Affenpinschers are small terriers with wiry hair and small, rounded faces. Their coat is usually black but may also be silver, red, gray, beige, or black and tan. Their dense, rough hair measures approximately 1 inch in length on the shoulders and body, with shorter hair on the tail and rear and longer, softer hair on the stomach, chest, and head. Affens are toy dogs and measure 9 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder. The breed usually weighs 6 to 12 pounds.
Affens have a look of neat, but shaggy. They may look ungroomed no matter how often they are brushed or trimmed.
The breed makes a great house dog due to its small size, fun-loving personality, and intelligence, and they often show significant affection and loyalty toward their human caretakers. They are very active and require regular playtime indoors as well as frequent walks outside. With proper care, they generally remain healthy dogs and live up to 12 years.
Affenpinscher means "monkey terrier" in German. The breed was given this name because of its impish nature and cute, monkey-like face. In France, the breed has earned the nickname "Diablotin Moustachu" or mustached devil.
Affens are alert, friendly, inquisitive, loyal, and affectionate dogs that make excellent companion animals, especially in small apartments. They are generally quiet but are easily excited. The breed loves everyone, even children, but must be handled carefully. They can be mischievous and are likely to find trouble if not supervised.
Even the smallest of Affenpinschers thinks of itself as a big dog and is fearless with aggressors of all sizes. This personality trait can be cute, but it can also get the dog into trouble. The breed's fearless demeanor, alertness, and big bark make it an excellent watchdog. Affens can be territorial with other dogs, but they tend to get along with cats if raised with them.
Affenpinschers adapt easily to most schedules, routines, and activity levels. As long as they have stimulation and company, they are generally very happy dogs. They are also entertaining and playful and are known for singing, dancing, walking on two legs, and playing with toys.
Affenpinschers are generally healthy dogs but some develop luxating patellas, or dislocated knees, a common orthopedic condition in small dogs. Affenpinschers are also prone to skin disorders and resulting complications, such as secondary infections and hair loss. Older dogs may develop respiratory and eye disorders.
Because the breed is prone to periodontal disease, a serious condition that can cause significant pain and tooth loss, routine veterinary visits that include dental examinations are crucial. The sooner dental problems are discovered and treated, the better the prognosis.
With regular exercise, a nutritious diet, routine veterinary care, vaccinations, and steps to prevent accidents, Affenpinschers live 12 to 14 years and can remain healthy and active throughout life.
Affenpinschers have a reputation as being impossible to train. This is due to their stubbornness and intelligence. Affens are trainable, however, provided the trainer is experienced and the training is done with an abundance of patience and consistency. Starting training early in life will result in maximum success.
The Affenpinschers tendency to climb and jump off high surfaces, coupled with its disregard for personal safety, makes it a very injury-prone breed. To prevent accidents and injuries, Affens must not be allowed to climb fences or other high objects and should be provided with steps for getting on and off furniture.
Restlessness and negative behaviors are controllable by wearing the Affenpinscher out with vigorous indoor activities and outdoor romps. When taking the Affen for walks, a leash is necessary at all times; the breed is prone to running off and getting into trouble. Additionally, all interactions with bigger and unfamiliar dogs must be closely monitored. Affenpinschers are fearless and may start a fight they cannot win.
Affens have a look of neat, but shaggy. They may look ungroomed no matter how often they are brushed or trimmed. The breed's wiry coat attracts leaves and other debris, which makes it necessary to check and brush the coat after time outside. Regular trims and grooming will prevent tangles and other problems.
Affens must be stripped regularly. Stripping involves plucking dead hairs from the coat. This process, along with thinning the breed's coat and brushing with a slicker brush, can keep the coat manageable and healthy.
Trim the nails every few weeks or as often as needed, and brush the teeth frequently. Affenpinschers are prone to dental problems, including periodontal disease, which makes regular dental care essential. Dog dental treats are useful at reducing tartar buildup between brushings.
Affenpinschers originated in Central Europe, notably Germany, France, and Munich. In the 17th century, along with other small terriers, they were kept around stables to scare away rats and other rodents. Eventually, they moved into homes to keep mice away and quickly became beloved companion animals.
The Affenpinscher breed played a big role in the development of other breeds, including the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. Since the 19th century, their popularity has increased across Europe, in Great Britain, and in the United States. Although no detailed record of the breed's entry into the United States exists, it is believed a pair of the dogs was imported in 1935.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Affenpinscher in 1936.