Affenpinscher Breed Guide: Small Dogs With Big Personality

Published February 18, 2021
Affenpinscher Puppy

The German word "affenpinscher" means monkey terrier, and many pet parents say this is an appropriate description for the breed. The affenpinscher is mostly quiet, yet a lively companion and occasionally stubborn. This monkey dog originated in Germany, and in the 1600s, he was used to catch rats on farms.

Affenpinscher Dog Breed

This breed is known as bold, athletic, playful, and mostly good with other house pets. This dog's nickname, monkey terrier, refers to his bewhiskered face and slightly undershot jaw. Today, this pet is primarily a companion dog or house pet.

Origin and History

In the 1600s, many families lived with dogs like the affenpinscher. The original breed was larger with coat colors of grey, fawn, black, tan, and red. By the 1700s, small white terriers of this type were typical, and there are many depictions of affenpinschers in paintings. The terrier type breed may be a descendant of the miniature pinscher, possibly crossed with some German wirehaired breeds. The original purpose of this breed was vermin hunter and alarm dog.

Wonderful Vermin Hunter

This breed is confident and an outstanding hunter. The affenpinscher is affectionate with his family but may challenge strangers. Pet parents need to make sure this breed is trained to greet people appropriately.


The affenpinscher learns commands quickly. Your dog may get bored! Always work with your little buddy on tricks and new tasks. He may enjoy an American Kennel Club activity known as barn hunt or earthdog.

Sturdy Small Breed

This terrier type is sturdy, and a minimal amount of exercise is adequate. Your affenpinscher enjoys a daily walk with that in mind, so make sure you set aside time for a walk on a leash with your little buddy.


The breed's ears are either cropped or uncropped but must be symmetrical. This dog is known for a straight muzzle and slightly undershot bite.

  • Coat color: The most common coat color for this breed is black, and sometimes he is seen in grey or silver.
  • Size: He is between nine and 11 inches tall.
  • Weight: The breed is between seven and eight pounds.
Affenpinscher Puppy


The affenpinscher's dense, harsh, flyaway coat is low-maintenance and requires minimal grooming. This shaggy coat may need some brushing.

Health Concerns

This breed is prone to hip dysplasia and a collapsed trachea condition, which occurs in many small breeds. There are a few health issues pet parents need to discuss with a vet.

  • Luxating patellas
  • Eye disease
  • Legg Calve Perthes disease

Top Affenpinscher Designer Mixes

Mixes between affenpinschers and other breeds are adorable.

  • Affen Spaniel: Cross between an Affen and Cocker Spaniel
  • Affen Border Terrier: Cross between an Affen and Border terrier.
  • Affenpoo: Cross between an Affen and poodle.

Best Diet for Affenpinschers

Overfeeding and obesity are two significant issues with small breeds. When you choose a diet for a small breed, it is important to look for high-quality ingredients. Regular vet visits are an excellent opportunity to weigh your affenpinscher. Talk to your vet about the best diet options for small breeds.

Caring for Your Senior Affenpinscher

The lifespan for this breed is between ten and 12 years old. Many pet parents are feeding small breeds high-quality diets and bringing their buddies to the vet more often! When old age approaches, schedule an appointment with your vet to check lumps, assess any joint issues, and to do a comprehensive oral exam. Some small breeds, as they age, are predisposed to dental disease.

Work With a Reputable Breeder

The American Kennel Club is an excellent resource for pet parents looking for reputable breeders. There are many questions pet parents need to ask a breeder when researching small dogs, and the affenpinscher is no exception.

About the Affenpinscher

The monkey terrier or affenpinscher is an alert and sturdy little terrier type of breed. His adorable expression and shaggy appearance are extremely appealing traits for pet parents. This breed is a "big dog" with a small body and a good vermin hunter.

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Affenpinscher Breed Guide: Small Dogs With Big Personality