Affenpinscher Breed Guide: Characteristics, Temperament, and Care Tips

Exploring the distinctive traits of Affenpinscher dogs

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By Manu


The Affenpinscher is a small-sized dog with a very curious and distinctive appearance.

It belongs to the Schnauzer and Pinscher type of dogs group and is also called the “Monkey Dog” or “Ape Dog.” This nickname comes from its unique face features. Its muzzle has a thick beard, bushy eyebrows, and fur on the head that sticks out, making it look a bit like a monkey.

The Affenpinscher is a lively and very clever little dog. Intelligent and loyal, it can also be stubborn. It’s also an affectionate dog, perfect as a companion dog, which adapts well to apartment living.

Origins of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher, believed to have ancient German roots, likely originated in Bavaria. It’s thought that in the 17th century, these dogs were chosen for their small size and agility to hunt rodents in kitchens, barns, and stables. With their distinctive facial expression resembling a monkey and their coarse fur, they earned the nickname “monkey dogs.”

Over time, they have become beloved pets due to their playful personality and charming appearance.

According to other theories, it may instead descend from the Belgian Griffon; still, others argue that it was selected in the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt and Hesse-Kassel around the 17th century.

Whatever its origins, it is still a relatively uncommon dog in Europe, while in the USA, it has recently gained some popularity.


The term “Affenpinscher” originates from German, where it’s a compound word meaning “Monkey Pinscher.”

The term “Pinscher” is used because the breed belongs to this category of dogs. “Monkey” is included due to its small head, resembling that of certain monkey species.

Physical characteristics of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is characterized by its small size and distinctive appearance. These dogs typically stand between 9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 7 to 10 pounds. Despite their small stature, they possess a sturdy and compact build.

One of the most striking features of the Affenpinscher is its face, which bears a resemblance to that of a monkey. They have a broad, round skull with a short muzzle and a distinct beard and eyebrows that give them a somewhat comical expression. Their eyes are round and dark in color, with an alert expression. The feet are short and round, with tight toes and hard pads.

Affenpinsher dogs feature a dense and wiry coat, forming a shaggy yet neat appearance. The fur on their head often creates tufts that stand out, adding to their unique charm. Common coat colors include black, gray, silver, or a combination of these shades.

Their ears are typically set high on the head and may be cropped or left natural. When uncropped, their ears are small and button-like, adding to their endearing appearance.


Affenpinscher: Temperament

Affenpinschers have a lively and alert demeanor, with a confident and sometimes mischievous personality. They are known for their playful nature and enjoy interacting with their human companions. Despite their small size, they are often fearless and make excellent watchdogs.

Regarding character and temperament, the Affenpinscher is a dog with a personality rich in contrasts. Lively, clever, and playful, despite its small size, it also hides a brave and bold spirit.

An excellent apartment dog, it can be affectionate, loyal, and faithful, but at the same time also determined and stubborn.

The Affenpinscher is also fearless, courageous, and very determined. It is an excellent guard dog and also a very skilled hunter of rodents in general. If well socialized from puppyhood, it can be an excellent playmate for children. In any case, dog-child interaction always requires supervision by an adult.

It is usually rather shy and reluctant with people it does not know. Therefore, it is important to accustom it to socialize with proper training.

Health Considerations

When considering the health of Affenpinschers, several key factors should be taken into account to ensure their well-being.

Firstly, due to their brachycephalic (short-nosed) facial structure, Affenpinschers may be prone to respiratory issues, including brachycephalic airway syndrome. This condition can lead to difficulties in breathing, especially in hot or humid weather.

Affenpinschers can be susceptible to certain orthopedic issues such as luxating patellas (knee dislocation) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a hip joint disorder). Regular veterinary check-ups and appropriate exercise can help monitor and manage these conditions.

Like many small breeds, Affenpinschers may also experience dental problems such as tartar buildup and tooth decay. Good dental hygiene practices, including regular brushing and dental check-ups, are essential for maintaining their oral health.

Furthermore, Affenpinschers have a tendency to gain weight easily, which can exacerbate health issues such as joint problems and obesity-related conditions. A balanced diet and regular exercise tailored to their needs can help prevent weight gain and promote overall health.

Lastly, responsible breeding practices, including health screening for genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye disorders, are crucial for maintaining the long-term health and well-being of the Affenpinscher breed.

A lively and intelligent little dog.

Affenpinscher: Care Tips

As just explained, the Affenpinscher is a breed predisposed to certain pathologies. For this reason, it is essential to subject it to regular check-ups and visits to the veterinarian. Since one of its weak points is represented by its teeth, it is advisable to accustom the dog to regular dental hygiene from puppyhood.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the emotional health of your dog. The Affenpinscher, in particular, loves company very much and does not easily adapt to excessively long periods of solitude.

Therefore, it is necessary to dedicate the right amount of time and attention to it every day.


Its characteristic fur, thick, rough, and abundant, requires special care and daily attention. To avoid the formation of knots and tangles, it would be ideal to brush it every day.


For its well-being, the Affenpinscher needs a balanced diet rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

As for the amounts of food, these must be calculated and evaluated based on various factors of the individual dog, such as age, weight, and daily physical activity.

Physical activity

The Affenpinscher is a very playful dog, always active and extremely energetic. Although it is an excellent companion dog, it is necessary to offer it daily opportunities to expend this energy and playfulness.

Every day, you should never deprive it of a good dose of daily physical activity, such as walks and games like agility. Furthermore, being a very curious and intelligent dog, it greatly appreciates games and all activities that can stimulate it intellectually and mentally.


The Affenpinscher can be a stubborn and irascible dog. For this reason, it is advisable to train it from puppyhood. The work to be done with this breed of dog is positive training, based on rewards and reinforcement.

Life Expectancy of the Affenpinscher Dog

The Affenpinscher is a rather long-lived dog. If cared for properly, it can live up to 15-17 years.


How Much Does a Puppy Cost?

The price for a dog of this breed ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 dollars, and in some cases even more. The variables that influence the cost are various: age of the dog and sex, place of origin, and pedigree.

The Affenpinscher breed in summary

Here is also a convenient summary table of this little dog:

Characteristic Description
Origin Germany
Size Small-sized, typically 9 to 11 inches tall and 7 to 10 pounds in weight
Appearance Characterized by a unique facial expression resembling a monkey
Origins Believed to have ancient German roots, likely originating in Bavaria
Temperament Lively, clever, affectionate, and sometimes stubborn
Health Considerations Prone to respiratory issues, orthopedic problems, dental issues, and weight gain
Grooming Requires daily brushing to prevent matting of its thick, rough coat
Feeding Needs a balanced diet rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins
Physical Activity Highly energetic and playful, requires daily exercise and mental stimulation
Training Can be stubborn, requires positive reinforcement-based training from puppyhood
Life Expectancy Can live up to 15-17 years with proper care
Suitable for Apartment Living Yes
Compatibility with Children Good, if properly (and early) socialized
Puppy Cost Ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on various factors


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