Affenpinscher (Monkey dog)

Affenpinscher (monkey dog)The affenpinscher is an old breed, the origins of which can be traced back to the seventeenth century. The ancestry of the breed is obscure, but it is thought that there were originally two varieties, the larger form of which is now extinct.

The name ‘affenpinscher’ translates from the German as 'monkey terrier'; in the United States, the breed is known as the 'monkey dog '. The face of the affenpinscher is distinctly reminiscent of a primate, with relatively large eyes offset against prominent eyebrows.

Affenpinscher (monkey dog) walkingAlthough quite a small dog, the affenpinscher does not lack courage, nor is it especially delicate. The coat is relatively hard and wiry, with black being the preferred colour, but a range of other colours may be seen on occasions - even red.

Regular trimming will tend to create fur with a softer texture. It is not unusual for the lower jaw to be slightly longer than the upper, and this is not recognised as a fault for show purposes. The tail is carried high.

The affenpinscher is currently seen less often than the Brussels griffon, with which it shares its ancestry. First recognised by the American Kennel Club during 1936, the fortunes of the affenpinscher declined during the Second World War, when no new stock was available, but, since then, its popularity has grown again.

Affenpinscher (monkey dog)The breed’s profile increased significantly in 2013, when an affenpinscher called Banana Joe V Tami Kazari won the best in show award at the top Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the USA. The affenpinscher remains scarce in Britain, however, and was only accredited with championship status by the Kennel Club during 1980.

Relatively small in size today, standing 23-30cm (9-12in) at the shoulder, and weighing typically 3-3.5kg (7-8lb), affenpinschers have playful personalities, with lively natures. They are also quite bold dogs, in terms of their temperament, and deserve to be more popular, being suitable for both young and old owners alike.

It is worth checking that puppies are bred from parents screened for hip dysplasia. This can be a problem associated with the breed, but generally, affenpinschers prove to be healthy dogs, with an individual life expectancy of about 12 years on average.