Affenpinscher Dog Breed History, Health And Care


The Affenpinscher, whose name translated from German means “monkey-like terrier”, is one of the most ancient of all toy breeds. Also known as the Monkey Pinscher, the Monkey Dog, the Monkey Terrier, the Black-Mustached Devil or simply the Affen, this is a lively, sturdy little dog whose intelligence, disposition and size make it a wonderful house dog and companion. The Affenpinscher has a neat but shaggy appearance with an endearing facial expression accentuated by a flat face, a prominent chin, bushy eyebrows, a mustache and a beard. The Affenpinscher is known for being courageous, reliable and inquisitive. Legend has it that one Affen faced up to an angry stallion, and another confronted a grown grizzly bear on a trip with its owner to the Alaskan wilderness. The Affenpinscher was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936, as a member of the Toy Group.

Affenpinscher Dog Breed Quick Facts

Adaptability 3/5
Affection Level 4/5
Apartment Friendly 5/5
Barking Tendencies 4/5
Cat Friendly 3/5
Child Friendly 2/5
Dog Friendly 3/5
Exercise Need 2/5
Grooming Needs 3/5
Health Issues 2/5
Intelligence 4/5
Playfulness 4/5

History & Health of Affenpinscher Dogs


Affenpinschers were developed in Germany, where in the 16th and 17th centuries they were used to control the rodent population in kitchens, granaries, shops and stables. Over time, they were bred down in size and became equally welcomed as household companions, while still keeping mice and rats at bay. The ancestry of the Affenpinscher is not well-documented. Many fanciers speculate that German Pinschers were mated with imported Asian breeds to create the flat-faced Affen. Regardless of its own ancestry, the Affenpinscher was a significant contributor to the development of many other small, rough-coated European breeds, including the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. Affenpinschers almost disappeared during World War II. When the war ended, fanciers crossed the remaining German stock with the Griffon Bruxellois, which exaggerated the unique face that identifies the breed today.

The Pinscher Klub was founded in 1895 in Cologne. In 1907, the Bayerischer Schnauzer Klub was formed. In 1923, these two clubs merged and became the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub. The Affenpinscher was admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1936. For some reason, this breed has never enjoyed immense popularity. In 1998, only 87 Affenpinschers were registered in all of Great Britain, making this a rare breed. Today’s Affenpinscher excels in agility, rally and obedience disciplines, as well as in the conformation ring. He also is an excellent therapy dog. Mostly, however, the Affenpinscher is an affectionate companion and charming lap-warmer.

Health Characteristics

The average life span of an Affenpinscher is 11 to 14 years. Due to their small size they may be at an increased risk of suffering tracheal damage from incorrect use of collars and leashes. Supplements which support joint health, and walking this breed on a harness instead of a collar and leash, can help to lower this health risk. Other breed health concerns may include the following:

  • Heart Problems: Disorders and diseases that affect the dog’s heart
  • Cataracts: Refers to any opacity of the lens of the eye. Dogs of either gender can develop cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia: Involves abnormal development and/or degeneration of the coxofemoral (hip) joint
  • Hernias
  • Hypothyroidism: a clinical syndrome caused by inadequate production and release of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: defined as the spontaneous degeneration of the hip (coxofemoral) joint
  • Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation, commonly known as a “slipped knee cap,” occurs when the patella is displaced from the joint.
  • Oligodontia (congenital absence of some teeth)
  • portosystemic shunts
  • sebaceous cysts
  • Von Willebrand Disease: the most common hereditary blood-clotting disorder in domestic dogs.

Temperament & Personality of Affenpinscher Dogs


Affenpinschers are tiny, but they have large personalities. They take themselves very seriously, and require everyone else to take them seriously as well, resulting in humorous interactions with people. Their terrier blood makes them spunky and sassy, and many owners wonder if these tiny toy dogs know just how small they really are. Mostly seen as “purse dogs” by ladies around the world, the Affen is a lovely travel companion, easy-going and accepting of new situations. Just keep an eye on the Affenpinscher about town, this breed can be mischievous.

Activity Requirements

This toy breed does not require excessive amounts of exercise, a few short walks a day will suffice. Apartment-dwellers should be cautioned, however; as Affens bark, so while they are small enough to dwell in close-quarters, they may drive your neighbors crazy.

Affenpinschers are good family dogs, they love to play and are affectionate, however they can be territorial and are not the best fit for a house with small children.

When outdoors, Affens should be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in yard for their own protection. Toy breeds are easily injured and can even die from being stepped on, tripped over, or picked up by a large dog.


Affens are generally people-pleasers but can be stubborn, so early training is key to having an obedient dog. They respond best to positive reinforcement, with lots of treats and affection. Consistency and a gentle hand are required to prevent the Affen from becoming distrusting of people.

This tiny dog, with a penchant for mischief makes a good therapy dog. They travel well, adapt well in new environments and make people laugh, making them an ideal visitor for lifting the spirits of the elderly or the sick.

Behavioral Traits

Affenpinschers are classic “yappy” dogs. They bark at just about anything and everything. This can be controlled with early training, but it generally can’t be completely trained away.

Affenss are easily adaptable to new situations, but if not properly socialized, they can become wary of new people and places, causing them great anxiety.

Appearance & Grooming Needs for Affenpinscher Dogs


The AKC calls the Affenpinscher’s appearance, “shaggy but neat.” Affenpinschers have a thick, rough coat that is about one inch think on the body, and becomes shorter toward the hindquarters and longer toward the head, creating a mane around the face. Their coats come in several colors ranging from beige to black. The unique facial structure of the Affen, complete with a tiny mustache has earned this breed its “Monkey Dog” nickname. They often have a slight underbite, but many have an even jawline. Affens’ tails are almost always docked, as this is the show standard. Affenpinschers are small dogs who carry themselves with great confidence.

Size and Weight

The standard height for this breed is between 9 to 11.5 inches at the shoulder, though some come slightly smaller or larger. Typically, Affenpinschers weigh between 7 to 9 lbs when fully grown.

Coat and Color

Affenpinschers have a short, wiry coat that comes in several colors: black, gray, silver, black and tan, beige, or red. Some dogs may have white or gray hairs mixed in to their mostly solid-colored coat, and some have a patch of stark white hair at their neck.

Grooming Needs

Maintaining the desired appearance of the Affenpinscher requires a lot of grooming. They need to be brushed several times a week with both a slick brush and a metal comb. The Affen’s coat should also be stripped several times a year, in order to maintain it’s characteristic feel. Stripping of the coat involves pulling “dead” hair out by hand. Professional dog groomers can teach this simple technique.

If the dog does not naturally wear his nails down, regular nail clippings are a must, as are monthly ear cleanings.

Photo Library of Affenpinscher Dog

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