The affenpinscher /ˈæf.ənˌpɪn.tʃər/ is a terrier-like toy breed of dog.
The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. The name is derived from the German Affe (ape, monkey). The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature Schnauzer. Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600, but these were somewhat larger, about 12 to 13 inches, and came in colors of gray, fawn, black and tan, gray and tan, and also red. White feet and chest were also common. The breed was created to be a ratter, working to remove rodents from kitchens, granaries, and stables. Banana Joe V Tani Kazari (AKA Joe), a five-year-old Affenpinscher, was named Best in Show at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. This win is notable since it is the first time this breed has won Best in Show at Westminster.
Appearance An Affenpinscher generally weighs 6.5 to 13.2 pounds (2.9 to 6.0 kg) and stands 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) tall at the withers. It has a harsh rough coat when it is not clippered and if clippered it can be softer and fluffier. It has a notable monkey-like expression (Affe means monkey in German). Its coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders forming a mane, with shorter coat over the back and hind quarters. It is harsh and wiry in texture when properly maintained. The FCI and KC breed standards specifies that the coat must be black, but the AKC also allows grey, silver, red, black and tan, and belge (a mixture of red, brown, black and white hairs); other clubs have their own lists of acceptable colours, with black being the preference.
Temperament Affenpinschers have a distinct appearance that some associate with terriers. They are different from terriers, however, in that they are actually part of the pinscher-schnauzer of group 2 in the FCI classification and so often get along with other dogs and pets. They are active, adventurous, curious, and stubborn, but they are also fun-loving and playful. The breed is confident, lively, affectionate towards family members and is also very protective of them. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training since some can be quite difficult to housebreak. This type of dog easily becomes bored, so training should be varied. The affenpinscher has a terrier-like personality. Affenpinschers are somewhat territorial when it comes to their toys and food, so they are not recommended for homes with very small children. This dog is mostly quiet, but can become very excited if attacked or threatened, and shows no fear toward any aggressor.
Lifespan A small sample (N=21) of affenpinschers in a UK survey had a median lifespan of 11.4 years, which is a typical lifespan for a purebred dog, but a bit lower than most breeds of their size. The most common causes of death were old age (24%), urologic (19%), and "combinations" (14%). Some are prone to fractures, slipped stifle, pda, open fontanel and respiratory problems in hot weather. The affenpinscher is prone to hip dysplasia. As with many small breeds of dog, they are prone to collapsed trachea and luxating patella. Cataracts are occasionally reported. An emerging concern is syringomyelia, although the incidence is currently unknown.
Shedding Affenpinschers often appear on lists of dogs that allegedly do not shed (moult). However, every hair shaft in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle. Each shaft has a cycle of growing, then dying and being replaced by another shaft. When the hair shaft dies, the hair is shed. The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog. Frequent grooming reduces the amount of loose fur in the environment.