Belgian Griffon: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The character of the Belgian griffon is cheerful, balanced and dynamic. It is an animal with a vigilant, alert behaviour and a good warning. It is very faithful to its master. Its characteristic almost human expression and its small but robust body stand out. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the Belgian griffon dog breed.

Character of the Belgian Griffon breed

The character of the Belgian griffon is loyal and attentive, although sometimes somewhat proud. It shows a behaviour that is not aggressive or fearful, making it an excellent companion animal as well as a good guardian.

It enjoys a good temperament, cheerful, vigorous and robust. The Belgian griffon is a good companion who adores its owners and who loves to actively participate in family life.

The specimens of this breed are characterized by having a lot of personality, courage and an extremely curious temperament, which leads them to always be attentive to everything that happens around them. Therefore, they are excellent vigilantes who warn of any strange presence.

Likewise, many owners also take advantage of their highly sensitive hearing and insistent barking to use as a watchdog and house watchdog, despite the fact that they are aware that because of their size they are not good defenders.

  • Energy: Medium / High. Active, vigorous and lively, you need some moderate exercise every day, even if it is a good walk,
  • Temperament: Cheerful, dynamic and balanced, it is a very vigilant, alert and good alert animal. It is very faithful to its master.
  • Adaptability: High. It has no problem adapting to any environment, even city life. But you need some fresh air.
  • Sociability: High. Affectionate and affectionate, it gets along very well with its family and with other dogs or pets. However, it is suspicious of strangers.
  • Health: Good. You may have breathing problems or knee dislocation. It is convenient to monitor your diet so that you do not gain weight.
  • Longevity: High. Live 12-15 years, or even longer.
  • Utility: Company. Today it is basically a companion dog, but it also functions as a watchdog and rodent hunter.

Can you be left alone for a long time?

It needs to receive the affection of the people around it and feel that it is part of the family, which is why it is not a suitable breed to live isolated in a hut or to spend too many hours a day alone .

If it is done, it can end up developing separation anxiety, a syndrome that leads them to suffer distress and become a noisy, dirty, destructive and even irascible dog.

Can you live in an apartment or in the city?

Enjoy being allowed to spend maximum hours indoors and adapting perfectly to life in the city or in a small apartment.

Of course, you have to be careful to allow them to go out from time to time in the open air so that it can spread out at ease, run and play freely.

Is it an active dog?

You have to take it out every day for long walks, since it is an animal with a certain need for exercise to stay in good physical shape and not to gain weight.

Obesity is one of the major health problems of this breed, since it can increase the typical respiratory problems of this canine group due to its short, almost null, snout.

Characteristics of the Belgian Griffon breed

The general appearance of the Belgian Griffon is that of a sturdy small dog with strong bones and a broad chest. It is elegant in its movements and its peculiar physiognomy gives it a very particular, almost human expression.

How is the Belgian Griffon physically?


Like its companion, the Brussels Griffon or the Brabanzón, the Belgian Griffon is a small dog, with a robust build and an almost square body. Its structure is quite similar to that of the other griffons, and its movements are fast and graceful.

Their feet are small and round, with toes close together, but not glued. They support medium-sized legs that are widely spaced due to the width of the chest. Nails are black or dark.

The tail is set high and the animal carries it raised, pointing towards the nape, without actually curling itself on the back. It is usually presented cut in countries that allow it.

The coat is slightly wavy, it never curls. It has an undercoat of hair, a thick and rough coat, with an abundant beard and moustaches.


The head is large in proportion to the body, and rather flat on top. It has a hair ornament on the eyes, cheeks and, especially, on the muzzle.

Their eyes are round, dark brown in color and widely separated from each other. Its gaze, along with the shape of Its mouth, gives them an almost human and angry expression.

The ears are small, set high and spaced apart. The tip is rounded and the animal wears them upright or semi-upright and pointing to the front


The Belgian griffon comes in shades of black, tan, red, or brown, and occasionally some white hairs. The tan spots are usually uniform and are located on the inside of the hind limbs (from the foot to the hock) and on the front (from the foot to the carpus).

They can also appear on the front of the chest, cheeks, chin, above the eyes, inside the ears, and under the tail.

Belgian Griffon breed standard

  • Origin: Belgium.
  • Size: Small.
  • Height at the withers: There is no established size for the breed.
  • Weight: between 3.5 and 6 kg both males and females.
  • General appearance: It is robust, square in structure, with strong bones and elegant movements.
  • FCI classification: FCI nº 81. Group 9 – Companion dogs. Section 3 – Belgian Small Dogs.
  • Use: Small companion and guard dog.
  • Other names: Belgian Griffon / Griffon belge / Belgíscher Griffon.
  • Head: Quite large compared to the body, it has a flat upper part, the ears set apart and the face is wider than it is long.
  • Skull: It is broad and round. The forehead is bulging, although the abundant fur hides the lines of the face, and the muzzle is very short and upturned.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): Well marked.
  • Muzzle: The muzzle, including the truffle, is flat, and normally does not exceed 1.5 cm in length. Like the other griffons, this type of snout can lead to breathing difficulties for the animal.
  • Nose: Black, broad and with open nostrils. Seen from the front, it is almost inserted between the eyes; viewed from the side, its profile is upturned, and the tip is at eye level.
  • Jaws: The lower jaw is prominent and longer than the upper one, so its bite is prognathic, that is, with the lower incisors just in front of the upper ones. The chin is broad and protruding, and makes the lips not close in a straight line but in an inverted “U” shape, which gives the animal a certain expression of grumpiness.
  • Eyes: Wide apart, large and round but not protruding. They are brown in color, with black edges, and do not allow the white part of the eye to be seen when the animal looks straight ahead.
  • Ears: They are small and set high. It is common to cut them in the countries where it is allowed, so they are totally sharp.
  • Neck: It is stocky, of medium length and quite wide in relation to its general size. Keeps head upright.
  • Body: It is compact, quite wide and robust. It tends to be as long as it is tall, which gives the animal a stout but proportionate air.
  • Back: Like all small Belgian dogs, it has a straight, hard and stout back, and only the rump slopes very slightly.
  • Chest: Broad and low, reaching the level of the elbows. The tip of the sternum protrudes slightly when looking at this dog in profile.
  • Tail: It is set high and the animal wears it quite raised. Like its brother the Belgian griffon, it is frequently cut as a puppy in countries where amputation is permitted.
  • Forelimbs: They are parallel and appear quite far apart due to the width of the rib cage.
  • Shoulders: Their angulation is normal.
  • Forearms and arms: They have a good bone structure and their measurements are proportionate.
  • Elbows: They are close to the body.
  • Hind limbs: Like the forelimbs, they are seen to be parallel when viewed from behind. They have a good drive thanks to their muscles and well-developed bone structure.
  • Legs: Straight and fibrous.
  • Hocks: They are sloping. Seen from behind, they are straight, they do not deviate either inwards or outwards.
  • Feet: They are rounded, small and oriented towards the front, that is to say, they do not deviate neither inwards nor outwards. They have thick, usually dark pads, and nails are black or highly pigmented.
  • Movement: The movement is powerful and the forelimbs move parallel, with good momentum from the hind limbs.
  • Coat: The hair is double-layered, with the outer layer presenting a dense coat with a rough texture.

Education and training of the Belgian Griffon

The Belgian Griffon is a family dog, balanced and quite stable, it is an excellent choice for any type of family, even for inexperienced owners, since it is very intelligent and is very easy to train.

However, its owner must be strong and not succumb to the almost human expression of this dog. Well, if you begin to treat it pampered and pampered, as if the dog were actually just another “person” in the family, it is easy for the Belgian griffon to fall into the famous small dog syndrome and alter its behaviour with unusual manifestations of race as jealousy, overprotective and even somewhat aggressive attitudes.

All these problems are easily solved with good training and firm and determined treatment from the owner.

Its owner is also responsible for submitting its pet as soon as possible to a good socialization process. Thus, in the future it will get along well with other dogs, with strangers and with pets of other species.

In this sense, it is necessary to highlight the great tendency of the Belgian griffon to chase and hunt cats. On the other hand, it is a very suitable animal to participate successfully in some dog sports adapted to its size, such as agility , frisbee or flyball .

Health and diet of the Belgian Griffon breed

The Belgian Griffon is a healthy dog ​​with few widespread serious problems, leading to a longhappy life with above-average longevity.

However, this does not mean that there are no diseases that, to one degree or another, threaten the breed and that must be controlled as far as possible and avoided whenever possible through a good selection of breeding specimens,

For example, one of the most typical conditions of the breed is knee dislocation, something very common in small breeds but which can be very limiting for the dog.

Likewise, as the skull of these dogs is quite large, they sometimes go through difficulties in childbirth and it is common to have to resort to caesarean section to be able to complete the delivery of the puppies.

And finally, as already mentioned, this breed is prone to respiratory problems and suffers from a particularly high incidence of obesity, which only aggravates the rest of the dog’s problems or conditions.

For this reason, it is important to keep a strict control of the evolution of the weight of the animal in the different stages of its life.

As recommended strategy of preventive health it is important to go regularly to the veterinarian to complete the relevant programs of vaccination, revaccination and deworming , both internally and externally, and to perform some routine checks of the state of the mouth, eyes, ears, skin and hair of the dog.

How to care for a Belgian Griffon

User:Dan9186, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Regarding the care of the coat, as the Belgian griffon is a breed with wire hair, it needs regular maintenance of the coat so that it is kept in perfect condition.

The essential thing is to prevent the hair from losing quality and brush it regularly to keep it free of knots and tangles. But, unless you want to participate with them in beauty shows, you do not need to do any other grooming or grooming work.

The truth is that this breed does not usually go to exhibitions much, since, although it has a very striking appearance, it is usually somewhat overshadowed by the other members of the griffon family.

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