7 Things To Know Before Getting An Affenpinscher
Toy dog breeds are quite a controversial subject. They have lots of benefits – they are adorable, compact, and easy to take care of. At the same time, their breeding is often very unethical and most toy breeds are incredibly sickly animals, with many having to live their lives with constant chronic diseases. What if there was a relatively healthy, old, and adequately bred toy dog breed, however? Enter the Affenpinscher!
What are the key characteristics that make Affenpinscher special?
Classified as a toy breed, the Affenpinscher is actually a former scent hound breed. These German/French dogs were specifically bred to be smaller in size not cause it’s cute but so that they could more easily hunt rats.
That’s right, these adorable little furballs are actually as much vicious predators as their larger brethren!
Of course, today the Affenpinscher is counted as a toy breed as it’s no longer used as a rat hunter. However, as an older toy breed, the Affenpinscher is both healthier than most other newer toy dog breeds and it’s actually been used to develop some newer breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon.
Small, compact, playful, and social, this is definitely a special dog. What exactly do you need to know about the Affenpinscher before you get such a pup, however?
The 7 things you should know before getting an Affenpinscher
1. This is a highly intelligent and inquisitive breed that loves to explore and learn new tricks
Like most scent hounds, which is what this toy breed used to be, the Affenpinscher is a very intelligent and curious dog. With a keen sense of smell and an irresistible urge to follow their noses, Affenpinschers love to explore, investigate, and experiment with new toys, tricks, and environments.
As with most other intelligent dog breeds, however, Affenpinschers don’t just love brain teasers – they need them.
What does this mean, exactly?
It means that you need to give your Affenpinscher plenty of mental stimulation to keep the dog happy, healthy, and calm. Intelligent breeds like the Affenpinscher are very prone to boredom, anxiety, disobedience, depression, and even destructive behaviors.
Simply put, if you ignore your Affenpinscher’s needs, he will start ignoring your commands and authority.
Fortunately, the solution here is simple – just give your pup lots of attention, playtime, company, and toys. If you have to go outside for prolonged periods of time, you can do any of the following:
- Leave other family members at home with your Affenpinscher
- Hire a dog sitter/walker
- Shower your Affenpinscher with attention and playtime before and after you go to work so the dog can just calmly rest while you’re away
- Get lots of toys and puzzles for your Affenpinscher to play with when alone
- Get a second dog so the two can keep each other company!
2. Affenpinschers have very manageable exercise needs and don’t need a yard
Affenpinschers are very energetic and playful for their size but that size is fortunately quite small – just ~9 pounds (4 kg) weight and ~10 inches (25 cm) height. So, as energetic as they may be, Affenpinschers don’t really require that much exercise.
So, no need for too much time outdoors?
An Affenpinscher can easily satisfy all his exercise needs indoors. Of course, you can/should still go out for walks, bathroom breaks, and for fun. However, if you’ve trained your Affenpinscher to go to his doggy toilet in the bathroom you can easily stay home when the weather outside is unsuitable for a walk.
3. While intelligent, the Affenpinscher can be stubborn, single-minded, and difficult to train
Another way in which the Affenpinscher is similar to other scent hounds is his stubbornness. This is actually a feature of the more intelligent hound breeds – they are intelligent to the point of being self-driven. And since, as a hound, the Affenpinscher is quite single-minded, training (and especially house training) this breed can be challenging.
Is it really that bad?
Well, it’s better to have a 9-pound dog that’s difficult to train than a 150-pound dog that’s difficult to train. The worst you can expect from an Affenpinscher is to be a bit stubborn when it comes to house training. With a bit of patience and consistency, however, you can still teach an Affenpinscher to behave the way you want him to.
4. This breed has some noteworthy grooming requirements but is generally easy to take care of
Affenpinschers are quite the furry little balls. In, fact, that’s very much their signature trait – their name literally means “Monkey Terrier” in German because their fur and silly protruding lower jaws make them look like monkeys.
Is this fur difficult to groom, however?
There are just a few simple things you should remember doing to keep your Affenpinscher’s coat pretty and his skin protected from irritations:
- Brush your Affenpinscher’s hair extensively twice a week.
- Trim your pup’s coat twice a year.
- Clip your Affenpinscher’s nails regularly, especially if you don’t go out often enough.
- Brush your dog’s teeth once or twice a week as Affenpinschers are very prone to developing dental issues. Get some chewable toys to alleviate this problem too.
- Check your dog’s ears for dirt and clean them with wet cotton from time to time.
5. Affenpinschers are incredibly social animals that need company 24/7
While hound breeds aren’t typically as social as shepherds and retrievers, the Affenpinscher is an incredibly social and loving animal. This breed requires near-constant human presence, frequent cuddles and pets, and lots of love.
This makes the Affenpinscher a fantastic choice for families with children and for people who spend a lot of time at home. Just remember that the Affenpinscher is a very small and fragile breed so your kids should know to be careful not to hurt the little pup.
6. The Affenpinscher is moderately healthy which is actually much better than most other toy breeds
One of the biggest selling points of the Affenpinscher over other toy breeds is that it’s quite healthy. As the breed was developed centuries ago by just selecting for smaller scent hounds, its breeding program is fairly ethical and hasn’t resulted in too many genetic and health issues.
There are still some things to keep an eye on, of course. The most common problems to be aware of include:
- Dental problems
- Thyroid/hormonal issues
- Open fontanels (soft or open skull spots)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (a common heart disease)
- Luxated patellas (displaced knees or slipped knee cap)
- Eye irritations due to ingrown facial hair
- Fractures due to their small size and fragile nature
To avoid most hereditary issues you should always get your pup from reputable breeders and with a health certificate. Asking to see the pup’s parents is also a good idea.
If you want to get your Affenpinscher from a shelter or a rescue you should still ask for a health certificate and a routine vet check-up.
The rest is just a matter of maintenance – keep an eye for some common symptoms, go to the vet twice a year, and take a good care of your Affenpinscher in the meantime.
7. This toy breed is very sensitive to warm temperatures and may have trouble breathing during the hottest summer days
Last but not least, the Affenpinscher falls in the Brachycephalic dog category.
Brachycephalic dogs are those breeds that have shorter snouts. While cute, this is a health issue because their breathing channels are restricted. This means that they can hyperventilate and have general breathing problems under stress or in hot temperatures.
So, especially in the summer, be very careful with your Affenpinscher!
Who are Affenpinschers “right” for?
These playful and gentle furballs are perfect for apartment-dwellers and for people who love to spend lots of time at home. The Affenpinschers don’t really need lots of time outdoors so you don’t need a yard or prolonged daily visits to the dog park.
Lovable and social, Affenpinschers are great with kids and other pets too after a bit of socialization but keep in mind that a careless child can easily hurt this fragile pup.
How to prepare for getting an Affenpinscher?
Prepping for an Affenpinscher really isn’t that complicated. As long as you’ve got a healthy puppy from an adequate breeder, the rest is just a matter of knowing how to raise and keep a dog safe, happy, and healthy.
Probably the biggest challenge with Affenpinschers is house training them. If you have experience with other dogs this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if this is your first stubborn furball, you might want to read up on doggy house training first. It takes a fair bit of patience, time, and consistency, but if you know what you’re doing, you’ll have a smart, well-trained, obedient, and loving pup very soon!