Home Dog Breeds Affenpinscher


  • Temperament: Stubborn, Curious, Active, Playful, Adventurous, Fun-loving
  • Height: 9-11.5 (male), 10
  • Weight: 7 / 10
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Drive: Companion
  • Group: Toy


  • Hypoallergenic:
  • Shedding:
  • Grooming Frequency:


  • Affectionate:
  • Intelligence:
  • Barking/Vocal:
  • Energy Level:
  • Prey Drive:

Breed History

The breed name is a German word for “Monkey-like terrier”. The origins of this moniker probably derive from the cute monkey-like expression these dogs possess. Presence of a prominent hairy chin, sweeping moustache and prominent brows gave rise to the unique breed expression.

This ancient breed originated in the Munich area and has contributed to the development of breeds such as the Brussels Griffon (crosses with Pugs may have resulted in the Brussels Griffon). Other Affenpinscher outcrosses included the smooth haired German Pinscher and German Silky Pinscher. The progenitor genes used in these outcrosses may have derived from a Schnauzer-type Russian ratter.

The ancient core German breed may have branched off into Miniature Schnauzer and Affenpinscher based on size originally. Though first historical records in artwork date to the year 1600, the breed standard was not drawn up until much later and details about the intervening breed development are sketchy. For a while they were termed ratting terriers and were larger in size. AKC first admitted the breed in 1936.

Behavior & Traits

Traits ascribed to the Affenpinscher include: Intelligent, low grooming needs, friendly to his master, protective, fearless, alert, curious, loyal, and independent minded. It is suggested that one start earlier for obedience training than with many other breeds. They are quick to learn when focused. In French they are nicknamed “diabolitin moustachu” meaning moustached devil. Some have also referred to them as the “little ruffian”.

Can be snappy with children, show terrier tendency to excitement when on alert and can be bold and take on bigger dogs. They enjoy games that require dexterity of forelimbs, and should be introduced early to small pets.

They are very good alert barkers and enjoy close human contact. High-energy dogs, they enjoy games and vigorous runs for 30 minutes or so per day.


Coat: The medium-short coat is black, gray, black and tan, or silver with markings, or solid red (some have tan furnishings). They are low shedders. They have low grooming needs except for periodic stripping, and ears need regular plucking. The stiff, dense and wiry-textured coat is about 1” (2.5 cm) in length, and the ear hair is trimmed short. Color is not considered too important, though large white patches are not desirable. In Europe and England, black is the standard breed color.

Affenpinscher Health & Diseases

Inherited Diseases

Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 15.7% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. OFA reports 3.8% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 3.1% affected, but not enough Affenpinschers have been evaluated for statistical confidence.1
Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: Polygenically inherited aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, resulting in degenerative joint disease of the hip. Can be unilateral or bilateral with onset of degeneration

Disease Predispositions

Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 6.38% of Affenpinschers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 6.38% of Affenpinschers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Retinal Dysplasia: Retinal folds, geographic, and generalized retinal dysplasia with detachment are recognized in the breed. Identified in 4.26% of Affenpinschers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Anterior or posterior intermediate and punctate cataracts occur in the breed. Unknown mode of inheritance. Identified in 2.13% of Affenpinschers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Corneal Dystrophy: Affenpinschers can have an epithelial/stromal form of corneal dystrophy. Identified in 2.13% of Affenpinschers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.2
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. Not enough samples have been submitted for thyroid auto-antibodies to Michigan State University to determine an accurate frequency. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Seasonal Flank Alopecia: Wintertime, bilateral, symmetrical alopecia affecting the flank, dorsum and tail.

Anasarca, Cleft Lip/Palate, Cryptorchidism, Dermoid, Elongated Soft Palate, Inhalant Allergies, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Oligodontia, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Retained Primary Teeth, and Tracheal Collapse are reported.

Primary Functions

These dogs were kept for rat and mice control, and over time they were bred down to a toy size to suit the companionship needs of their owners. They also excelled as watchdogs and rabbit and quail trackers.

Toy Group Summary

Dogs of this group have one primary function, delighting their owners. Historically, these dogs were kept as symbols of affluence, as watchdogs, or for the health function of attracting fleas away from their owners. The small size of these lapdogs can be misleading since they are often very tough. An example of this is the Chihuahua, which has a bark that is hard to ignore or forget.

These dogs are ideal for people who live in cities and apartments. These smaller breeds are also popular because they are easier to own. They shed less and have a lower cost of care.