Breed type: Toy
Country of origin: Germany
Popular names: Affen, Monkey Dog, Monkey Terrier
Height: 23-28 cm
Weight: 3-5 kg
Best suited as: Companion dog
Lifespan: 12-14 years
The Affenpinscher is a small dog of the toy group. Though it resembles a terrier in appearance and shares some characteristics with the terrier group, its loyal and spunky personality set it apart as a truly unique breed.
This breed originated in Germany and is not well-known throughout much of the rest of the world. Despite its localised popularity, it is beloved among Affenpinscher enthusiasts for its devoted companionship and fun-loving nature.
This breed is affectionately referred to as the Monkey Dog, which is a tribute to its primate-like appearance. With dark, wide-set eyes, the Affenpinscher maintains an intelligent, attentive expression. Its protruding lower jaw and otherwise flat face are other physical similarities it shares with the monkey.
In addition to its round, dark eyes, the Affenpinscher typically has a black coat. Shades of gray are also accepted in show dogs. A wider variety of colours can be found in non-show dogs, including red, brown, black and tan, and a mixture of these shades. The fur of the Affenpinscher is coarse and wiry with a ruffled, slightly wavy texture which requires little maintenance. The length of its fur is longer around the face and head than anywhere else on the body, giving it a naturally shaggy appearance.
The Affenpinscher has small, sturdy feet and a long, high-set tail that curls slightly onto its back. The tail is sometimes docked in areas where the practice is permitted. Its ears, which sit high atop either side of its head, may also be docked to make them stand erect. Left naturally, the ears have a soft fold.
This toy breed is small in size, though it is stronger and less dainty than many other breeds of this group, which is likely due to its history as a working dog. It averages 23-28 cm in height and weighs an average of 3-5 kg.
The Affenpinscher is of German origin and has roots dating back to the 1600s, when it was bred to flesh out rats from homes, farms, and places of employment. Named for its resemblance to primates, Affenpinscher contains the word affe, which is German for monkey. History suggests that several breeds were used in the development of the Affenpinscher, including the German Pinscher and the Pug.
In modern times, the Affenpinscher serves as a loyal family pet. It is thought to be smaller in size than when it was originally developed, though the breed has retained the rodent-hunting skills of its ancestors. Aside from the decreased size, this dog maintains much of its original appearance and personality as a ratter.
The Affenpinscher is known to have influenced the development of similar breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer, Brussels Griffon, and other small terriers.
Though recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council, the Affenpinscher remains relatively unknown in Australia.
The Affenpinscher is extremely loyal to its family, craving closeness, attention, and praise from its owner. Along with this unwavering loyalty comes a desire to protect, so this breed may growl or bark towards unfamiliar or suspicious people or animals. It may display territorial tendencies when it comes to the home, its family, or its food. For these reasons, the Affenpinscher may be best-suited for families with older children.
When the situation does not call for the Affenpinscher to be protective, it generally behaves in a friendly, confident, and playful manner. The breed tends to coexist particularly well with animals with which it is raised.
This small dog boasts a big personality and has a tendency to be lively and it possesses a unique sense of humour. Without proper discipline and boundaries, the Affenpinscher may develop small dog syndrome, a term given to small dogs that develop a pack-leader mentality and exhibit negative traits such as aggression, separation anxiety, or a sense of entitlement due to lack of proper leadership from its owner.
The Affenpinscher is a gentle, smart, and eager dog with the potential to be a wonderful family pet. The dog looks to its owner for guidance and leadership in order for these positive traits to shine through.
Exercise for the Affenpinscher may consist of a daily walk around the neighbourhood, time spent in the yard, or playing with toys inside. Due to its small size, this breed is suitable for living in a flat, as it does not require a substantial amount of space. This breed has moderate exercise requirements and regular activity will help it maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
The intelligence and stamina of the Affenpinscher make agility courses a worthwhile pursuit, as this will challenge this breed both mentally and physically. Since this dog is no longer considered a working dog, it should not be treated as such, so agility trials and obstacle courses should serve primarily as a source of entertainment and exercise.
Care and Grooming
The Affenpinscher is very low-maintenance in terms of its grooming requirements, as it sports a naturally shaggy appearance. Its coat will benefit from regular brushing, which will also help to soften its wiry texture.
The coat of this dog is significantly longer around the head and chest, resembling a mane. Unlike many breeds, the Affenpinscher does not require regular grooming to remove excess fur, as it sheds very little. For this reason, this breed is a suitable choice for those with allergies.
The coat of the Affenpinscher should not be cut short, as doing so can alter the texture for many years. Minor clipping around the eyes may be necessary if fur impairs vision or irritates the eyes of the dog.
Hand-stripping, a practice that helps remove fur that is ready to be shed, is required in show dogs. This also helps the Affenpinscher maintain its original appearance and encourages healthy growth of the coat.
Fortunately for the robust Affenpinscher, it is a breed without many known health conditions. Though it is not immune to disease or illness, it is not prone to the genetic problems that plague many other breeds.
This breed is known to difficulty regulating body temperature, so care should be taken to ensure that the dog does not become overheated or, conversely, too cold. The Affenpinscher is happiest and healthiest when primarily kept indoors.
Other conditions that may affect this breed are hip dysplasia and cataracts.
The Affenpinscher has an average lifespan of 12-14 years. This is comparable to or slightly less than other dogs of this size.
Suitability as a Pet
With its sweet disposition, keen intelligence, and eagerness to please, the Affenpinscher is a great choice for a companion dog. Though care should be taken around young children who may not fully understand the territorial tendencies of this breed, there are few breeds more loyal and playful than the Affenpinscher.
Affenpinscher Organisations in Australia
The Secretary Jeanette Fenton
PO Box 1373
Phone Mobile: 0418 384734
International: +61 418384734
Affenpinscher Organisations in the US
Affenpinscher Club of America
Affenpinscher Clubs from the Alabama Dog Park Association
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