Choosing an Affenpinscher

The affenpinscher, also known as the monkey terrier, is an ancient toy terrier that has a monkey-like appearance. The breed was previously uncommon and used to hunt rodents but has recently surged in popularity.

History and Origin

The affenpinscher is considered by many to be the oldest toy breed but the breed’s true history is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that the breed has been around since the 1600s and was developed in Germany to hunt vermin. It has been suggested that the affenpinscher was developed from crossing the small local German pinschers with pug-like dogs from Asia. Eventually, the affenpinscher was used in the development of the Brussels griffon, miniature schnauzer and several other toy breed dogs.

In Germany, the affenpinscher was developed to rid the kitchens and stables of mice. Their expertise in this field was famous and the little dogs soon found their way into the homes of people throughout Europe. In France, the dog was called the “mustached little devil,” which describes the breed’s appearance as well as his personality. From the 17th century, the affenpinscher has been kept around small stables, on farms, and in stores for the purpose of keeping the rodent population down. By the early 1900s the affenpinscher was well established in North America and by 1936, the American Kennel Club recognized the affenpinscher in the toy group.

Appearance and Size

The affenpinscher has a wide, round head covered with ruffled hair, mustache and bushy eyebrows. They have a strong, prominent chin and a short nose. The affenpinscher has dark, round prominent eyes that express intelligence. Their ears are often pointed and erect and the tail is carried high. The breed has a compact, sturdy body with a coarse and rough coat. The undercoat is slightly curly, but stiff and wiry texture. The coat of the affenpinscher comes in black, gray, silver, grayish-black, bluish-gray, black and tan symmetrical markings or red varying from brownish red to an orange tan. The height from the shoulders ranges from 9 to 12 inches and the weight ranges from 8 to 12 pounds.


The affenpinscher is a sturdy little terrier, characterized by his “monkeyish” expression. He is comical, intelligent and sometimes smug and stubborn. Although he is a member of the toy group, he has a personality more like those of the terrier group. The affenpinscher is lively and self-confident dog, full of mischief, but a loyal companion to his owners.

Home and Family Relations

Affenpinschers are curious dogs with fierce loyalty and affection towards their owners. They have an amicable nature and a deep devotion that makes them an excellent companion and a supreme watch dog. They can do well in the city or in the country. They do need to be watched around larger dogs since these diminutive dogs don’t seem to understand that their size is a disadvantage when picking a fight with someone bigger.


The affenpinscher is usually quiet, but can become excited when threatened or attacked and is fearless toward aggressors. They can excel in obedience but do take some patience to train. Firm gentle training works best but be aware that if you don’t train them, they will train you. As with other members of the toy group, the affenpinscher may be difficult to housebreak.


The affenpinscher does not require much grooming. Daily brushing is sufficient.

Special Care

The affenpinscher can have problems with the hot and humid weather due to their short muzzles. Keep them out of extreme hot or cold weather.

Common Diseases and Disorders

Affenpinschers are also prone to corneal ulcers and brachycephalic syndrome

Life Span

The life span of the affenpinscher is approximately 12 to 15 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.