10 Mar

The next breed to feature is the Affenpinscher, the breed that won best in show at the Westminster dog show.



This is a small dog but it is not short on personality. It is a smaller version of the working terrier, and although small, it is by no means delicate. They usually weigh between 4 and 4 kg (7-8 pounds) and reach between 10 and 15 inches in height.  Its body is fairly square in shape, with a moderately broad and deep chest. It has a very pronounced stop between the muzzle and the eyes. It has an undershot jaw which is broad enough for the teeth to be straight and even. It has black eyes which are round and prominent  though not protruding. The natural ears are small, covered in hair, and triangular in shape, folded over and held close to the head. In some countries they are docked so that they stand pointed. It’s coat is shaggy and wiring, usually black or dark grey. However other colors include a lighter grey, silver, red, or black and tan. The undercoat is slightly curly.


Health problems:

This is generally a very healthy breed with few health concerns. Some are prone to fractures or slipped stifle. Very infrequently, a heart condition called PDA and open fontanel, improper closing of the bones of the skull, can be found in the breed. Generally buying from a reputable breeder will ensure that any genetic disorders and major health problems are avoided.


There is no exact data of  when the breed began, but it is thought to have originated in Germany in the 1600’s, traditionally used for hunting vermin in a number of settings. 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 name is the German translation for “Monkey Terrier” , a nickname that comes from its monkey-like facial structure and expressions. The breed was probably larger in size initially as they worked as ratters on farms, but were bred to be smaller and become a house pet in the 18th and 19th centuries. That being said, it is still a hunter and makes a great watch dog, being very alert and vocal (but not for no reason). Today the Affenpinscher is primarily a companion dog and was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s studbook in 1936.


This is a true people dog, wanting to be active and involved with everything its owners do. They do have a somewhat terrier like personality, however they do not show the same levels of independence. They are intelligent and inquisitive, always getting up to mischief, however they can be stubborn. They require firm and positive training with an owner that is prepared to assert themselves as pack leader to avoid the dog becoming too dominant and assertive. Like most small dog breeds, they need a human that knows to treat them like a dog and not a cute human or toy to play with. Small dog syndrome could occur if they are not given consistency, boundaries and limitations. They need to know who is in charge, and it must not be them.  They are very easy to train and pick things up quickly, however they will get bored easily so they need a change of routine and lots of breaks between training sessions. Like many terrier breeds, they can be very territorial and will fiercely protect their property, whether that be the home, a toy, or a person. Whilst they can get on with children who are taught to interact with dogs appropriately, they generally do better with older children. Providing they receive early socialization, this is a breed that will usually do well with other dogs and other animals. They love being around people and so do not always do very well when being left alone for long periods of time, and so they should be around people more than they are alone.

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Living conditions:

As a small dog they can do well in an apartment. That being said, they are very active when indoors. Playing will take care of most of their exercise needs, but it does not fulfill their instincts to walk. Two short walks daily would be perfect for this little dog, enabling it to sniff and pick up its “pee mail”.  As always, it is important that this dog is made to walk beside or even behind its owner when on the lead and not in front. A dog that walks in front of its owner is a dog that thinks that it is in control.


This dogs naturally wiring and shaggy coat requires regular grooming to keep it tangle free, this usually means a brush every other day. A wire brush or good quality pin brush, as well as a wide tooth metal comb are usually all the supplies that are required. The coat should never be clipped because it ruins the coat, instead it needs to be plucked. Whilst it is possible to learn how to do this yourself, it is usually carried out by a groomer. Show dogs require further grooming and usually stripping. Sometimes hair is needed to be removed to prevent irritation to the eyes. This is a dog that sheds very little hair.

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Life expectancy:

10-12 years.


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