The Affenpinscher in America

  • 16/08/2012

Affenpinschers were first listed in the American Kennel Club stud book in November 1936. At this time an abbreviated translation of the German standard was accepted as the American breed standard. The first entry in the stud book was for Nolli v Anwander. This was a German female imported in whelp by Mrs. Bessie Mally of Cicero, Illinois. The first male that she imported was Osko von der Franziskusklause. From 1936 to 1940, Mrs. Mally had 22 Affenpinschers listed in the stud books. During these years, 27 dogs were registered with the AKC. A few other enthusiasts also had imports or bred with Mrs. Mally's dogs. During this period Thelma D. Wolfe exhibited her dog, named Duke of became a champion. However, October 1940 was the last Affenpinschers entry in the Stud Book for the next nine years. Sadly, there are no records or reasons given for this abrupt end of the breeding of Affenpinschers in America. Likely US involvement with the Allies in World War II and the accompanying hostilities toward all things German led to the Affenpinscher's decline in popularity. No one seems to know what happened to these early dogs, and none is found in the pedigrees of the later dogs in America.

The renowned dog fancier Mrs. Henrietta Proctor Donnell Reilly, of Larchmount, NY, continued the exhibiting of the breed during these years. Her German import Ger. Ch. Niki v. Zwergteufel won Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Show for six consecutive years, from 1938-1943. Then a kennel mate of Niki, Ger. Ch. Everl v. d. Franziskusklause, won for the next four years through 1947. No record of Mrs. Reilly's kennel name, Etty Haven, is found in the stud books, so no breeding of her Affenpinschers was done or none of these offspring was registered.

The next American encounter with this breed was in 1949, when an import owned by Mrs. Evelyne Brody, Ch. Bub v. Anwander, became the first Affenpinscher champion according to American Kennel Club(AKC) records. This dog also went on to become the first Affenpinscher to place in the Toy Group. During the next several years Mrs. Brody's kennel name, Cedarlawn, from Nashotah, Wisconsin, dominated the listings in the stud book. Many of the Affenpinschers today can trace their bloodlines back to the Cedarlawn dogs.

Soon Mrs. Walter Kauffmann and her daughters, Helga and Louisa, from Westwood, New Jersey, also imported dogs. Interestingly these later imports came from the same kennels in Germany from which Mrs. Mally had gotten her original dogs. The Kauffmanns, under the Walhof name, became prominent breeders and exhibitors. Helga Kauffmann exhibited extensively and had the top group-placing Affenpinschers for many years. Their champion Walhof Margaretenklause Ivy, a female, was the first Affenpinscher to win the Toy Group, and their Ch. Je-Bil's Yogi Bear was the first male Toy Group winner. Some of these early dogs produced colors other than black. When looking back at the AKC stud books, it seems that two of the Kauffmann imports, when bred together, produced reds. Ch. Kraus v. D. Margaretenklause and Ch. Blanka v. d. Charlottenhohe were the parents of Walhof Little Red Riding Hood. Later the Kauffmanns' Ch. Walhof Ivin was the first red champion, and his littermate Ch. Walhof Boutonniere became the first black-and-tan champion. These two dogs were out of Ch. Walhof Margaretenklause Lee and Walhof Margaretenklause Jan. When Boutonniere was bred to Little Red Riding Hood they produced top-winning Ch. Walhof Ivy, a black-and-tan group winner, and Ch. Walhof Blackberry Brandi. With the help of Jerry Zalon they produced many dogs of colors other than black. From these early dogs the color genes can be traced into England and continental Europe today. The Kauffmanns were probably the most instrumental breeders in the development of the Affenpinscher in America. The Walhof prefix is behind nearly all of the dogs in Morth America and England.

Another important kennel that greatly influenced Affenpinscher in the '50s and '60s was Arthur and Mary Harringon's Aff -Airn kennels from Albany, New York. Aff-Airn continued on with what Mrs. Brody had begun. They also bred with the Walhof kennels. One among many notable dogs of their breeding, Ch. Aff-Airn Tag Along, made a significant contribution to the breed.

In 1958, Mrs. Florence Strohmaier became a friend of the Harringtons and started working with the Aff-Airn Affens. After the death of Mary and Arthur, Mrs. Strohmaier continued their lines but went out on her own under the name Flo-Star kennels. Her dogs continued to have an impact on the breed in the US, Canada, England, Irland, Scotland, Holland and Germany. Ch. Flo-Star's Adam of Joy, a grandson of Ch. Walhof Boutonniere, is behind many of the top-winning and top-producing Affenpinschers. Am. , Can. and Bermuda Ch. Flo-Star's Holy Terror and Am. , Can. , Bermuda and Dutch Ch. Flo-Star's Tandy Tane were some of Mrs. Strohmaier's important contributors to the breed. Ch. Flo-Star's Titus Tiberius, CD was one of the first conformation- and obedience-titled Affenpinschers to get Toy Group placements. Primarily known for her black dogs, Mrs. Strohmaier won Winners Dog and Winners Bitch at the 1997 national specialty with her red or wild boar Affens. The Flo-Star Affens are known for their typey heads and good substance. Until her death in 2005, Flo Strohmaier consistently remained involved with the Affenpinscher. Her 48 years in the breed stand as a legacy, making her involvement longer than that of any other breeder in America.

In the early 1960s, Tobin Jackson and D. V. Gibbs got their start in Affenpinscher from the Walhof and Aff-Airn kennels. Soon the Deer Run Affenpinschers from French-town, New Jersey were making a mark in the dog world. Most American Affenpinschers have Deer Run bloodlines behind them. Jackson and Gibbs also wrote about the breed in How to Raise and Train an Affenpinscher, published in 1969, now out of print. Mr. Jackson also wrote interesting and informative articles for the magazine Popular Dogs. In the mid-'60s, Bonnie(Hawkins) Sellner began working with and showing the Deer Run dogs. Mrs. Sellner has worked with several other kennels, helping with their breeding programs and exhibiting their Affenpinschers.
Imported Affenpinschers continued to make their mark into the 1960s. Mrs. Lester H. Tillman, Jr. of Oyster Bay, New York, owned and exhibited the top-winning Affenpinscher of 1963, Ch. Babs von Reburg. This little dog came from Austria.

A number of midwestern breeders helped to advance the breed during the 1960s and '70s. Jean and Bill Becker, from Decatur, Illinois, starting with the Walhof lines, bred and exhibited many fine Affenpinschers under the Je-Bil kennel name. The Kauffmanns owned and exhibited Ch. Je-Bil's Yogi Bear, who was one of that era's top show dogs.

The Reverend Clyde Zarski and his Apache kennels from Rhinelander, Wisconsin combined the Walhof and Aff-Airn lines to produce a number of fine champions. Mrs. Lois Wolf(McManus)White, now a dog show judge living in California, handled dogs for and co-owned dogs with Rev. Zarski. One of these dogs of note was top-winning Ch. Apache Cricket Again. Mrs. White also bred a few litters and has been active with the development of the AKC Affenpinscher breed video and the breed standard. In the 1970s Kay Wurtz, also from Wisconsin, under the King's Royal name, continued with the Apache lines and bred and showed Affens until the late '80s.

It seems that the 1960s brought much enthusiasm, interest and controversy to breed. Breeders gathered to from a club but soon there were arguments over the standard and, specifically, over the height of the Affenpinscher. Some wanted the breed to remain at 10. 25 inches. Others felt that the dogs would be sounder and easier to breed if they were a bit larger. This battle became heated and caused a split in the club, with one faction forming the American Affenpinscher Association and the other the Affenpinscher Club of America. With time and civility the fancy joined together again as the Affenpinscher Club of America, which still exists but is still often embroiled in controversy.

The Affenpinscher, as a respected show dog with consistent group placements, started to make its mark in the mid-1970s. More professional handlers and enthusiastic breeder-exhibitions got involved. The overall quality and showmanship in the breed improved. A more refined and sculptured appearance for the show ring developed. The judges took note and more and more Affenpinschers began placing and winning in the toy ring. However, what the appropriate look is or how much grooming is right for the breed added to the controversy.

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