The Brussels Griffon is square-proportioned, thickset, and compact. This breed has good bone for its size. This dog’s movement is a purposeful trot, with moderate reach and drive. In temperament, Brussels Griffons are full of self-importance, and their carriage reflects this attitude. Their almost human expression attracts attention and admirers. Their coat can be rough, with hard wiry hair, which is longer around the head; or smooth, with a short glossy coat.
By 1880, the breed was sufficiently established to be recognized at Belgian dog shows. Around this same time there is some suggestion that additional mixes were made with the Yorkshire Terrier and English Toy Spaniel, the latter further contributing to the Brussels Griffon’s head configuration. By the early 1900s, the little street urchin had risen to the heights of popularity in Belgium and found itself in great demand by nobility. Although the breed’s numbers were decimated by World War I, the breed recovered and has since gained ardent admirers around the world.
In some countries, only the red rough-coated dogs are classified as the Brussels Griffon; black rough-coated dogs are known as the Belgian Griffon; and smooth-coated dogs are known as the Petit Brabancon.
The spunky Brussels Griffon is full of himself, brimming with self-confidence and gusto. These dogs are bold, playful, stubborn, and mischievous. They are usually good with other dogs and pets. They tend to bark and climb, and some can be escape artists. Brussels Griffons make saucy companions for a family wanting an entertaining, sensitive pet. However, sensitivity and size make them a poor choice for families with young children. They can be difficult to housetrain and may suffer from separation anxiety.
The Brussels Griffon is an active breed, always on the lookout for action. They need daily mental and physical stimulation, but their small size makes such stimulation possible with a robust indoor game. They also enjoy a short walk on leash. The rough coat needs combing two or three times weekly, plus professional grooming every three months. Grooming for the smooth coat is minimal, consisting only of occasional brushing to remove dead hair.