The Affenpinscher

Average Height(“‘s)
Average Weight (#’s)
Notes for owners
Wiry Twice a week. Very little shedding
Needs firm guidance.  Could be OK for allergy sufferers.

This information in this article is from Monkeying Around with Affenpinschers by Nancy E. Holmes© July 1998.

Affenpinscher translates from the German as “Monkey Terrier” or “Monkey Dog” and they live up to the name with their antics and personality.  It helps to have a sense of humor if you plan to live with an Affenpinscher.  They originally served double duty as ratters/mousers and as ladies entertainment in the castles of their native Germany.

Relatives of the Affenpinscher include the Brussels Griffin said to be a cross of Affenpinscher, the Pug and Toy Spaniel; and the Minature Schnauzer which was obtained from the same ancestral breeds (such as the German Ratter) as the Affenpinscher, or was obtained by crossing the Affenpinscher with a Standard Schnauzer

The hairy head is the key to the Affenpinscher’s monkey like look.  The short, but not pushed in muzzle with its small nose, the forward facing, dark and expressive but not bulging eyes, and the protruding black lower lip make it obvious at first glance how the breed earned its name.

A hard wiry coat that is shaggy here and short there helps to complete the monkey look.  Most mature Affenpinschers have a shaggy head with a natural cape flowing down over their shoulders.  The terrier type, low shedding coat is kept shorter from the shoulders back to the tail and down the sides of the body and upper thighs.

The breed now competes in several colors — black and tan, red, wild boar (a brindle and tan color), and dogs with gray shading.  The original black “standard” is seldom a true black with dogs showing evidence of red highlights or the blue/gray shading in their coats or furnishings.  Some show a salt and pepper mix of colors down their spines while others sport a black mask.

While the breed standards depict the dog as small — 8 pounds or less and 9 to 11½ inches, it does not necessarily breed true to size.  Many breeders have pups that will become dogs more than 12 inches tall and weighing from 12 to 16 pounds.  These larger dogs may be more robust and a better fit for homes with children.

The breed can be described as comically serious, vehement when aroused, and reserved.  With its owner an Affen may play the clown, or it may ham it up for an audience, but its the serious way they tackle “jobs” such as patrolling the yard or acting as an officious guard dog that strikes many people as humorous.  The dog takes itself so seriously that it can seem ridiculous because of its size.  They are less outgoing with strangers and it may take a while before a newcomer will see its humorous aspect.

Aroused Affens can get so involved in protecting their home, owner, mate or territory that they may go beyond sensible behavior which, left to continue, could jeopardize the small dog’s life.  Proper training, with a firm but fair attitude, and socializing is a must to bring out the best in a dog of this breed.

Most Affens will live in complete harmony with other pets, fitting easily into a loving pet household.  Again, an owner must watch for, and correct, the Affens urge to “bully” or “boss” other pets, especially larger dogs.  If push comes to shove, the little guy would probably lose.

As puppies, many Affenpinschers learn to climb — they’re monkey dogs, after all!  So plan for safe and secure fencing and barriers, inside and out.  They will usually outgrow this tendancy as they mature and ar less agile.

Read PGAA’s Hypoallergenic Dogs article.

Relevant Web Sites

AKC Breed Description

Affenpinscher Club of America

Affen Rescue

Living with Affenpinschers


We STRONGLY recommend that you get your dog from a respectable breeder or rescue organization.  Pet store puppies may get their dogs from Puppy Mills that normally breed only for profit, not quality or concern for the puppy or its eventual owner.If you would like help locating a breeder or rescue agency near you please E-Mail PGAA (, and let us know your city/state and the type of dog you are looking for.  Do not assume that PGAA has qualified all of the breeders or rescues on this site.  Do your own check of each breeder or rescue — be sure that you are comfortable with the organization before you buy, adopt or turn-over a dog.