The Affenpinsher is an animated, brave and smart little dog with its homeland in Germany. Initially bred to be a mouser and ratter in homesteads, barns, and shop it was gradually miniaturised to become an outstanding family dog. Despite its charming appearance and nice disposition it has earned very modest popularity outside its native land.
Some canine historians claim that the development of the Affenpinscher began as early as in the XVII century, which officially makes this dog one of the oldest of all toy breeds. Moreover miniature dogs with bushy hair and dense beard appeared on the pictures of Dutch painters of the XV century. Nonetheless more solid written sources prove that the breed hadn’t been fully established until the late XIX century.
The lineage of the Affenpinscher is hardly traceable. Lots of its devotees believe that it owes its peculiar facial constitution to imported Asian breeds and its outgoing nature to the German Pinscher. It’s also possible that the Pug and the German Silky Pinscher played certain role in its creation.
The early version of the Affenpinscher deserved wide acknowledgment in its native Germany and throughout Central Europe for its exceptional skills in killing rats and other household rodents. This pinscher-type dog bore responsibility for keeping shops, homes and stables clear of these omnipresent creatures. Over time the breed attracted certain interest in the role of a lap dog so it was considerably bred down in size. It’s speculated that the breeder in Lubeck, Germany, was the first who attempted to downsize this dog although the full story of its invention will probably forever remain a mystery.
In the wake of the Second World War the very existence of the Affenpinscher was threatened as its systematic breeding was almost totally abandoned. In order to restore its population and ensure its robust health fanciers had to outcross the remaining pure-blooded dogs with the members of the Griffon Bruxellois. This practise helped to intensify features of its the distinctive face that singles out the breed presently.
The first Affenpinscher was registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936. In the 50s of the XX the awareness about the breed somewhat increased although it has never reached the level of immense popularity. Modern dog performs with flying colour in agility and obedience competitions as well as in the show ring. Its affectionate and sympathetic demeanour makes it a very capable therapy dog. But in most cases it’s kept solely as a family dog.
The Affenpinscher is a vivacious, spirited and even somewhat bold dog that doesn’t realise how tiny it really is. Its dignified bearing coupled with hilarious facial expression touches the hearts of thousands of dog lovers from all over the world. The terrier ancestors granted the breed with fearlessness and somewhat quick temper. That’s why it must be timely socialised if you intend to keep it in the house with kids. Be mindful though that this dog is rather intolerant of too harsh games and may snap to defend itself.
The well-mannered Affenpinscher is commonly good with guests in the house. Furthermore it enjoys being in the centre of attention and always welcomes an opportunity to make a new friend. This dog is known to be fairly territorial and can become a very dependable watcher. In fact without sufficient obedience training it continuous barking may turn into a true torture for its masters. It’s also quite willing to protect their favourite humans and territory with physical force but it won’t make a reasonable guardian because of its small size.
The Affenpinscher is a very sociable dog that gets on perfectly well with other canines. It will be absolutely thrilled to share its life with one or several of other dogs preferably of the similar size. This breed also stands out for its friendliness towards other pets in the house especially if it has been exhibited to their existence early enough.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· bone fractures on the front legs;
· patellar luxation;
· legg-perthes disease;
· canine hip dysplasia;
· eye problems;
· heart murmurs.
The Affenpinscher has rather sizeable grooming requirements. Its shaggy wiry coat should be brushed a few times per week with a slicker brush as well as with a stainless steel greyhound comb. As the result of brushing procedure the dog should look neat but still somewhat tousled.
The specimen of a show class must have a round shape of its face when looking from the front. However majority owners of Affenpinshers tend cut the beards of their pets shorter, still preserving roundish appearance of their faces. The coat also needs stripping two-three times a year to maintain its unique texture. So called plucking takes some experience to perform properly so it would be wise to consult a professional groomer before doing it for the first time.
The rest is a rather customary care. Trim the dog’s nails as necessary, commonly on a monthly basis. Toy breeds tend to suffer from periodontal disease, so remember to pay sufficient attention to dental hygiene of your pet.
The Affenpinscher is an intelligent but somewhat self-willed dog whose training requires medium amount of efforts. In general it seeks to pleasure its masters so it can be taught fairly advanced commands. Given its natural bent for stubbornness its training should be initiated as early as possible since a young puppy is much more pliable and inquisitive than a grown-up dog.
Calm and patient approach with plentiful tasty treats is very important in the work with this dog. It should never be treated with firm hand during training sessions as such method will barely bring desirable results.
The Affenpinscher is a toy breed and therefore it needs a little amount of physical exercise. Several short walks a day will be quite enough to keep this dog happy and fit. Outside it should always wear a leash for the sake of its own safety although it will surely appreciate a chance to play unrestrained in a safely enclosed area.
The great advantage of this breed is its adaptability which makes it a good companion animal both for a city and rural dwellers. Remember that the Affenpinscher tends to become extremely yappy and destructive if it feels itself lonely, bored or doesn’t get proper attention from its masters.