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Breed Profile: Affenpinscher

It’s not often that a dog looks like it might have walked right out of a cartoon, but if any qualify for that description, it must be, hands down, the Affenpinscher. There’s nothing out there that looks quite like this little dog, and if you are looking for a unique breed to make part of your family, and you like toy breeds, this might well be the dog breed for you.

History of the Affenpinscher

Dogs that look something like the Affenpinscher can be found in European paintings dating back centuries, but there was no definite breed standard until 1936, which is actually fairly recent in dog breed standards.

Regardless of their relatively recent breed status, this little dog has been relatively well known in Europe for a while, and with its distinctive look, it’s no wonder its name translates directly from German as “monkey dog.” They might look like little monkeys, but they’re friendly, scrappy little souls, definitely worth considering!

General Physical Characteristics of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers share common ancestors with breeds like the Pug and Brussels Griffon, so it’s no big surprise that they share some common physical traits.

They’re a small dog, as one would expect in the toy class, weighing in at about 7 to 9lbs, and measuring between 9.5 and 11.5” tall. They have a short muzzle, usually with a slightly undershot jaw. Their skulls are domed, with a well-defined stop, and they have a level topline.

While most people who know the breed are most familiar with black coats, they do also come in grey, silver, red, beige, and black and tan. They are toy dogs, but they’re a little stockier than you would normally expect, and they tend to look more like working terriers than lapdogs.

Affenpinschers have coarse, wiry coats that tend to look messy most of the time, but actually only need combing a few times a week, so they’re relatively low maintenance on the grooming front!

Character and Temperament of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers look like little monkeys, and they tend to act the same way too. They’re energetic, busy and curious.  They can be stubborn, but they’re also very playful, and they love to play, run and jump. Some even climb!

Affies can be barkers, but, unlike many terriers, they fit in well with other pets, and they are definitely great family dogs. They do also benefit from outdoor adventures and short walks, but like many smaller breed dogs, they’re not that into long hikes or runs.

Lifespan of the Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers usually live between 12 and 14 years.

Common Health and Personality Concerns for Affenpinscher

In general, Affenpinschers are hardy, tough little dogs that don’t usually have any major health concerns. But like all dog breeds, there are a few conditions that might be a little more common in Affies. These include:

  1. Patellar luxation, which is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from time to time.
  2. Also, on the skeletal front, Affies may develop Legg Perthes disease, which causes the spontaneous degeneration of the head of the femur.
  3. Corneal ulcers, which is an ulcerative condition that affects deeper layers of the eyes, which can cause pain, tearing or discharge from the eye, and depending on the cause, may require corrective surgery.
  4. Patent ductus arteriosus, which is a birth defect affecting the heart.
  5. Like many short snouted dogs, Affies sometimes suffer from respiratory difficulties.
  6. Some Affenpinscher puppies may be diagnosed with open fontanelle, which is a condition where the skull doesn’t close as it should during puppyhood.

That might seem like a long list of potential problems, but the truth is, even in breeds where these conditions are considered common, they are still pretty rare, and if you purchase a Affenpinscher from a reputable breeder, you should be able to avoid most hereditary issues.

Affenpinschers are dogs for people who like big dogs in small dog bodies. They’re funny, friendly, and mischievous. Great with kids, and easy going to live with. Definitely worth a considering if you are looking for the right breed for your family!

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