their griffons for:6

  • Breathing problems: often caused by their flat face
  • Heart disease
  • Eye defects: cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy
  • Patellar luxation: a knee condition
  • Hip dysplasia: a painful joint issue
  • Syringomyelia: fluid-filled pockets in the spinal cord
  • Hyperthyroidism

How Pet Insurance Can Help Brussels Griffons

A pet insurance plan could help ensure your Brussels griffon’s lifespan meets its full potential. With dog insurance from MetLife Pet Insurance,1 your griff may be covered for expenses related to the more serious issues they could experience.2

Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a genetic condition that affects a dog’s spinal cord. It causes cysts to develop near the brain that deteriorate the spinal cord. Syringomyelia is an extremely painful condition, and treatment is focused on pain relief. Some dogs may be a candidate for surgery to prevent further deterioration.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is a dislocated knee cap. This condition is common among toy breeds as they age. Symptoms of a luxating patella are generally pain, difficulty moving, and — in severe cases — lameness. Surgery is almost always needed to correct the dislocation.

Learn how pet insurance works for more information on how it could help your Brussels griffon. If you’re considering dog insurance for your griffon, signing up as soon as possible can help ensure they have coverage before issues become a pre-existing condition.

Protect your Brussels Griffon

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal, or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3 “Official Standard of the Brussels Griffon,” American Kennel Club

4 “Ear cropping and tail docking of dogs,” American Veterinary Medical Association

5 “Brussels Griffon Dog Breed Information,” American Kennel Club

6 “Brussels Griffon Recommended Tests/CHIC Program Requirements,” Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

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