If you’re looking for an affectionate, low-maintenance dog that can thrive in a small house or apartment, this mixed breed of chihuahua and Affenpinscher could be the perfect dog for you! Read on for the full picture on training, grooming, feeding, and exercising affenhuahua dogs.
How to Train Affenhuahuas
The AKC ranks both Affenpinschers and chihuahuas at 3/5 for trainability levels and eagerness to please. While that may make an affenhuahua more of a challenge to train than some other breeds, never fear! You can absolutely still train affenhuahuas to potty outside and do tricks just like any other dog. It may just take a little more time and patience on your part.
Keep in mind that all dogs respond best to positive reinforcement (like treats, petting, and verbal praise), rather than negative punishment (like spanking, yelling, or spraying with water). So while you train your affenhuahua, take care to offer positive reinforcement as much as possible and only use negative reinforcement as a last result.
It’s also a good idea to use small training treats rather than regular-sized treats when training. This is because you’ll need to give your dog several treats throughout the training process each day, and adding too many calories to his or her diet would be more harmful than helpful. Using small training treats will allow you to reward your dog as much as possible while preventing him or her from becoming obese due to overeating.
Affenhuahuas with Kids and Other Dogs
All dogs, no matter their breed tendencies, could react negatively when startled or repeatedly provoked, such as by other dogs or children. Fortunately, all dogs are different and even the more skittish ones can often become accustomed to kids or other dogs when in the right environment.
The AKC ranks chihuahuas at a 2/5 for openness to strangers and a 4/5 for protective nature. This indicates that more often than not, chihuahuas are more comfortable with people they know and they are more likely to feel the need to protect themselves or their family members from unfamiliar dogs or people.
Fortunately, Affenpinschers are ranked at the top for openness to strangers and also tend to be less protective than chihuahuas. With luck, your affenhuahua will naturally have more Affenpinscher in him or her than chihuahua when it comes to sociability.
Training and Socializing
If you’re starting off with a puppy, then good for you! Your job will be easier. Whenever possible, give your affenhuahua the chance to meet lots of other dogs and humans. The more he or she is positively exposed to new things from the beginning, the more chill he or she will be about those things later on in life.
For example, you can walk your puppy down the street to acclimate him or her to the sounds of cars, take him or her to the dog park to meet other dogs, and visit family or friends who have children so that your dog can become used to all the usual sights, sounds, and smells.
Remember that no matter how your affenhuahua acts right now, any behavior can usually be fixed or at least improved with training. Take a look at our [training resource] guide for more on how you can train your dog yourself to be more comfortable in certain situations.
Affenhuahua Exercise and Space Requirements
Luckily, both ancestor breeds of the affenhuahua are small dogs (6-10 pounds) and only rank at 3/5 for mental stimulation needs. This means that while daily walks and/or a fenced-in backyard are ideal, affenhuahuas will be much more comfortable without those things than many other breeds.
Walks around the block or runs in the backyard are excellent to help keep your dog in shape and content. Playing inside can be great, too, though. Throwing toys or training treats for your dog to run after and/or chasing each other around the house if it’s safe for you to do so are a few ways you can tire your puppy out even without a lot of outside time.
Thanks to their small size, affenhuahuas thrive in an apartment setting. The smaller your home is, the more outdoor or creative indoor exercise your dog may need.
The Best Food for Affenhuahuas
Especially during the puppy phase, small dogs and large dogs need different amounts of certain nutrients to help them grow at a healthy rate. This is most important for large dogs, but it’s still ideal to provide your affenhuahua with a food advertized as being meant for small dogs.
The Puppy Stage
If puppies are fed a poor diet early on, they’re more likely to have health problems later in life. Obesity is also harder to correct as the dog ages, so do yourself and your affenhuahu a favor and start him or her off with some healthy puppy chow.
The Adult Stage
The adult stage is the longest stage of your dog’s life. This is when he or she is most likely to gain excess weight that could cause other health problems and shorten their lifespan, so it’s best to feed a healthy adult small dog diet and to limit people foods. Encourage your dog to exercise as frequently as possible to promote overall health throughout his or her life.
If you breed affenhuahuas, your pregnant and nursing mother dog(s) will need lots of extra nutrients to keep up her strength while her body is doing so much extra work. A pregnant or lactating mother’s body will steal nutrients from her own bones and tissues to nourish the puppies if she doesn’t get enough in her diet to do the trick. So consider adding senior dog food to your female’s daily meals, and/or providing a pregnancy supplement to help her body keep up with all it has to do. Ask your vet what would be best for your dog.
The Senior Stage
Older dogs need more nutrients than adult dogs in their prime. If you fed an adult dog senior dog food, it would probably start putting on weight. But for most senior dogs, they need that help with keeping on a healthy weight and a little insulation from the cold.
Feeding your older dog a healthy senior diet will help him or her get the extra nutrients their aging body needs. Senior foods usually include joint support, but you can also provide a joint supplement to protect your dog from arthritis. If you suspect your elderly affenhuahua may have arthritis, make an appointment with your vet, who will be able to prescribe stronger pain medicine for your dog’s joints if needed so he or she can enjoy the later years of their life comfortable and pain-free.
Affenhuahua Grooming Requirements
Affenhuahuas tend to be on the lower maintenance side when it comes to grooming. Affenpinschers have fur that is long enough to need regular brushing, but the short fur of chihuahuas counteracts that so affenhuahuas usually require less grooming and usually no clipping.
Every dog is different, but you can start with brushing twice a week and then increase or decrease the frequency from there. If you notice your affenhuahua shedding a lot, brush more often to collect and dispose of excess fur before it can get on your furniture and clothes.
As for bathing, dogs are pretty good about keeping themselves clean. Dogs don’t need regular baths like humans do, and they could suffer from dry skin if bathed too often. Try not to bathe your affenhuahua more than once every ten days for skin health. It’s usually best to only bathe your dog after they’ve gotten into some mud outside, or occasionally if they develop an odor.
The Best Climate for Affenhuahuas
Because of their small size, affenhuahuas are more susceptible to the cold than many other breeds. You should make sure your dog has a warm bed or spot on the couch with blankets where he or she can get warm if its a cool day in the house. It would also be a good idea to get your dog a jacket and booties for going outside in cold weather. You should be careful to avoid leaving your dog outside in cold weather without supervision as their small size and limited body heat could allow them to get dangerously cold very quickly.
Heat is less likely to be a problem for these small dogs than for larger dogs, but you should still provide shade and water for your affenhuahua when he or she is outside for an extended period of time. Don’t leave your affenhuahua in the car unsupervised, especially on a hot day. If you go on a trip with your dog, make sure to provide water for him or her with a portable water bowl to prevent dehydration and help keep him or her cool.
Common Health Problems for Affenhuahuas
One great thing about affenhuahuas is that they’re a mixed breed, which means they are less likely to have health problems than purebred dogs. To develop a dog breed, dogs with certain traits – like size, temperament, or a desired coat appearance – are bred together to hopefully produce puppies with the same desirable traits to an even greater degree. Often, dogs who were related to each other were bred together in an attempt to get closer to those desired traits.
While that process resulted in the great breeds we have today, unfortunately, there were hidden traits that got more and more dangerous as the obvious traits became more prominent. But when you mix multiple breeds and dilute their characteristics, you also dilute their predisposition toward health problems.
That being said, there are some illnesses that are more likely to happen to smaller dogs.
Cancer usually shows up later in life for most dogs. And since small dogs tend to live up to twice as long as larger dogs, they are more likely to experience cancer during their lifetime. Sometimes cancer on the inside of the body is harder to notice since you can’t see it. But if you notice that your affenhuahua is acting sick and can’t tell why, you should take him or her to the vet as soon as possible in case it is cancer or something else you can’t see from the outside.
Sometimes cancer will show up in the skin as a bump. If a bump appears and grows quickly, or if it becomes an open wound, you should take your affenhuahua to the vet right away. They’ll be able to test to see if it is cancer, and be able to prevent any infection from entering an open wound.
Dental and Gum Disease
Smaller dogs are also more likely to develop dental and gum problems because their mouths are so small that their teeth are crowded and harder to clean. This promotes plaque and tartar buildup, which causes bad breath and gum disease.
Brushing your dog’s teeth may or may not make much of an impact, but dental chews help prevent tartar and plaque build-up, so they are a good idea to give your affenhuahua regularly. Vet clinics can also perform dental cleanings under sedation so that your dog’s teeth can be thoroughly clean without risk of anyone getting bitten and without causing stress to your dog. It’s a good idea to talk to your vet about how a dental procedure could help prevent dental disease in your dog’s mouth.
Patellar luxation is a dislocated kneecap. This can happen in your dog’s front or back legs and can happen even when your dog is still a puppy. If you notice your affenhuahua limping without an apparent reason, it could have a dislocated kneecap. This can be treated with surgery, but sometimes it’s best to keep an eye on it and wait to see whether surgery will be needed later. If you suspect that your affenhuahua has patellar luxation, talk to your vet to decide what would be the best course of action.
The Shedding and Drooling Tendencies of Affenhuahuas
If you’d rather do just about anything than come in contact with dog drool, you’re in luck. Neither Affenpinschers or chihuahuas tend to drool much. You may see a little when they’re salivating over the smell of food, but you won’t need to keep a towel permanently on hand like you might with other breeds.
They do shed more than they slobber, but with regular brushing, it’s very manageable.
The Ideal Affenhuahua Owner
Affenhuahuas are more comfortable around children and other dogs when they’ve been exposed to them from a young age. If you have young children and are considering adopting an older affenhuahua, make sure to supervise interactions between them and consult a trainer if you have any concerns.
Affenhuahuas are excellent for apartment life. They like some exercise, but may tire of excessively long walks or jogs, and might not be ideal if you’re looking for a daily running buddy.
With minimal grooming needs and their affectionate nature toward family members, an affenhuahua could be the perfect addition to your home.
If you’re still on the fence about the best small breed dog for you, take a look at this article all about Morkie Dogs.