Most Affenpinscher coats require only the minimum amount of grooming to maintain a shaggy but neat appearance. Affenpinschers should be combed on a regular basis to keep the coat in good condition. Combing with a medium or fine-toothed comb and then brushing with a nylon or bristle cushion hairbrush will remove loose hairs and keep the coat tidy and regular. A finer comb should be used on the face.
The pet dog can be left natural or trimmed to appear neat and smart, with the body coat thinned to give a smoother appearance. The face is scissored to give a round shape when viewed from the front. The beard is left long for show purposes, but some pet owners like this cut shorter.
The Coat of an Affenpinscher
The coat is harsh and rough-textured. The color is black, but gray shading is permissible.
The standard is as follows:
Dense, rough, harsh and about one inch in length on the shoulders and body. May be shorter on the rear and tail. Head, neck, chest, stomach and legs have longer, less harsh coat. The mature Affenpinscher has a mane or cape of strong hair which blends into the back coat at the withers area. The longer hair on the head, eyebrows and beard stands off and frames the face to emphasise the monkey-like expression. Hair on the ears is cut very short.
The Grooming Process
Equipment needed: A medium-toothed comb is required for general use, but you need a small, fine comb for the hair on the face, particularly around the eyes. A small good-quality bristle nylon hairbrush (for ladies) is very good for Affenpinscher coats, but they tend to be expensive. Provided you do not let the dog chew them, they do last a very long time.
Don’t attempt to make the dog too neat and tidy — a shaggy appearance is required. In common with all breeds, make an effort to introduce grooming to the puppy from a young age. It is essential that they are taught that grooming is a pleasant experience. Grooming should also include general checks (i.e., teeth, nails and so on).
- Brush the coat with a slicker to remove dead hair.
- Comb the dog thoroughly, including the face furnishings.
- Use a finger and thumb to pluck out dead and loose hair, as the back half of the body should be “smoothed out.” The shoulders should have longer hair, which forms the mane, the longer hair blending in to the smoother rump. Generally, frequent brushing suffices, and regularly tidying the hair will ensure the dog is kept looking perfect at all times.
- Bathe the dog in a natural shampoo and rinse thoroughly. A general coat-care conditioner that leaves a glorious gloss on both shorthaired and longhaired breeds, without leaving residue, can really enhance the appearance of these little dogs.
- Towel-dry and finish with a blow-dryer or cage-dryer.
- Check the dog’s nails, ears and teeth.
- Use small, straight scissors or thinning scissors to trim the hair outside the ear leathers, from the base of the ear to the tip.
- The face is left quite natural (especially for the show ring), although some pet owners like the beard trimmed shorter.
- Shape down the chest and legs, and over the rump, with thinning scissors if required, blending the hair to give a natural look.
- Neaten under the tail hair.
- Affenpinscher feet should be neat like cat feet. If the feet get too hairy, they can look too big and flat. They should be neatened by trimming the excess hair from around the outside of the foot if necessary, so they do not look larger than they are. This is not essential for the pet dog, but it is for the show dog.
The correct coat needs no trimming but Affenpinschers’ natural coats do vary a great deal, from too short to too long, from very harsh to quite soft, and from straight to varying degrees of wavy. It is therefore necessary to concentrate on the overall outline when you are grooming, and always to keep in mind the end result you are trying to achieve — to enhance the monkey-like urchin look.
The monkey face of the Affenpinscher is enhanced by a wreath of loose, shaggy hair standing away from the skull and framing the eyes, nose and chin. If the owner prefers a slightly less shaggy appearance, the hair should be combed forwards all around the head from behind the ears, and then trimmed into a circle before being brushed back. Hair on the ears should be smooth and trimmed close to the edges.
Hair should be longer on the shoulders than on the flanks, and dead hair can easily be removed with a fine-toothed comb or a stripping knife. Too long or too profuse a coat on the chest or the flanks can be thinned and shortened, remembering that the length of coat from the longer hair on the shoulders to the rather shorter hair on the hindquarters should be blended in for the neat but shaggy look.
Legs and Feet
The hair on the legs is longer at the top and feathery in appearance, but rarely needs tidying. The feet should be small, round and compact. On the correctly shaped foot, and where the dog has enough freedom, the nails should not need cutting until the dog’s old age.
Many tails, if left natural, resemble Christmas trees, and some pet owners like them like that. However, for the show ring, the tail should resemble a cigar; this is achieved by holding the tail up and combing the hair backwards before shaping. The tip should be slightly rounded and all the straggly ends cut off the tail hair with the scissors pointing downwards.
Note: The Affenpinscher is a natural breed, with the correct coat needing little attention, other than ordinary brushing and combing.