Last updated February 26, 2019

Affenpinschers are categorized under the UKC (United Kennel Club) category of terriers, and are considered to be one of the most ancient of toy canine breeds. Affenpinschers carry nicknames such as the Monkey Dog, the Monkey Terrier, and the Black-Mustached Devil. This breed is known for being lively, intelligent, and reliable.

Affenpinschers have a height range of 9.5 inches to 11.5 inches (24 – 29 centimeters), and an average weight range of 7 to 9 pounds (3 – 4 kilograms). They have an average lifespan of 12 – 14 years.


Affenpinschers are German by origin – their ancestors date back to the 17th Century, but proper documentation only dates back to the 19th Century. Back in the day, they were utilized throughout Germany mainly for their exceptional rat-catching abilities; as a result, they were a popular breed and readily welcomed in various shops and houses. Over time, Affenpinschers were bred into smaller companion dogs, possibly having crossed with breeds such as Pugs, German Pinschers, and the German Silky Pinscher. Affenpinschers became domesticated dogs around the early 18th Century. The Affenpinscher contributed to the development of other toy breeds, such as the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon.

During World War II, the Affenpinscher population dwindled due to breeding interruptions, and only managed to make a comeback around the 1950s. Today, the Affenpinscher, although generally lacking in popularity, is known to be obedient and a terrific companion, although they can sometimes be slightly territorial.

Physical Appearance

The coat of an Affenpinscher is thick and rough, the hairs about an inch in length on the body with longer hairs on the head, neck, chest, stomach, and legs, and shorter hairs on the rump and tail. Although Affenpinschers do not shed much, their coats do need to be stripped in order to maintain its texture. Affenpinschers come in a few colors, including black, gray, silver, and red. In addition, the costs of some individuals have a mix of colors.


Affenpinschers are very playful and excitable, and are highly intelligent dogs. Affectionate and curious, they are always alert and are very loyal to their owners – as a result, they make good watchdogs despite their small stature. Affenpinschers get along well with other animals (except rodents due to Affenpinschers’ heritage as ratters), even more so when exposed to different experiences when they are at a young age.

On the other hand, Affenpinschers are known to be tough to housebreak, and may require various training sessions in order to keep it consistently trained. Without proper training and established rules/boundaries, Affenpinschers may adapt an authoritarian attitude.

Affenpinschers are not recommended for families with young children, as a child’s approach – treating Affenpinschers like small dogs, e.g. cornering them and hitting them – may trigger aggressive and negative behavior. This can be overcome if the children are taught on how to approach such dogs.

General Care & Health

Due to their active nature, Affenpinschers do not require a yard – they make very good indoor pets, as they can keep active indoors. If they do have access to a yard, the yard should be fenced up securely as Affenpinschers have the tendency to confront animals that are much bigger than them.

The coats of Affenpinschers should be brushed weekly with a slicker brush and then combed with a metal comb. If necessary, a detangler spray can be used on the coat before grooming. More detailed steps to grooming an Affenpinscher’s coat can be learned through the breeder. As a result of their size, Affenpinschers do have issues with periodontal disease. Their teeth should be brushed several times a week, with daily brushing being the best decision. Keep their nails short; trim them once or twice a month, or whenever they get too long. During the grooming process, keep a look out for signs of infection in the ears, nose, mouth and eyes. The ears should be clean and with minimum wax build-up; the eyes should be clear and free of discharge.

The recommended daily amount of food an Affenpinscher should be getting is ¼ to ½ cup of dry food, divided into two meals throughout the day. Despite the presence of a guideline, the amounts can be altered if the dog is highly active or otherwise.

Affenpinschers are prone to the following diseases:
• Patellar Luxation – caused when the patella (kneecap) is not properly lined up, leading to an abnormal gait or the lack of ability to walk. Constant rubbing caused by this disease can lead to arthritis.
• Legg-Perthes Disease – the deformity of the ball of the hip joint. Appears around the age of 6-6 months and can cause arthritis.
• Hip Dysplasia – a heritable condition in which the thighbone does not fit comfortably into the hip joint. Some dogs might not show outward signs of hip dysplasia, but some may show pain or affected movement in the rear legs. Hip dysplasia will cause arthritis over time. Although heritable, this condition can be triggered by environmental factors such as rapid growth or injuries received from falling or jumping onto slippery surfaces.
• Heart Murmurs – caused by a disturbance in blood flow to the heart.


As a smaller breed that enjoys the company of a loving family, the Affenpinscher will get along well with the members of the family and other animals when raised alongside them. With minor shedding, the Affenpinscher only requires special grooming once or twice a year due to his coat. Known to be lively, intelligent, inquisitive and loyal, Affenpinschers make good companion dogs when they receive good training.

Image Credit

Photo by Bill Harrison - CC BY 2.0

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