You may have heard the Affenpinscher referred to as the "monkey dog", but did you ever wonder how it earned this curious name? The truth lies not only in its appearance, but also in its actions. In this article, we'll take a look at how the little "monkey dog" earned its name.
The word "affen" in German actually means "monkey" in English, so it's clear that the Affenpinscher's monkey-like features have been obvious since the very beginning. Its dark eyes with black rims, short and narrow muzzle and black nose, and black lips with a prominent lower lip all culminate in an expression that many have remarked to be very similar to that of a monkey. But it isn't just the appearance that gives the overall monkey-like feeling. It has been said that Affenpinschers are unusually adept in using their paws. They tend to clutch their toys between their paws, not to mention that they enjoy tossing their toys in the air!
There are other indications that the Affenpinscher is monkey-like in more than just appearance. These are very energetic, curious creatures that want to know everything that's happening around them. They have a firm mind of their own and they're not afraid to let you know it! But the most surprising monkey-like feature of the Affenpinscher is its tendency to balance itself on its hind legs and walk around like an organ grinder's monkey! Not only that, but these little dogs will sometimes curl their tails beneath them and sit on their spines, with their hind legs extended!
Now let's move on the second part of the name. Today, "pinscher" is most commonly translated as "terrier", but originally it meant "biter" that is, a dog that works as a hunter of mice and rats. Very early in their history, these dogs were champion ratters, working mostly in barns or stores, but as mousers were needed in homes as well, the focus was on creating a smaller dog that would be suitable for living inside but would maintain their hunting skills. The earliest breeders worked with several different dog breeds to create the small dog with the large hunting instincts, and soon the dog we know today as the Affenpinscher was born.
While the Affenpinscher is a beloved member of the Toy category, it isn't too far removed from its working past. This tends to manifest itself today as a fierce sense of loyalty to its family, making it an excellent watchdog, but also it is common for these dogs to be suspicious of strangers. Luckily, the suspiciousness can be curtailed with good training when the dog is still a puppy.
Now you know how the Affenpinscher, or Monkey Biter, earned its name. Through clues about its personality, appearance and history, it's clear that these charming little dogs have certainly lived up to it!