Dog Breeds

Affenpinscher Dog Breed

Affenpinscher Dog Breed


In this dog’s native land of Germany, Affen means monkey. He gets the monkey label from his chin tuft and mustache, and his expression. Indeed in France he sometimes is called the Diab- lotin Moustachu, or mustached little devil. Some experts be-lieve he has been bred from other small German wirehaired dogs.

He has much of the terrier spirit. The Affenpinscher has a round head, not too heavy, with a well-domed forehead, which is covered with long coarse, tangled hair. The coat is very important. It is hard and wiry, looser and shaggier on the eyes, nose, and chin, giving a typical monkey appearance.

The best color is black, matching his eyes, but black with tan, red, and gray markings or other mixtures are allowed. The straight back is about equal in length to the height at the shoulder. The Affen is a small dog, the smaller the better.

Lively around the house and intelligent, he is easy to teach although somewhat hard to housebreak. Gentle and affectionate, he is a good little watchdog and will bark if anyone approaches the house. Despite his coat, he feels the cold. Some grooming and pluck- 118 ing is required.

Height: 12 inches (27 cm) maximum; weight: 7-8 pounds (3 kg).

And that’s only a starter. Nondescripts still have the call, to the tune of better than five to one probably ten to one would be more nearly correct. In New York City alone, a place peculiarly un~ suited to the extensive ownership of dogs, the canine population tops 300,000; and a rockbottom estimate for the whole country gives us the almost unbelievable total of 18,000,000 dogs of all races, colors and conditions of servitude.

That sort of popularity is never achieved by mere chance. Yet most dogs do no real work, as horses used to do, and apparently serve no useful purpose, like cattle, sheep and hogs. How account for the high position a dog holds? Evidently he has something very definite and unusual to sell, and I think I know what it is. To the best of my knowledge and belief he is the only animal that instinctively prefers the society of human beings to that of his own kind; and, if the Bible is to be trusted, we all love those who love us.

This inborn affinity for man was originally, in all probability, a latent characteristic, but so strong that it required only a few generations of domestication to bring it out. For the earliest carvings show that prehistoric dogs possessed it. Nowadays it is highly developed, as anyone who has ever raised a litter of puppies will testify. Tiny toddlers, less than ten days old, and before their eyes are open, not only have no fear of human beings; they will leave their mother and the nice warm dinner she is providing to go to them.

Contrast this with the behavior of a newborn calf, left hidden in a brushy pasture by its dam. At your approach it instantly takes advantage of the protective undergrowth in which it lies, crouching close to the ground, remaining absolutely motionless and watching you with big, frightened eyes. When it realizes you have discovered its hiding place it leaps to its feet in terror and dashes away through the birches and alders exactly as a wild fawn will do, showing surprising speed for such a baby. Thousands of years of domesticated ancestry have not overcome its instinctive fear of man.


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