What is an Affenpinscher?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

An Affenpinscher is a toy-sized dog with a wiry coat that is often described as terrier-like. In addition to being wiry, the coat of the Affenpinscher is also rather shaggy and has a naturally unkempt look to it. This kind of dog is sometimes referred to as a monkey dog because some people believe that dogs of this breed have a monkey-like face or a monkey-like expression. In fact, the word "affe" is German for the word monkey.

Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

Standards for the Affenpinscher coat vary among kennel clubs and canine organizations. Some clubs require that a dog have a black coat to be considered a true Affenpinscher, but others accept Affenpinschers with various other coat colors including beige, red, and grey. The Affenpinscher coat requires regular maintenance. Instead of having fur, these dogs have hair.

Because they have hair, these dogs do not shed in the same way that other dogs do, but they do release hairs from time to time, similar to they way in which humans do. This means that Affenpinscher owners may spend less time vacuuming up dog hair than they would with other breeds. This saved time, however, may be spent grooming the dog. Some sources indicate that at-home grooming routines should be completed two to three times per week in order to keep the dog's coat in good condition.

Common temperamental traits of the Affenpinscher include both beneficial characteristics and some that are less desirable. While these kinds of dogs can be affectionate, playful, and well-behaved with other pets, they can also be stubborn and hard to housebreak. As with most breeds of dogs, the Affenpinscher can be a wonderful family pet if it is properly trained and cared for. These are active, curious dogs who need a good deal of attention and should be presented with various activities as part of both fun and training.

People with small children may be wise to choose another breed of dog as the Affenpinscher can be territorial. This trait is especially common surrounding food and toys. If this kind of dog feels that its domain or possessions are being threatened, it may attack. As such, it does best with families who have children old enough to understand when to back off and give the dog its space. As this breed of dog enjoys spending time with its owners, they should be given plenty of attention and do well in families with multiple members.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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