The Affenpinscher!

The Affenpinscher (or “Affen” as it is often affectionately called) is a small dog with the build, personality and sturdy constitution of a terrier. It has a short, thick and wiry coat, with longer wisps falling over its face and a slightly curly undercoat. The Affen has a squarish frame and face, round eyes, a short nose and an undershot jaw (giving its nickname, “the monkey terrier”). Traditionally its ears and tails are docked by a third of its length.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
12-14 years

Energy Level:
Full throttle

Living Conditions:
Indoor only


Exercise Needs:
Very low

Breed Group:


10-15 inches

7-8 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black, dark gray, red, tan

National breed club:
The Affenpinscher Club of America

Affenpinscher Skills

Affenpinschers were originally farm dogs who were kept in barns and stables to control the rats (hence their former name, “ratting terriers”). They were then bred to a smaller size and trained to become the household mouser. Today, the Affenpinscher still remains one of the most agile dogs, and they perform well in the increasingly popular sport, Agility. Their protective and aggressive nature also make them good watch dogs, especially for apartment owners who can not keep larger dogs.

Affenpinscher Personality

The Affen is a very curious and mischievous dog, and is better suited to owners who want an active pet (and can take their antics with a sense of humor). Affenpinschers are intelligent, but bore very quickly, making it more difficult to teach complex commands. Some affens may even be hard to housebreak. However, firm and consistent discipline is needed, especially as this dog can be very aggressive. The Affenpinscher is not a good pet for families with young children.

Exercise Needs

This active dog gets all its exercise needs just by playing indoors. Psychologically, however, Affens may need an occasional short walk outside to satisfy their curiosity and desire to explore.

Living Conditions

The Affen’s small size makes them ideal for those who live in apartments or small homes without a yard. However, they are uncomfortable in very warm environments (as a general rule, temperature should be below 75 degrees F).

Grooming Requirements

The Affenpinscher's coat needs to be brushed and combed once a week, and hair around the eyes should be trimmed to avoid irritation. Observe for, and immediately correct, any hair that grows into the corners of the eyes. Never clip the coat short to avoid ruining its shape. Affens do not shed.

Health Issues

The Affen is one of the healthiest breeds with no known serious genetic problems. It may occasionally suffer respiratory problems in hot weather, common among short-nose dogs.

Further Information

For more information on affenpinschers you should consider building a relationship with a local breeder who breeds purebred puppies. Good breeders love to discuss their breed and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

You should always get your new dog from a well known breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue. The Dog Guide strongly advocates for dog adoption. If you'd like help training your new affenpinscher puppy, please check out our articles on dog training.

If you liked this dog…

You may also enjoy the playfulness of a Yorkshire Terrier (a better alternative if you have young children) and the boundless energy of the Australian Terrier. The Affen is also related to the Miniature Schnauzer.


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