Affenpinscher Dog Breed Guide: Facts, Health & Care

Affenpinscher Dog Breed Guide: Facts, Health & Care

The Origin of the Affenpinscher Dog Breed

The Affenpinscher originated in Germany where they worked as ratters. A small dog breed, its name comes from the German word “affe” which means ape or monkey.

Intelligent but somewhat high-strung, Affens need a firm and consistent Alpha leader. In this complete guide, we explore the breed’s history, appearance, personality, and more.

Breed Basics

Breed Group Toy Group
Temperament Confident, Famously Funny, Fearless
Life Span 12-15 years
Weight 7-10 pounds
Height 9-11.5 inches
Colors Black, gray, red, silver, and black and tan, or belge (a mixture of black and reddish-brown or tan)
Origin Germany

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Affenpinscher History

Affenpinschers trace their roots back to the 1600s in Germany where they were bred to work like terriers, hunting vermin in stables, homes, shops, and farms. “Affenpinscher” is a German word that means “monkey dog” or “ape terrier”. While they are fierce, they are fairly small, belonging to the small dog breed group.

Eventually, these terrier-like dogs became household pets while continuing to work as exterminators of rats and other types of rodents. The breed was refined with crosses with the German Pinscher, German Silky Pinscher, and the Pug. The breed is recognized as ancestors of wire-coated toy breeds, such as the Brussels Griffon.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Affenpinscher as an official breed in 1936.

Affenpinscher Appearance

The Affenpinscher is well-known for its “monkey-like” appearance, hence their name (German word “affe” means “monkey or ape”). They have long eyebrows and beard. These compact and sturdy dogs have a light and confident gait and are agile enough to catch rodents.

Their wiry hair coat is somewhat longer on the head, neck, stomach, chest, and legs to protect them from pests and extreme weather conditions.

Grooming And Maintenance

Affens will need hair brushing at least twice weekly using a small slicker brush followed by a metal “greyhound” comb. Any mats or tangles you can come across can be gently broken up using your fingers.

A detangling solution would come in handy. It will take more than regular brushing and coat stripping to maintain the appearance of the Affenpinscher. You can ask a professional dog groomer to show you how or you can check out this grooming guide.

Aside from keeping the Affen’s hair coat sleek and clean, their grooming regimen also includes nail trimming at least once or twice a month if they don’t wear their nails down naturally.

Their ears should also be checked regularly for any signs of infection, redness, ear wax buildup, parasites, or discharge. They will also benefit from a regular home dental regimen. Regular tooth brushing or the use of special mouth wash and water additives can help prevent tooth and gum problems which are very common issues in dogs.

Affenpinscher Temperament And Personality

Affenpinschers require early socialization. As early as possible, they should be exposed to various sights, sounds, scents, and experiences. Positive experiences and interactions during socialization can help Affens grow up to be well-rounded, outgoing, and friendly. Encountering and adjusting to new situations can also be easier for them when they’re well socialized.

Affens are affectionate dogs. They’re loyal to their humans and are very protective of them. They’re fearless, even taking on dogs way much bigger than them. These dogs are always looking forward to the next adventure. They’re playful and make great travel companions.

Although they are not much of a barker, Affens make excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. They are quick to alert their owners of perceived threats, including the presence of a stranger.

They can get along well with cats as long as they’re raised together. However, they possess a strong prey drive and they may perceive cats and other smaller pets as prey.

Affenpinschers are not recommended for families with young children. These dogs hate being hit, squeezed, hugged, or chased. When they find themselves being cornered, they will growl or snap.

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Training Your Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers are intelligent dogs but they can be stubborn and independent-minded. They often desire to have their own way. But you can achieve success in training your dog when you are firm and consistent with him; this, and tons of patience.

Training of an Affen should start on the day that you bring your puppy home. The puppy will require lots of opportunities for socialization. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class can provide opportunities for interaction and socialization just make sure that his vaccinations and preventatives are up-to-date.

These feisty dogs should undergo basic obedience training. They tend to have short attention spans and can easily get bored and lose interest when training sessions are long. Your best bet would be shorter, more frequent sessions with lots of positive reinforcement, such as treats, lavish praise, belly rubs, etc.

Affenpinscher Exercise Requirements And Energy Level

With their small size, Affens make great apartment dogs. They are moderately active and will benefit from regular exercise and physical activity. Playing with a toy or interactive games can already burn a chunk of the Affen’s excess energy. But they will still need a brisk walk at least once or twice daily.

Common Affenpinscher Health Issues

Affenpinschers are generally healthy dogs, but like all dog breeds, they can suffer from health conditions. While these health conditions cannot affect all Affens, it’s important for pet owners to be aware of them.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Diet And Nutritional Needs: Feeding Your Affenpinscher

It’s best to divide an Affenpinscher’s daily ration into two or three meals given at regular intervals throughout the day. Letting your Affen ‘graze’ on pet food that is available anytime he wants can increase the dog’s risk of getting overweight or obese.

An Affen’s nutritional needs can be sufficiently met by feeding a life stage-appropriate premium-quality pet food. Puppies, adults, and senior Affens differ in their needs for specific nutrients and calories thus they should be given pet food that is formulated for their life stage. Treats are essential tools for positive reinforcement but they should be given in moderation.

Tips for Adopting And Raising an Affenpinscher

An Affenpinscher puppy from a reputable breeder typically costs anywhere from $800-$2000. Be sure to ask for health certificates and guarantees of both parents and the puppy.

It is a practice of reputable breeders to make sure that their breeding stock is free from any hereditary issues that can be passed on to their offspring. The cost is much lower when you choose to adopt. Adopting an Affen is around $300 to cover the costs of dog care before adoption.

Affens thrive with proper care and special attention to their needs. They will require appropriate socialization and a strong alpha leader to keep them in place. With proper training and frequent social interactions, an Affen will surely be an excellent addition to any household.

Affenpinscher FAQs

Q: Do Affenpsinsher dogs shed?
A: Affenpinschers don’t shed much, but they will need regular stripping to remove the dead hair and maintain their hair coat’s texture.

Q: Are Affenpinschers easy to train?
A: Like any other breed of dog, Affens need basic obedience training. With their strong independent minds, these dogs can be difficult to train. But they are very intelligent and desired results of training can be achieved with short training sessions, consistency, and lots of positive reinforcement.

Q: Are Affenpinschers hypoallergenic?
A: While there is no dog that is 100% hypoallergenic, Affenpinschers are often considered to be hypoallergenic because they are low shedders and their hair is extremely slow-growing. Also, the rough outer hair coat is very dense and acts like a net, catching most of the dander, if any.

If you are allergic to dogs, but still want one, the Affenpinscher may be a good choice.

Q: What is the difference between an Affenpinscher and Brussels Griffon?
A: Affens originate from Germany while Brussels Griffon is from Belgium. Affens are quite smaller in weight but taller in height. These dogs have great intelligence while Brussel Griffons are low to average. The prey drive of Affens is very much stronger than that of Brussel Griffons.

Official Resources: Breed Clubs, Rescues And Helpful Links

Official Breed Club: Affenpinscher Club Of America

Rescue An Affenpinscher: Affenpinscher Rescue of America

Official AKC Profile: Affenpinscher Dog Breed Information

Breed Standard: Official Standard for the Affenpinscher

Find a Puppy – AKC Marketplace: Affenpinscher AKC Puppy Finder

Recommended Products for Affenpinscher

Similar Dog Breeds

Brussels Griffon
Cairn Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Miniature Schnauzer
Norwich Terrier

Related Groups & Characteristics

Smallest Dog Breeds
Hypoallergenic Dogs
Best Dogs for Apartments
Toy Group