As with any breed, it is important to socialize this breed as part of a well-rounded training program. The more contact that puppies and adult dogs have with other people, animals and places, the more accepting and less anxious they will be. Affenpinschers are naturally rather protective and possessive of their food and toys, so training them early to “give” without snapping or guarding is important, especially if there are children in the house.
Training sessions should always begin and end with some fun time for the owner and the dog. Playing, throwing or rolling a ball or just romping with the dog or puppy helps in getting rid of excess energy, and to assist with bonding.
The neck is well proportioned and slightly arched, blending into well-set shoulders. The top line is very straight and level, and the height at the withers or shoulders should be approximately the same as the length of the body, providing a square and sturdy appearance to the breed. The legs are well boned and not delicate looking, rather they are sturdy and developed. The feet are small and round, with thick pads and strong nails. The hindquarters are muscled, and slightly bent at the stifle. The tail is often docked at about one to two inches, and will be carried high. A natural tail is also acceptable and it will also be carried high, often curving up slightly over the back, especially while the dog is moving or at attention.
The coat of the Affenpinscher is dense and rather rough to the touch, and is between one and one and a half inches in length over the body. The hair on the face, chest and legs and stomach may be slightly longer with various lengths blending from one to the other. Overall the coat looks shaggy but neat, and there is little clipping or trimming required to keep these dogs looking tiptop. The coat may be a variety of colors including black, black and tan, silver, red or gray or belge (a mix of red, black and white hairs). Some variations in color including single white hairs are acceptable, as is a small white patch on the chest. Large white patches are not acceptable within the breed. Darker masks on the face and lighter hair color on the furnishings are acceptable.
A shaggy yet neat outer coat over a thicker, slightly wavy undercoat is the best way to describe the coat of the Affenpinscher. Somewhat rough to the touch, the coat of the Affenpinscher closely resembles that of most of the terrier breeds, although it is denser and slightly longer. The coat is longest on the chest, belly and legs as well as on the face and beard area.
The breed may also have a slightly darker mask on the face, and lighter coloration on the furnishings.
The Affenpinscher originated in Germany in the 1600′s. It was used traditionally as a vermin hunting dog on farms and even in houses in cities and towns. The exact origins and breed development of the Affenpinscher is largely unknown, but there is no doubt that it is part of the foundation stock of many other breeds, such as the Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. The original Affenpinscher was probably a slightly larger dog, and may have measured as much as 12-14 inches at the withers. It is likely that the demand for miniature or smaller breeds for vermin hunting and companion dogs in cities and towns led to the smaller dogs being favored over the larger members of the breed.
The Affenpinscher is affectionately known as the “mustached little devil” or “diablotin moustachu” in France. The actual name Affenpinscher comes from the German word “Affen” – which means monkey – and “Pinscher” which translates to terrier. Today the Affenpinscher is a relatively rare breed in most countries, but breeders are actively promoting this breed and it continues to have a loyal group of fanciers worldwide.
The Affenpinscher is a true people dog, and loves to be actively involved in what is going on in the family. Unlike many of the terrier breeds, the Affenpinscher is not as prone to independence, although they are excellent at problem solving and figuring things out. The Affenpinscher is playful at heart, and loves to find mischievous things to do to both amuse the family and keep themselves occupied.
They are highly intelligent dogs, that require firm and positive training methods to ensure that they don’t become dominant or too assertive. Although a small dog, the Affenpinscher is a loyal and protective dog that will bark very loudly when he or she feels threatened or thinks that the family or property needs protecting. They can be very fierce, even in the face of much larger dogs trying to come into their yard or territory. The Affenpinscher, like many of the terriers, is rather protective of food and possessions such as toys, bedding and even bones. They are a good family dog but do best with older children that understand the nature of the dog. Younger children can also be taught to interact well with the Affenpinscher, as long as they don’t start teasing the dog, and they understand the dog’s natural instinct to guard possessions.
The Affenpinscher will typically be a good companion dog for both other dogs and non-canine pets. Early socialization with other pets, including cats, is important in any breed and the Affenpinscher is no different. The more socialization that occurs with the breed as a puppy, the greater their acceptance of new people, animals and environments will be.
The Affenpinscher is very easy to train, but does require constant change in their routine to prevent boredom and non-compliance. The breed is very quick at learning complex tricks and routines, and they really love a challenge. The Affenpinscher does not do well when left alone for long periods of time, and should always be around people more than left alone.
The Affenpinscher is always ready to head out on a walk or an adventure. They are naturally good travelers, and usually do very well in vehicles. As with any dog, care needs to be taken in either extremely hot or cold temperatures, and they are recommended for indoor living.