[addthis]The breed originated in Germany and the name is taken from two German words, Affen and Pinscher, which means “monkey terrier” and is one of the oldest and rarest terrier breeds. The breed’s ancestors are portrayed in 15th century paintings. The modern breed however originated in early 17th century Germany. The first of the breed was bigger than what we have today and was primarily used to kill rats and mice in kitchens and stables. Eventually the breed became more popular as a noblewoman’s lap dog and was bred down in size to what we see today. Other crosses were introduced into the bloodline such as the Silky Pinscher, the German Pinscher and the Pug. Its popularity as an aristocratic lap dog was eventually replaced by other breeds and it never regained its prominence. It is now considered rare in both Europe and the USA.
The Affenpinscher is characterised by a coat of dense shaggy hair, which is rough to the touch. The hair is close to the body on the shoulders and the hair on the head, neck, chest stomach, and legs the coat is longer and less stiff. At maturity, this little monkey dog grows a main of hair on the neck, long hair hanging from the head, pronounced eyebrows and a beard! The dense coat serves as protection against extreme weather and is low shedding. Colors vary from black, gray, silver, and red.
The skull is domed with a short muzzle and the ears are small and stand erect when cropped. The eyes are round and dark like two buttons on a teddy bear. The body is small and in proportion to the head. The tail stands erect and can be docked or left natural and still conform to breed standards.
The Affenpinscher requires minimal grooming. While weekly brushing and combing should be done diligently, the stiff coat should never be trimmed as it will ruin the coat for many years there after. Only the longer hair on the head and neck should be trimmed occasionally. Stray hairs that grow in the corners of the eye cause irritation and should be removed immediately. It has modest resistance to heat and cold and may have trouble keeping itself cool on hot days, so this breed should not be left outside for extended periods of time.
Health of the breed is stable, but problems such as slipped stifle, open fontanel and respiratory problems may occur.
Affenpinschers have plenty of personality and energy that makes them playful, affectionate and amusing. If they are raised with other pets there are no compatibility issues. However, they are very protective against any stranger and anything that they perceive as a threat. They also guard their food and toys which may pose a problem with young children.
The Affenpinscher is active and energetic. Indoor play and daily walks will take care of their exercise needs, so they are appropriate for apartment living. They do love to run and explore, so for the dogs overall wellbeing, find other outdoor activities that you can share with your pet.
Affenpinschers may be difficult to housetrain so patience and persistence is definitely required. These dogs, like many others, have a dominate attitude and require firmness and consistency. When training, a wide variety of tasks, tricks and activities will keep them from becoming bored.