Affenpinschers were developed in Germany, where in the 16th and 17th centuries they were used to control the rodent population in kitchens, granaries, shops and stables. Over time, they were bred down in size and became equally welcomed as household companions, while still keeping mice and rats at bay. The ancestry of the Affenpinscher is not well-documented. Many fanciers speculate that German Pinschers were mated with imported Asian breeds to create the flat-faced Affen. Regardless of its own ancestry, the Affenpinscher was a significant contributor to the development of many other small, rough-coated European breeds, including the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. Affenpinschers almost disappeared during World War II. When the war ended, fanciers crossed the remaining German stock with the Griffon Bruxellois, which exaggerated the unique face that identifies the breed today.
The Pinscher Klub was founded in 1895 in Cologne. In 1907, the Bayerischer Schnauzer Klub was formed. In 1923, these two clubs merged and became the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub. The Affenpinscher was admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1936. For some reason, this breed has never enjoyed immense popularity. In 1998, only 87 Affenpinschers were registered in all of Great Britain, making this a rare breed. Today’s Affenpinscher excels in agility, rally and obedience disciplines, as well as in the conformation ring. He also is an excellent therapy dog. Mostly, however, the Affenpinscher is an affectionate companion and charming lap-warmer.
The average life span of an Affenpinscher is 11 to 14 years. Due to their small size they may be at an increased risk of suffering tracheal damage from incorrect use of collars and leashes. Supplements which support joint health, and walking this breed on a harness instead of a collar and leash, can help to lower this health risk. Other breed health concerns may include the following:
- Heart Problems: Disorders and diseases that affect the dog's heart
- Cataracts: Refers to any opacity of the lens of the eye. Dogs of either gender can develop cataracts
- Hip Dysplasia: Involves abnormal development and/or degeneration of the coxofemoral (hip) joint
- Hypothyroidism: a clinical syndrome caused by inadequate production and release of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
- Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation, commonly known as a “slipped knee cap,” occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
- Oligodontia (congenital absence of some teeth)
- portosystemic shunts
- sebaceous cysts
- Von Willebrand Disease: the most common hereditary blood-clotting disorder in domestic dogs.