Breed Spotlight – Affenpinscher

Affectionately known in the U.S. as the “Wookie” or “Ewok” dog, the Affenpinscher’s origins are in Germany. He was bred to kill rats in German stables in the 1600’s. Eventually they made their way inside the home, where they were used to keep mice and rodents under control in the household.

The name Affenpinscher literally means “monkey dog” and they are confident and fearless far beyond what their small size would suggest. Many people say these willful dogs are not really trainable, as they own you, rather than the other way around!

The wiry coat of the Affenpinscher has been described as neat but shaggy and is considered hypoallergenic by some people. Even though they make great pets, because of their breed’s history as “ratters” they do not do well with other household pets that are rodents, such as gerbils, hamsters and ferrets but do get along well with other dogs. 

The breed is relatively rare, so if you are considering being owned by one of these charming little monkey dogs, you’ll likely spend some time on a breeder’s waiting list. Plus, the breed is not a good choice for families with young children, as they dislike being chased, hugged or squeezed. 

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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