Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Affenpinscher
Average Cost to keep/care for a Affenpinscher
There is no mistaking the unique looks of an Affenpinscher because these little dogs have quite monkey-like faces. They boast being among the oldest of the Toy breeds around and their ancestry can be traced as far back as the 17th century. They were first bred in Germany, but today these little dogs have found their way to other parts of the world including here in the UK where they are typically kept as companion dogs. Apart from their adorable looks, Affens boast fun-loving, albeit "naughty" natures and they like to be kept busy adapting well to living in towns or a country environment. However, the Affenpinscher is the sort of character that likes to be a lapdog, but they also like being out and about doing things.
Affenpinschers are depicted in paintings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries which means they are one of the oldest toy breeds on the planet. They originate from Germany and translated their name means "mock terriers". These little dogs boast being the very first of the "monkey-faced" toy breeds to be developed and are responsible for the development of other breeds like the Griffon Bruxellois as well as the Griffon Belge. These extraordinary looking dogs were also used to create the Miniature Schnauzer. It is thought that at one time there were two sizes of Affens, but the larger of them no longer exists today.
These little dogs were originally bred to chase down vermin and proved themselves to be extremely good "ratters" and as such the breed soon became popular in Southern Germany during the 19th century. There are records of a 'Monkey Pinscher' dog being exhibited at dog shows in their native Germany and pretty soon well-heeled ladies of the day all had an Affen as their companion. One of the most famous ladies being Mrs Evelyn Walsh McLean, owner of the large Hope Diamond.
By the 1950's the Affenpischer became a popular choice outside of Germany, mainly in the UK and the US where the breed gained a large fan base. Although, Affens were bred to have all the usual "terrier" traits due to their small size they were mainly kept as companion dogs and are still as popular today with people the world over thanks to their unique monkey-like faces and disarmingly comical personalities.
Height at the withers: Males 23 – 30 cm, Females 23 – 30 cm
Average weight: Males 2.9 – 6.0 kg, Females 2.9 – 6.0 kg
The Affenpinscher is a sturdy little dog with a monkey-like face that boasts a rough and wiry coat. They may look small, but there is nothing fragile about an Affenpinscher. They are extremely confident and always full of self-importance. Their heads are quite small in relation to the rest of their body and they boast having a domed forehead with a wide brow and distinct stop. Their muzzles are short and blunt without being so much so that it causes breathing issues. They have prominent chins and their nostrils are nicely open.
Their eyes are very dark in colour, medium in size and round with dogs always having a sparkle in them. Ears are set high on their head and are small which dogs either hold upright or they can drop down too. The Affenpinscher has a slightly undershot jaw with a broader lower jaw, but their teeth never show when a dog's mouth is shut.
Their necks are straight and short with no sign of any wrinkling. Front legs are straight and close. Their backs are level and short with dogs boasting well sprung ribs and bellies that are slightly tucked up which adds to the breed's compact and sturdy appearance.
Their hindquarters are strong with a dog's back legs being nicely set under their bodies but never so much that it is exaggerated. Feet are round, compact and small with dogs having dark nails and pads. Their tails are set high which Affenpinschers carry well up with a slight curve in it.
When it comes to their coat, the Affenpinscher has a rough, short and dense coat that's harsh to the touch. The hair is slightly shaggier on certain parts of their body which includes their necks, shoulders and heads. The hair stands away from a dog's face which adds to their monkey-like looks. The accepted breed colour is black, but dogs are allowed to have grey shading in their coats too.
Affenpinschers are known to be real clowns with a bit of a mischievous side to their natures that adds to their overall appeal. With this said, for such small dogs they are extremely courageous which in short means there is a very large personality in a rather small body. With this said, they are the perfect lapdog and one that boasts being extraordinarily smart. It is said that Affens love two things in life, the first being given as much attention as possible and the second being their food.
They are intelligent, confident little dogs that boast all the usual "terrier" traits with an added cachet of self-importance. They are also known to be fearless which means they can get themselves into some difficult and dangerous situations by taking on much larger dogs. They are also known to be very wary of people they do not already know which is why it's essential for Affens to be well socialised from a young age to curb any sort of fiery and often quite aggressive behaviour towards strangers.
The Affenpinscher is also known to be quite "yappy", another behaviour that needs to be nipped in the bud when they are still puppies or it could lead excessive barking which can be a real issue for people who live in apartments. They do not like being left on their own for extended periods of time preferring human company because these little dogs can suffer from separation anxiety especially if they are not given enough exercise or mental stimulation on a daily basis. Rather than curl up in a cosy spot, an Affen will stand at the door or window waiting for an owner to return home.
Because the Affen is an intelligent little dog that likes nothing more than to please, they are generally easy to train. However, their training and education has to start when they are very young in order to curb some of their more annoying "terrier" traits which includes excessive barking and aggressive behaviour towards people they do not already know.
A puppy’s socialisation has to be start as soon as they are fully vaccinated and this should include introducing them to as many new situations, people, animals and other dogs as possible so they grow up to be more well-rounded and balanced adult dogs.
Affenpinschers are a great choice for families where the children in a household are older. They are not best choice if there are any toddlers or very young kids in the home. The reason being that Affens can be a little fiery at times and if they feel threatened or playtime gets too rough, they will retaliate by nipping a child. With this said, any interaction between an Affen and children should be well supervised at all times to make sure things stay nice and calm.
Care has to be taken when an Affenpinscher is around any small animals and pets and this includes cats because they are terriers and as such would see them as "fair game" with disastrous results.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of an Affenpinscher is between 11 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Affen although generally a healthy little dog, is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these lively monkey-faced dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Affens need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
An Affens coat is naturally quite scruffy looking being made up of shaggy, harsh hair which means they are quite low maintenance on the grooming front. With this said, a weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats shiny albeit tousled looking and their skin in good condition. It's also a good to have their coats handstripped two or three times a year which is best left up to a professional dog groomer.
Puppies need to be introduced to grooming tools from a young age so they get used to them and look forward to the one-to-one attention they are given when they are being pampered and brushed. They need to have their paws, ears and other parts of their body touched on a regular basis so that when it comes to trimming their nails and checking a dog's ears, it is not a stressful experience for them to have to cope with.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Affenpinschers like to be kept busy and love being out and about exploring their environment. With this said, if the weather is bad, these little dogs are quite happy being given a short walk. Ideally, they need anything from 20 to 40 minutes exercise a day and this has to include lots of mental stimulation throughout the day so that boredom does not set in which could lead to an Affen developing some destructive behaviours around the home. This includes excessive barking and tearing up the place.
Puppies should not be allowed to jump up or down from furniture nor should then be allowed to go up and down stairs until they are at least 6 months old because it puts too much pressure on their growing joints and they might just end up breaking a bone.
If you get an Affen puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Some dogs are known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but it's important not to spoil them because it could lead to more problems feeding them later on. It's best to feed a mature Affen twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy an Affen, you would need to pay anything from £450 to over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Affenpinscher in northern England would be £21.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an Affen and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for an Affenpinscher would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Affen puppy.
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