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Selecting An Affenpinscher Breeder and Puppy
The Affenpinscher is a sturdy, intelligent, terrier-like toy dog that generally adapts well to life in today’s smaller neighborhoods. Early socialization of Affenpinschers is critical, so make sure you buy from a responsible breeder who has given the puppies plenty of loving attention and exposed them to a wide variety of people, sights, sounds and smells. Because toy puppies are so small and fragile, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to bring your puppy home until they are 12 weeks old. Affenpinschers are relatively rare and have small litters of two to three puppies, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait quite a while to get a puppy from a reputable dog breeder.
Trusted places to start your search are the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Affenpinscher Club of America, the national AKC-recognized club for the breed. The Affenpinscher Club of America (ACA) offers a wealth of information about the breed for newcomers and seasoned 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 adhere to a code of ethics in their breeding programs; this provides security to the prospective Affenpinscher owner who is looking for a reputable breeder they 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 trying to decide which puppy is right for you, study the breed standard and ask to see at least the mother, all puppies in the litter, and other relatives if possible. If you’re lucky, dad will be on the premises, although that’s not always the case.
If you are planning to buy an Affenpinscher, try visiting the potential pet in its original environment. Seeing the temperament of the parents and the puppy in your home will help identify personality traits. If this is impossible, then it is important to contact other Affenpinscher owners and the breed club to find out about the reputation of the breeder of your future puppy. Horror stories abound of people who have impulsively bought a cute puppy and paid more than the cost of a potential show from a reputable breeder. The temperament and health problems encountered with poorly raised puppies are indeed tragic.
A responsible breeder will likely ask you a lot of questions to make sure you are providing a suitable home for an Affenpinscher puppy. Don’t be overwhelmed, as these questions will also help you get the puppy that best fits your personality and lifestyle. Keep in mind that if you have young children, the Affenpinscher is probably not the right breed for you. Before you start 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 wishes clear to the breeder, who has been watching the puppies since birth and will be more familiar with their individual characteristics than you might be during a short visit. Also, if you aspire to show your Affenpinscher, the breeder can use their experience to best predict which puppy shows the most promise.
By the time you go to visit the breeder and the litter, you should have already decided whether you want a quieter, calmer dog or a more outgoing and assertive dog. Observe each puppy carefully. All puppies are cute, of course, but which one seems to be the most curious, the most playful, etc.? What can be the best guardian dog or the most robust companion if you want the dog to accompany you on long walks?
It’s not uncommon for Affenpinschers to be a little wary of strangers at first, but puppies should soon settle into a familiar environment with a little encouragement from their breeder. An occasional puppy can be quite aloof, which may indicate more caution than desired. The ideal puppy for the show or obedience ring is extremely outgoing. Since Affenpinschers are often stubborn, try holding a puppy in your arms on your back for a moment. If the puppy frantically fights to get away instead of relaxing in your arms, it can become a very dominant dog that can be more difficult to train.
Ask what health tests have been performed on the puppy and 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 give yourself a few days to take the puppy to your vet for a thorough checkup and be able to return the puppy for a full refund if any problems are found. It is not enough to be able to exchange a sick puppy for another from the same lower litter!
Older Affenpinschers, retired show dogs, or retired breeders who have been spayed or neutered often make excellent pets. This breed is highly trainable and very adaptable if introduced to the family in a calm and consistent manner. Most older dogs accept crate training and appreciate scheduled quiet time in a comfortable enclosure. Be sure to allow the dog to visit its bathing area immediately after rest. Gradually introduce the newly adopted adult to a new or different environment after you have allowed him outside and exercise for an appropriate period of time. A secure exercise pen or fenced yard is required for all small dogs.
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