What Is an Affenpinscher?

Learn all about the Affenpinscher – the monkey-like terrier dog that can amuse you for hours!

By Jerome Cushman and Jo Ann White | May 23, 2012

The German Affenpinscher is a clever, sturdy little dog who loves to frolic with his master in almost any kind of environment. The Affenpinscher adapts well to a variety of living arrangements, from small city apartments to lavish homes with acres of land in which to romp.

The Affenpinscher is a toy breed ranging in height from 9 to 12 inches at the shoulder, ideally 10.25 inches. In North America the colors of the Affenpinscher coat include black, black and tan, gray, red, wild boar or belge, and all of these colors may have various shadings from light tan to dark red. The lighter-colored Affenpinschers may have black or dark gray masks. Generally, there are more black Affenpinschers than any other color. These black Affenpinschers often develop mixtures of white, reddish brown or gray hairs in their adult coats. Large or small, black or red, the Affenpinscher is a distinct and delightful breed.

The original function of the Affenpinscher was that of a rodent killer in the kitchens, barns, stables and granaries. Some report that the Affenpinscher was used to flush out small game, also.

Over the past three centuries the Affenpinscher has become a loved family companion who is willing to be dressed up in doll clothes by young children and pushed around in a baby carriage. But the Affenpinscher is also willing to roughhouse in the yard or go chasing a ball. This dog breed’s flexible front quarters allow this playful dog to quickly pivot, scoop up a ball and literally toss it toward his master. Going for long walks or sitting on the sofa watching TV with the family, the Affenpinscher adapts and thrives with all kinds of human interaction. However, children under four years old or older children who do not respect the dog’s need for space and quiet time should not have an Affenpinscher. As with any small dog, uncontrolled little people can appear to be the enemy. Extra care should be taken to introduce an Affenpinscher puppy into a family with young children.

The word Affen, in the German language, means to ape or to mock. From this it came to mean monkey-like behavior or appearance. Therefore, the name Affenpinscher is often translated as "monkey terrier.” Interestingly, both the Affenpinscher’s looks and actions are reflected in this name.

The viewer quickly gets a decidedly "simian” impression from this dog’s scruffy whiskers and eyebrows, which frame the full, dark and intense eyes. This image is reinforced by an Affenpinscher’s willingness to walk or hop on his hind legs and bat the air with his front paws in a comical dance. The inquisitive tilting head and the devilish stare, followed by a sudden dashing off in a playful gallop, can’t help but bring a smile to an observer’s face. Because of the penetrating stare and these mischievous antics, the Affenpinscher is called the "Diablotin Moustachu” or the "mustached little devil” in France. The distinctive round head with full, dark eyes, short muzzle, slightly undershot lower teeth, pouting mouth and hard shaggy coat are important characteristics for the typical "monkey-like terrier.”

 

Excerpt from Affenpinscher, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Affenpinscher here.

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