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Canines in the Affenpinscher dog breed were originally created to be ratters in homes, stables, and shops. Bred down in size, they moved up in the world, becoming ladies’ companions. Today, they are happy, mischievous companion dogs.

Affenpinscher Vital Stats

  • Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
  • Height: 9 inches to 11 inches (22.86 to 27.94 centimeters) tall at the shoulders
  • Weight: 7 to 9 pounds (3.18 to 4.08 kilograms)
  • Life Span: 12 to 14 years

General Affenpinscher Info

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestHave you ever heard of a "Monkey Dog?" That's exactly what the name Affenpinscher means in German. To break it down, the word "affen" means "ape or monkey" in German and "pinscher" means "terrier."

The Affenpinscher is a small dog that is very feisty and full of energy. He is a little devil which is a descendant of the terriers of the 17th- and 18th-century stables and shops in Europe. His job was to rid them of rats and mice.

Those terriers soon became all the rage of the European ladies. As a result, they were bred to be smaller in size which makes them a better companion dog. Even though he enjoyed a brief period of interest, this a still a rare dog breed. It wasn't until 2002 when the public began to notice this breed again. This was due to Ch Yarrow's Super Nova winning the televised Westminster Kennel Club Show.

This breed is basically a clown. However, he has a very bold nature and a creative thought process. This is a dog that will both astound and entertain his humans. Being a quick learner, this dog can adjust to change quite rapidly. He also likes to travel and is always on the lookout for a new adventure. His sensitivity and gentleness are admired by people all over the world.

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe Affenpinscher is a very sturdy dog that is smart and constantly alert. This makes him an excellent watchdog, who fears nothing. He is not normally a noisy dog but can easily become excited. He has a built-in passion to take care of his family, home, and territory. When someone approaches your front door he will let the whole neighborhood know about the stranger who is approaching. For this reason, these dogs require constant socialization with other people and animals.

Sometimes, the Affenpinscher can be quite stubborn. This is a dog that definitely has a mind of his own. From a very early age, he needs to be trained. This is usually not a problem because he is ever eager to please his people. He is also a great competitor for obedience and agility trials. He also makes a great therapy dog because he loves to entertain people.

This dog loves people with one exception. The Affenpinscher is not known to be particularly fond of children. This dog will bite if provoked.

Part of the appeal of this dog is that he is an absolute character. This is the perfect dog if you are seeking a watchdog that enjoys seeing the sights and traveling.

Some FAQs about the Affenpinscher

  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestDoes the Affenpinscher adapt well to apartment living?
    • This dog is a rather small dog, does well in all environments. He is equally at home in the apartment as he is on the farm. As long as he gets sufficient daily exercise and is properly trained to not mouth off at every little noise, he will make an excellent city pet. (See our List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher a good dog for novice pet owners?
    • The Affenpinscher is a dog that is very tolerant of people. He really doesn't care if you're a novice or an expert. All he wants to do is to please whoever he is with. And he'll love them to death. (See our List of Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher a sensitive dog?
    • Some dogs just won't care if you give them a stern reprimand while other will sulk in a corner for hours. The Affenpinscher may sometimes give an "I don't care" attitude and then at other times he will go an hide from you for a while. It all depends on his mood when you reprimand him. (See our List of Dogs That Have A Low Sensitivity Level.)
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestCan the Affenpinscher tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time?
    • The Affenpinscher is a dog that bonds really closely with his family. For this reason, this dog will not do well if left alone for more than an hour at a time. If you must leave him alone for an extended period of time it would be wise to crate him unless you want your couch destroyed. (See our List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Be Alone.)
  • Can the Affenpinscher tolerate the cold well?
    • Even though this is a relatively small dog he is capable of tolerating cold climates up to a point. However, it is never a good idea to let any dog stay outside for long periods of time in cold weather. Since they have been domesticated, most dogs have lost their ability to tolerate the cold like their wolf ancestors. (See our List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestCan the Affenpinscher tolerate hot weather?
    • The Affenpinscher does not have a really heavy undercoat. This allows him to better tolerate hot weather as compared to dogs that do have a heavy undercoat. However, in extremely hot weather it is best to keep all dogs in a cool place. Preferable in an air-conditioned house. (See our List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited For Hot Weather.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher an affectionate dog with family?
  • Is the Affenpinscher a kid-friendly dog?
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestIs the Affenpinscher a dog-friendly dog?
    • The Affenpinscher is quite friendly with other dogs. He likes to have a playmate and another dog in the house might be just what he needs. Still, this dog needs to be taught good canine skills starting at a very early age. This type of socialization must continue throughout its life for he will quickly forget his manners with other dogs. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog-Friendly.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher a friendly dog toward strangers?
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestDoes the Affenpinscher shed a lot?
    • This is one perfect dog for those who don't like to pick up dog hair all day long. The Affenpinscher is a very low shed dog. Perhaps the only time you will notice any loose hair around the house is in the early spring and fall. Even then, there won't be much floating around the house. (See our List of Dogs That Shed Very Little.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher drool a lot?
    • Some dogs are just natural-born droolers. Others hardly drool a drop. The Affenpinscher is very low drool. It is rare to even see him drool when you are preparing his daily meals. (See our List of Dogs That Don't Drool A lot.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher an easy dog to groom?
    • The Affenpinscher is not a hard dog to groom. He does require an occasional bath but he should also have at least two ten-minute brushings per week to help keep his fur in good condition. (See our List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher have good health?
    • All dogs are susceptible to breed specific genetic conditions and certain health problems. This does not mean that they will acquire any of them. The Affenpinscher is no different. However, he is generally a very healthy dog. When buying a dog you should always get one from a breeder. You can ask the breeder about the health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives. (See our List of Dogs That Are Prone To Health Problems.)
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestDoes the Affenpinscher have a high potential to gain weight?
    • Some dogs can eat a lot but they also have a lot of energy and need the fuel. But if your dog is a bit of a couch potato there is always the risk of weight gain. The Affenpinscher is an active dog so he should have a lower risk of gaining weight as long as he gets the required amount of exercise daily.
  • Is the Affenpinscher a small, medium, or big dog?
  • Is the Affenpinscher an easy dog to train?
    • This dog has a bit of a stubborn streak. This does not mean that he is hard to train. However, you will need quite a bit of patience with him. The use of treats will come in handy here. (See our List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestIs the Affenpinscher an intelligent dog?
    • The Affenpinscher was originally bred as a working dog. His job was to catch rats and mice. As a working dog, this means that he had to use his head to outsmart his prey. Any dog that was bred to do a job has a pretty high level of intelligence. For this reason, the Affenpinscher is considered to be an intelligent dog. Sometimes he will even outsmart his owner. (See our List of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher have a high potential for mouthiness?
    • Mouthiness refers to a dog's tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. All dogs do this when they are puppies. Some will carry this over into adulthood. The Affenpinscher is one such dog. As long as you train him that is ok for him to chew his toys and not humans, this tendency should be kept to a minimum.
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestDoes the Affenpinscher have a high prey drive?
    • Dogs that were bred to hunt have a very high prey drive. The Affenpinscher has a moderate level of prey drive. If he sees a mouse, rat, or other small animals, he is quite likely to go after it. (See our List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher have a high tendency to bark or howl?
    • The Affenpinscher is a normally quiet dog. However, as a watchdog, he can become quite excited when a stranger approaches the house. Then he will let the whole neighborhood know that an unknown person is in the neighborhood. (See our List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher have a high wanderlust potential?
    • Some dogs just love to explore their environment. Others have an inborn fear of losing sight of their owners. The Affenpinscher prefers to stick around their people. He may wander off a bit but if you give a quick whistle or call his name he will come running right back to you. (See our List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestDoes the Affenpinscher have a high energy level?
    • Most small dogs have an abundance of energy. It is no different for the Affenpinscher. He loves to play games as well as play with other dogs. He does require at least one twenty-minute period of exercise daily. This will help to control his energy so that you can sleep at night. (See our List of Dogs That Have Low Energy.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher an intense dog?
    • An intense dog is a dog that puts everything he's got into whatever he is doing. The Affenpinscher is not an overly intense dog nor is he a lazy dog. He will only put in the required amount of energy into whatever he's doing. (See our List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
  • Does the Affenpinscher require a lot of exercise?
    • The Affenpinscher has a fair amount of energy. But he doesn't require a lot of exercise. At least one twenty-minute period of exercise per day is all that is required. If you're not into playing a game of fetch for that long you can just take him for a brisk twenty-minute walk. That would be just as satisfying to him. (See our List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
  • Is the Affenpinscher a playful dog?
    • This dog is always looking to play a game with you. Dog puzzle toys are a great way to entertain this dog. Even just hiding some of his toys around the house and telling him to go find them will make him very happy. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
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Some Highlights of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestHousetraining the Affenpinscher can be a difficult chore. To help make this type of training easier it is recommended that you employ crate training.

The Affenpinscher has a wiry fur and is considered to be hypoallergenic. However, most people are allergic to the dander that is shed from the skin of an animal. And all dogs shed fur or produce dander. Therefore, an allergic reaction from this dog may be non-existent or really minimal.

This dog was bred as a ratter. For this reason, they do not do well in a house that has small rodents as pets. However, adding another dog or two to the household will make your Affenpinscher a really happy dog. They can also be trained to get along with cats if they are raised with them.

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe Affenpinscher is not a kid-friendly dog. Especially if the child is an infant or toddler as they don't like to be teased. However, older children who can respect the dog can co-exist as long as both are trained in proper relationship manners.

This dog is a rare dog breed. If you are in the market for getting one be prepared to wait a long time. They have not acquired a high favorability as other dog breeds have.

When getting an Affenpinscher get it from a reputable breeder. Dogs from pet shops r on the Internet often come from puppy mills and many have a higher than normal health risk factor because of this. Reputable breeders always test their animals to make sure that the animal is free of genetic diseases that might be passed on to the puppies. They also make sure that all of their dogs have a sound temperament.

History of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe history of the Affenpinscher can be traced back to at least the 17th century. Documented proof, however, can absolutely date this dog back to the late 19th century. But there are Dutch painting from the 15th century that show a small, rough-coated dog with a beard. These could be early ancestors of the Affenpinscher.

These dogs originated in Germany. They were very welcome as ratters throughout Central Europe. Many stables, shops, farms, and homes had these terrier-type dogs to help keep the rat population under control.

These dogs eventually caught the eye of the upper middle class and society ladies. As a result, these dogs were bred to be small which made them better companion dogs. Unfortunately, the official story as to how the Affenpinscher came to be is forever lost to history.

It is believed that this dog came about through the crossings of Pugs, the smooth coated German Pinscher, and the extinct German Silky Pinscher. The development of other breeds, like the Brussels Griffon and the Miniature Schnauzer, have their beginnings with Affenpinscher-type dogs. The relationships can be seen with their rough coats and bearded faces which are very much like the Affenpinscher.

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestMunich is considered to be the center of development for the Affenpinscher. The first breed standard for this breed was formulated by the Berlin Lapdog Club in 1902. However, the true breed standard was not finalized until late in 1913.

The American Kennel Club adopted the German breed standard of the Affenpinscher and he was officially entered into the AKC Stud Book in 1936. Records show that the first Affenpinscher to be registered with the AKC was named Nollie v. Anwander. This was one of four German imports that belonged to Bessie Malley of Cicero, Illinois.

Breeding of the Affenpinscher in the United States was temporarily interrupted during World War II. Interest in the breed was again revived in the 1950s. However, he is still a rare dog breed today. He did gain a little bit of a celebrity status in 2002 when Ch Yarrow's Super Nova won the Toy Group category of the Westminster Kennel Club Show. Today he ranks 125th among all breeds and varieties that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Size of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a small dog. He is typically 9.5 to 11.5 inches (24.13 to 29.21 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weighs 7 to 9 pounds (3.18 to 4.08 kilograms).

The Affenpinscher Personality

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe Affenpinscher, or Affen as he is affectionately called, is a very affectionate and curious dog that is constantly on the alert. He is very loyal to his family and will protect them to the best of his ability. He will even take on dogs that are 10 times his size if they get too close to his people. This dog is very excitable and it can take quite a long time to get him to calm down if he views anything as a threat to you.

Just like any other dog, the Affenpinscher requires early socialization. He needs to be exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. This type of training should be started as early as possible. A properly socialized Affenpinscher is a dog that is well-rounded, outgoing, friendly, and tolerant. A good way to provide this early socialization is to enroll your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class. Inviting people over to visit is also a good idea. You should even take him to busy parks, dog-friendly stores, and on walks around the neighborhood so that he can meet with people and other dogs.

Health Considerations of the Affenpinscher

This is a generally healthy dog breed. But, as with all breeds, they are prone to certain genetic and health conditions. This does not mean that your Affenpinscher will suffer from any of these conditions. But it is a good idea to know about them just in case. Good pet parents are people who are well informed about their breed of dog. Below is a list of some of the most common conditions that may afflict this breed:

  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestPatellar Luxation: Also known as "slipped stifles," this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts--the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf)--is not properly lined up. This causes lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop. It is a condition that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of patellar luxation, ranging from grade I, an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, in which the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may require surgical repair.
  • Legg-Perthes Disease: Generally a disease of small breeds, this condition--a deformity of the ball of the hip joint--usually appears at 6 to 9 months of age and can be confused with hip dysplasia. It causes wearing and arthritis. It can be repaired surgically, and the prognosis is good with the help of rehabilitation therapy afterward.
  • Affenpinscher | Pet QuestHip Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP). Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors.
  • Heart Murmurs: Heart murmurs are caused by a disturbance in the blood flow through the chambers of the heart. They're an indicator that there may be a disease or condition of the heart that will need to be monitored and treated.

When buying an Affenpinscher you should find a reputable dog breeder for this breed. This person will be able to show you all the health clearances for both parents of the puppy. These health clearances provide proof that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. You should see health clearances against hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease. There should also be a clearance for the eyes proving that they are normal.

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Care of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe Affenpinscher makes an excellent apartment dog. As long as your neighbors don't mind the occasional barking fit he will do very well. This is a dog that doesn't need an abundant of exercise. Taking him for a good brisk walk or playing a quick game of fetch in the backyard or dog park is all that is needed. He is not an overly active dog but he will keep you on your toes.

Because of his small size, the  Affenpinscher should be a full-time house dog. Having a fenced-in yard would make a great place for him to roam unsupervised. Keep in mind that these dogs will confront animals that are much bigger than them. So be prepared to step in if he gets a bit too bold with other dogs.

As with many toy breeds, the Affenpinscher can be a difficult dog to housetrain. You need to be patient and very consistent with the training. Crate training is a definite must for these dogs.

To successfully train these dogs you need to keep the training sessions fun. They learn well if they get a lot of praise and motivation. Offering treats for jobs well done is a great motivational factor for these dogs.

Feeding your Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestAffenpinschers don't need a lot of food. The recommended daily amount is between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of food. This should be divided into two meals.

How much a dog eats depends to a great extent on its size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. All dogs are individuals and they don't all require the same amounts of food. Dogs that are more active will usually require more food than a dog that is kind of a couch potato.

The main goal when feeding a dog is to keep its weight under control. It is usually not a good idea to let a dog be a self-feeder. These dogs tend to eat more food than they really need at the moment. And, just like people, when they eat too much they become lazy and don't get enough exercise to help them burn off the excess calories. Also, it is a good idea to buy the best dog food that you can afford. Better quality dog foods go a long way into providing adequate nutrition.

The Affenpinscher Coat and Grooming

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe desired Affenpinscher appearance is one of neat shagginess. His coat is thick and rough with a harsh texture. Usually about one inch long on the body but shorter on the rump and tail. The fur on the head is shaggier as is the fur on the neck, chest, stomach, and legs. Since the Affenpinscher doesn't shed much their coat must be stripped in order to maintain its characteristic texture.

The Affenpinscher can be found in black, grey, silver, black and tan, or red. The reds and tans usually range from a brownish color to an orange tans color. Red Affenpinschers may have black, brown, or white hair mixed in with the red. There may even be some tan highlights in their furs.

Black Affenpinschers may have a scattering of white or silver hairs mixed in throughout their coat. Sometimes the longer hairs are a bit lighter in color than the rest of the body. In Europe, you will only find Affenpinschers in black. Sometimes with a bit of a grey frosting mixed in.

In order to keep the neat shaggy appearance of the Affenpinscher, they need to be brushed at least once a week. Use a small slicker brush, to begin with. Then use a metal "greyhound" comb to finish the brushing. If you come across any mats or tangles use your fingers to gently pull them apart. Spraying your Affenpinscher with a detangler made for dogs before brushing can really make the job easier.

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestTo maintain the Affenpinscher look you should seek the help of a professional groomer. This person can teach you how to properly trim and brush your dog so that he looks like an Affenpinscher and not a ball of shaggy fur. You can even go to the Affenpinscher Club of America website to find instructions on how to trim and strip your Affenpinscher.

The Affenpinscher is known to suffer from periodontal disease. For this reason, it is recommended that you brush their teeth at least twice a week. Daily teeth brushings are highly recommended.

The nails also need to be trimmed at least once or twice a month. Sometimes the dog doesn't wear down their nails naturally. The rule here is that if you can hear the nails clicking on the floor when they walk then they need to be trimmed.

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestIf you start grooming your Affenpinscher when they are a young puppy he will learn to appreciate the attention he gets. This also makes it easier for veterinarians as your dog will be used to being handled. Also, since dogs don't like their paws touched, or their mouths, they should be handled frequently. This will get your dog accustomed to having those areas handles and will make veterinary visits that much easier.

The grooming process is basically your chance to check the dog over thoroughly. Look for sores, rashes, signs of infection, ticks, fleas, and other potential problems. Check the nose, ears, eyes, mouth, and feet for any problems that need medical attention. If the ears are dirty gently clean the outer part of the ears with a dampened cotton ball. Never stick anything in the ear. Dogs have a short ear canal and damage can be done to the eardrum if you stick a Q-Tip into the canal.

Remember, the grooming process is your first line of defense when it comes to infections and other problems. This is your chance to find potential problems and seek proper medical attention if any are found.

Children and Other Pets

Affenpinscher | Pet QuestThe Affenpinscher does not like aggressive behavior. He is not a dog that likes to be hugged or squeezed. He also doesn't like to be chased, cornered, or teased. That's exactly what children tend to do when they are around dogs. For this reason, the Affenpinscher is not a dog to have if you have very young children. He is able to get along with older children. However, it is your responsibility to teach both the child and the dog how to behave when around each other. These dogs will bite and defend themselves if they are harassed.

If you do have children that are old enough to respect a dog you should socialize your puppy to minimize any potential problems with behavior. Also, never leave a child alone with a dog. Both should be supervised so that you can intervene if there are any problems. And never let a young child pick up a puppy. Make them sit on the floor with the dog in their lap instead. And don't forget to pay attention to the dog's body language. If you see that the dog is becoming restless you should either place the dog in a crate or another room for safety.

The Affenpinscher is a friendly dog when it is with other dogs as long as he was either raised with them or properly socialized with them. He will even do well with cats. Just keep in mind that this is a bold dog. He will challenge a much bigger dog if he feels that his territory or family are threatened.

Rescue Groups

Today many people buy a dog without realizing the extent of the commitment. Unfortunately, many dogs end up in shelters because of this. If you are looking for an Affenpinscher check with your local shelter or rescue group first and adopt a dog before buying. To find a rescue group near you, you can try to contact the following:

Breed Organizations

If you really want to get an Affenpinscher puppy you can contact the Affenpinscher Club of America who will direct you to a breeder that is close to you.

Affenpinscher Puppy Pics

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Affenpinscher Puppy Pics


Affenpinscher Puppy | Pet Quest
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