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A Tiny Dog with Big Self-Esteem, This Pet is a Delight Especially for Children

Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a tiny dog – but don't expect your courageous, stubborn, curious little pet to know that. "Affenpinscher" translates to "monkey terrier" in German, and this is an apt name for the breed. A true Terrier both in appearance and nature, the Affenpinscher only weighs 8 to 10 pounds in adulthood but acts much larger. Obstinate, fearless, energetic and very inquisitive, this breed is also very friendly and quite amusing. Its "monkeylike" nature is revealed through its inclination to "monkey around," as in being playful and mischievous. But this toy dog is not delicate at all and will enjoy keeping up with active children and other animals. However, because it is a Terrier, it should not be trusted with small animals like rodents or birds.

History
The Affenpinscher probably originated in Germany in the 1600s. It's a working dog, traditionally used to hunt vermin on farms and in houses. Its exact ancestry is not known, but it likely has breeds such as the Schnauzer in its development. There may also be a now extinct dog, a type of Schnauzer in South Russia, that stood approximately 14 inches high and was a dark steely gray. These dogs are thought to have become extinct because the czars that coveted them did so much hunting that game was soon scarce. The original Affenpinscher types of dog were probably larger than today's, standing 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder and in colors of red, tan, gray, gray and tan, fawn, black, and black and tan.

No pampered little babies these, many of the original Affenpinschers were treated just like any other working dog on the farm. They were expected to do their duty, which was to kill rats, and were not particularly regarded as pets but simply farm animals that slept in stables, and ran freely. They were, however, also highly prized as lapdogs for ladies, and they could still fulfill their duties as vermin hunters, since they could kill mice in households. Slowly, the Affenpinscher breed became smaller as breeding efforts continued, and it was crossed with the Pug, German Silky Pinscher, and German Pinscher to achieve the desired changes. Today, most Affenpinschers serve as largely companion and lapdogs.

The Affenpinscher as a breed has also become the progenitor of other wirehaired toy breeds, including the now more popular Brussels Griffon. The AKC recognized the Affenpinscher in 1936, but World War II helped prevent significant growth and popularity for the breed. It remains relatively rare today even in Germany, where it started, and in the United States, again superseded by the Brussels Griffon – although Affenpinscher lovers are trying to rectify that situation.

Appearance
Small and spunky, the Affenpinscher has a "monkeylike" face and body. With facial expressions which in fact mimic those of a monkey, these sturdy little dogs are masters of appearance and their jovial and loving nature shines through their expressive, black eyes. Although at rest, the Affenpinscher usually looks very serious, most Affenpinschers are anything but.

Your pet will stand 10 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh only 7 to 8 pounds in adulthood.

The coat is usually black, but can be dark gray, silver, black and tan, light gray, or red. Dense and rough to the touch, the coat is usually only about an inch in length, and has been described as "shaggy but neat." Little to no clipping or trimming is needed.

The tail is left long and natural or can be docked to just one or two inches in length.

Temperament
If you're looking for a dog that loves people, look no further. The Affenpinscher will truly become a member of the family as soon as you adopt him or her. Although it is a Terrier, your little pet is not quite as independent as some other Terrier breeds. Always interested and very intelligent, the Affenpinscher loves to figure things out with intense exploration – all you have to do is to look at him or her to know that the wheels are turning, thinking hard! Playful and very mischievous, your little pet wants to stay busy and will be only too happy to keep you amused with tricks and general "clowning around."

Easy to train, your pet wants to please and to obey – but it's worth noting that he or she is indeed a Terrier. If you don't set some pretty firm boundaries and keep them (although not harshly), you could find yourself being led by the nose, to your chagrin. The Affenpinscher is somewhat susceptible to "small dog syndrome," where little dogs who are babied by well-intentioned owners can become little terrors. That said, because the Affenpinscher isn't quite as independent as some Terrier breeds and because he or she has a strong desire to please you, as long as you maintain your role as leader, or “alpha dog,” your pet should respect your wishes.

Fiercely protective, you might find it funny to see this little dog, all 8 to 10 pounds of him or her, standing up to much larger animals and people, in an attempt to be the best guard dog ever. What they're really best at, though, is barking to warn you that something might be amiss. Be careful, because this very protective and intelligent dog can also become fiercely "protective" of his or her own possessions like toys, and food. If you socialize your puppy early to adapt to a variety of people and provide a “secure” environment, your dog will not feel threatened and should exhibit friendlier behavior.

Children absolutely love the Affenpinscher, and that love will be returned most liberally. Very small children should be taught to be gentle, since they can unwittingly be rough. Although not a delicate dog, it's still not a good idea to leave small children alone with your pet if they don't know how to be gentle.

The Affenpinscher makes an excellent companion for other dogs and for humans – and for some other kinds of pets, too. Introduce your Affenpinscher to your cats at an early age to avoid any typical "Terrier chasing" behavior. Because its hunting instinct remains such a strong natural influence, you probably won't be able to completely protect any small pets including birds from an Affenpinscher, hard as you might try.

Finally, make sure you take your pet on a walk at least daily. Affenpinschers love travel, love riding in cars, love simply being "out and about." It is important to protect your pet from extremely hot or cold temperatures, however. Affenpinschers prefer mostly indoor living, coupled with a brisk walk and some exercise outdoors if possible daily.

Health
Healthy and hardy, the Affenpinscher will live at least 10 to 12 years, sometimes longer. Occasional health conditions common in small breeds include patent ductus arteriosus (a congenital heart disorder), Legg Perthes disease (degeneration of the hip joint), and patellar luxation (dislocation of the kneecap). By getting your puppy from a reputable breeder who screens the parents for such conditions before breeding, it is sometimes possible to avoid such problems.

Grooming
The Affenpinscher needs to be groomed regularly to keep the wiry, short coat from tangling. Use a good quality wire brush or pin brush, and a wide toothed metal comb. Brush at least every other day so that tangling does not occur, making sure to pay attention to the feathering on the belly and legs. If you show your pet, he or she will need to be stripped, usually by a professional groomer. The eyes can sometimes become irritated when small hairs to the side curl into the eyes themselves. Removing or plucking these hairs will take care of the problem.

References
Adopt an Affenpinscher.
http://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/affenpinscher
Retrieved June 23, 2013.

Affenpinscher (Affen) (Monkey Dog).
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/affenpinscher.htm
Retrieved June 23, 2013.

AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Affenpinscher.
http://www.akc.org/breeds/affenpinscher/index.cfm
Retrieved June 23, 2013.

Welcome to the Affenpinscher Club of America.
http://www.affenpinscher.org/
Retrieved June 23, 2013.

Group Classification: Terrier, AKC Toy

Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Country of Origin: Germany

Date of Origin: 17th century

Hair Length: Long

Shedding: Moderate Shed

Body Size: Toy, Small

Weight Male: 7-8 pounds

Height Male: 10-15 inches

Weight Female: 7-8 pounds

Height Female: 10-15 inches

Litter Size: 1-3 puppies

Life Expectancy: 11-14 years

Playful:

Affection:

Affection:

Groom:

Trainable:

Protection:

Watchdog:

Other Dogs:

Energy:

Excercise:

Hot Weather:

Cold Weather:

Colors
black, gray, black and tan, red, silver and belge (mix of red, black and white hairs). Some white hairs and small white patches on the chest are acceptable.

Living Area
Indoors with a small yard. Will do well in apartments with regular exercise.