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All Dog Breeds >>History of Affenpinscher

Taking its name from the German Affen and Pinscher, literally meaning “monkey terrier,” the Affenpinscher is among the oldest of the Toy breeds. Paintings from the 15th century depict dogs that resemble the Affenpinscher and that were most likely the breed's ancestors. The breed as we know it today, however, first took shape in early 17th century Germany. These dogs were a bit bigger than the Affenpinscher we see today, and were originally used to kill rats and other vermin in kitchens and stables. As time passed, the Affenpinscher became increasingly popular as a noblewoman’s lapdog and companion rather than a common working dog, and it was subsequently bred down in size. Further refinement came through crosses with the Silky Pinscher, the German Pinscher and the Pug.

The feisty little Affenpinscher went on to serve as the blueprint for several other toy breeds, including the Brussels Griffon, which would one day usurp the Affenpinscher’s comfortable position as an aristocratic lapdog. Since that time, the Affenpinscher has never regained its former popularity. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. To this day it remains very rare both in the United States and abroad

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The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. Its name is derived from the German Affe (ape, monkey). The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature Schnauzer. Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600 but these were somewhat larger, about 12 to 13 inches, and came in colors of gray, fawn, black and tan, gray and tan, and also red. White feet and chest were also common.

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