The Affenpinscher, also known as the “Monkey Dog” (“affen” means “ape/monkey” in German, and “pinscher” means “terrier”), is small but feisty, full of spunk and energy. This mustachioed little devil is descended from the numerous small terriers that populated 17th and 18th century stables and shops throughout Europe, ridding them of rats and mice.
Some of the intelligent, wiry-haired dogs must have caught the eye of ladies, because eventually they were bred to be smaller, the better to be a companion dog. Today the Affen is a rare breed, but he came to public notice in 2002 when Ch Yarrow’s Super Nova won the Toy Group in 2002 at the nationally televised Westminster Kennel Club Show.
This breed combines clownlike charm with a bold nature, and his creative thought process never ceases to astound and entertain his people. He learns quickly and adjusts readily to change, so he’s a good traveler who’s always ready for a new adventure. People who live with Affens admire their sensitivity and gentleness but warn that they are the quintessential big dog in a small body.
Sturdy, smart, and alert, the Affenpinscher is an excellent watchdog who fears nothing. He’s not normally loud, but he is excitable. Once he’s on alert, it takes a while for him to calm down. He takes seriously his duty to guard home, family, and territory, and won’t hesitate to alert the entire neighborhood that someone is approaching the front door. Frequent socialization with other people and animals is a must for the Affenpinscher to grow up to be a balanced adult. Without it, he’ll never live up to his potential.
The Affenpinscher has a mind of his own and is often labeled as stubborn. He needs early and consistent training. Fortunately, he’s eager to learn and to please his people when he’s taught with positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards. He can compete in obedience and agility, and his entertainment ability makes him a wonderful therapy dog. Who wouldn’t laugh to see him walking on his hind legs or waggling his eyebrows in a canine impersonation of Groucho Marx?
While Affenpinschers are known for making their people laugh, they are not the best breed for a household full of children in spite of their antics. They aren’t known to particularly like children, and they won’t hesitate to bite if provoked.
The Affen is a character, and that’s part of his appeal. Consider him if you’re interested in a small dog who enjoys seeing the sights, is an excellent watchdog, and will always make you laugh.