Affenpinscher

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Affenpinscher

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Introduction

The Affenpinscher, whose name translated from German means "monkey-like terrier", is one of the most ancient of all toy breeds. Also known as the Monkey Pinscher, the Monkey Dog, the Monkey Terrier, the Black-Mustached Devil or simply the Affen, this is a lively, sturdy little dog whose intelligence, disposition and size make it a wonderful house dog and companion. The Affenpinscher has a neat but shaggy appearance with an endearing facial expression accentuated by a flat face, a prominent chin, bushy eyebrows, a mustache and a beard. The Affenpinscher is known for being courageous, reliable and inquisitive. Legend has it that one Affen faced up to an angry stallion, and another confronted a grown grizzly bear on a trip with its owner to the Alaskan wilderness. The Affenpinscher was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936, as a member of the Toy Group.

History & Health

History

Affenpinschers were developed in Germany, where in the 16th and 17th centuries they were used to control the rodent population in kitchens, granaries, shops and stables. Over time, they were bred down in size and became equally welcomed as household companions, while still keeping mice and rats at bay. The ancestry of the Affenpinscher is not well-documented. Many fanciers speculate that German Pinschers were mated with imported Asian breeds to create the flat-faced Affen. Regardless of its own ancestry, the Affenpinscher was a significant contributor to the development of many other small, rough-coated European breeds, including the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. Affenpinschers almost disappeared during World War II. When the war ended, fanciers crossed the remaining German stock with the Griffon Bruxellois, which exaggerated the unique face that identifies the breed today.
The Pinscher Klub was founded in 1895 in Cologne. In 1907, the Bayerischer Schnauzer Klub was formed. In 1923, these two clubs merged and became the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub. The Affenpinscher was admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1936. For some reason, this breed has never enjoyed immense popularity. In 1998, only 87 Affenpinschers were registered in all of Great Britain, making this a rare breed. Today's Affenpinscher excels in agility, rally and obedience disciplines, as well as in the conformation ring. He also is an excellent therapy dog. Mostly, however, the Affenpinscher is an affectionate companion and charming lap-warmer.

Health Characteristics

The average life span of an Affenpinscher is 11 to 14 years. Due to their small size they may be at an increased risk of suffering tracheal damage from incorrect use of collars and leashes. Supplements which support joint health, and walking this breed on a harness instead of a collar and leash, can help to lower this health risk. Other breed health concerns may include the following:

Heart Problems: Disorders and diseases that affect the dog's heart
Cataracts: Refers to any opacity of the lens of the eye. Dogs of either gender can develop cataracts
Hip Dysplasia: Involves abnormal development and/or degeneration of the coxofemoral (hip) joint
Hernias
Hypothyroidism: a clinical syndrome caused by inadequate production and release of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation, commonly known as a "slipped knee cap," occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
Oligodontia (congenital absence of some teeth)
portosystemic shunts
sebaceous cysts
Von Willebrand Disease: the most common hereditary blood-clotting disorder in domestic dogs.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

Affenpinschers are tiny, but they have large personalities. They take themselves very seriously, and require everyone else to take them seriously as well, resulting in humorous interactions with people. Their terrier blood makes them spunky and sassy, and many owners wonder if these tiny toy dogs know just how small they really are. Mostly seen as "purse dogs" by ladies around the world, the Affen is a lovely travel companion, easy-going and accepting of new situations. Just keep an eye on the Affenpinscher about town, this breed can be mischievous.

Activity Requirements

This toy breed does not require excessive amounts of exercise, a few short walks a day will suffice. Apartment-dwellers should be cautioned, however; as Affens bark, so while they are small enough to dwell in close-quarters, they may drive your neighbors crazy.
Affenpinschers are good family dogs, they love to play and are affectionate, however they can be territorial and are not the best fit for a house with small children.
When outdoors, Affens should be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in yard for their own protection. Toy breeds are easily injured and can even die from being stepped on, tripped over, or picked up by a large dog.

Trainability

Affens are generally people-pleasers but can be stubborn, so early training is key to having an obedient dog. They respond best to positive reinforcement, with lots of treats and affection. Consistency and a gentle hand are required to prevent the Affen from becoming distrusting of people.
This tiny dog, with a penchant for mischief makes a good therapy dog. They travel well, adapt well in new environments and make people laugh, making them an ideal visitor for lifting the spirits of the elderly or the sick.

Behavioral Traits

Affenpinschers are classic "yappy" dogs. They bark at just about anything and everything. This can be controlled with early training, but it generally can't be completely trained away.
Affenss are easily adaptable to new situations, but if not properly socialized, they can become wary of new people and places, causing them great anxiety.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Affenpinscher is a balanced, wiry-haired terrier-like toy dog whose intelligence and demeanor make it a good house pet. Originating in Germany, the name Affenpinscher means, "monkey-like terrier." The breed was developed to rid the kitchens, granaries, and stables of rodents. In France the breed is described as the "Diablotin Moustachu" or moustached little devil. Both describe the appearance and attitude of this delightful breed. The total overall appearance of the Affenpinscher is more important than any individual characteristic. He is described as having a neat but shaggy appearance.

Size, Proportion, Substance
A sturdy, compact dog with medium bone, not delicate in any way. Preferred height at the withers is 9 1/2" to 11 1/2". Withers height is approximately the same as the length of the body from the point of the shoulder to point of the buttocks, giving a square appearance. The female may be slightly longer.

Head
The head is in proportion to the body, carried confidently with monkey-like facial expression. Eyes-- Round, dark, brilliant, and of medium size in proportion to the head but not bulging or protruding. Eye rims are black. Ears-- Cropped to a point, set high and standing erect; or natural, standing erect, semi-erect or dropped. All of the above types of ears, if symmetrical, are acceptable as long as the monkey-like expression is maintained. Skull--Round and domed, but not coarse. Stop--Well-defined. Muzzle-- Short and narrowing slightly to a blunt nose. The length of the muzzle is approximately the same as the distance between the eyes. Nose-- Black, turned neither up nor down. Lips-- Black, with prominent lower lip. Bite-- Slightly undershot. A level bite is acceptable if the monkey-like expression is maintained. An overshot bite is to be severely penalized. A wry mouth is a serious fault. The teeth and tongue do not show when the mouth is closed. The lower jaw is broad enough for the lower teeth to be straight and even.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck-- Short and straight. Topline straight and level. Body--The chest is moderately broad and deep; ribs are moderately sprung. Tuckup is slight. The back is short and level with a strong loin. The croup has just a perceptible curve. Tail may be docked or natural. A docked tail is generally between 1" and 2" long, set high and carried erect. The natural tail is set high and carried curved gently up over the back while moving. The type of tail is not a major consideration.

Forequarters
Front angulation is moderate. Shoulders-- with moderate layback. The length of the shoulder blade and the upper arm are about equal. Elbows-- close to the body. Front legs straight when viewed from any direction. Pasterns short and straight. Dewclaws generally removed. Feet small, round, and compact with black pads and nails.

Hindquarters
Rear angulation is moderate to match the front. Hindlegs straight when viewed from behind. From the side, hindlegs are set under the body to maintain a square appearance. The length of the upper thigh and the second thigh are about equal with moderate bend to the stifle. Hocks-- Moderately angulated.

Coat
Dense hair, rough, harsh, and about 1" in length on the shoulders and body. May be shorter on the rear and tail. Head, neck, chest, stomach and legs have longer, less harsh coat. The mature Affenpinscher has a mane or cape of strong hair which blends into the back coat at the withers area. The longer hair on the head, eyebrows and beard stands off and frames the face to emphasize the monkey-like expression. Hair on the ears is cut very short. A correct coat needs little grooming to blend the various lengths of hair to maintain a neat but shaggy appearance.

Color
Black, gray, silver, red, black and tan, or belge are all acceptable. Blacks may have a rusty cast or a few white or silver hairs mixed with the black. Reds may vary from a brownish red to an orangey tan. Belge has black, brown, and/or white hairs mixed with the red. With various colors, the furnishings may be a bit lighter. Some dogs may have black masks. A small white spot on the chest is not penalized, but large white patches are undesirable. Color is not a major consideration.

Gait
Light, free, sound, balanced, confident, the Affenpinscher carries itself with comic seriousness. Viewed from the front or rear while walking, the legs move parallel to each other. Trotting, the feet will converge toward a midline as speed increases. Unsound gait is to be heavily penalized.

Temperament
General demeanor is game, alert, and inquisitive with great loyalty and affection toward its master and friends. The breed is generally quiet, but can become vehemently excited when threatened or attacked, and is fearless toward any aggressor.

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