The Entertaining Affenpinscher Dog

The Affenpinscher dog breed was recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1936 and is classified under the toy dog group.

Records date the breed back to the 17th century. In its early days it was used by farmers to rid their property of rats and mice, though it was a larger dog at that time.

black coated Affenpinscher dog lying down outsideImage by I.Damkilde

The Affen, as he is affectionately called, is a terrier-type small dog with similar hunting abilities. No doubt his terrier disposition and fearless demeanor made him a good candidate for his rodent-eradicating job.

Ancestors of the Affenpinscher dog are believed to include the Schnauzer and smooth Miniature Pinscher. It is also strongly thought that the Affen was the main breed involved in the development of the Brussels Griffon.

Its name, translated from the German, means Monkey Terrier or Monkey dog which seems to explain its somewhat comical expression.

Today, the Affenpinscher is primarily a companion breed though it has done well in competition having won the Best in Show award at the Westminster Dog Show in 2013.

Affenpinscher at the 2013 Westminster dog showBanana Joe courtesy

Physical Stats

Standard Height: 9 to 11-1/2 inches
Standard Weight: 7-10 pounds
Coat Colors: Black, black/tan, red and dark gray, silver. In the UK they are seen only in black.

Grooming The Affenpinscher Dog

The Affenpinscher dog has a shaggy appearance, a mischievous expression and large alert eyes.

His coat is coarse and somewhat wiry that is a mixture of short and dense. An abundance of hair frames the face and looks rather unruly and spiky. There's no denying that this shaggy look is very appealing and contributes to their overall charm.

The standard coat cut is unique and while owners can learn how to trim it, some may choose to have it groomed by a professional.

That being said, a brushing and combing two to three times a week with a high quality soft pin brush and a comb will keep the Affie's coat maintained in between visits to the groomer. Combing is also very helpful in picking apart any mats that may be forming.

Chris Christensen Fusion Pocket Pin Brush-27mm
shampoo for coarse and rough coated dog breeds
chris christensen Fine/Extra Course butter comb for dogs

One thing to keep in mind about this type of coat is not to purchase cheap tools that may damage it.

Personality and Traits

The Affenpinscher is an affectionate, though a bit mischievous, loyal companion and a very popular family pet. While they don't crave constant attention, they do like to keep close company with their family.

This toy dog is extremely intelligent - learns quickly, is bold and playful, normally of even disposition but he can be a tad stubborn and short-tempered at times.

He will delight you with his comical behavior and entertaining little tricks.

Make no mistake, this outgoing little dog is very self-confident, quite fearless and makes an excellent watchdog. With the intelligence that this dog has, he absolutely needs training on a regular basis. Without it, he can become dominating and unruly.

Health Profile of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher, with good care, can be expected to enjoy an average lifespan of 11+ years.

Among the health problems that may affect the breed, Luxating Patella (slipping kneecap) seems to be the most common followed closely by heart disease and Hip Dysplasia.

Responsible breeders have their dogs tested for a patella score and should provide certificates with the results to prospective owners.

Other concerns to be aware of that may affect the breed include:

  • Various skin problems caused by allergies,
  • Eye diseases - especially cataracts,
  • Von Willebrand's a blood clotting disease, and
  • dental problems.

In addition, like many delicate small dog breeds, Collapsed Trachea can be more of a risk. However, use of a harness for walks instead of a collar can help reduce pressure on the trachea.

Affenpinschers are very food oriented so care should be taken not to indulge them with too many treats to avoid the danger of obesity and overall health.

Affenpinscher sitting outside wearing bow tieRupert

Activity Level of the Breed

A healthy Affenpincher has the energy, and will thoroughly enjoy,  long walks.

Even though they are quite an active dog in the home, a daily walk is still needed and provides the opportunity for socialization with other dogs and people.

They can also be trained off leash in a safe area as they don't tend to take off like many other breeds are prone to do.

Ideal Living Space

The Affenpinscher adapts well to house or apartment providing he is allowed, and has enough room, to run around inside and gets out for a daily walk.

A yard is always a nice extra as every dog needs to have a change of scenery and some fresh air.

Does the Affen Get Along With Children?

The Affenpinscher dog breed is very playful and energetic, but because they are quite territorial and guarding of their toys, they are not the best match for families that have toddlers or rather young children.

That being said, the Affen is otherwise a very affectionate family pet and would be fine around mature children who have the ability to provide leadership.

Seniors Or Less Active Families?

This is an excellent breed for senior or more sedentary families.

In addition to being great companions, Affenpinschers do not have heavy exercise demands, are entertaining, loving and alert to potential intruders. They have also done well in therapy situations.

Resources: Rupert image,    Breed Club

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