The Brussels Griffon breeds were originally bred and developed in the nineteenth century from the Smousje, a small ratting dog found throughout Belgium. These dogs were used to catch rodents in Belgian homes and stables, earning them the nickname of Griffon d’Ecurie, or Stable Griffon. Originally, they were larger than the dogs we see today. Although these little dogs had been around the area of Belgium for centuries, their ancestry also included that of the Affenpinscher.
They were a part of many Belgian peasant households. Due to their plucky nature, endearing personality, and charming presence, they were permitted to attend their master’s side and ride shotgun in carriages and coaches, exposing him to a number of people from various walks of life. This included French royalty, such as King Henry II and Queen Henrietta Maria, as well as Queen Astrid of Belgium. Their appreciation and ownership of the dogs sparked an interest in the breed, and eventually the breed was miniaturized to smaller dimensions. This was done by breeding to a number of undisclosed toy breeds, those of which are believed to have included Pug or Ruby English Toy Spaniels.
This eventually resulted in the three varieties of Brussels Griffons that we see today. In Europe, they are separated into three different breeds according to their coats: Petit Brabançons make up the smooth-coated variety, Brussels Griffons possess red/fawn rough coats, and Griffons Belge have rough coats of any color other than red or fawn. In America, they are all considered one breed: the Brussels Griffon.
BREED GROUP: Group 5: Pinschers and Schnauzers
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is convergent.
Body and Tail
Forequarters and Hindquarters
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Petit Brabançon (Smooth coat variety): The coat is short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is hard and rough to the touch with a short, dense undercoat.
Brussels Griffon/Belgian Griffon (Rough-coated): Harsh, rough, wiry, hard, dense outer coat—the rougher the better. Rough hair on head, forming a wiry beard, mustache, and eyebrows. Hand stripping is recommended to keep the dog from appearing unkempt. Slight wave, never so long as to obscure the outline of the dog, is permissible. Dense, short undercoat.
Petit Brabançon (Smooth coat variety): Solid beige, red, red brown, black, black with tan to red points, belge/grizzle/agouti (red and black intermingled), all with or without black mask.
Brussels Griffon (Rough-coated Red): Solid beige, red, red brown, all with or without black mask (fawn). Traditionally colors other than beige, red and red with black mask are classified as Belgium Griffons.
Belgium Griffon (Rough-coated non-red): Solid black, black with rust to tan points, belge/grizzle/agouti (red and black intermingled), all with or without black mask. Traditionally, solid beige, red, and red with mask are classified as Brussels Griffons.
Non-Standard Coat Color Variety: Coat colors not included in the traditionally permissible colors include: liver, liver grizzle, and liver and tan.