The Affenpinscher is one of the oldest breeds, known to have been in existence in the 17th century and similar dogs appear in paintings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In Germany where it originated, the word 'affen' means to mock and 'pinscher' means terrier. The Affen was the first of the monkey-faced dogs and he is the ancestor of two other breeds, the Griffon Belge and the Griffon Bruxellosis, who also have the monkey face. Affen blood was also involved in the development of the Miniature Schnauzer. The Affenpischer is believed to have once existed in two sizes, the smaller survives today as the toy terrier but the larger one has become extinct. Although Affens show all the spunk of terriers, they are too small to be working dogs and are kept chiefly as companions.
The Affenpinscher is a small, compact terrier-type dog with bushy eyebrows and a mischievous monkey like expression. The coat is rough and of uneven length over the body adding to their somewhat comical appearance. They have a lively, strutting movement.
The Affenpinscher is commonly black and may have some grey colouration around the face and chest. Silver, black and tan and red colourations also appear.
The Affenpinscher male or female, should measure between 24 and 28 cm at the withers and weigh between 3 and 4 kg.
The Affenpinscher has a few breed specific disorders but buying a puppy from healthy stock will reduce the possibility of it having inherited problems. They are active, bold dogs but due to their small size, broken bones are a potential problem. Supervised exercise and a safe environment will help prevent this problem occurring.
The Affenpinscher was originally used to hunt vermin, today they are companions.
The Affen is an undemanding dog to feed with no special dietary requirements. They generally have a good appetite although occasionally they may become fussy eaters. There is a tendency to overeat and become overweight if a careful watch is not kept on their food consumption.
Feeding costs for the Affenpinscher are low. Veterinary costs can be high because of potential bone and eye problems.
These dogs are small with several terrier characteristics. They are lively and self-confident and carry themselves with comic seriousness. Although very affectionate with their owners they are quick-tempered, fiery and fearless. They tend to dislike strangers and show it, careful socialising as a puppy will help reduce this aggressiveness. They also have a loud yap and make good alarm dogs giving warning of any approach. Again careful training as a pup is needed to prevent this becoming a nuisance. They need gentle handling and are not suited to living with small children.
Affens are intelligent dogs who are very self-confident. They are amenable to training but this needs to start early as they can be strong-willed and some of their terrier characteristics can prove a nuisance if not adequately checked.
Suitability for Children
Overall Exercise Requirement
Although the Affen is a small dog he is very active and requires a reasonable amount of daily exercise which because of his size, should be supervised to prevent damage to legs or eyes. They will enjoy playing games which exercise their considerable intelligence but these should not be too rough or boisterous.
Suitability as a Guard Dog
Ease of Transportation
Level of Aggression
Other Animal Compatibility
The coat of the Affenpinscher naturally looks rather untidy so grooming is undemanding. Brushing will remove debris and dead hairs from the coat. The dog should be accustomed to being groomed from an early age. Eyes and ears should be checked regularly and teeth cleaning should be practised from an early age.