The Brussels Griffon, named for the Belgian city of its origin, is a sturdy and lively little fellow originally bred to be a ratter in stables where horse-drawn carriages were kept. Also known as the Bruss, the Griff, the Griffon Belge, the Stable Griffon, the Griffon d’Ecurie, the Griffon Bruxellois and the Petit Brabancon, this breed is highly intelligent and delightful to be around. They are unusually sensitive and demanding of attention and are strictly house dogs that will pine away without sufficient love and affection from their people. Given their small stature and tendency to be a one-person dog, they are not the best choice as a child’s pet. The modern Brussels Griffon is a small and delightful house companion, with a very short, uptilted nose, prominent lustrous eyes and a domed top skull. He appears to pout, looking almost human in expression. His ears may be cropped or natural, and if natural should be semi-erect. The standard calls for an undershot jaw, with the lower jaw (mandible) being more pronounced. Their tail normally is docked to about one-third of its natural length.
Brussels Griffons have been described as looking like the Ewok of Star Wars fame. They were accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1960, as a member of its Toy Group. Like many small dogs, the Brussels Griffon seems to have no concept of its diminutive size and as a result can get into trouble if it tries to dominate larger dogs (i.e. “small dog syndrome”). It can also be moody.
The average Brussels Griffon is between 7 and 8 inches at the withers and typically weighs between 7 and 11 pounds. They should not exceed 12 pounds, although type and quality are more important than weight and a smaller dog of exceptional sturdiness and proportion should not be penalized under the American Kennel Club breed standard. They are not especially high-energy dogs but do require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Their coat, which can be rough or smooth, is easy to care for with regular brushing and occasional bathing, although the rough coat requires hand-stripping. Their coat color may be red, belge (black and reddish brown mixed), black and tan, or solid black. Any white hairs are a serious fault in this breed.