Brussels Griffon

AKC Group: Toy

This toy breed began in 17th century Belgium to exterminate vermin. Their small size lent them to be easily transported alongside coach drivers as companions. The breed became a favorite of the working class, then the nobility. The Brussels Griffon is considered a rare breed.

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall, 8 to 11 pounds.

Color: Red, beige (a mix of red/brown and black), black and tan or solid black.

Life span: 13 to 14 years

Health problems: Luxating patella, Legg Perthes, seizures, heart problems or cataracts.

Brussels Griffon dogs come in two varieties: the rough-coated or the smooth-coated. The rough-coated Brussels Griffon has a wiry, harsh coat while the smooth-coated Brussels Griffon has a short, body-hugging coat. The breed has protruding eyes that require frequent attention to avoid eye infections.

Brussels Griffon dogs are alert and intelligent. When he’s in the mood, he can be pretty entertaining. He’s happy to snuggle on your lap. Brussels Griffon do better with older children, not due to personality conflicts, but because of their size. On the negative side, Brussels Griffon can be stubborn and even manipulative if not properly trained. They can be sensitive and independent when the mood strikes them. Depending on his personality, he will either be friendly or skittish with strangers. He should do well with other companion animals, but not with more dominant strange dogs. This breed is naturally obedient, but does not like to be teased. Brussels Griffons have a tendency to be possessive of their toys and food and is prone to jealousy.

Grooming is a breeze with the smooth-coated Brussels Griffon. When you feel he needs brushing, do it. With the rough-coated variety, he needs to be brushed about twice a week. Training will be the most difficult part of life with a Brussels Griffon. If you’re harsh or aggressive, he will shut right down and make subsequent training sessions even more difficult. This is a sensitive dog and training him properly requires sensitivity from you. If you can, it’s best to wait to train him. These dogs learn better when they have some maturity under their belts. If you go the obedience route, a Brussels Griffon will take to it like a duck to water. Housebreaking may be challenging. He’ll need a flexible schedule as a puppy, but as he grows, his system will catch up to him. Brussels Griffon thrive on consistency; they are not a very adaptable breed. Overrule his natural tendency and expose him early to new people and new sights. Leash training will go better if you start at 6 to 8 weeks of age. The tools you’ll need to train your Brussels Griffon are praise, treats, clickers, patience and gentleness.

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