The Affenpinscher dates back hundreds of years and is one of the oldest breeds known to man. Farmers of the 16th century needed dogs that could protect their homes, farms and stables from rodents. While ratting terriers were very common at this time, smaller dogs were needed to control the problem of mice. In the early 17th century, efforts began to create a smaller version of the ratting terriers. By crossing the Schnauzer, Pug, German Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Pinscher as well as some other German breeds, the Affenpinscher was created. While the breed did start out as a form of rodent control, the loveable personality of Affenpinschers enabled them to gain popularity as household pets. Even though Affenpinschers are now a family breed, they have still retained their mice-catching skills and it's not uncommon to find them working on a farm.