The Affenpinscher Dog Breed – Everything About the Monkey Dog!

Affenpinscher Dog in grass

A loyal companion with an attitude

Although the Affenpinscher dog breed may look like terriers, they are actually from the pinscher-schnauzer family which makes them more tolerant towards other dogs and pets.

Although the Affenpinscher dog breed may look like terriers, they are actually from the pinscher-schnauzer family which makes them more tolerant towards other dogs and pets.

They are inquisitive, affectionate and playful and are very loyal and protective towards other family members although they can be a little territorial when it comes to their food or toys so they are not advised for families with very small children.

A black Affenpinscher dog running outdoors

Affenpinscher – Temperament

Affies are prone to doing some pretty crazy stuff – like eating random items such as rocks, lipsticks, insects etc and for walking around on their back legs!

They need firm training as sometimes they can difficult to house-break and their training does need to be varied as they can become bored with the same routine over and over again.

A black Affenpinscher dog standing on a pavement, looking up to the left
Affenpinscher on street

About the Affenpinscher

They are quiet dogs on the whole though can become noisy when over-excited or threatened. They are extremely courageous and show no fear towards any aggressors.

These tiny mustached devils do not require a huge amount of exercise – they will be quite happy to receive all their exercise by running around inside your home. However, as ratters, they do enjoy being outside too so try to give your dog the best of both worlds.

Affenpinschers are of German origin – in fact the word “Affe” means “Monkey” in German so the name literally means “Monkey Terrier”.

Their breed pre-dates a similar little terrier, the Brussels Griffon or “Monkey-Face Dog”. In fact, Affenpinschers were an important component in the production of both the Brussels Griffon and the Miniature Schnauzer.

A black Affenpinscher dog sitting in the garden
Affenpinscher in the garden

They were originally bred down from larger terriers to become miniaturized to be effective rat and other rodent killers, becoming domesticated in the early 18th century  although records show that they have been around since at least the 16th century.

They were a favorite of the great artist Renoir who included several of this playful breed within his paintings. German film stars and fashionable ladies were often seen with Affies tucked under their arm when out and about.

The breed was imported into America in 1950 and gained popularity so quickly that there are now more Affenpinschers in the US than in the rest of the world all put together.

The breed is still relatively new in Britain, where it was introduced in 1975. Despite their German origin, Germany has one of the lowest levels of  registrations worldwide – often only single figures.

Vital Statistics

  • Height:  23 – 30 cm (9 – 12 inches)
  • Weight:  2.9 – 6.0 kg (6.5–13.2 lb)
  • Life Expectancy: 11 – 14 yrs


  • Black
  • Grey
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Black and Tan
  • Beige (mixed black, white, brown and red hairs)
  • All can be with or without a black mask

Read all about Mister Stevie Wonderful – one of our readers’ dogs – Deanna Lanier. Mister Stevie is a real character by the sounds of it!

The Monkey Dog, as they are affectionately known, are easy to train as they are intelligent and enjoy mental stimulation. However, they do get bored easily so you should try to keep the training short, frequent and varied.

Use lots of positive enforcement to encourage and reward good behavior.

A black Affenpinscher dog standing in the garden
Affenpinscher on a little hill in a garden

Thanks to their courageous personality, Affies make excellent guard dogs. They are loyal to their families, slow to make friends with strangers and slightly territorial.


These dogs have short, wiry, coarse hair which naturally looks shaggy and messy.They require very little grooming and no trimming.

They should be brushed occasionally to stop their hair from getting too messy and a soft nylon bristled ladies hair brush is ideal to use.

Their little cheeky monkey face should be enhanced and any hairs found growing down inside their ears should be removed to stop any infections from occurring  Their tail resembles a Christmas Tree if left natural or a cigar if groomed for show.

They are generally regarded as a very low shedding dog and as a hypo-allergenic  dog breed so could be good for people who are allergic to dogs.

Health Considerations

The Affenpinscher dog breed is generally a healthy one although the following diseases have been reported.  Don’t worry, your dog is not likely to be plagued with these issues especially if you have found a reputable breeder who does testing on the parents before breeding.

  • Anasarca
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
  • Cataract
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Cleft Palate
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Elongated Soft Palate
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Oligodontia Patella luxation
  • Patent ductus arteriosus

I found this video of a really cute Affie called George running around a beach. Apparently he is barking at a washing line of clothes!

He looks so excited and happy to be there that I couldn’t resist posting this  – I love his little wagging, scruffy tail!

Mister Stevie Wonderful, the Affenpinscher

by Deanna Lanier
(Columbia, SC USA)

I have bred and shown several dog breeds (e.g. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Brussel Griffon, Shih Tzu, where I had over 30 home bred champions, and an award of merit at Westminster. I would see Affenpinscher at the shows and through the years made half hearted attempts to secure one.

I could not locate a breeder whose type I liked. Welllll then I had a male puppy who was sired by Ch Bananna Joe! His pedigree is stellar!!!! I got him at 7 months of age so was able to get “the look”.

Mister Stevie is now ten months old, compact and one silly clown. He spends a great deal of time entertaining anyone who will watch walking on his hind legs for relatively long periods of time.

He runs fast and loves to tease. He is territorial in the bed with Lucas, a 10-month old English toy spaniel. Stevie thinks he owns me, but likes everyone. He likes strangers, likes rides in the car.

Treats and chewys motivate him to do almost anything. He is so smart, gets anywhere he wishes even though he may have to foresee an alternate route

While he cries bloody murder if he sees a brush or comb, he seems to like clippers, go figure. This breed is pricy (really question why, if yours is not) I currently have: 1 smooth coat Brussels Griffon, 1 Cavalier King Charles spaniel, 1 Shih Tzu, 1 English toy spaniel and a Pekinese.

I am considering another mustached devil. My 4-YO grand daughter took him to her kindergarten for show and tell and he loved it!

These dogs are the greatest and I have a good basis for comparison, My phone is charging and Stevie is sleeping, will download pics at a later date.

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