The affenpinscher is a small dog who originated in Germany. His name translates as "monkey terrier" due to the dog's monkeylike face and impish behavior. The American Kennel Club breed standard indicates that the affenpinscher's monkeylike expression is an important aspect of his appearance. Originally bred to keep farms and homes clear of rats, the affenpinscher is now classified in the AKC's Toy Group and is primarily kept as a companion animal.
The affenpinscher originated in Germany and France during the 1600s and was primarily used for keeping rats out of barns and homes. Gradually, he was bred down to a smaller size and became primarily an indoor companion. Today's smaller affenpinscher is thought to have originated from ratting terrier breeds, the miniature schnauzer and German pinscher. His small size does not diminish the affenpinscher's hunting instinct; modern toy-size affenpinschers are considered good mousers. Affenpinschers are thought to have arrived in the United States in the 1930s.
The affenpinscher is a small dog with a coat of varied length and texture. He has a manelike mantle of longer hair at the neck and withers, but his coat becomes shorter and more wiry on his body. Affenpinschers are groomed to accentuate their monkeylike faces with hair on the ears clipped short. Most affenpinschers are black with dark eyes and lips, but they also come in colors including red, gray and black-and-tan. White markings are discouraged, but the breed standard allows for a small white spot on the chest. The affenpinscher sports a shaggy appearance overall. He is a medium-boned dog of sturdy appearance.
Training and Obedience
Affenpinschers are intelligent dogs who typically find ways to amuse themselves if left alone. They are energetic and they enjoy play, but they don't require excess exercise. Affenpinschers are loyal and devoted to their owners but may show stubborn independence. They are usually willing to work for their owners' praise; this helps with his training. Due to their independent and mischievous nature, affenpinschers should start obedience training as puppies. Affenspinschers are regarded as fearless against threats to themselves, their owners or their homes. This tendency can get them into trouble if he's not properly trained.
What to Expect of Your Affenpinscher
In addition to his monkey face, the affenpinscher is known for his intelligence and ability to figure things out. He typically understands what is expected of him when in training or given a command. He may display monkeylike behaviors such as climbing, tossing toys in the air or walking on his hind legs; these behaviors can provide an introduction to teaching him tricks or training him for agility competition. Whether in the show ring, on the agility course or relaxing in his owner's lap, the monkey-faced affenpinscher is a spirited and friendly companion.