The Brussels Griffon is a toy breed that developed in the streets of Brussels where they hunted rats. Small, with highly expressive faces, the Brussels Griffon looks like a fragile little “purse dog,” but even though they fit nicely in a hand bag, they are sturdy and fearless, boasting the ability to climb like a cat. They enjoy being the center of attention and are often described by owners as hams and clowns. They get along fine with kids and other household pets, as long as they are raised together.
Griffons love attention and affection and dislike being left alone. They tend to thrive in the homes of empty-nesters or the elderly because these families have the time to devote solely to these attention-hungry dogs.
As with other toy breeds, the Griffon can live just about anywhere. Apartments, condominiums, houses, even farms are suitable for this breed. Though they are small, they do need to be walked daily, and if possible, be allowed to stretch their legs and run when possible.
Training a Griffon can be challenging. They are stubborn and like to do thing on their own time. Putting a leash on a Griffon can be exasperating, they have been known to leap and flip around, trying to remove themselves from the tether. Patience and an even, confident tone are needed when training this breed.
Though the initial training stages can be challenging, once leadership is established and a reward system put in place, Griffons excel in advanced obedience and agility training. Competitive activists are great for this breed because they love the attention and the opportunity to perform for a crowd.
As with most small dogs, Griffons are prone to barking. They will bark at people, other animals, cars, bikes, and even the weather. Early, consistent socialization and training to obey commands to stop barking are important for the sanity of everyone in the home, as well as those who live nearby. They will also posture toward other dogs, but their barking and tantrum-throwing rarely results in anything other than a lot of noise.
House training is a long process with Griffons, and many owners believe their dogs simply refuse to follow a training program out of spite. It might be wise to have a breeder house train a Griffon before bringing him home.
Brussels Griffons are prone to separation anxiety, which usually results in excessive barking when left alone. People who work long hours are not the best fits for Griffons, as they crave constant attention and affection.