The affenpinscher is square-proportioned, compact and sturdy, with medium bone. It is a smaller version of a working terrier, and as such is not a delicate dog. This is an active, tough dog that is agile enough to catch and dispatch rats and mice. Its gait is light, sound and confident. The affenpinscher has a monkeylike facial expression with long eyebrows and beard, which lends it an air of comic seriousness. This breed's rough coat is about 1 inch long on its body and somewhat longer on its head, neck, chest, stomach and legs. The coat type provided protection from vermin and harsh conditions.
The affenpinscher lives up to its name — "monkey terrier" — in both looks and actions. A terrier at heart, it is busy, inquisitive, bold and stubborn, but it also loves to monkey around, being playful and mischievous. It tends to bark and even climb. Unlike most terriers, it is fairly good with other dogs and pets. This little dog is best with a family that likes entertainment and has a very good sense of humor.
The affenpinscher's name describes it well: affen, meaning "monkey," and pinscher, meaning "terrier." In France the affenpinscher is known as the diablotin moustachu — "moustached little devil" — which also aptly describes it! As one of the oldest toy breeds, the affenpinscher's origins are obscure. Paintings by the old Dutch masters from the 15th century often included dogs resembling affenpinschers, but more definite evidence of the breed is absent. Small terriers adept at dispatching rats were abundant in central Europe by the 17th century. In Germany, they were used to rid stables and kitchens of rodents. Even smaller versions of these dogs were preferred for ladies' lap dogs, as they were able to kill mice in the home, warm their mistress' laps and amuse entire households with their antics. This small version eventually became the affenpinscher, which was later refined by occasional crosses with the pug, German pinscher and German silky pinscher. The affenpinscher in turn became the progenitor of other wire-coated toys, most notably the Brussels griffon. The breed was most popular in Germany, which can lay claim as its homeland. In 1936 the AKC recognized the affenpinscher, but World War II slowed any momentum in popularity the breed had gained. Since then, the breed has remained extremely rare even in America and Germany, its comparative strongholds.
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