Meet the Breed: The Affenpinscher

AffenpinscherThe Affenpinscher is a balanced and sturdy breed. They are a combination of charm and spunk, with a great deal of courage and boldness. The Affenpinscher is often considered the “class clown”. Affenpinscher is German for “monkey terrier”. In France they are called “diablotin moustachu”, meaning “little moustachioed devil.” Both names aptly describe the face and temperament.

Learn if the Affenpinscher might be the right breed for you.


  • Height: 9″-12″
  • Weight: 7-13 pounds
  • Historical Function: Vermin controllers
  • Modern Function: Companion, comic relief
  • AKC Classification: Terrier, Toy

Physical Characteristics: The Affenpinscher is a small dog yet not delicate dog with a shaggy, wiry-type coat. The hair on the face is longer than the rest of the body giving it a distinct monkey-like look. It has a square body, with a moderately broad, deep chest. Most are black but they may also come in gray, red, and black and tan. 

History of the Breed: The Affenpinscher originated in Germany in the 16th century. The breed was created to be a ratter, working to remove rodents from kitchens, granaries, and stables.

Temperament: Affenpinschers are active, adventurous, curious, and stubborn, but they are also fun-loving and playful. The breed is confident, lively, and friendly. It is also very protective of family members. It is very affectionate and amusing. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training as some can be quite difficult to housebreak. The training should be varied because the dog can easily become bored. The affenpinscher has a terrier-like personality.

  • Best suited for: families with older children as they may territorial about food and toys.
  • Preferred living conditions: They love to have a yard but can adapt to an apartment if given plenty of exercise through play and walks. They are very social and intelligent, and they very much want to be with their people. Hot conditions can be damaging to their coat. The Affenpinscher tends to climb and bark so supervision is required in the outdoor setting.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming Requirements: Affenpinschers should never be clipped. Brushing and combing weekly is a must, plucking done when necessary. They will occasionally have stray hairs that grow in the corners of the eyes that cause irritation; they should be removed immediately.
  • Exercise needs: The Affenpinscher is active and energetic but can be satisfied with regular indoor play sessions. Regular walks with kind but firm handling will remind this dog not to assume the pack leader roll, which minimizes disruptive behaviors.
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Health Concerns: The Affenpinscher is prone to slipped stifle, open fontanel, tooth and thyroid issues, and respiratory problems in hot weather.

Breed Club Links: Affenpinscher Club of America

Photo courtesy of Gerr Dekker.

Do you have any stories about an Affenpinscher?

3 thoughts on “Meet the Breed: The Affenpinscher

  1. I am having a hard time seeing your website in my smart phone… its coming up all funny.

    Not very user-friendly. But your site is very nice on my laptop.

    I do some programming in my spare time… if you need some help making your site Mobile Ready then just send me a msg.

    Have a nice day.

    • We are aware the site isn’t terribly mobile friendly right now. We are currently working on making the blog more user friendly, and hopefully launching it next week. Thanks for the suggestion.

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