Affenpinscher – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Affenpinscher or the Monkey Terrier is an active breed with an 'electric' look. Read on to discover what else makes this dog unique within the canine world.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
7 to 9 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Affenpinscher may be small, but he is one of the most fearless breeds alive.

Otherwise known as the Monkey Dogs, these canines are best known for their size and famous electric-like look.

Their appearance is one of a kind, and no one can miss them easily. They are called ‘monkey dogs’ due to their personality which is best described as goofy.

In French, they are named ”diablotin moustachu” which literally means ”mustached little devil.”

During the 17th and 18th century this breed was extremely popular in Europe where people couldn’t do anything, but love this small breed.

This terrier-like toy dog is a companion dog that will keep you entertained for hours.

Quick Facts

Real name: Affenpinscher
Other names: Monkey Dog
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Companion Dogs
Weight: 7 to 9 pounds
Height: 9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Litter Size: 2 – 3 puppies
Color: Wide range of colors, including black, gray, silver, tan, black, red, black and silver
Coat: Short and harsh coat

Affenpinscher History

The name of the breed should provide some insight into its history.

Since ‘affen’ stands for money, and ‘pincsher’ means terrier, it’s obvious that this small dog is somehow related to terriers.

Although they are not classified as a terrier, they were bred to work like one. From day one, their main job was to chase and exterminate rats and other stable pests across Germany during the 1600s.

Over time from stables they have moved to indoors, as their duties changed.

Their additional job was to chase mice and keep the kitchen area mice-free. From there their role evolved, even more, they have become companion dogs.

In no time they have moved from chasing small stable pets to keeping people’s legs warm at night.

The small Affenpinscher is one of the oldest toy dogs alive. They have learned to adapt fast and easily to new roles which kept them so popular and alive as a breed.

The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1936. Although they were very popular lapdogs, World War II slowed down the development of the breed and their numbers.

These effects were so strong, that even today the Affenpinscher is one of the rarest breeds alive. Although these dogs were highly popular in Germany, they are still low in numbers across the country.

As for the States, this breed is still rare, although their popularity is on the rise, thanks to the breed’s amazing sporting skills.

Affenpinscher Physical Appearance

Affenpinschers are tiny dogs. They are usually 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall and weigh 7 to 9 pounds, making them great for city life.

They are compact and easy to move around. Yet, don’t let their size fool you, becuase this breed is far from being a couch potato. They are always on alert, and they are built to support that spirit.

This is a wiry-haired terrier-like dog of sturdy balance. The Affenpinscher is a compact dog of an overall shaggy appearance.

Overall body is well-proportioned, with a head carrying a monkey-like facial expression.

Eyes are round and dark, while the ears are set high and cropped to a point. The muzzle is short, while the skull is round, with a black nose.

The neck is short and straight, while the topline is set straight. The tail maybe docked or natural. The coat is dense and harsh.

In most dogs, the coat is around one inch in length and may be shorter on the rear and tail. The entire body is covered with an equal amount of hair, while the hair on the head may be longer.

As for the color, the Affenpinscher comes in many colors, from black, silver, red, gray, to a combination of black and tan.

Some Affenpinschers may have black masks. The Affenpinscher has a distinctive face feature – a face beard, adding to their electric look.

Affenpinscher Personality

Small Affenpinscher is an adorable small dog with a big personality. They are highly curious, lively, and always on the alert.

This is a devoted and loyal breed who will do his best to protect what is his. They are so passionate and almost fear-free that they aren’t afraid to jump on dogs that are multiple times their size.

So, a proper introduction to other dogs should be done carefully, and at an early age.

Socialization and training are the only two factors that can ensure that your Affenpinscher becomes a well-behaved indoor dog and a canine citizen.

Since they are highly curious, Affenpinschers will always sniff around and look for their next adventure.

As they are terriers at heart, you may expect some digging and burst of energy. Similar to terriers, this small dog will show signs of stubbornness.

They will also love to monkey around and keep their people entertained. As such, they are friendly and outgoing. They do tend to be mischievous – they like to climb and bark.

Affenpinschers are good with other dogs and pets. If your home is a multi-pet household make sure that you make the introduction slowly and in the right environment.

As a general rule, Affenpinscher will thrive in a family that has a good sense of humor and doesn’t mind taking their Affenpinscher everywhere with them.

This is why training is so important because small size dogs tend to develop a small dog syndrome, which is something that dog owners want to avoid.

Affenpinscher Training

Training is what makes Affenpinscher a well-behaved dog. In fact, proper training is what makes every dog a well-behaved canine.

Basic obedience training is recommended. Dogs are capable of mastering basic commands at the age of only eight weeks.

Use vaccination period to teach your dog basic commands so you can have more enjoyable and easier walks later on.

Dogs should know ‘no’, ‘sit’, and ‘come’ command before they meet other dogs. Start training as soon as you bring your Affenpinscher home.

In general, if you are dealing with responsible breeders they will never give you a puppy that’s not ready to be trained.

Responsible breeders will never separate puppies from their moms too early. Since this breed can be stubborn, like real terriers are, arm yourself with extra patience because you will need it.

If you feel like you need extra support during the training process, think about hiring a dog trainer, or attending puppy classes together with your dog.

This can make the training process shorter and more effective, plus it can be a great bonding experience both for you and your dog.

Keep in mind that dogs are generally easily bored and they tend to lose interest during long training sessions. The key is to keep training sessions short, fun, and packed with treats.

Treats are a great tool to motivate a dog to perform a trick. They are more eager to master a specific command when they know that there is a treat coming afterward.

Keep training sessions fun, consistent, and short. If you opt to search for a professional dog trainer, make sure that you search for those who already have experience with training toy breeds.

Affenpinscher Exercise

How active small dogs might be? You may be surprised, but small dogs often come with big energy.

This toy dog from Germany requires a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day, next to regular walks that are more toilet-based. They don’t need heavy exercise, since longer walks will do the job.

Don’t forget that a tired dog is a happy dog. Also, there should always be an option for indoor games. This breed comes with reasonable levels of stamina and energy.

As such, regular exercise is mandatory to keep your Affenpinscher healhty and happy.

Exercise and overall outdoor time should be used to keep Affenpinscher’s mind stimulated and body active.

Dogs thrive on routine, and for them, walks are a time to explore the world and indulge themselves in different smells.

Affenpinscher Grooming

Grooming is a serious process that keeps your dog healthy and happy. Only through proper grooming, you can keep your dog fresh.

Grooming goes beyond brushing, although brushing is a huge part of the grooming routine.

Affenpinscher comes with a medium-long coat of harsh structure which means that grooming twice a week is mandatory.

Make sure that you have the proper grooming tools on hand and that you know how to brush him properly.

Use this time as a bonding experience and to connect stronger with your dog.

If you feel like brushing is too much for you, think about taking your dog to a professional groomer.

If you notice any mats, make sure that you pull them with your fingers, gently. It’s important to trim the hair on the nose.

This is usually done in a fan shape to keep the eyes clear. Affenpinscher’s coat doesn’t grow fast, so trimming every few months should be more than enough to keep your Affenpinscher well-presented.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails up to twice a month
  • Bathe only when needed
  • Check ears, eyes, and gums regularly
  • Leanr how to clean dogs ears and when
  • If recommded by yoru veterrinain, brush teeth regularly

If you are not sure what else you should provide in terms of grooming, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

All in, with grooming, the most important thing is to have consistency.

Affenpinscher Health

All purebred dogs and those are not purebred, have the potential to develop soem sort of genetic health issues.

However, in a certain way, this can be prevented. The first and most important step if you are getting a puppy is to deal only with responsible breeders.

Responsible breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health issues in the breed and present to you the medical documentation on dogs.

If you are adopting from a local shelter you will get insight on the dog’s health and probably get a dog who is microchipped on the shelter and well protected in terms of vaccines and parasite control.

Back to the breeders – if you are not offered a health guarantee on the puppy, know that you are standing in the middle of the puppy mill and you should walk away.

Dealing with unethical breeders will only enhance your chances of having a puppy with major health issues and more expenses in the long run.

A reputable breeder will always be honest, ask you a lot of questions, and let you walk around the facilities.

A reputable breeder will also let you meet all the puppies and help you choose the one that could fit you the best.

Also, you will be allowed to meet the bitch and ask any questions on the breeding process and dog’s history.

Responsible breeders will also tell you that if you get into a hard period of life, return the dog to them before you turn the dog over to a local shelter.

Reputable breeders will always try to see if you are really ready to own a dog and if you are a good choice for that puppy.

In a way, dealing with a responsible breeder works two ways. If you are not presented on the puppy’s medical documentation, make sure that you ask if they have patella and hip certifications from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation – these documents should tell that if your puppy is healthy.

Also, no matter how much you trust the breeder and how recommendations are, make sure that you take your puppy to your veterinarian as soon as you bring the puppy home.

Once you bring your Affenpicscher home, you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across teh States, and you want to keep your Fido far from this list by keeping his weight optional.

You can keep your dog healthy and under proper weight by:

  • Knowing exactly how much you should feed him and when
  • By reading dog food labels
  • By providing regualr exercise and training
  • Keeping treats at minimum
  • Chekc his weight on regular veterinarian check-ups

The Bottom Line

Affenpinscher may be a small size dog, but they will thrive the most with the experienced dog owner.

They need a lot of outdoor time and exercise moment to keep them active and engaged. They thrive on human interaction and regular walks on a leash.

If you are sure that this breed is for make sure that you adress the barking needs from day one, and that you can meet Affenpinscher’s needs.

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