Affenpinscher standing

Quick Facts


7 to 10 pounds


9 to 11.5 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

Very funny and amusing dogs, but also loyal and curious. You can’t train them, but you can be good friends.


The Affenpinscher, often affectionately referred to as the “Monkey Terrier” due to its primate-like appearance, is a small but mighty breed that has captured the hearts of many. Originating from Germany, this toy breed is known for its mischievous grin, curious nature, and a face that’s irresistibly cute. Its name, in fact, translates to “monkey-like terrier” in German.Β 

Over the years, the Affenpinscher has grown in popularity, not just as a show dog, but as a beloved companion in homes around the world. Its compact size combined with its larger-than-life personality makes it a favorite among pet enthusiasts.

History and Origin

The Affenpinscher’s roots trace back to 17th century Germany. Initially bred to be a ratter, its primary job was to eliminate rats and pests in homes and stables. Over time, its utility in pest control led it to be a common companion in German households.

As the breed evolved, its size was reduced to fit the lapdog preference of urban households. By the 18th and 19th centuries, the Affenpinscher had transformed from a working dog to a beloved companion, especially among the ladies of the European elite.

The breed’s charm wasn’t limited to Europe. By the early 20th century, the Affenpinscher had made its way to America. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1936. While not as popular as some other toy breeds, its unique appearance and spirited demeanor have earned it a dedicated following.

While there might not be an Affenpinscher as globally recognized as Toto from “The Wizard of Oz” or Lassie, the breed has had its moments in the spotlight. In 2013, an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, bringing attention and newfound admiration to the breed.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Affenpinscher is a small dog, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in presence. Typically weighing between 6 to 13 pounds and standing about 9 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder, this breed is compact and sturdy.

One of the most distinctive features of the Affenpinscher is its rough, dense coat. This coat can come in various colors, including black, gray, silver, red, tan, and beige. Some Affenpinschers may also have a mix of these colors, leading to a beautifully blended coat.

The face of the Affenpinscher is one of its most endearing features. With a round head, bushy eyebrows, and a beard, it’s easy to see why they’re often compared to monkeys. Their dark, round eyes are full of curiosity and mischief, while their ears can either stand erect or be semi-cropped.

Despite its small stature, the Affenpinscher has a well-proportioned body, giving it a confident and bold appearance. Its tail is usually docked and carried high, adding to its lively demeanor.

Personality and Temperament

The Affenpinscher, despite its small size, is packed with personality. Often described as “fearlessly funny,” this breed is known for its playful and adventurous spirit. They are curious by nature and often find themselves exploring their surroundings or getting into a bit of mischief.

Affenpinschers are incredibly loyal to their families.Β 

They tend to form strong bonds with their owners and can be quite protective. This protective nature, combined with their alertness, makes them surprisingly good watchdogs. They won’t hesitate to bark if they sense something amiss, though their size doesn’t exactly make them intimidating.

While they are generally friendly, Affenpinschers can be a bit reserved or even territorial around strangers or unfamiliar dogs. Early socialization is key to ensuring they are well-rounded and comfortable in various situations.

Despite their occasional stubborn streak, they are also known for their affectionate nature. They love being part of family activities and will often seek out a warm lap or a cozy spot next to their favorite human.

Health and Lifespan

Affenpinschers are generally healthy dogs, with a lifespan typically ranging from 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions.

  • Patellar Luxation: This is a common condition in smaller dogs where the kneecap can slip out of place. It can be managed with therapy or surgery in severe cases.
  • Hip Dysplasia: While more common in larger breeds, Affenpinschers can also be affected. This is a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit into the hip socket properly, which can lead to arthritis.
  • Heart Issues: Some Affenpinschers may develop heart murmurs or other cardiac conditions as they age.
  • Dental Issues: Due to their small mouths, they can be prone to overcrowded or misaligned teeth, leading to dental problems.

Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet can help in early detection and management of these issues. It’s also beneficial to be aware of any genetic conditions that might be prevalent in the breed.

Care and Maintenance

Affenpincher grooming

Caring for an Affenpinscher is a delightful journey filled with playful moments and loving companionship.

  • Grooming: Their rough coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. While they are considered a low-shedding breed, occasional trimming, especially around the eyes and mouth, can keep them looking their best.
  • Exercise: Don’t be fooled by their size! These little dogs have a lot of energy. Daily walks and play sessions are essential to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Diet: A balanced diet tailored to small breeds is ideal. It’s essential to monitor their weight as they can be prone to obesity.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is crucial for Affenpinschers. Exposure to various environments, people, and other animals can help them become well-adjusted adults.
  • Health Check-ups: Regular vet visits, including dental check-ups, are essential to ensure they remain in the best of health.

Caring for an Affenpinscher is not just about meeting their basic needs but also indulging in the joyous moments they bring into your life.

Training and Behavior

Affenpinschers are intelligent and eager to please, but they also have a streak of independence. This combination can make training both a joy and a challenge. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work best with this breed.

  • Intelligence: They are quick learners, but their mischievous nature might sometimes lead them astray.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is crucial. Introducing them to various people, pets, and environments can help curb any aggressive or overly-territorial tendencies.
  • Behavioral Quirks: Affenpinschers are known to be a bit possessive of their toys and food. It’s essential to teach them sharing and gentle behavior from a young age.
  • House Training: Patience is key. Consistency and a regular schedule can help in house training them effectively.

Affenpinschers and Families

Affenpinscher with people

Affenpinschers can be a delightful addition to families. Their playful nature and affectionate demeanor make them great companions for both adults and older children. However, due to their small size and sometimes feisty temperament, they might not be suitable for families with very young children who might not understand the need to handle them gently.

They generally get along well with other pets, especially if introduced at a young age. However, their terrier instincts might kick in around smaller animals, so supervision is advised.

Adopting an Affenpinscher

If you’re considering adding an Affenpinscher to your family, adoption is a wonderful way to provide a loving home to a dog in need. Many Affenpinschers are looking for their forever homes in shelters and rescue organizations.

  • Research: Start by researching local breed-specific rescues or shelters.
  • Meet and Greet: Spend time with potential furry friends to ensure a good match in terms of energy levels and temperament.
  • Prepare Your Home: Before bringing your new companion home, ensure you have all the essentials like food, toys, and a cozy bed.
  • Consider Their Needs: Remember, Affenpinschers are active and curious. They’ll need space to play and explore.

Adopting an Affenpinscher (or any dog) is a long-term commitment. Ensure you’re ready to provide a loving and caring environment for the entirety of their life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical temperament of an Affenpinscher, and how does it affect their suitability as a family pet?

Affenpinschers typically have a lively and independent temperament, which may require consistent training and socialization to ensure their suitability as a family pet, especially with children.

How should I groom my Affenpinscher, and how often is grooming needed?

Affenpinschers require regular brushing to prevent matting, and occasional trimming of their coat may be necessary, particularly around the face and feet; grooming sessions should ideally occur at least once or twice a week to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.

What are some common health issues in Affenpinschers, and how can they be prevented?

Common health issues in Affenpinschers include patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and respiratory problems; preventive measures involve regular veterinary check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding strenuous exercise in extreme temperatures, and prioritizing responsible breeding practices with health screenings.

Are Affenpinschers good with other pets, including cats and other dogs?

Affenpinschers can get along well with other pets, including cats and other dogs, especially if they are socialized from a young age and introduced gradually; however, their assertive nature may require supervision and training to ensure harmonious relationships within multi-pet households.

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