Originally, the Affenpinscher was commonly known as monkey dog because that is what Affenpinscher means in German. Presumably, the breed was named this because of their apish looking face. They were bred to hunt rats so they were also known as ratters. The breed originated in Germany from different types of small terriers in the 17th and 18th century. They were so small and cuddly, women decided they would make good lapdogs and the Affenpinscher was soon bred to be smaller to make them a better size to be companion dogs. They are small dogs, only about 9 to 11 inches tall and they weigh about 9 pounds. Their fur is medium length and wiry, usually belge, tan, red, silver, gray, or black. It is not a very common dog now and is even considered to be rare. It is best not to have these dogs in a home with small children because they do not like to be squeezed or chased.
The Affenpinscher is a very unique breed of dog and they are still quite rare in the United States. When they originated in the 1600s, these dogs were bigger (12 to 13 inches) and were used to keep the rats and mice out of the stables. Early breeders crossed a different type of Schnauzer Ratting dog with the Affenpinscher for ratting but they were later crossed with Silky Pinschers, smooth haired German Pinschers, and Pugs in hopes of producing a smaller lap dog. This led to the Affenpinscher being the forebearer of other terriers such as the Miniature Schnauzer and Brussels Griffon. The first Affenpinschers were brought to the United States by Mrs. Bessie Mally who lived in Cicero, Illinois. The first of this breed to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) was from the first litter of Mrs. Mally’s dogs. This dog’s name was Nolli v Anwander and she was accepted into the (AKC) in 1936. The breed almost died out as World War II came to an end and the last litter was whelped in June of 1940. It was not until 10 years later that the Affenpinscher breed started to be built back up by importing dogs from Germany that were descendants from the same litter as Mrs. Mally’s dogs. According to the AKC, this breed is not as popular as most breeds. In fact, they rank 149th in breed popularity but with their confident and spunky personality, they seem to capture the heart of their owners right away.
The Affenpinscher is a small bundle of fur with a long-haired mane around their head that blends into the rest of the fur, which is only about 1 to 2 inches long. It is this longer hair with the beard, mustache, and eyebrows that give it the appearance of a monkey. They are small and sturdy, only about 9 to 11 inches tall, with a square body, short legs, and a medium bone structure. The ears are cropped to make them pointed, they are erect and set high. The curved tail is set high and if docked, it is about 1 to 2 inches long. The muzzle is short and narrow with a blunt nose and a slightly undershot bite. The Affenpinscher has small round feet with black nails and paw pads. Their eyes are brilliantly dark with black rims, perfectly round and medium-shaped. The colors range from tan, red, silver, gray, and black. The red can have tints of brown or orange. A black coat can have white and silver hairs mixed into it or a rusty cast to it.
The Affenpinscher needs to be brushed a couple of times per week with a soft bristle brush and metal comb to keep her coat smooth. Starting at the sides, brush in a downward motion and work up the sides to the back, down the legs, and then the tail. Pay special attention to the beard and whiskers and carefully comb the cheeks with the metal comb. The hair on top of the head should be brushed forward towards the nose. Use your fingers rather than the comb to separate the mats if you find any. They do not need to be trimmed often; twice a year is sufficient. However, it is best to trim the bangs as soon as they get long and need to either be trimmed or held up with a barrette or clip to keep it out of the eyes. Their nails need to be trimmed often to prevent cracking and overgrowth. At this time, you should also check their ears for wax or dirt and clean them as recommended. Tooth brushing should also be done on a regular basis. As a small breed, they can be kept in an apartment and get all their exercise needs taken care of indoors. But, they do like to take walks once in awhile. Your Affenpinscher needs a high-quality dog food appropriate for her size and age.