If you’re looking for a loving home companion, check out the Griffon Belge temperament. This charming little sweetheart will steal your heart in a moment.
But be prepared! She is the true definition of a “Velcro dog.” She will want to follow you everywhere and will demand a lot of attention. Because of this, she is not the dog for everyone.
She does best in homes where there are no small children or other dogs. This little scamp needs to be the center of attention.
The Griffon Belge Temperament Traits and Personality
This breed is intelligent and easy to train.
The Griffon Belge temperament is endearing and lively. They have big personalities.
They are funny little rascals who can keep you endlessly amused with their antics. They can be hard to discipline because at times you will need to stop laughing first!
The Griffon Belge temperament is very lovable. It is not unusual for a Griffon Belge to be a one-person dog. She will be affectionate to other family members but will often attach more firmly to her primary person.
She will be that person’s shadow and will want to sleep in his or her bed. You’ll need to decide early what is allowed and what is not and be firm about it.
The Griffon Belge temperament is friendly to most people. She can be shy, though, in new situations or with new people.
The Griffon Belge should not be left home
She will happily play along to anything you suggest. She enjoys activity.
The Griffon Belge temperament is alert. She’s on top of what’s going on around her. She will bark to inform you there’s a stranger nearby and makes a good watchdog.
This breed has plenty of energy, but she will also be happy to snuggle on the couch.
She walks with her head held high and a prance in her step. She knows she can make you laugh and can often get her way.
The Griffon Belge temperament is kind and gentle, but she can become “spoiled” if you indulge her too much.
Many say that her facial expressions are almost human. She wears her heart on her face.
Affection is what she lives for. The Griffon Belge temperament will give at least as much love and affection right back.
The Griffon Belge temperament is quite sensitive. This can make her unpredictable around children.
She normally likes kids. But in homes with small children, she may bite out of fear if they play too roughly or accidentally hurt her.
The Griffon Belge temperament needs a lot of attention. She is the classic “Velcro dog.”
She will think nothing of provoking a larger dog. Early socialization to dogs would not be a bad idea.
She will bark at strangers and will probably be shy with them at first. She needs early socialization to strangers.
Griffon Belge History
As her name suggests, the Griffon Belge comes from Belgium. Many believe she was created from a crossbreed of Affenpinscher and a street dog, or Belgian stable dog, also called a Smousje.
The breed’s history goes back to at least 1434 when a similar dog was depicted in a painting by Jan Van Eyck.
The Griffon was originally a working dog that hunted and killed rats.
In the 1870s, the breed became a favorite of Queen Maria of Belgium. The breed then became a companion breed. Breeders worked to make the dog smaller and its face more expressive and humanlike.
Griffons were nearly extinct after World War II, but by that time many had been exported to America and England. This likely saved the breed.
In 1997, the movie “As Good as it Gets” featured a Griffon. This caused an explosion in the breed’s popularity in the US. Sadly, many of these dogs ended up in shelters and rescues as people discovered that the Griffon is not well suited to every family.
Griffon Belge Training
Overall the Griffon Belge is smart and easy to train. However, housebreaking can be an issue. This will take patience and may never be completely reliable.
Because of the Griffon Belge trait of emotional sensitivity, she needs gentle training methods. You will want to be firm and consistent with her training, though.
Griffon Belge behaviors can be so comical that you both can “forget” who’s supposed to be in charge.
It can be hard not to spoil her. The Griffon Belge temperament is adorable and she knows it.
If she is likely to be around children, she will need to be socialized to them very early. The children will also need to be trained not to play roughly with your Griffon.
Again, she may bite out of fear.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Griffon Belge dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
Griffon Belge Appearance
Griffon Belge Size
This a small breed in the toy group. Griffon Belge weight is 5-12 pounds. Height is 7-10 inches.
Griffon Belge Colors/Types
There are actually three types of Griffon. They are distinguished only by their coats and colors. They are considered three separate breeds here in North America.
In Europe, they are considered two breeds, called the Brussels Griffon (coarse-haired) and Petit Brabançon (smooth-haired).
It is common to find the Griffon Belge included under the Brussels Griffon umbrella.
The Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois) is red or fawn in color.
The Griffon Belge (or Belgian Griffon) can be any color except fawn or red, including black and tan or solid black.
The Petit Brabançon (also called Small Brabant Griffon) has a smooth coat.
All three types have a sturdy, square body. Their heads are wide and round and a little large for its body. The face has a short muzzle and an upturned nose.
Some say he looks a bit like a monkey. His facial expressions can also be very humanlike.
The ears are set high on the head and can be cropped or uncropped.
The eyes are large and set wide apart. They are usually brown. The nose and lips are black.
The tail is curved upward but not touching the back.
Griffon Belge Lifespan
If you’re thinking that the Griffon Belge looks like an Ewok from “Return of the Jedi,” you’re exactly right. According to Wikipedia, the Ewok’s face was modeled on a Brussels Griffon that was owned by George Lucas.
Griffon Belge Health Issues
The Griffon Belge is typically a healthy breed. However, like all breeds, it is susceptible to a few conditions.
This is a neurological disease that affects the spinal cord of some small breeds.
A dislocated kneecap. This is also a condition that affects many small breeds.
The Griffon Belge is prone to cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to blindness.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
The Griffon is a brachycephalic (or flat-faced) breed. This can cause breathing problems if extreme, especially in warm or humid weather. Many brachiocephalic dogs will snore.
If you were to consider breeding your Griffon Belge, you should know that this breed can have a narrow pelvis. They have a high rate of Cesarean deliveries.
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 Griffon Belge friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
Caring for the Griffon Belge
Griffon Belge Grooming
The rough-coated Griffon Belge does not shed. A weekly brushing should do the job. She only needs occasional bathing.
You may want to keep her coat cut short or hand-stripped. You can find videos online that demonstrate how to do this.
Her eyes will also need special attention, cleaning and checking periodically.
Of course, she will also need her nails clipped, teeth brushed, and ears checked and cleaned regularly.
Griffon Belge Diet
The Griffon Belge doesn’t have any specific dietary needs. A high-quality dry food should suit her nicely.
Griffon Belge Exercise
This breed needs only moderate exercise, maybe half an hour a day. They love to play fetch or just to run and tumble. Short walks are great, but they are probably not up for long walks or hikes.
They also enjoy canine sports such as agility and tracking and can excel at them. They are easy to train for these activities.
As long as they get moderate exercise, the Griffon Belge makes an excellent apartment or city dog.
Finding a Griffon Belge
Buying a Griffon Belge from a Breeder
The importing of many Griffons because of the movie (As Good As It Gets) in the late ‘90s had an upside. It is a little easier to find a Griffon Belge for sale in North America today.
The Griffon is still considered a rare breed, though. One reason for this is that Griffon litters are usually small. They can be from 1 to 6 puppies but more often 2-4. There will likely be a waiting list for anyone looking to buy a Griffon Belge puppy.
You may need to broaden your search to Brussels Griffon (or Griffon Bruxellois).
Remember that the only differences among the three breeds of Griffon are coat type and color. You may want to consider any of the three breeds of Griffon, or either of the two coarse-hair breeds.
That would make it easier to find the pup you’re looking for. You may have also a shorter wait time.
The American Brussels Griffon Association (ABGA) maintains a breeder list. An Internet search should also turn up lists of regional Griffon Belge breeders.
Luckily, their small litter size and birthing difficulties make the Griffon an unprofitable breed for a puppy mill or backyard breeder.
Even so, if you are interested in buying a Griffon Belge puppy, you will need choose carefully. If possible, visit the breeder to observe the puppies and the parents.
You will want to be sure the facility is clean and the animals look healthy. You should also ask if the parents are on site and if you can see them.
The breeder should offer lifetime support for the puppy and a health guarantee.
Expect a good breeder to ask you questions as well. Responsible breeders will be sure they are placing their Griffon Belge puppies in the right homes.
Once you find a breeder, Griffon Belge price is generally $800 to $1000 for a puppy.
Griffon Belge Rescue/Adoption
Finding a Griffon Belge for adoption will probably be easier and faster than finding a puppy from a breeder.
The National Brussels Griffon Rescue (NBGR) – offers an adoption/rescue service as well as a Paws of Winter program, which places older Griffons or those that need special care.
Adopting an Adult Griffon
Adopting an adult dog has its benefits. A shelter or rescue organization would make sure the dog is spayed or neutered. They will have taken care of any health issues and made the sure the dog is up to date on immunizations.
The dog may already be housebroken and would probably have at least basic obedience training. It may also be microchipped.
And you would have the joy of knowing that you gave a loving home to a dog that needed one.
Adopting a Mixed Breed
If you are willing to consider a Griffon Belge mix, Petfinder.com would be a good place to start your search. At the time of this writing, they had over 80 dogs looking for homes. Most of them are Griffon mixes, but they have some purebreds as well.
Adopting a mixed-breed can be a great choice. It is often possible to get a mix with the breed traits you’re looking for. At the same time, a mixed-breed would be less likely to suffer from the breed-specific health conditions that purebreds can have.
Is the Griffon Belge the Right Breed for You?
So you’ve made up your mind that you would love a Griffon Belge. You have a good understanding of Griffon Belge behaviors.
You have considered the fact that the breed is lovable but demanding, that it needs nearly constant attention.
You’re OK with being followed around all day. Ideally you don’t have small children or other pets at home, and someone is at home most of the day.
For the right family, the Griffon Belge temperament promises a life full of love and laughter. She is an adorable, comical little rascal.