by Elizabeth Prater
The Affenpinscher is an interesting dog. And I’m not just talking about its name! The name is a totally different story. In German, it translates to “monkey terrier”. That’s because it is said to have a monkey-face due to an exceedingly short muzzle and a protruding jaw and lower lip. In France, these dogs are called “mustache little devils” since they are very difficult to house-train. They are very stubborn and need consistent, early training. They are best trained with positive reinforcement and praise. Because of this, it’s possible that they can make great therapy dogs. Crate training works best with this breed. These pets are not recommended to live in households with small children because they are not afraid to bite if annoyed. However, they do typically get along with other dogs and cats in the family.
The Affenpinscher was initially developed and bred in Munich. In 17th century Germany, Affenpinschers were used to catch rats in homes, stables, shops, or mills. They were then fully developed and recognized in 1913 when American Kennel Club then took over the breeding. However, World War II interrupted the breeding of the Affenpinscher in the U.S. The breed wasn’t revived until the 1950s. It now ranks 125th among the breeds in the American Kennel Club. The breeds that go into the Affenpinscher are believed to be the pug, the silky pincher, the smooth-hair German pinscher, and a few others. Over time, the Affenpinscher was bred down in size and became more of a “purse dog”. Breeding these dogs for appearance started in the 19th century.
This breed sheds less due to its wiry hair, so it is great for people with allergies. Its coat color can range from black, silver, gray, black and tan, and red, which can change from a brownish tint to more of an orange tint. They need to be combed with a durable metal comb. However, the Affenpinscher is hard to access since it is a rare breed. It needs early socialization so that it will grow to be a well-rounded dog. By training this breed and introducing it to other dogs when they are in the puppy stage, the dog hopefully learn to bypass its natural stubborn instincts and behave in a way that pleases its owner.
Affenpinschers are one of the oldest toy breeds. They can be fun and very entertaining. They can stand on their hind-legs just for fun! In fact, Renoir included this breed of dog in his piece “Luncheon of the Boating Party,” one of his most festive paintings.
While researching this breed, I discovered an interesting rumor. Evelyn Walsh McLean was one of the first breeders of the Affenpinscher. I researched more about it and, according to National Museums Northern Ireland, there was a myth that the fabulous Hope Diamond was on Titanic when it sunk. However, this was false.
This blue diamond, notoriously known for its supposed curse, was within care of Mrs. Evelyn McLean. She was not on the Titanic, and did not endure the terrible fate that belonged to many people that very day. She even thought that the diamond would bring her luck, despite its rumours. The stone seems to have done just the opposite. Her daughter committed suicide at only 25 years old, her husband was declared insane and died in a mental institution in 1941, and her son died in a car crash when he was only nine years old. The diamond was sold to repay debts when Evelyn died in 1947. However, it is said that she attached the Hope Diamond to the collars of her dogs, which were Affenpinschers. Thankfully, nothing drastic happened to them.
These dogs are typically 7-10 pounds and range from 9 to 11 inches tall. It is recommended to groom them twice a week, and they are quite content with indoor exercise. Affenpinschers don’t need a lot of food due to their small size. They only need ¼ to ½ cups of dry dog food, divided into two meals per day. In general, it’s extremely important to make sure that any dog eats well in accordance to its weight. Malnutrition is a catalyst for hip dysplasia (assuming that the dog did not inherit it from their parents). Many dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, so it is very important to know and record how much food the dogs eats in order to avoid this terrible health issue. Hip dysplasia will lead to unbearable arthritis that will make it hard for the pet to walk.
One particularly common disease that runs in small dogs is the Legg-Perthes Disease, which is a deformity of the ball of the hip joint. This can appear at age 6 to 9 months and can lead to arteritis down the road. However, this can be repaired surgically. Another issue that is common is heart murmur, which is the disturbance of blood flow in the heart. It needs to be monitored and treated. Health clearances are recommended before adopting an Affenpinscher in order to avoid all of these issues.
Owning an Affenpinscher for ten years can lead up to $13,000 in vet bills, food, and other expenses. If you pay for training classes and spoil your pet, the prices can range even higher. Before adoption, make sure that you can afford this. As the owner, care of your pet and provide the best possible living space and community so that it will be safe, healthy, and happy.
Affenpinschers have a long lineage and history, but overall, they are pretty average dogs that just want a loving home. If you dedicate the beginning of their life to bringing them up in an obedient household, you will find it easier than when they are older and costs will be reduced. This breed is also very fun to be around, so if you ever need a little more happiness in your life, you should definitely look into the funny-looking Affenpinschers. Despite the rumors and stories, any dog can make a compatible best friend as long as you put their best interest at heart.