AFFENPINSCHER Breed Standards
Taking its name from the German Affen and Pinscher, literally meaning “monkey terrier,” the Affenpinscher is among the oldest of the Toy breeds. Paintings from the 15th century depict dogs that resemble the Affenpinscher and that were most likely the breed's ancestors. The breed as we know it today, however, first took shape in early 17th century Germany. These dogs were a bit bigger than the Affenpinscher we see today, and were originally used to kill rats and other vermin in kitchens and stables. As time passed, the Affenpinscher became increasingly popular as a noblewoman’s lapdog and companion rather than a common working dog, and it was subsequently bred down in size. Further refinement came through crosses with the Silky Pinscher, the German Pinscher and the Pug.
The feisty little Affenpinscher went on to serve as the blueprint for several other toy breeds, including the Brussels Griffon, which would one day usurp the Affenpinscher’s comfortable position as an aristocratic lapdog. Since that time, the Affenpinscher has never regained its former popularity. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. To this day it remains very rare both in the United States and abroad.
SKILLS: Vermin destroyer, watchdog, and family pet. 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: 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.
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.
CARE REQUIRED: It may be necessary to pluck the Affenpincher’s coat. This is usually done by a dog trimming specialist but it is possible to learn how to do it yourself. The hair should never be clipped because this ruins the coat for many years. Hairs sometimes grow in the corners of the eyes, causing irritation; these should be dealt with promptly
CHARACTER: Lively, cheerful, friendly, alert, dependent, and sharp-witted. 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.
TRAINING: Affenpinschers learn commands fairly quickly. Ensure consistency in the training but make sure there is ample variety in the drills so your dog will not become bored
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR: Affenpinschers get on well with children, and can also be fine with their own sort, and other household pets. If you have visitors who are not known to your dog, the Affenpinscher may refuse to let them in without a great deal of reassurance.
EXERCISE: This breed is happy if you take it for a quick trot around the corner three times a day. If you also play with it regularly, then its happiness is complete.