Brussels Griffon Temperament: What You Need to Know Before You Bring a Puppy Home

The Brussels Griffon temperament is happy, comical, and intelligent. He is also unmistakable in his appearance – you’ll certainly know a Brussels Griffon when you see one!

The Brussels Griffon is very much like a Terrier, which you will come to learn as you brush up on his behavioral traits and quirks below.

Photo of Brussels Griffon in the Park | Watchful Temperament

Brussels Griffon Temperament and Personality

Brussels Griffon owners know this dog for his sense of humor and human-like expressions. This breed is extremely intelligent, and he has a sense of self-importance that amuses everyone around him. But he can also be a bossy little thing if he doesn’t get his way – something you must curb if you’re ever going to enjoy living together.

Bossy Pants

The Brussels Griffon can be bossy at times and will try to run your household whenever possible. But he is actually a big softy at heart who loves to be around his family.

Needy

In fact, when it comes to getting your attention, Griffons can be quite needy. If you’ve ever had a needy child nipping at your heels all day, then you know what this is like. The Griffon too will constantly seek out his family's approval. Wherever you go, expect your Brussels Griffon to follow.

If you ignore him or otherwise refuse him the attention and love he’s looking for, the Griffon will act out and misbehave to make sure your attention is back on him. Even bad attention is good attention for this dog.

That Memory of His!

Like an elephant, the Brussels Griffon has an excellent, long-term memory, especially when it comes to what he may perceive as your “mistreatment” of him. 

You don’t have to hit or even yell at the Griffon for him to form this opinion. It can be something simple that just sets him off and will cause him to give you the stink eye for a while.

Happy-Go-Lucky

A Brussels Griffon is just as passionate about feeling happy as he is about feeling miserable. He will run around the house or yard in circles just for the sheer fun of it!

So long as you are able to stay persistent in your being the leader of his “pack,” then you two will get along just fine, and he will be as happy as he can be in your home.

But…How is He with Other Animals?

Brussels Griffon dogs get along just fine with other pets. However, he is also one of those dogs who is totally unaware of how small he really is. As a result, he can unintentionally put himself in danger by offering a challenge to a bigger dog.

This is especially true when the other dog is a stranger he has never met before. This is why socialization is crucial and one of the first stepping stones on the path to creating the best dog you will ever own.

The Brussels Griffon and Kids

Unfortunately, the Brussels Griffon is not the best choice for a household with children.

Since this dog prefers to be the center of attention, he may actually become jealous of the attention you give your children.

Plus, young children have a tendency to force the family dog to pay attention to them – something a Griffon is not always a fan of!

Houdini Dog

You have to be careful with this one, as Brussels Griffons are skilled escape artists. Make sure you have a secure fence that is also tall enough that he can’t jump over it, and deep enough that he can’t dig under it.

I’m serious here – you want to invest in a four-foot fence, even though just looking at him will make you want to laugh at this statement. Some Griffons have jumped more than double their size. So you want to invest in a tall enough fence to deter him from even making the attempt to leap over.

And if you must leave him along for a long period of time, make sure you crate him. If not, he will get into anything and everything while you’re gone.

He is also quite the climber, which can also get him into worlds of trouble. This is especially true considering his smaller size, which can allow him to get into nooks and crannies you might not have otherwise expected.

A Brief History of the Brussels Griffon Breed

The Brussels Griffon gets his name from Brussels, Belgium, his birthplace.

Breeders created this breed to hunt and kill vermin in Belgian stables. Brussels Griffons have several different breeds as parents, including the PugAffenpinscher, and English Toy Spaniel.

Brussel Griffons, or, more simply, “Griffons,” quickly became house pets, though they ultimately became exports to England during the 1890s.

Griffons found their way to America at around the same time, becoming registered with the American Kennel Club in 1900.

In America during the two World Wars,  the acts of both breeding dogs and keeping smaller breeds was too expensive. For these reasons, the Griffon have since fell in popularity in the U.S., though, they remain very popular in England.

How Do You Train a Brussels Griffon?

While Brussels Griffons are intelligent, they can also be very stubborn. This is a breed who will not give in when you want him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Put another way, he doesn’t really care if he pleases you or not, so long as he gets his way – he’s a diva!

While you can’t force a Griffon to do what you want when you want him to do it, what you can do is make him think that your idea was actually his idea all along.

Brussels Griffons respond best to positive reinforcement training. Be consistent, and always use food and praise as rewards.

It also helps to keep his training sessions fun and short. This will prevent him from becoming bored, which can also contribute to his lack of desire to listen to you.

And, like every other breed out there, he does better in social situations if you subject him to as many different people and animals as possible as a wee pup. Then, when he’s older, he’s less likely to be aloof or defensive with people and animals he doesn’t know.

Helpful Brussels Griffon Training Resource:

The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan a world-class Dog Trainer from New Zealand is worth taking a look at. This online resource has hundreds of fun informative dog training videos that can help you learn the basics and more.

Photo of a Black Brussels Griffon with Tongue extend
Black Brussels Griffon | Companionable Temperament

The Brussels Griffon Size and Appearance

Experts consider the Brussels Griffon a toy breed, so he's a rather small little dog.

Brussels Griffon Height

The Brussels Griffon only reaches about 7 to 10 inches in height as a full-grown adult.

Brussels Griffon Weight

An adult Brussels Griffon weighs between 8 and 12 lbs.

Brussels Griffon Colors

As for colors, the Brussels Griffon comes in black and tan or just plain black. He also comes in blue, brown, red, and beige.

How Do You Groom a Brussels Griffon?

The Brussels Griffon comes in two types: smooth or rough coat.

A smooth-coated Griffon needs weekly brushing on a normal, day-to-day basis, and daily brushing during his shedding season. His shedding seasons occur twice a year, during the spring and fall, and last for about a week each time.

An occasional bath will keep the smooth-coated Griffon looking clean and healthy.

A rough-coated Griffon, on the other hand, does not shed. Most owners keep their rough-coated Griffons’ hair clipped short – except for the unmistakable Griffons beard! This helps keep his coat clean and less ratty-looking.

If you’re looking for a “hypoallergenic” dog, then you’re probably better off with the rough-coated Griffon, rather than the smooth-coated one. The less hair a dog has, the less likely he is to cause you a miserable allergic reaction.

Staying Healthy: Watch Out for these Brussels Griffon Health Issues

Brussels Griffons have a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years.

While these dogs are generally healthy, they can still suffer from certain health conditions. The ones to look out for in particular with this breed include:

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Brussels Griffon friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.

Exercise

Though small, the Brussels Griffon still needs at least a half-hour of exercise every day to stay happy and healthy. He loves to play, and he is happiest when he is doing something with you, rather than you leaving him to his own devices out in the yard.

All you need to do to keep your Griffon happy is a daily walk and a game of fetch. Plus, his athleticism and intelligence help him excel in activities that require his agility and obedience.

Top Brussels Griffon Mixes

If a mixed breed is what you’re after, then you’re in luck – there are a ton of mixed breeds out there that include the Brussels Griffon. Here is just a short list of the sweet combinations you can find out there:

Finding the Perfect Brussels Griffon

If you are ready to add one of these little firecrackers to your family, then you’re probably wondering how to go about doing exactly that.

Well, you have two options. You can find a perfect Brussels Griffon puppy by going to a breeder and purchasing one, or adopting one from a local shelter or rescue organization.

Photo of 3 Brussels Griffon Celebrating with Champange

How Much is a Brussels Griffon?

Brussels Griffon puppies for sale can run you between $800-$1000, depending on the breeder you choose.

Teacup Brussels Griffon puppies for sale will cost you about the same price. Teacup Brussels Griffons are just smaller versions of the more common Brussels Griffon.

Brussels Griffon Rescue and Adoption

If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Brussels Griffon Rescue website. A Brussels Griffon rescue group is a great idea if you are looking to adopt an older dog or even a Brussels Griffon mix.

If you are looking for a purebred (or almost purebred) Brussels Griffon, try a dedicated Brussels Griffon rescue instead because they will, hands down, have the most varied selection.

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Brussels Griffons or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call!

Adopting from a shelter can be tricky because you can’t always predict the kind of dog you’re going to get. And, to be fair, neither can the shelter. Read this guide to help you select a suitable and healthy dog from a shelter.

Brussels Griffon Breeders

When trying to decide on a reputable Brussels Griffon breeder, make sure you choose one who is knowledgeable about the breed. The breeder should be able to answer any health or temperament questions you may have.

Reputable Brussels Griffon breeders will also ask you questions in return to determine if the Brussels Griffon is the right breed for you and your family. The last thing a good breeder wants is to sell you a dog who isn’t a good fit. A good breeder wants her pups to get a good home just as passionately as you do.

To find Brussels Griffon puppies for sale, you can check the American Kennel Club website or the American Brussels Griffon Club. Both sites have information about the breed, as well as information on related breeders based on their location.

A Final Word about the Brussels Griffon Temperament

The Brussels Griffon temperament can be a tricky one in that he is not always the best choice for a family dog. Though they don’t always do well with children, they do, however, get along with other dogs, and they absolutely adore their adult human owners.

Star Wars fans will get a kick out of the Brussels Griffon’s Ewok-like resemblance. But even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, this feisty, loyal breed still makes for a great companion.

His human-like, comical mannerisms are hilarious, and his zest for life is infectious. Adding a Brussels Griffon to your family will keep you on your toes and will certainly make life at your household fun and eventful!