The Affenpinscher was bred in Central Europe to keep rat populations down in stables and farms. Noble ladies discovered the dog was equally capable of decimating mice populations in their closets, so at least some Affenpinschers moved up to fancier social circles. Of German origin, this little breed’s likeness appears in works of art dating to the 15th century.

With the spunk of a terrier blended with some of the agility of a monkey, the Affenpinscher is indeed appropriately named (German: “monkey-terrier”). In fact, the same dog that charms owners with well-timed spirited antics may on occasion drive the family nuts with mistimed spirited antics.

Good with other family pets if raised with them, the Affenpinscher is also generally good with children. His intelligence makes one training day easy; his stubbornness and pride may make the next training day difficult.

Affenpinschers are active indoors, and can live in apartments quite well, provided they are taken for daily walks. The beauty of the toy breeds is that they offer something for everyone, especially for people whose accommodations are limited.  The breed’s exercise needs are minimal.

Owners can help the feisty Affenpinscher avoid accidentally aggravating other dogs by providing early socialization. A good watchdog with a reliable bark, the Affenpinscher is not quite as apt a guard dog. His size is an issue of course (few will be deterred by his tiny frame), but he’s also generally too friendly to guard.

The Affenpinscher:

Out for mischief
Proud, yet sensitive
Charming busybody

Should I get an Affenpinscher?

Terrific for a person who:
Knows how to mold spunk and sass into canine excellence.
Wants a tiny dog that’s also a tiny bit silly.
Expects a dog to liven up everyone’s spirits, and rarely sing the blues.

Think twice if you’re a person who:

Expounds on the fact that obedience is the most important dog trait.
Hasn’t a clue how to moderate a dog’s instinctive barking.
Anticipates rough-house play in the family 24/7.

Care and maintenance of the Affenpinscher:

The Affenpinscher’s wiry coat needs regular brushing and trimming. Some professional grooming may be needed to tidy the shaggy look.

The Standard Look:

Measuring 9.5 to 11.5 inches at the shoulder, the breed is sturdy and well balanced with a wiry coat. Solid black is the most common color, although black with tan markings, red, gray and other mixtures are permissible.

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Breed Details

Country of Origin:
Small Dog Breed
Black, gray, silver, black and tan, red or beige.

Dense coat, rough, harsh, wiry.


Occasional grooming.

Life Expectancy:
12 to 14 years
AKC Group:
Toy Group
UKC Group:
9.5 to 11.5 inches at the withers
Proportionate to height
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