Affenpinschers are small, terrier-like dogs with endearing features. The breed's name hints at this dog's appearance—affe is German for 'monkey,' while pinscher can mean terrier. This lighthearted, entertaining breed enjoys showing off at any opportunity. They're known to walk on their hind legs or perform goofy tricks for anyone who will watch. They are playful and affectionate with family, but don't make an ideal match for children. Expect typical toy breed behaviors—they may be territorial or mouthy, with big-dog, small-body attitudes. Though they're often described as stubborn and difficult to train, Affens are intelligent and learn quickly when you approach training in a fun and interesting way.

Other Names

Affenpinschers are also called Affens and Affies, and are affectionately called 'monkey dogs.' The French nickname for the breed is Diablotin Moustachu or moustached little devil.

Physical Description


The harsh coat of the Affenpinscher is often shaggy and wiry in texture. It may be black, gray, red, or belge, but black is preferred by most breed standards. Though no breed truly possesses zero risk of causing an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals, Affenpinschers are considered a hypoallergenic breed.


Average Height: 9-11.5 inches


Average Weight: 7-10 pounds

Breed Standard & History

Wiry haired Affenpinschers appear neat but shaggy, and are sturdy without being delicate. They have a monkey-like facial expression, with a round skull and an undershot bite. The Affen's round, dark eyes shouldn't bulge. Ears may be cropped or kept natural; cropped ears should stand erect, and natural ears may be erect or dropped. The tail may be docked or kept natural, and is carried erect. The dense coat is about one inch long, with a mane, hairy eyebrows, and a beard. Black, gray, silver, red, black and tan, or beige are acceptable. – AKC Breed Standards

Little is known about this breed's history, except it is likely one of the original toy breeds. A type similar to the Affenpinscher dates back to the 1600s, where her original use was for ratting on farms and in stables. Affens made their way indoors, where they were helpful in catching vermin, and as companions for the women of the house. They were bred to be smaller as their popularity as a lapdog climbed.

The first Affenpinschers came to the US in the 1930s, and the American Kennel Club recognized them n 1936.

AKC Breed Category

Toy Group


General Temperament

Affens are adventurous little dogs with a curious nature. Though intelligent, they may have a stubborn streak—but if you approach activities with excitement, you'll likely have the goofy Affie on board as well. They're lively and confident, which can translate to territorial behaviors if their energy isn't properly directed.

Family Life

Are Affenpinschers Good with Kids? Affens may do well with older children with whom they're raised, but they aren't ideal for homes with little kids. Their territorial nature and dislike of being chased or squeezed may lead to nips or bites.

Are Affenpinschers Good with Other Pets? Affenpinschers may be able to coexist with other dogs and cats if raised with them, but other pets, such as rats, hamsters, and ferrets are not a good match due to the Affen's ratting history and high prey drive.


Tiny, fearless Affenpinschers are alert and quick to sound the alarm if anything seems suspicious. Their small size means they aren't guard dogs—but that doesn't mean they won't try.

Energy Levels

Affens are energetic and playful dogs, but aren't overly demanding when it comes to exercise.

Specific Concerns

  • Affens present some stubborn behaviors, but are often easily won over if you know how to approach the situation.
  • This breed is a big dog in a small body—they think they're bigger and tougher than they are.
  • A high prey drive makes small animals prime targets for games of chase.
  • This breed may be territorial and may guard toys or food.
  • The Affenpinscher, like most toy breeds, may be difficult to housetrain.
  • Affens are considered rare and may be difficult to find.
  • Without proper socialization, Affens may be suspicious of new people.



This small, adaptable breed can adjust to life in an apartment—but her tendency to bark may disturb neighbors. Their energy can usually be burned through with indoor play and a couple of supervised romps outdoors.


Affenpinschers aren't meant to live outdoors. They should always be supervised outside and should be kept on a comfortable dog leash or in a fenced area. They are sensitive to heat or cold and shouldn't be asked to venture outdoors when temperatures are at the extremes.


Though energetic, Affenpinschers are often happy with a few daily walks and some indoor playtime. If they exhibit undesirable behaviors, more exercise may be necessary.


Affenpinschers are an athletic breed that enjoys canine sports and competition—but they're sensitive to heat and care should be taken to halt activity before an Affie is overworked—she isn't likely to quit on her own.

Activity distance rating


Give your Affenpinscher ¼ to ½ cup of food per day, split between two or three meals. This amount is based on average weight and activity level. Affens may have dental issues and thus may require a special diet to accommodate missing teeth or problems with bite alignment.

Affens may be territorial when it comes to food, and may attempt to guard it. If your Affenpinscher shows any signs of resource guarding, consult with a behaviorist to determine the best way to manage it. Children should never be allowed to touch or remove food from any dog while it is eating.

Alone Time

This companion breed prefers to spend time near her people and doesn't tolerate time alone. She may manage an hour or two alone, but even that may be pushing her limit. Destructive behaviors and barking are likely if an Affie is left alone. Crate training is ideal to prevent destructive behaviors and house training accidents.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

12-14 years


The Affenpincher's shaggy but tidy coat requires hand stripping every three to four months to maintain the proper texture. Non-show Affenpinschers may be trimmed rather than stripped, but doing this will alter the coat texture. Though Affens are low-shedding dogs, weekly brushing will prevent matting and tangles. Give your Affen a bath as necessary. Trimming her nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or breaking a nail.

Common Health Issues

A small gene pool means the Affenpinscher may be prone to some breed-specific health concerns, including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Heart concerns
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease
  • Eye issues
  • Dental concerns
  • Tracheal collapse

You can minimize serious health concerns in the Affenpinscher by purchasing her from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.



Affenpinschers have a stubborn terrier-type personality, but they also possess the terrier's intelligence and ability to learn. They need a firm and consistent trainer who will keep learning as fun as possible. Positive reinforcement techniques are the best for training this occasionally sensitive breed. As with most small dogs, the Affie may be difficult to housebreak. House training and basic manners should be priorities for the Affen.

Advanced Training

Energetic Affenpinschers may enjoy agility and advanced tricks training. They're a breed that loves to show off, and will take any chance to do so. Recent wins in the show ring have put the Affenpinscher in the conformation ring spotlight.

Sporting Dog Training

Though Affenpinschers aren't sporting dogs, they're likely to track down rodents in your yard. They may do well in barn hunt or Earthdog trials.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Affenpinschers.

Explore Other Breeds

Affens are referred to as a 'terrier-type' breed, and terrier breeds may have been included in their development. However, they are considered a 'pinscher-schnauzer' breed rather than true terriers. They do display some terrier-like traits, including a strong personality.

Many dog breeds, the Affenpinscher among them, may suffer from tracheal collapse. In affected dogs, the cartilage that makes up the trachea—the 'windpipe' that delivers oxygen to the lungs—may flatten. When the trachea collapses, it reduces the amount of oxygen the dog receives. The obstructed airway may cause the dog to cough, wheeze, grunt, or lose consciousness depending on severity.

A dry cough, often aggravated by activity or excitement, may point to this condition—a veterinarian can diagnose a collapsed trachea through a physical examination and X-rays. Treatment usually includes management with antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, as well as steroids, and cough suppressants for comfort. Surgery may improve the condition, but isn't always necessary or advised.

Tracheal collapse is often congenital—the weakness in the trachea exists from birth. But external circumstances may cause or provoke the condition—small dogs like the Affenpinscher may benefit from a harness instead of a collar to prevent damage or limit irritation to the trachea.