What Kind of Dog is Verdell In As Good As It Gets?

Verdell is a character from the 1997 romantic comedy movie entitled “As Good as It Gets” starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Verdell is the dog of Greg Kinnear’s character ‘Simon’ who is the neighbor of Melvin, Nicholson’s character. Melvin temporarily keeps the dog after Simon was assaulted. Though reluctant at first, he eventually warms up to Verdell and the two begin to share a bond. So, what kind of dog is Verdell?

What Kind of Dog is Verdell?

Verdell is a Griffon Bruxellois, also known as Brussels Griffon. He was actually portrayed by a total of six different dogs. They are named Timer, Sprout, Debbie, Billy, Parfait, and Jill the Dog. But Jill was billed as the movie’s star. In one famous scene, Verdell mimics Melvin’s OCD traits by also stepping over the cracks in the sidewalk. The filmmakers did this by placing obstacles over the cracks and then digitally removing them in post-production.

Characteristics of this breed of dog


There are three variations of this dog breed, the Brussels Griffon (Griffon Bruxellois), Belgian Griffon (Griffon Belge), and the Petit Brabançon. All of them are said to have descended from a type of dog called a Smousje, a small terrier-like dog that was kept in stables to hunt rodents. Belgium coachmen in the 19th century began to breed their Griffons with other imported toy dogs. The Breeding of the Pug and the King Charles Spaniel resulted in the current breed type as well as the Petits Brabançon. The Spaniels were also to said to have resulted in the colors of the modern Griffon Bruxellois and Griffon Belge.


The Brussels Griffon is a typically small breed, with an average height of around 22 to 28 cm (9 to 11 inches) and a weight of around 4 to 5 kg (8 to 10 lbs). They can come in two coat variants, wiry and rough, or a smooth coat. Their colors can be black, red, and tan, or black and reddish in color. Breeders will tend to dock the tails and crop the ears of puppies for sale. While this is illegal in most of Europe and frowned upon in the United States, some places still practice this.


The Brussels are known to have a huge heart and affectionate demeanor, they have a strong desire to be around their owner and have an air of self-importance. They are emotionally sensitive however and need to be socialized at an early age. Brussels tend to get along with other animals in the house but they may get into trouble when they attempt to dominate dogs that are much larger than themselves.

More on Verdell

At the beginning of the film, Simon Bishop, the artist neighbor of Melvin Udall, gets assaulted to the brink of death during a robbery. His agent, Frank Sachs, then proceeds to intimidate Melvin into taking care of Verdell while Simon recovers. Though Melvin initially finds no joy in taking care of the dog, he becomes quite attached to it. So much so that when the dog is eventually returned to Simon, Melvin can’t cope with missing the dog. The two reunite when Simon along with Verdell moves in with Melvin after the former sells his apartment.

Is this type of dog right for Verdell?

The Brussels are known to prefer a human over another and that becomes a focal point of the story when Verdall is returned to Simon. Scenes like this show how Verdall embodies the temperament for this type of dog.