Big eyes, human like expression, lively, playful and loyal temperament. That is the Brussels Griffon. But did you know, that it can be separated into three different breeds? The Petit Brabancon, Griffon Belge and Griffon Bruxellois.
The only true difference between the three breeds is their coat type and coloration. You probably noticed, that some Griffs have wiry coat and some smooth coat. The smooth coated type is known as Petit Brabancon and it can be either red, black or black and tan.
The other two breeds – Griffon Belge and Griffon Bruxellois – are wiry and rough coated and the difference between them is only the color. The Griffon Bruxellois is red haired, while the Griffon Belge comes in black or black and tan color.
But even though the only difference between the three breeds is their coat and color, they are recognized separately and they have separated breed standard in FCI – more specifically, they are recognized under breed standards no. 80, 81 and 82.
But for example in America, AKC recognizes all of them just as types of the same breed – the Brussels Griffon.
There is also one adittional difference, which is associated to the coat type and that is a difference in grooming and maintenance. While the smooth haired Petit Brabancon does not need almost any grooming and only brushing from time to time is recommended, the rough haired types should be brushed weekly in order to keep it mat and tangle free and to remove all the dead hair and dirt. The coat should also be stripped few times a year. Just like with all dog breeds, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The main ancestor of this breed is known as „Smousje“ and it was a wiry haired dog similar to todays Dutch Smoushond. The breed did not have smooth coated type, but later in 19th century, different imported toy dogs were crossbred into the breed. Those breeds included Pugs, King Charles Spaniels and some other breeds and that is how the modern Brussels Griffon was created and this crossbreeding is most likely the reason why the Brussels Griffon comes in different coat types.
Interesting fact is, that Brussels Griffons with different coat types can be born in the same litter. So even though you will breed two wiry haired Griffon Belge dogs together, you can have some smooth haired Petit Brabancons in the litter.
The word Griffon typically describes wiry or rough haired dogs from France or Belgium, which is why the smooth coated type is not called as Griffon, but Petit, which means small or tiny. The secondary breed names Brabancon, Belge or Bruxellois are geographical names associated with the breeds home country – Belgium.
In general all the Brussels Griffon types share the similar temperamental characteristics and they are typical loyal velcro dogs that want to be around their owners all the time. It is not a coach potatoe and the Brussels Griffon is very lively, adventurous, courageous and playful dog breed that will be always ready for any kind of outdoor adventure.
It is also very adaptable, affectionate and devoted companion. I can guarantee you, that you would never be bored with a Brussels Griffon. They can also make good partners for kids, dogs or other pets, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood.
When speaking about the appearance of these dogs, next to the coat, the most iconic appearance characteristic is their expressive face, very often described as human or monkey like. They have huge dark eyes, small ears set high on the head and flat brachycaphelic muzzle.
It is a very small dog breed with height between 9-12 inches, which is 23-30 cm and weight is usually between 8-13 lbs, which is 3,5-6 kg. Even though very small, this dog is definitely not fragile or delicate. These dogs have quite sturdy and strong body.