The Affenpinscher is a sturdy, intelligent, terrier-like toy dog that is generally well suited to life in today's smaller living quarters. Early socialization of Affenpinscher is critical, so be sure you buy from a responsible breeder who has given the puppies lots of loving attention and exposed them to a wide variety of people, sights, sounds and smells. Because toy puppies are so tiny and fragile, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to take your puppy home until he is 12 weeks old. Affenpinschers are reliably rare and have small litters, as few as two to three puppies, so do not be surprised if you must wait quite some time to obtain a puppy from a reputable breeder of quality dogs.
Trusted places to begin your search are the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Affenpinscher Club of America, the AKC-recognized national club for the breed. The Affenpinscher Club of America (ACA) offers a wealth of information on the breed for newcomers and experienced fanciers alike. They also offer a breeder referral service, through which you can locate ACA member breeders in your part of the country. ACA breeders must abide by a code of ethics in their breeding programs; This offers assurance to the prospective Affenpinscher owner, who is searching for a reputable breeder who can trust. If you are interested in an adult Affenpinscher rather than a puppy, the ACA also has an active rescue program that can help you find an Affenpinscher in need of a new home.
When you are trying to decide which puppy is right for you, study the breed standard and ask to see at least the dam, all of the puppies in the litter and other relatives if possible. If you are lucky, the sire will be on the promises, though this is not always the case.
If you are planning on buying an Affenpinscher, try to visit the prospect pet in his original environment. Seeing the temperament of the parents and the puppy in his own home will help to identify personality traits. If this is impossible, then it's important to make contact with other Affenpinscher owners and the breed club to find out about the reputation of breeder of your prospective puppy. Horror stories abound from people who have impulsively purchased a cute little puppy and have paid more money than the cost of a show potential from a reputable breeder. The problems related to temperament and health that have been encountered with poorly bred puppies are, indeed, tragic.
A responsible breeder will likely ask you a lot of questions to be sure that you will provide a suitable home for an Affenpinscher puppy. Do not be offended, as these questions will also help ensure that you get the puppy that best suits your personality and lifestyle. Do be forewarned that if you have small children, the Affenpinscher is probably not an appropriate breed for you. Before you begin your puppy search, you should read as much as you can about the breed and rank the qualities that are most important to you. Be sure to make your desires clear to the breeder, who has been observing the puppies since birth and will be more familiar with their individual characteristics than you could have during a brief visit. Also, if you aspire to show your Affenpinscher, the breeder can use his experience to predict as best he can which pup shows the most promise.
When you go to visit the breeder and litter, you should have already decided whether you want a dog that is more calm and quiet or more outgoing and assertive. Observe each puppy carefully. All puppies are cute, of course, but which one seems to be the most curious, the most playful, etc? Which might make the best watchdog or the sturdiest companion if you want the dog to accompany you on long walks?
It is not at all uncommon for Affenpinschers to be a bit wary of strangers at first, but the puppies should soon come to you in familiar surroundings with a bit of encouragement from their breeder. An occasional puppy may be quite standoffish, which may indicate more caution than you desire. The ideal puppy for the show or obedience ring is extremely outgoing. Which Affenpinschers are often stubborn, try holding a puppy in your arms on his back for a moment. If the pup struggles frantically to get away rather than relaxing in your arms, he may become a very dominant dog that might be more difficult to train.
Ask which health tests have been performed on the puppy and the parents, ask to see documentation of the test results and ask what type of written health guarantee the breeder will provide. At the very least, you should be given a few days to take the puppy to your veterinarian for a thorough check-up and be able to return the pup for a full refund if any problems are found. It is not enough to be able to exchange one sickly puppy for another from the same inferior litter!
Older Affenpinschers, retired show dogs or retired breeding animals that have been spayed or neutered, often make excellent pets. This breed is highly trainable and very adaptable if introduced into the family in a quiet and consistent way. Most older dogs accept crate training and appreciate the scheduled quiet time in a comfortable enclosure. Be sure to allow the dog to visit his toilet area immediately after the rest. Gradually introduce the newly adopted adult into a new or different environment after it has been let out and exercised for an adequate length of time. A secure exercise pen or a fenced-in yard is necessary for all small dogs.