Affenpinschers are intelligent, playful, energetic, and feisty. Even though the Affenpinscher is a small breed, they are usually quite smart and can participate in a variety of dog sports such as agility, tracking, rally, and standard obedience as sport. They have been described as stubborn, but this may be lessened by using motivational tools such as treats and favorite toys in a reward-based approach to training that also furthers family bonds. Because Affenpinschers are considered good watchdogs with a tendency to guard food or toys, they are not recommended for children.
The Affenpinscher dates back hundreds of years and is one of the oldest breeds known to man. Farmers of the 16th century needed dogs that could protect their homes, farms and stables from rodents. While ratting terriers were very common at this time, smaller dogs were needed to control the problem of mice. In the early 17th century, efforts began to create a smaller version of the ratting terriers. By crossing the Schnauzer, Pug, German Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Pinscher as well as some other German breeds, the Affenpinscher was created. While the breed did start out as a form of rodent control, the loveable personality of Affenpinschers enabled them to gain popularity as household pets. Even though Affenpinschers are now a family breed, they have still retained their mice-catching skills and it's not uncommon to find them working on a farm.