Affenpinscher Breed Information and Buying advice


Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Affenpinscher?

Quick Affenpinscher Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
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Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Low (1/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Low (1/3)
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Child friendly
No (2/2)
High (3/3)
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Breed Group
Toy (5/8)
Yes (1/2)

Affenpinscher (Monkey Dog)


The Affenpinscher is a toy breed that has a unique and distinctive look that has earned them the nickname “Monkey Dog”. Affenpinschers are quite ragged looking with a rough short coat. Although small, the Affenpinscher is full of character and is known for being mischievous, fun-loving and also naughty. Affenpinschers are fearless little dogs that were originally bred to hunt vermin but are now kept as family pets.  

Physical Appearance 

The Affenpinscher is a small but robust dog that has a very distinctive appearance. The Affenpinscher’s head is small in proportion to the rest of their body and they have “flat faces” (short muzzles), prominent chins and open nostrils. The Affenpinscher has medium-sized, dark eyes and small ears set high on their head. 

The rest of the Affenpinscher is compact and sturdy, their legs are short and close, their bellies are tucked and their feet are small. The coat of the Affenpinscher is rough and dense, it is shaggy and harsh to touch. Around the Affenpinscher’s face the hair stands up adding to the monkey-like appearance. Affenpinschers are always black but can have grey shading in their coats as well. 

How big do Affenpinscher dogs get? 

  • Height - Males: 23 - 30cm, Females: 23 - 30cm

  • Weight - Males: 2 - 6kg, Females: 2 - 6kg

Character Traits

The Affenpinscher is an intelligent and playful dog that loves to entertain their family with their mischievous, comical nature. Affenpinschers are small in size, love getting attention and don’t need too much exercise each day making them a suitable lapdog. These confident little dogs are loyal, affectionate and Affenpinschers can be protective of their family. If you are looking for a companion that is intelligent, adaptable and happy to chill out with you the Affenpinscher could be the one. Affenpinschers are also eager to please so are quick to learn new things but early training is vital to help eliminate common “terrier traits” such as excessive barking.

Are Affenpinscher dogs intelligent? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs affectionate? Yes

Do Affenpinscher dogs have high or low energy levels? Low energy

Are Affenpinscher dogs loyal? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs playful? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs aggressive? No

Are Affenpinscher dogs easy to train? Yes (3/5)

Are Affenpinscher dogs good guard dogs? No

Ability to Socialise 

Affenpinschers are people-orientated, they can be territorial and protective of their family members. This is not the best dog breed to have if you have a young family, Affenpinschers are not best with younger children as they don’t respond well to rough handling. However, Affenpinschers are good around older children. It is common for Affenpinschers to be suspicious of dogs and people they do not know. As Affenpinschers were bred to hunt rats and this means they have a high prey drive, it is best to keep Affenpinschers away from smaller pets as they may think the animal is prey. 

Do Affenpinscher dogs get along with other pets? No, they have a high prey drive so are likely to chase smaller animals

Do Affenpinscher dogs get along with other dogs? Sometimes, they can be suspicious of dogs they don’t know

Are Affenpinscher dogs good with kids? Not particularly, they are much better with older children

Are Affenpinscher dogs good with strangers? No, they tend to bark at people they don’t know

Lifestyle Suitability

The Affenpinscher is an ideal dog for a first-time owner as they are people-orientated and eager to please. Affenpinschers thrive in a family environment but they cannot be left on their own so need to be in a home where someone will always be with them. Thanks to their small size and adaptability, the Affenpinscher can live in apartments, in town or in the countryside and will be happy as long as they get enough exercise and playtime. Affenpinschers are hypoallergenic as they are low shedding and don’t slobber.  

Are Affenpinscher dogs good for first-time owners? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs hypoallergenic? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs prone to drooling? No

Are Affenpinscher dogs a good breed for apartment living? Yes

Do  Affenpinscher dogs shed a lot? No

Do  Affenpinscher dogs bark a lot? Yes

Can Affenpinscher dogs be left alone at home? No

Can Affenpinscher dogs handle the heat? Yes

Can Affenpinscher dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes

Are Affenpinscher dogs sensitive to loud noises? No

General Health & Health Issues

The Affenpinscher has an average life expectancy of 12 - 14 years. These little dogs are generally considered to be healthy but there are a few health conditions that Affenpinschers are more prone to, some of which are due to the shape of their face: 

  • Dental issues - due to the shortened skull of the Affenpinscher, they have a shortened jaw too. Although the jaw is smaller, the number of teeth stays the same which means their mouth can become overcrowded and cause dental issues. 

  • Breathing problems - due to the flat face of the Affenpinscher, they can have difficulty breathing normally due to excessive soft tissue in the nose and throat. They may also have narrow nostrils that can make breathing normally difficult. A dog that is struggling with breathing problems may breathe noisily or pant heavily.  

  • Syringomyelia - this is a neurological disorder where a fluid-filled cavity forms on the spinal cord causing pain, sensitivity and discomfort. The issue can be diagnosed with an MRI scan and treatment options include surgery, medication and physical therapy.

  • Patella Luxation - this condition is when the dog’s kneecap moves from where it should be. If this happens, your Affenpinscher may walk with a limp, hold one leg in the air or won’t be able to run. Surgery may be required if this problem happens a lot. 

  • Legg-Calves-Perthes disease - this is when the femur bone degenerates leading to the hip joint breaking down. This is thought to be caused by a blood supply issue and is commonly seen in smaller dog breeds. An X-ray is used for diagnosis and treatment includes medication and in some cases surgery. 

How long do Affenpinscher dogs live? 12 - 14 years

Exercise & Play Time

Affenpinschers are small dogs that like to be busy. They love to play and spend time with their family and ideally, Affenpinschers need to be walked for 30 - 40 minutes each day. Although Affenpinschers only require a short walk, they still need plenty of attention and mental stimulation throughout the day. As Affenpinschers can be suspicious of other dogs they tend to enjoy calm, quiet walks. Only let an Affenpinscher off lead in a secure area as they have a high prey drive and won’t think twice about chasing smaller animals. 

How much exercise does an Affenpinscher dog need? 30 - 40 minutes per day

Do Affenpinscher dogs like water play? Sometimes, but always take care when swimming as the Affenpinscher's flat face can result in breathing difficulties.

Nutrition & Feeding

Affenpinschers do well with a diet of high-quality dry food. They can be fussy at times so it is best not to spoil them too much as it can lead to feeding problems. A Affenpinscher puppy needs between 35 - 130g of good quality dry food each day, the actual amount will depend on the age and build of the individual dog. As this is just an estimate and every dog is unique it is important to have a personal dietary plan made.  

Are Affenpinscher dogs prone to weight gain? No

How much should I feed an Affenpinscher puppy? Between 35 - 130g of good quality dry food per day depending on the puppy’s age and build

How much should I feed an adult Affenpinscher dog? Between 45 - 110g of good quality dry food per day depending on the dog’s weight and activity level

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: Affenpinschers are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They have naturally scruffy coats that don’t require much attention. A weekly brush is enough to keep an Affenpinscher’s coat in good condition. It’s best to have Affenpinschers handstripped a couple of times a year too. You should also check your Affenpinscher’s ears and teeth regularly and clean them when needed. They will need to have their nails trimmed occasionally too. 

Emotional Care: The Affenpinscher is a family-orientated dog that is never happy when left alone. Affenpinschers are full of life and are known for being clowns, wanting to keep their family entertained. The confidence and intelligence of the Affenpinscher makes them a fun dog to be around but they have to get enough mental and physical stimulation to be happy. Without regular walks, training sessions and games an Affenpinscher can become destructive around the house and may bark excessively. 

History of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is one of the oldest toy breeds and was used to develop other breeds such as the Miniature Schnauzer and the Griffon Bruxellois. Originally from Germany, the Affenpinscher’s name translates as “mock terrier” and some people believe the rough translation is “monkey mutt”. Affenpinschers were originally bred to hunt vermin and it didn’t take them long to develop a reputation as excellent ratters. In the 19th century Affenpinschers were popular dogs in Germany and were often exhibited in dog shows. 

It wasn’t until around the 1950’s that the Affenpinscher gained popularity outside of Germany, namely  in the UK and USA and quickly became a popular companion dog. Affenpinschers are now popular dogs in multiple countries thanks to their small size, comical nature and charm. 

Interesting Facts About Affenpinscher Dogs

  • Affenpinschers are known for their monkey-like faces

  • Several of Renoir’s painting depicted Affenpinschers 

  • The Affenpinscher was used to develop the Brussels Griffon, Miniature Schnauzer and other breeds

  • Affenpinschers can be seen on postcards from the late 1800s

  • Affenpinschers were popular dogs with German film stars

Getting a Affenpinscher Puppy

If you think the Affenpinscher is the right dog breed for you, take a look at our buying guide for advice on finding and buying a puppy. It’s important to be aware of scams and bad practices when looking for your new dog. All breeders on Puppies have been vetted to ensure they are responsible, check out our Affenpinscher puppy page to find available dogs in your area. 

How much does an Affenpinscher cost to buy? £800 - £1300

How much does an Affenpinscher cost to feed? £30 per month

How much does insurance for an Affenpinscher cost?  £35 per month

Another option is to adopt a Affenpinscher. We recommend speaking to your local dog rescue centre or contact the associations below to find Affenpinschers in need of a forever home. 

Rehome an Affenpinscher with the Dogs Trust

Speak to the Affenpinscher Club of GB about rehoming a rescue