Brussels Griffons are tiny dogs but are very sturdy in build. They should be squarely proportioned, have a domed head, an underbite, a short nose and shiny eyes. Their faces have an almost human-like expression, and some owners describe their dogs as looking like an Ewok from the famous Star Wars trilogy. Others say Brussels look like miniature Boxers. There are rough coated Brussels Griffons and Smooth coated Brussels Griffons. They come in red, red-brown and black, black and tan or solid black. Cropping of the ears is optional in this breed, but is the norm. Tails are almost always docked.
Size and Weight
Brussels Griffons typically stand about eight inches high and weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. Dogs who weigh over 12 pounds are disqualified in the show ring. Dogs who are smaller than 8 pounds, but who are well proportioned are not disqualified, as proportion is more important than actual height and weight. The proper proportion for the Brussels Griffon is square – measured from the shoulder point to the rearmost projection of the upper thigh and from ground to withers.
Coat and Color
Brussels Griffons come in rough and smooth coated varieties. The rough coated dogs have a dense, wiry coat that is longer around the eyes, cheeks and chin. The smooth coated variety have short, straight, glossy coats that lie close to the body. Rough coated Griffons should never have silky hair on their bodies and smooth coated Griffons should never have traces of wiry hair. Both versions come in red, black and tan, black or belge, which is a reddish brown/black mix. They may have black whiskers, black masks or black around they eyes. Older Griffons will become gray in the muzzle, but hair color will change nowhere else on the body.
Rough and smooth coated Brussels Griffons have different grooming needs. Smooth coated Griffons require very little grooming besides weekly brushing and occasional bathing when the dog begins to emit an odor. Rough coated Griffons, on the other hand, need weekly brushing to remove dead hair and need to be combed afterward with a metal comb. They must be hand stripped twice per year, which involves removing dead and loose hairs by hand to promote new coat growth. Some owners elect to clip their rough coated Griffon in order to avoid stripping the coat, but this is not acceptable for the show ring and alters the texture of the dog's coat and also causes more shedding. Unclipped Griffons, whether smooth or rough coated, shed very little.