Affenpinscher - Breed and Grooming Tips

The Affenpinscher’s apish look has been described many ways. They’ve been called “monkey dogs” and “ape terriers.” The French say “diablotin moustachu” (mustached little devil), and "Star Wars" fans argue whether they look more like Wookies or Ewoks. But Affens are more than just a pretty face. Though standing less than a foot tall, these sturdy terrier-like dogs approach life with great confidence. As with all great comedians, it’s their apparent seriousness of purpose that makes Affen antics all the more amusing.

Right breed for you?

“This isn’t a breed you train,” Banana Joe’s handler says, “He’s like a human. You befriend him.” This is a great insight into the breed’s complex character—but basic training and socialization are required for all dogs, even these little humanoids. Well-trained Affens have succeeded in agility, obedience, and therapy work. They can be willful and domineering, but mostly Affens are deeply loyal, affectionate, and always entertaining. Affen people tell us they love being owned by their monkey dogs.

Source: American Kennel Club


Whether your Affenpinscher is hand stripped and on a proper coat rotation or in a pet trim wielding the artful use of clippers and thinning shears, Affenpinschers benefit from regular grooming rather than allowing them to regress to a state of scraggly disarray.  If  you are hand strippin, it is done before the furnishings are bathed then touched up afterward.  The coat is hand stripped and carded systematically to reach optimal results.  If you are artfully clippering the coat, card the coat to remove dead coat and stimulate surface circulation to encourage new, fresh coat growth. If you are stripping the coat, frequent brushing and rubbing the jacket down with a towel to remove dirt and excessive oils makes regular bathing of the jacket unnecessary. When the jacket needs to be bathed, be sure bathe in the direction the coat grows and the direction you are pulling the coat.  The same goes for rinsing.  It is always a good idea to cool the water temperature down to ensure there is no residue remaining. Dry the coat in the same direction as well using a soft bristle brush on the jacket rather than a pin brush. The leg furnishings and facial furnishings should be bathed frequently depending on the Affenpinscher’s lifestyle.

Recommended Products:

Hypo Allergenic Shampoo:  A tearless shampoo for sensitive skin chock full of Aloe, Coconut, and Vitamins A, D, and E. Naturally cleans and conditions without the worry of any harsh ingredients.

Flea & Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Luxury Remoisturizer:  Leave the harsh coat texture intact, while conditioning the face and leg furnishings. This moisturizer hydrates the coat locking in moisture, while improving elasticity in the coat to make it stronger.

Dead Sea Mineral Mud Bath:  This product is used to recondition the skin and repair the coat.  Great for dogs with clipped jackets.  The mud bath helps to clean the skin and coat while simultaneously redistributing healthy oils naturally.

Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming

This “monkey like” dog should be groomed on a regular schedule.  In order to keep the harsh texture and vibrant color, the coat is maintained by hand stripping. It is necessary for a dog to be hand stripped to enter the show ring.  A pet trim follows the same pattern and outline, but the coat is clipped rather than hand stripped. The pattern is based on basic bone and muscle structure with the coat being approximately one inch in length on most of the dog. Minor trimming is done to accentuate the dog.  The rough texture will eventually disappear, but the dog should be carded with appropriate tools, in order to keep the skin in good condition.  This is the easiest way to maintain a great looking dog without the time commitment and expense of hand stripping the coat.

Recommended Products:

Aloe Hydrating Spray:  Hydrate the skin and coat with nourishing Aloe Vera for a vibrant coat.

High Sheen Finishing Spray:  Great for that show-stopping luster while having the added benefit of a touch of sunscreen.

Boost Volumizing Spray: This spray will help bring in volume to the furnishings when it is lacking to help give that “just stepped out of the show ring” look.

General Health Care:

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every grooming and bathing appointment.   All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned. Some need to have the hair pulled from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation, which helps prevent bacteria and moisture in the ear canal.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is important.  Long, unsightly nails present potential health issues as well as make it more difficult to trim a neat and tidy foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give a pet good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Good dental hygiene is the essential for a healthy pet, too.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care: This ear cleaner has a blend of natural oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Ear Powder:  A must for removing the hair from the ear canal.  It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.

Paw Balm: Use weekly to keep paws pliable and soft.  Paw Balm will aid in the prevention of pads to dry out and crack.

Natural Bandage:  To use as a protective cover, to stop bleeding, ease pain, promote healing, and provide coverage to help keep germs away.

3 in 1 Healing Cream:  If your pet gets a wound, this cream promotes cell regeneration and healing.  It is formulated with Bitrex to discourage licking and chewing.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.

Recommended Products:

Icelandic Salmon Oil:  Enhances the skin and coat while simultaneously supporting the immune system and joint health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1/ What products do I need if I just purchased an Affenpinscher puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Optisoothe Eye Wash

Puppy Aloe Wipes

Puppy Vitamin Supplements

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

They do require routine grooming.  If the dog is hand stripped, keeping the dog in proper coat rotation is extremely time consuming as well as expensive.  If you have chosen to keep your dog in a clipped trim, plan on a weekly brush out to keep the undercoat at bay and to remove dead coat and to keep the furnishings from getting tangled.

3/ What is a common problem in Affenpinscher’s?

Affenpinschers can have orthopedic problems such as Luxating Patella, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and hip dysplasia (though not as common).

4/ Do they shed or cause allergies?

Affenpinschers make the list for hypoallergenic breeds.  This is a great choice for people suffering from allergies.  However, it is a good idea to spend some time around the breed before bringing one into your home to make sure you do not have a reaction.

5/ Are Affenpinscher’s good with children?

Affenpinschers have an independent mind of their own. They are not well suited for families with small children, regardless of how well behaved.  As with most toy breeds, they are too fragile.  They may also be overwhelmed by the loud noises and quick movements, as well.  This will result in an Affenpinscher that is stressed, timid, and overwhelmed.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  The difference is the grooming maintenance and training for the show ring.  It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of show dogs.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Brussel Griffon Club of America,

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