If you're one of those people searching for a dog that is small in size, devoted, easy to train, and fun to be with, an Affenpinscher is the one you are looking for!

One of the oldest dog breeds in the world, the Affenpinscher, is originally from Germany. Affenpinscher in German means “monkey-like terrier.”


They are a great companion in the house and would love to be around their owners. They enjoy playing with children and can live with any family size.

Affenpinschers are not loud, but they can be overly excited. Once they are on alert, it takes a while for them to calm down.

Frequent socialization for Affenpinschers is a must! Without it, they'll never get to live up to their full potential.

Check out below the list of traits and characteristics of Affenpinschers that are very important if you're considering owning one.


Significant Characteristics of Affenpinschers

Affenpinschers are bred to be a ratter – to kill rats, mice, and other small vermin. They are an active kind of dog whose agility is enough to chase down rodents.

Just like any terriers, they are very lively and playful. In France, they are called the “mustached little devil” because of their naughty traits.

They are curious and love to have fun! 

Affenpinschers are always up for a stroll around the neighborhood and doing fetch games. 

They need to be monitored when going outside because as dogs trained to hunt, they will plan an escape and take every chase opportunity they can get. 

Affenpinscher is a combination of a charming and creative dog that amazes a lot of people. He is brilliant and can quickly adapt to the changing environment.

They are also a good travel companion as they are always up for any adventure.

Affenpinscher owners love their sensitivity and gentleness!

They are eager to learn, and they love to impress their owners when being taught with positive support like treats, affirmations, and plays.

Affenpinschers are lovely therapy dogs for they can entertain their people, and they are also obedient.

Affenpinscher Dog Breed Profile


Both female and male Affenpinschers have 9 to 12 inches (23 – 30 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 7 to 10 pounds.

Physical Characteristics

The Affenpinscher is a small ball of fur with a beard and long eyebrows, making them look like monkeys. It has a long-haired mane around its head, about 1 – 2 inches long, that blends to the rest of its fur.

This breed is known for its dense, rough, and wire-haired coat. The function of their jacket is to protect them from any harsh weather conditions and vermin.

Affenpinschers come in black, gray, silver, red, black and brown, or black-and-reddish-brown mix. 

The black Affenpinschers may exhibit a rusty cast – a mix of white or silver hairs. For the reddish coat, the shade ranges from red to a tan with an orange.

Their ears are mostly cropped to make them pointed; they are also set high and erect. Affenpinscher's tail is high and docked, about 1 to 2 inches long.

Their muzzle is short and narrow, with a blunt black nose and a slightly undershot bite. Their eyes are shining dark with black rims and with the perfect shape of round and almond-like.

They have small and round feet with black nails and paw pads. 

Affenpinschers are medium bone, sturdy, compact, and square-portioned since they are a smaller version of the working terrier.

Although small, Affenpinschers are not as delicate as they appear to be. They are adamant and very active in hunting down rats. 


Affenpinscher's Personality and Temperament

Affenpinschers are real “monkey” terriers to their appearance and character. They love exercises, are playful, and are very fond of behaving like a monkey.

They tend to climb!

The personality of an Affenpinscher includes being loyal and affectionate. They swear to protect their family to the best they can.

Despite its size, Affenpinschers are full of energy, are bright, and very alert.  They can be excellent watchdogs!

Some labeled them as stubborn dogs, but because of their eagerness to learn, it makes them easy to discipline and train.

Like any other dog, early socialization with other pets and children makes Affenpinscher, a good playmate when appropriately trained.

Generally, Affenpinschers are quiet, but they can also be enthusiastic barkers. 

As mentioned, they make an excellent guard dog that faces down predators of all sizes.

But these guarding tendencies may go out of control because they can sometimes extend to their food and toys.

Affenpinschers need early socialization as puppies – lots of exposure to different people, sceneries, sounds, and experiences. This helps ensure Affenpinscher puppies grow up well-rounded, friendly, and outgoing dogs.


Feeding An Affenpinscher

The recommended daily food intake for Affenpinschers is 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food and is divided into two meals per day.

Note: The food intake of adult dogs depends on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity per day.

It's great to keep your Affenpinscher in its best shape! This is achievable by measuring his food intake and feeding him just twice a day. 

If you have doubts about your Affenpinscher being overweight, follow this simple process:

Give him the eye and hands-on test. You need to first look down on him, and you should be able to see his waist. Place your hand on his back and gently thumb along the spine, with your fingers spread downward. By then, you should be able to feel his ribs. If you can't handle it, you'll need to lower down his food intake and give him more exercise than usual.

READ NEXT: How to Put an Overweight Dog on a Diet?

If you're still having a hard time on what kind of dog food you're going to feed your Affenpinscher, check out our article on dog foods for small breeds!


Proper Grooming for Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers need weekly brushing with a small slicker brush, then a comb with a metal “greyhound” to maintain their shaggy but neat appearance. 

Even though they are a furry kind of dog, they don't shed like any breed.

Gently break up any tangles you may come across by using your fingers. A spray of detangler solution can be a big help!

Many trimming and stripping must be done to attain the distinct Affenpinscher look, but it can be easy to learn. Your dog's breeder can show you, or you can simply follow the instructions set by the Affenpinscher Club of America.

Dental and nail care is also a must for Affenpinschers!

Like most small breeds, Affenpinschers have issues with periodontal disease. Daily brushing of their teeth helps in the removal of tartar and bacteria. 

Their nails need to be trimmed at least once or twice a month. If you can already hear the clicking sound of their claws on the floor, it's an indication that it's already long.

Short and neatly trimmed nails keep their feet in good condition, plus it prevents your legs from getting scratches when they become too jumpy to greet you.

Train your Affenpinscher puppy to be accustomed to brushing and other hygiene regimes. Frequently touch his paws and look inside his mouth and ears.

Check for any sores, rashes, or signs of infections, such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on their skin, ears, mouth, nose, eyes, and feet.

Ears should smell good, without too much wax. The eyes should be clear, with no redness or any discharges.

A weekly exam for your Affenpinschers will help you identify any signs of potential infections.

Make hygiene practice for Affenpinscher a fun experience by giving them treats as rewards. With that, all the veterinary exams will be easy as he reaches adulthood.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Train a Dog to Enjoy Grooming

The Lifespan of Affenpinschers

The average lifespan of Affenpinschers is 12 to 14 years. They tend to suffer from minor diseases like patellar luxation, Legg-Perthes, and corneal ulcers

Difficulties in the respiratory, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), hip dysplasia, and open fontanel are sometimes experienced by this breed. 

A veterinarian can identify these diseases by running knee and cardiac tests.

If you're buying an Affenpinscher puppy, the breeder should be able to present to you a health clearance from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (bearing a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombophilia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that his eyes are normal.

You can confirm these health clearances by checking the OFA website.

Living Arrangements for Affenpinschers

Affenpinschers love to spend time with their families, and their size is ideal if you're living in an apartment-type house. But having an expansive yard where they can run freely to release their stored energies makes them very fit and healthy.

They are also great companions for people residing in the city since they love to sightsee.

Affenpinschers are most favored to be house pets. They often led a double life: working dogs by day because of their alertness and being a dedicated household companion at night.

They are loyal to their adult family members and can be a great confidant for older children. 

affenpinscher dog breed

Affenpinschers with Children and Other Pets

Affenpinschers are not suitable for a household with young children or toddlers. They dislike aggressive behaviors such as hitting, squeezing, chasing, or cornering them.

If they can't escape, they will defend themselves by growling or snapping.

Young children don't understand that a little Affenpinscher might not want any hugs and kisses from them.

Never let any young children pick an Affenpinscher immediately. Make them sit with the Affenpinscher positioned on their lap.

Pay attention to the Affenpinscher's body language. If he appears to be uncomfortable or unhappy, safely put him back to his crate.

It's always nice to have young puppies or small dogs to socialize with young children, but an adult should supervise their interactions. 

Affenpinschers usually get along with other dogs and cats in the house, but like any small breed, they are more likely to go against dogs with much bigger sizes than them, neglecting their size.

This is the reason why Affenpinscher owners always protect this breed from themselves.

Affenpinscher History

In the 17th century in Central Europe, several tiny terriers were experts in dispatching rats. In Germany, they kept these terriers in the kitchens and stables to help free the area from rodents, making them earn their nickname as “Ratter” or “Ratting Terrier.”

There were smaller types of the same dog that were very cuddly that women decided they could be good lapdogs.

They give warmth to their mistress' lap, could kill mice, and can entertain people in the house with their funny traits.

Later on, Affenpinscher was bred to be more compact, to turn them into a better size to be a companion dog. They are then improved by doing cross-breeding with the German Pinscher, pug, and German Silky Pinscher.

Many wire-coated small breeds, including the Brussels Griffon, descended from Affenpinscher.

Affenpinschers are popular in Germany, which claims to be their homeland. 

The American Kennel Club granted its recognition in 1936, but World War II reduced its population. 

Today, the Affenpinscher remains a rare breed in most parts of the United States and Germany.

affenpinscher puppy

Where to Get an Affenpinscher

Rescue Groups

Dog owners often purchase an Affenpinscher without properly knowing how to handle them. They get one for the fact that they are cute, tiny, and cuddly to be with.

With that, many Affenpinschers end up in shelters and can be up for adoption or fostering.

If you're one of the many dog lovers who want to own an Affenpinscher, you might want to visit the Affenpinscher Rescue website. They listed several Affenpinschers that need a loving family and a forever home.

Buying Through a Legit Breeder

You can expect to pay $800 – $3,500 when buying an Affenpinscher puppy from a legit breeder. This is due to their rarity and scarcity, and there are not many breeders of Affenpinschers even in the USA.

A legit breeder puts in a lot of time and effort to produce high-quality and healthy breeding of Affenpinschers. They provide healthy dog foods, monthly check-ups to the vet clinic, vaccinations, vitamins, and proper grooming. 

In line with all of that, expect a little more expensive when purchasing Affenpinschers from legit breeders because they'll top up the price with all the expenses they've spent to provide a healthy breed.

Breeding Affenpinschers

The average litter of an Affenpinscher is only 1 to 3 puppies. They require so much attention and care during the pregnancy period as they become more delicate than usual.

Note: Affenpinschers often have difficulty during pregnancy and can only have one litter per year for the puppies to be healthy. Also, avoid back-to-back breeding with them.

Affenpinschers have many underlying illnesses, so buying an Affenpinscher from a legit breeder can be critical because it will cost you a lot, but it will save you from any problems than buying it from a non – accredited breeder.

Unfortunately, there is no public breeding protocol available because of its rareness. For example, in the UK, there are only 30 breeders and even fewer in Australia.

The best move is to buy from an accredited marketplace that can provide proper documentation and health clearances and make sure that the puppy is free from any hereditary diseases. They should have a sound temperament.

Other Things to Consider When Owning an Affenpinscher

The expenses of buying an Affenpinscher do not end in purchasing another one after you purchased the other or adopting another. 

You must provide the basic needs for your Affenpinscher dog, like annual vet visits for their health check-ups, complete vaccination, healthy food, and vitamins.

The most affordable and essential thing is giving them your time to play, cuddles, proper care, and lots of love coming from you.

This is applicable, not just to Affenpinschers but also to all the other dog breeds out there.

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