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Affenpinscher:  Cute as a Monkey

By Janice Jones   |Last Updated April 29, 2019

Breed Name:  Affenpinscher pronounced, ('Affen-pincher') meaning Monkey Terrier, in German and The French refer to this breed as Diablotin Moustachu which means 'Mustached Little Devil." 

This is a rare breed in the United States, but has come to the attention of many people in the dog world because of the 2013 Westminster Dog Show’s Best of Show, Banana Joe.

Affenpinscher:  The Monkey Dog

Quick Facts

Other Names Used:  Monkey Face, Mustached Little Devil

Affiliation:  AKC: Toy Breed, UK: Companion, CKC: Toy


     Height:  9 to 12 in (23-30 cm) 

     Weight 6.5 to 13.2 lbs (2.9 - 6.0 kg)

Coat Type:  Wiry

Colors:   Black, grey, silver, red, black and tan, or beige (mixed black, white, brown and red hairs), all with or without black mask

Country of Origin:  Germany

Activity Level:  Moderate

Life Expectancy:  11-14 years

Good with Children: Not recommended for small children

Good with other pets:  Yes


Affection Level
Friendliness Towards Strangers
Good with Children
Good with Other Dogs
Good for First Time Owners
Exercise Needed
Ease of Training
Watch Dog Ability
Grooming Requirements
Cold Tolerant
Heat Tolerant

Dog Breed Ratings Got You a Little Confused?
Here's a little help in understanding them

  • Playfulness:   Most Playful = 5    Least Playful = 1
  • Affection:  Most Affectionate = 5   Least Affectionate = 1
  • Friendliness Towards Strangers: Most Friendly = 5  Least = 1
  • Good With Children:  Great= 5    Not Good with Children = 1
  • Good With Dogs:  Great = 5   Not Good Around Dogs = 1
  • Good With First Time Owners:  Fine=5  Not Appropriate = 1
  • Exercise Required:  Extensive Daily Exercise = 1  Minimal = 1
  • Ease of Training:  Very Easy = 5     Difficult = 1
  • Watch Dog:  Excellent Watch Dog = 5  Minimal = 1
  • Grooming:  Time Consuming = 5   Minimal = 1
  • Shedding:  Heavy Shedder = 5     Minimal = 1
  • Cold Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5   Poor Tolerance = 1
  • Heat Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5  Poor Tolerance = 1

The Affenpinscher is a bold, alert, loving and very loyal breed.  Additional words that describe his personality include Fun-loving, Spunky, Curious, Adventurous, Stubborn, Playful, and Active.   

He is inquisitive and intelligent, and generally quiet unless he hears a noise and then you’ll hear a different side to him. He is a companion dogs and need to live indoors near his favorite people.   

He is the quintessential, small dog with a big attitude.  He has no sense of size, so you will need to protect him from himself. 

He is an active breed that enjoys a daily walk, but much of his exercise requirements can be met indoors.  This is one breed that will keep you entertained.   

This breed tends to conform to the activity needs of the people who love him, so in other words, he will be just as content to sit on the couch as you watch television or take a brisk walk outdoors if you are more of the active type. 

He can be a little athlete and does well in agility, obedience or rally.  His tiny size makes it easy to carry him around, but he is happier walking on his own. 

As is the case with many small breed dogs, these dogs are  difficult to housebreak.  Crate training is often recommended for this breed.



This breed originated in Central Europe, most likely Germany and France back in the 17th century. 

He was originally bred to chase rodents in stables, homes, farms, and shops.  The original dogs of this breed were much larger.  Over time, breeders reduced their size and made them companion dogs. 

It is thought that they were crossed with pugs, German Pinschers, and a dog called a German Silky Pincher to get their characteristic look. 

They were later used in the creation of other breeds including the Brussels griffon and Miniature Schnauzer.  They are still known to be good at catching mice and other small pests but are classified as a companion dog.

Coat & Grooming

The Affenpinscher:  SmallDogPlace.com

These guys need brushing and combing twice a week and plucking a couple times a year.

Brushing is best accomplished using a slicker brush and a greyhound comb; both tools that will help keep any tangles from turning into mats.   

Plucking is usually done by a professional groomer but if you want to do it yourself, there is a very good tutorial at the Affenpinscher Club of America Website. 

The Affenpinscher has a thick, rough coat with a harsh wiry texture that grows to about one inch long on the body but a little shorter on the rump and tail, and lengthier and bushier on the head, neck, chest, stomach, and legs.

The longer fur around the head and shoulders resembles a cape which gives him that characteristic monkey like appearance.

They don't shed much which makes some believe that they are non-shedding.  They do shed but are considered more hypoallergenic than most.

Health Concerns of the Affenpinscher

While not a health problem in the traditional disease model, Affenpinschers are most susceptible to injury.  Bone fractures are common due to jumping off furniture, falling, or trying to leap out of your arms.  They are fast and can be stepped on easily.  Choking is also a concern even with very tiny objects. 

Since they are so small, they can squeeze through even small openings in a fence and be gone in an instant, sadly ending up in the road.

Other problems include:

  • Heart Problems (patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease)

  • Eye Problems include Cataracts, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, dry eye and tear duct disorders.
  • Endocrine system disorders include hypothyroidism and Cushings disease

If you are working with a breeder it is recommended that you ask about what tests are performed on the parents. 

Excellent breeders will run DNA tests, have eyes checked, and get hips X-rayed before making breeding decisions.

     Pros of Living with an Affenpinscher:

  • Good Watch dog
  • more energetic than most dogs his size
  • Minimal shedding
  • Good with older children
  • Playful, fun personality
  • Has not been over bred


  • Can be difficult to housebreak
  • intact males “mark” their territory
  • Regular grooming, including stripping his coat of dead hairs to keep the shaggy but neat appearance
  • Intelligent but may be stubborn, does best with firm, consistent, positive training
  • Expensive to purchase
Affenpinscher or Monkey Dog:  The Complete Breed Profile:  Is the breed right for you?Affenpinscher or Monkey Dog: The Complete Breed Profile: Is the breed right for you?

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