Breed Group: Toy

Temperament and Behavior

Intelligent and entertaining, an Affenpinscher is bold beyond its size. With a terrier-like personality, their playful, lively nature, self-confidence, and sharp wit can lead them into mischief. While highly active both inside and out, the Affenpinscher’s exercise needs can be easily met with indoor playtime and a walk outside; however, they are not suited to be left outdoors. Very loving of family, after sounding an initial alarm, they also get along fairly well with strangers. Dogs and most other pets are accepted too, especially when raised with them. They do well with older well-behaved children. However, general precautions associated with toys should be taken with small children as this breed can be possessive of things he considers his. Highly intelligent and fiercely loyal an Affenpinscher is fearless of intruders. Though not as “yappy” as some toy breeds, his family can still depend on a quick bark to alert them to any potential danger.

Physical Characteristics

Affenpinschers are most commonly black but can also be found in gray, silver, black/tan, red with accents and minimal white. Their rough coat is dense and about one inch long. They shed little if any but still benefit from being brushed every week or two. The breed tolerates heat better than cold but is not suited to either extreme. Use a sweater when it is cool outside. Their average height is between 9 and 11 inches and their average weight is between 7 and 9 pounds. If you can find a larger individual (they are not uncommon), an Affenpinscher can make a reasonably sturdy pet; but a jump from your arms can still cause injury.

Trainer's Notes

They take to training reasonably well provided you do not try to bully them. An Affenpinscher requires a soft hand and firm resolve to overcome their strong personality. For the best results keep training happy and playful. Strong socialization is needed to balance behaviors associated with indulgence and insecurity. If spoiled they can grow into little tyrants that can be obstinate and demanding. This can include throwing a tantrum or sulking if they don’t get their way. If you decide this behavior is inappropriate it will likely require the assistance of a professional trainer to correct. Most are difficult to housetrain. They make a reasonable choice for a dedicated novice dog owner provided they have a sense of humor and for apartment dwellers.
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Affenpinschers are a fairly healthy breed that has a lifespan of between 12 and 14 years. Their biggest health problem is hip dysplasia which affects about one in seven dogs. Minor health issues include Legg-Perthes and patellar luxation. Rarely seen problems include PDA and open fontanel.


AKC rank 125th. With fewer than 300 individuals registered each year, the Affenpinscher is the rarest of all the toy breeds. Expect to search for a breeder and when you find one don’t be surprised to be put on a waiting list for a puppy. Affenpinchers breed only once a year rather than twice and have very small litters, frequently only a single pup.

Breed History

Originally bred in Germany to rid stables of rats, the Affenpinscher was bred down in size to become a ladies companion and keep homes free of mice. For this reason it is recommended he is kept away from hamsters, mice, or other small rodents also kept as pets.

Additional Information

Affenpinschers have the nickname of “Little Monkey Dog” because some feel their face looks like that of a monkey, but the nickname can also be used to describe their personality. In many respects, Affenpinchers are similar to the Brussels Griffon. Paul Ehrlich (the Nobel Prize-winning German bacteriologist who created the foundation needed to understand immunity) was an Affenpinscher owner. The National (US) Breed Club is the Affenpinscher Club of America.

Is An Affenpinscher THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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