"More about the Affenpinscher dog - Pros and cons of ownership
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"More about the Affenpinscher dog - Pros and cons of ownership

The little, lively Affenpinscher dog is a toy dog with a very distinctive and rather comical face. While they are undoubtedly small and do fall into the toy dog category, they have something of a reputation for being rather more robust and outgoing than most other small dog breeds, and have very inquisitive natures!

The breed has German origins, and a known history going back to at least the 17th century, longer even than other well-known German breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon, which both have Affenpinscher ancestry. The name originates from the German word for “ape” or monkey, and is thought to have been chosen due to the dog’s rather humanistic facial features!

While the breed has been popular across the world for a great many years, interest in the Affenpinscher as a pet dog has risen exponentially since the breed took the coveted Best in Show title at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York in 2013.

If you are considering owning an Affenpinscher, or have become interested in the breed, this article will highlight some of the main traits of this lively little dog, and look at the pros and cons of ownership of an Affenpinscher. Read on to learn more!

What does the Affenpinscher look like?

The little Affenpinscher can weight anything from 2.9-6kg, and stands up to 12” tall at the shoulder.

Their coats are rough and very wiry when full length, but rather fluffy when clipped off. The most common coat colour of the Affenpinscher is all black, and in some Kennel Clubs and breed registries, this is the only permitted colour. However, other permutations are also possible, including red, black and tan, grey, silver, or a mixture.

Their appearance, particularly their facial features, is very distinctive, and once you have seen one, you will easily be able to spot another! They are often classed as and associated with the terrier grouping, but in fact, they are part of the Pinscher-Schnauzer breed grouping, and do not display many of the typical terrier traits.

What is the breed’s health and longevity?

The average measured longevity of the Affenpinscher breed is 11.4 years, which is right in the middle of the age range for purebred dogs, but slightly lower than representatives of other breeds of a similar size and build.

The breed does have a genetic predisposition to some inherited health conditions, including hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, respiratory problems and fractures, due to their small, delicate bones.

What is their temperament like?

The breed is renowned for being very active and lively, as well as curious, into everything and keen to go adventuring! They can be prone to stubbornness, but are mainly simply playful, fun-loving and friendly little dogs. They are known for being very protective of their families and sometimes suspicious of strangers, and very affectionate towards the people that they love. They need plenty of stimulation and entertainment, and may easily become bored. Generally speaking, they will get on well with other pets including cats and dogs, providing that they are properly introduced and well socialised. They will hold their own against even much larger dogs with confidence, and will often be the dominant dog within a group.

They need firm, clear and consistent training, as they can be rather stubborn and single minded, and can be rather territorial with their food and other resources. Despite being fairly excitable, they are generally quiet, and not prone to barking all of the time for no reason.

The pros of owning an Affenpinscher

  • The Affenpinscher is small, somewhat portable and doesn’t need to have a huge home
  • They have a very distinctive and appealing appearance
  • They have more of a terrier personality than most other toy dogs, and are very outgoing
  • They are good watchdogs, and will soon let you know if someone is approaching the house!
  • While they need plenty of time to stretch their legs and go outside, they do not require multiple long walks each day

The cons of owning an Affenpinscher

  • Despite their big personalities, they are still rather fragile, and prone to fractures with rough handling
  • They can be suspicious and wary of strange people and dogs, and need lots of socialisation
  • They have a reputation for being stubborn and rather wilful
  • They can prove challenging to train, and may take longer than most breeds to get the hang of house training
  • The breed is currently very much in demand, with not a huge amount of available breeders, so you may have to wait some time or travel some distance to find one offered for sale
  • They need lots of attention and to be involved in every part of family life, and will soon become bored and destructive if their needs are not met
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