Temperament: Playful and affectionate
Lifespan: Average 12 years
Recommended for: Young families, small dwellings
The Affenpinscher is a true toy terrier, having been developed in Germany about 300 years ago. The breed’s name derives from the German word ‘affen’, meaning ape and ’pinscher’, a term used to describe a dog. Although having been in Australia for nearly ten years, Affenpinschers are still quite rare here, with less than 50 in the country.
The Affenpinscher’s monkey-like face is flat, with round, dark eyes, a flat turned-up nose, small, alert ears, bristling eyebrows and bushy moustache. The teeth fit closely together and many of the breed actually have undershot jaws. Affenpinschers have short, compact, square bodies. They come in a range of colours including black, black and tan, and red and grey. Black is preferred.
Affenpinschers are intelligent, playful and affectionate towards people. Like other terriers, the breed is alert and fearless; to the point of having little road sense or sense size with other larger dogs. They can become protective of their owners and possessive towards the main care-giver.
Health and lifespan
Unlike other flat-faced breeds, Affenpinschers don’t suffer the same breathing difficulties. The main significant genetic problem are luxating patellas, a condition where the knee cap moves in and out of joint. Breeders have imported dogs that have been certified free of the condition in order to produce a sound breed. With so few of these dogs calling Australia home it is hard to make generalisations about how they are coping under Australian conditions. The large eyes may be prone to irritations if exposed to too many dry, windy days.
Affenpinschers, like other terriers, can have large appetites if allowed too much food. They don’t require large diets and breeders recommend a balanced diet including fresh meats, fish, cheese and dried food. It costs between $5-$8 a week to feed.
All puppies are born black but some change colour as they mature. An average litter is quite small; between two and four pups.
Their small litter size and low numbers in Australia have contributed to their high cost. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 each.
The Affenpinscher is excellent indoors. It’s only a small breed, is said to have little doggy odour and sheds little hair.
Space and exercise
Affenpinschers are suitable for small backyards. A daily walk is ideal, but given a large enough yard, the dog will exercise sufficiently at home.
Affenpinschers are excellent for families with children over the age of around seven years. Young children need to be aware enough not to poke or prod the dog. They are also ideal for active elderly people.
The coat needs a weekly brush and could be trimmed every few months to keep it tidy.
Affenpinschers are intelligent and easy to house train as long as they know who is boss. If spoilt, they can become little canine dictators in the home.
We filmed our story in Sydney with breeder Gish Lesh.