Breed of the week: Affenpinscher 

Welcome to today’s short form podcast, I’m your host Nicole Forto and today we are diving into our breed of the week, the Affenpinscher. The Affenpinscher is known for its monkey-like face, loyal personality, and curious nature. Affen’s are known and recognized for their face similarities to apes. Often sought after by Star Wars fans as they look like a living Ewok or a baby wookie.

Affen’s are not the easiest of breeds to train as they often are very willful, manipulative, and over confident in their own decision making whether you gave them direction or not. Additionally they are often so entertaining to look at that owners forget that they still require some training. 

The word affenpinscher derives from the German word ‘affe’ meaning ape or monkey. Affenpinschers have been referred to as a ‘Monkey Terrier’ even though they are within the pinscher family and not terriers. In France, referred to as the “Diablotin Moustanchu” or translated to the mustached devil. The origins of this breed are unknown but can be found in depictions of dogs as carriage or stable dogs. Prior to the nineteenth century these dogs were seen as rough or smooth haired small dogs utilized as ratters.

In 1895 Affen’s were beginning to be described as Pinschers all classified together until the formation of the Pinscher-Schnauzer club where both smooth and rough coated Pinschers were recognized. Early breeders mixed various schnauzers and pinschers with the goal to create a well rounded companion and mouse hunting canine. The original Affenpinscher is a combination of German pinschers, schnauzers, and silky pinschers. 

This breed predates the standard schnauzer and has lineage links to the Brussels Griffon type dogs. The Affenpinscher was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.

According to judging guidelines for the show-ring competitions with the AKC, the affen’s are a wiry-haired terrier-like dog with exceeding intelligence and their appearance being the forefront of importance for competitions. Affenpinschers are a great loyal breed, they are described as inquisitive affectionate friends with a usually quiet demeanor but are absolutely fearless to any threats. 

Affenpinschers are sturdy compact dogs with a medium bone structure.

Ranging in height from nine to twelve inches from paw to shoulder with the length of their body being almost the exact same as their height giving them a square shape. Their ears are seen cropped into a direct point or kept natural but trained to still stand erect. A key physical trait in the Affenpinscher is their slight underbite that is looked for and desired in show ring settings, an overbite is a disqualification.

Affen’s have a dense harsh coarse coat that resembles wire hair of terriers and grows around the face in a backwards curved shape giving them their monkey like appearance. The most popular color is solid black. Affen’s however, can come in black, gray, silver, red, and black and tan. 

A big attraction in small breeds like this, is that they are an ideal size for apartments. While Affen’s can handle close quarters they are deemed as a moderately active dog, meaning they still need a fair amount of exercise whether that’s play or a nice walk. It’s suggested to do at least a foundation of basic obedience as Affenpinschers have a highly independent mind and, left to their own devices, can make choices that aren’t ideal.

Working with them in some form of training helps them to build a stronger bond with you and slip more easily into their pack drive and the role to follow your lead based on mutual respect and understanding. 

Affenpinschers are a ratting breed, and are still trained and utilized today around barns and stables to help with rodent problems. That inherited instinct makes them great at dog sports like agility, scent work, barn hunt, and herding trials. They also are seen competing in basic obedience, rally, and some flyball type sports due to their speed and agility.

If you are going to get an Affenpinscher be ready for an extremely loyal spunky dog that will require a commitment to at least one to two hours a day of exercise and activity. Do you have an Affenpinscher? Let us know on any of our socials and share their photos, for me personally I have only seen these dogs in dog shows as they are not a hugely popular breed.

For Dog Works Radio we hope you are enjoying these deep dives into dog breeds, if you’re dying for us to cover your favorite breed or a breed you’ve never heard of let us know! I’m Nicole and I’ll catch you guys in the next episode.