The Affenpinscher – A Marvelous Monkey

Affenpinscher Q & A with Pam Peat & Kathie Timko.

PAM PEAT: I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am currently retired and am only doing dogs, judging and relaxing. I was an OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner specializing in fertility and Assisted reproductive medicine (IVF).

KATHIE TIMKO: I own Gizmo Affenpinschers and am an AKC Breeder of Merit. I live in Centennial, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. I enjoy living in “colorful” Colorado and all it has to offer— hiking, camping, skiing, Broncos football (but I’m a diehard Steelers fan), family activities and painting—as well as travel- ing to new places.

1.        Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general and your breed in particular?

PP: I think the quality of purebred dogs is very mixed. Some breeds are very strong in all areas, class animals, specials and performance areas. Other breeds seem to be suffering and I find almost no class animals being shown and many are of lesser quality than in the past. However, Affenpinschers are stronger than ever. They are increasing slightly in numbers, especially in some parts of the US and the world. Their delightful personalities and ability to adapt to many environments and living situations make them marvelous companions. Breeders are working very hard to improve health and socialize them. I find people have discovered the secret of this marvelous little Toy dog with a big attitude.

KT: I’ve been involved in showing dogs in AKC events since 1985. Over the past 32 years, I’ve seen tremendous improvement in most breeds, but am concerned about the overdoing of certain aspects of some breeds that, in my opinion, has really hurt them structurally. In my 14 years in Affenpinschers, I have seen tremendous improvement in the overall quality of type and temperament.

2.        The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural or temperament-wise?

PP: With the Affenpinschers increasing popularity, I fear they will be over produced without working to maintain the progress we have made in attitude and structure. I would hate to see them increase in size, lose their correct coat that needs little care and become a bigger, handlers’ caricature of the little monkey-like Toy Terrier.

KT: I would like to see continued emphasis on OFA certifications, as coming from the Working Group (Akitas), I believe that a dog should be sound inside and out. Good hips and patellae are of importance, regardless of breed. Affenpinschers were bred to hunt rodents and they can’t pounce, twist and turn without good hips and knees.

3.      The biggest problem facing you as a breeder?

PP: I find it difficult to have the appropriate amount of time to devote to raising a litter; the constant attention for the early weeks and then the time needed for coat care, preparation and socialization. To properly raise a litter, you have to be home for at least the first four weeks.

KT: I am very concerned about reproduction issues, as myself and other breeders are challenged by breedings not taking, resorbed or premature litters, as well as high neonatal death rates, despite close monitoring and top notch veterinary care.

4.        Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed?

PP: Advice to a new breeder: listen to many different opinions and advise. Advice to a new judge of your breed? Find good mentors, read and get your hands on as many Affenpinschers as you are able to. Ask questions, listen to mentors and apply basic dog knowledge and anatomy, but remember the distinct qualities that make an Affenpinscher so unique from other dogs and Toys.

KT: 1) Breeding Affenpinschers is not for the faint of heart— it takes deep commitment (emotional and financial).

  • Go to the Affen National or supported entry shows to see the dogs and meet the
  • Ask questions, develop a vision and then start with the best quality dogs possible to put you on the right
  • Find a reputable breeder(s)/mentor(s) to help
  • Join the National Breed Club to get connected and continue This is a lifelong journey.

Advice to new judges:

  • Attend the Affenpinscher National to see the variety of size, color, coat type, grooming styles and attend the judges education
  • Talk to the breeders/exhibitors and put your hands on as many dogs as
  • Look past the grooming, as the most professionally groomed dog may not be the best structurally. Conformation judging is not a grooming contest. Feel for the prosternum, the breadth and length of ribcage (no herring gut, please) and loin, as well as tailset (slight drop of the croup). Dogs with harder coats will have less furnishings—this is not a fault, rather a sign of a correct coat. This is a square breed that is natural, not overdone.

 

5.        Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a particular point you’d like to make?

PP: Please help us maintain the unique characteristics listed in our Illustrated Standard. As a breeder, exhibitor and judge, this is my, and should be your gold standard for evaluation.

KT: As a breeder and as an exhibitor, I’ve learned to ask questions, listen, internalize, observe and be open-mind- ed. I ring steward when I can and, in doing so, I have learned so much from the judges that I support that I really encourage exhibitors to volunteer their time in this manner. I’d like for judges to know the standard— Affenpinschers are not Terriers. I know from personal experience that many judges do not know the allowed colors, that the coat has different textures depending on the part of the dog’s body (i.e. the coat on the head, furnishings and the cape is softer than the jacket), that gait is moderate without excessive drive and that appropriate temperament is important. Don’t reward dogs that slink around the ring—this is not correct temperament and, therefore, is incorrect type. While Affenpinschers will drop their tails on the table and while baiting, the tail should be up when they are moving. Not all Affenpinschers welcome strangers, but there is a difference between being standoffish and being timid.

 

6.        And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show?

PP: I was judging Ibizan Hounds and had a wire-haired one to examine. When I said I loved whiskers and, in fact, raised Affenpinschers and my husband has a beard, the handler said with a straight face, “Do you strip ‘em?” I burst out laughing and she slapped her hand over her mouth and said, “Oh that wasn’t a good thing to say.” My answer was, “The Affenpinschers, yes.”

KT: Years ago, just as I completed my down and back and presented my Akita to the judge, my then five-year-old son, who was sitting ringside with my three-year-old daughter, shouted in a very loud and very clear voice, “Hey mom, did you win yet? We want to go home.” Needless to say, everyone within hearing distance, including the judge, laughed as I turned, red faced, and said, “Not yet honey.” I recall that I did go Winners that day.

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