Affenpinscher Dog 101: Everything You Need to know about this Unique Breed

The Affenpinscher dog also known as the Monkey dogs are cherished companions who originated in Germany and played an important role in history. In the 17th century, these dogs were used to hunt down the rats in the stables and homes. Officially, this dog breed was recognized in 1936 by the American Kennel Club.

With time, the role of this unique breed has evolved, taking a distinct position in the hearts of dog lovers. Not only this but they are also known for their free vibrancy and bold nature among true pet lovers.

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Although today they are not a popular domestic breed as they were in the past, there are still people out there who appreciate their enthusiastic personality and distinctive looks. 

Affenpinscher dog

Breed Characteristics

Physical Appearance

Affenpinscher dogs have the most adorable faces due to their pushed-in nose, bushy eyebrows, and tiny beards that make them similar to monkeys. With their sturdy and stout body, they weigh 6-13 pounds and have a height of around 9 to 11.5 inches. 

Coat and Color

They have a wild and dense coat which requires frequent grooming to keep them uncluttered and prevent the chances of matting. Most Affenpinscher colors are limited to black only, although it may not be strange if you find them in other colors like gray, red, beige, silver, and even tan and black.

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Temperament and Personality

Affenpinscher has the personality of a little watchdogs. Although they are small in size they carry a big dog attitude. They are bold and adventurous and are not afraid of anyone, when it comes down to protecting their family. Unaware of their diminutive stature, these cute Affenpinschers stay territorial, especially when it comes to strangers.

Historical Background

The origin of the Affenpinscher breed traces back to the 17th century. In Germany, they were kept as working dogs and were responsible to scare away rats and pests from stables and houses. The name of this dog breed comes from a German word, Affe, which means monkey, resembling their facial features. Also, the size we see today is nothing compared to what they were previously used to be. 

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By the 18th and 19th centuries, Affenpinscher puppies breeders went through selective breeding which changed their previous features such as height but they couldn’t alter their fearless nature. As they got smaller in size, more ladies started having them as their companions.

affenpinscher puppies

Health and Wellness of Affenpinscher Dog

Generally speaking, the Affenpinscher dog breed is very healthy, but like all breeds, they may face some health issues, especially as they grow. These common issues include respiratory problems, patellar luxation, and heart anomalies.

However, the owners of this breed are required to look after their dental health from the very beginning. Affenpinschers are more prone to getting gum diseases or tooth loss, if they are not properly taken care of.

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As for their life, they usually live around 12 to 15 years. However, there is no specific age limit as it all comes down to how well they are taken care of giving a definite boost to their years of companionship. 

To boost the lifespan, special care must be given to their nutrition and veterinary care. This means frequent visits to the vet will help your Affenpinscher dog fight off diseases. They must get regular check-ups to prevent health issues at an early age. Similarly, proper vaccinations are necessary to fight respiratory difficulties.

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Grooming and Dog Care

Due to their thick inch hair, Affenpinschers must get regular grooming to fight off skin issues. Ideally, every week you can brush their rough coat to remove debris and tangles. Then, every few months you can get them professional grooming sessions to keep their hair clean without losing its charm.

As for their diet, it is important to keep in mind that this small breed has high energy but is also prone to obesity. That’s why it is crucial to maintain a certain balance between food that is healthy and that will give them energy to go through a regular day.

With food, you must also keep them active throughout the day. It means daily walks, small play sessions, and having fun should be on your daily schedule. However, you mustn’t tire them by playing with them in big yards. 

Training and Socialization for Affenpinscher Dog

Affenpinschers can be difficult to train because of their stubborn nature. Although they are intelligent and quick learners, they might not always want to please their master.

Thus, to train them, you must be patient and consistent with your techniques and training regimen. The best way of harnessing their intelligence would be to offer them treats, while teaching them different signs or instructions. 

Sometimes, their territorial nature can lead to isolation and lack of socialisation. To avoid this, try to introduce them to strangers and other pets in a park or in your neighbourhood. 

affenpinscher colors

Living with an Affenpinscher Dog

Affenpinschers are more suitable for smaller spaces such as apartments where they have a safe environment to freely practice their mischievous nature without worrying about their well-being. However, they can also adapt quickly to big spaces.

Even if you have to travel, their size makes it a blessing for them to be anywhere you want them to be. Especially, if you are traveling solo, this little companion won’t hurt your peace, right? Nonetheless, from an early age, familiarizing them with the cart can give them enough ground to feel safe in it and make their future travels hassle-free. 

Affenpinschers are particularly known to have a special bond with one person. They can become attached to the person who takes care of them, feeds them, takes them outside, and gives them daily care.

These similar mundane tasks can contribute to a deeper emotional connection between the caregiver and the dog. However, Affenpinscher can naturally gravitate towards a person who has a compatible personality. For example, if someone is gentle and calm, Affenpinscher might get more attracted to them because of their stubborn and spirited nature.

If all of these interests make you buy an Affenpinscher, it is crucial to understand the cost involved. If you go to a reputable breed, then they are likely to be expensive. Not to mention the after expenses, such as grooming, food, health care, and other miscellaneous expenses. Adding pet insurance is also important to cater to unexpected veterinary bills.

Affenpinscher Dog Adoption and Rescue

If you are interested in adoption, going to breed-specific shelters and rescue homes might be a good start. Many organizations around your area can be found online that provide necessary care to Affenpinschers in their rehabilitation areas. 

Although the process may take some time, within an interview or two, you will get connected to your potential dog and possible companion matching your compatibility.

However, it is still important that dog owners should evaluate the available time and resources for their new pet. Most importantly, they must see if they have time as Affenpinschers need attention, regular visits to veterinary and grooming to complete their average life span.

affenpinscher dog breeds

More Resources

If you are excited about an Affenpinscher but still unsure about making the right decision, you can learn more about their lifestyle with the following resources. 

Taking help from breed-specific books, like “The Complete Guide to Affenpinschers” by Michael Stonewood, might be a great start. Websites like Affenpinscher Club of America and American Kennel Club have good information on breed standards and rescue tips. Most likely, you can find breed-specific clubs that offer events and support by connecting prospective customers with current owners. 

Although Affenpinschers are not quite as popular in the media as other breeds, they have won many prestigious awards under their breeds’ names at dog shows like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. You can hear many heart-warming stories about the Affenpinschers taking care of their family and becoming a member of the household. 


Having an Affenpinscher in your life can be a rewarding and fulfilling decision, giving the dog owners the touch of laughter, mischief, and joy. With lots of love and specific training, Affenpinscher would be a wonderful addition to your home.

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