Affenpinscher dog breed is known for its lively disposition and funny antics. No one disagrees that its name, which means “monkey terrier” in German, fits the dog extremely well. It looks and acts like a monkey. Affenpinschers are very independent, and never shy; they have a playful temperament that provides constant entertainment to the family. There’s never a dull moment with this little clown around, but there’s more to its personality than just fun and games.
Their small size might fool you, but this feisty little dog is an excellent guard dog, very alert at all times and never backing off from any challenge. That has earned it another epithet, ‘diablotin moustachu’ in French, meaning ‘mustached little devil.’ Early training and socialization is essential to keep the dog from getting overexcited on the approach of strangers.
The origin of Affenpinscher breed is lost in antiquity, but dogs of this type, albeit slightly larger in size, have been documented since the 17th century. These dogs with their typical shaggy coats even appear in the works of some Dutch Masters of the time. They were initially used in Germany and France as ratters around stables. The endearing antics of these active little workers and their easy nature soon found favor with the women folk who started preferring them for keeping vermin out of their kitchens and the chambers of the noble ladies as well. Their preference for the smaller members among the breed as companion dogs eventually led to their present diminutive size being a breed characteristic.
Later, they were crossed with German Silky Pischer and the Pug, and the resultant breed with a higher degree of refinement became quite popular among the gentry of Europe. Their recognition by the AKC as a unique breed came in 1939. However, they suffered a definite decline in popularity after World War II, and their numbers dwindled. Renewed interest in this comparatively rare toy breed has been awakened in recent years.
Affenpinschers have a shaggy coat of hard and wiry fur that is non-uniform in length at different parts of the body, with the face and limbs sporting longer hair. The most preferred color is black, but beige, gray, red, and silver ones with streaks of other colors are just as just as sweet. Shoulder height is under a feet, and their length nearly the same, giving the dog a square look.
Affenpinscher s make good family pets if you’re looking for unlimited entertainment in a dog that would do double duty as a good guard dog as well. They generally get along well with other dogs in the family, and even the family’s cats if they are introduced to them early enough. However, they are not considered suitable for families with young kids as they may not always take a benign attitude towards their rough play, and wouldn’t refrain from giving an occasional nip to express their displeasure. These little dogs have a stubborn streak too; which makes establishment of discipline through early training very important.
Grooming and exercise
Their shaggy coats require thorough brushing 2-3 times a week and regular trimming once every 3 months. They are ideal for small spaces such as city apartments, and for people who have no time to walk their dogs. Keeping themselves very busy indoors, they manage to get all the exercise they need without you bothering about it. However, they love to spend some time outside too. But they are not for staying outdoors for extended period of time, and definitely not for sleeping in an outdoor doghouse. Affenpinscher would rather do their guard duty from the inside, awakening the whole neighborhood if trespassers were to appear at its master’s doorstep.
Common health issues of Affenpinscher dog breed
These scraggly dogs generally have robust health and an average lifespan of 12-14 years. There are no serious breed-associated health concerns. However, they are prone to a few orthopedic problems with knees and hips, such as patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Cataract and corneal ulcers are two of the common eye ailments. Some dogs of this breed may develop heart disease too. Regular health check-ups should be sufficient to detect these minor issues and keep them in perfect health.