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Affenpinscher

Tags: toy, Small-sized, High energy level, Adaptable to apartment life, Challenging for first-time owners

Name a feisty little fella "monkey-like terrier" -- that’s what Affenpinscher means in German -- and you better be prepared for a nine-pound dose of attitude. (In France it's Diablotin Moustachu, which is "mustached little devil," so we won’t even go there.) We've been around Central Europe for hundreds of years -- probably sharing the gene pool with the Brussels Griffon. We were prized for killing rats and other vermin in stables and farms. Then they let us in the house to do the same with mice. Breeders kept making us even smaller (9 inches at the shoulders) until 1936 when the American Kennel Club let us in their Toy Group.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, loyal family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Courageous canine; knows how to bark
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn

Report card

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Less tolerant of small children
  • Novice owners might be challenged with this breed
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Spirited
  • Stubborn streak
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

First, understand that you're getting -- a terrier-type dog with all the energy and attitude that involves. My training and socialization needs to begin early -- and to be reinforced all along. Don’t expect monk-like silence; barking is my way of warning you about just about everything. I need brushing and combing -- maybe even daily -- or you’ll have a scruffy mop-with-attitude around the house. But here's the good news about that house: I can get all the exercise I need right around the house or apartment.

Watch for

Possible Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), hydrocephalus ("water" on the brain), conjunctivitis, and bone fractures.

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