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Affenpinscher: The Rare German Monkey Dog

Affenpinscher: The Rare German Monkey Dog

The Affenpinscher, often known as the “Monkey Dog,” is a little but tenacious dog with a lot of energy. “Affen” means “ape/monkey” in German, while “pinscher” means “terrier.” This mustachioed little devil is descended from the countless little terriers who filled stables and stores throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, eradicating rats and mice.

Some of these clever, wiry-haired pups may have piqued the interest of females, because they were later bred to be smaller, making them great companion dogs. The Affen is now an uncommon breed, but in 2002, Ch Yarrow’s Super Nova took first place in the Toy Group at the nationally broadcast Westminster Kennel Club Show.

This breed has a clownish charm combined with a fiery personality, and his cleverness never fails to amaze and fascinate his humans. He is an excellent traveler who is always up for a new adventure since he learns quickly and adjusts well to change. Affen owners praise their sensitivity and tenderness, but caution that they are the classic large dog in a little body.

The Affenpinscher is a sturdy, intelligent, and vigilant watchdog who is unafraid of anything. He isn’t usually loud, but he is alert. It takes him a long time to relax once he’s on high alert. He takes his responsibility to protect his house, family, and territory very seriously, and he will not hesitate to warn the entire neighborhood if someone is approaching the front door. For the Affenpinscher to mature into a well-balanced adult dog, it must be exposed to different people and animals on a regular basis. He’ll never reach his full potential without socialization.

Breed overview

The Affenpinscher has a strong personality and is sometimes referred to as stubborn. He needs early and persistent training. When he’s taught with positive reinforcement strategies like praise, play, and food rewards, he’s eager to learn and please his folks. He competes in obedience and agility, and his ability to amuse makes him an excellent therapy dog. Who wouldn’t laugh if he walked on his hind legs or waggled his brows in a canine Groucho Marx impersonation?

Affenpinschers are notorious for making their owners laugh, but despite their goofiness, they are not the greatest breed for a family with children. They aren’t known to be very fond of youngsters, and if provoked, they will bite.

Part of the charm of the Affen is that he is a character. Consider him if you’re looking for a little dog who likes exploring new places, is a great watchdog, and will never fail to make you laugh.

The Affenpinscher breed was developed to serve as ratters in houses, stables, and stores. They rose in the world after being bred down in size and became ladies’ companions. They are now content, mischievous companion dogs.

Although Affenpinschers adore their owners, they prefer to be in the company of grownups. They don’t like physical play, chasing, or being sat on a lap without the ability to leap off at their leisure. Despite their diminutive stature, adult pet owners will find these canines to be loving, loyal, and protective.

Affenpinschers are not suggested for families with toddlers or young children since they are not a breed that is naturally predisposed to enjoy them. The Affenpinscher is devoted to his adult family and makes an excellent companion for a family with older children.

History of the Affenpinscher

Some believe that the Affen reaches back as early as the 17th century. But more reliable documents can be found that report this dog breed in the 19th century. Small, rough-coated, bearded dogs are seen in paintings by Dutch painters dating back to the 15th century, and they might very well be the Affenpinscher’s ancestors. However, it’s pretty much impossible to prove that. 

These terrier-type dogs, which originated in Germany and were widely used across Central Europe for their rat-catching ability, were welcomed employees at stables, stores, farms, and houses. They were adorable little working dogs and well liked by people of all kinds.

Some of the clever, wiry-haired pups may have piqued the interest of ladies of that era. That’s because it’s proven that they have been bred to be a little smaller, perfectly fitting in the lap of a female. Some accounts claim a breeder in Lubeck, Germany, with being the first to miniaturize the ratters, but the tale of how the Affenpinscher came to be is lost to history, as it is with so many other breeds.

They might have been crossed with Pugs, German Silky Pinschers, and smoothcoated German Pinschers.  Some people even believe that other small and Wire-haired dog breeds like the Miniature Schnauzer, owe their existence to Affenpinscher-type dogs. When you look at their rough coats and beards, it’s obvious to realize that these pups really might be related.

The Affen was popular all around in Germany, but especially in his origin city – Munich. In 1902, the Berlin Lapdog Club began developing a breed standard for the Affenpinscher. The breed standard was not finalized until before World War I, in 1913.

AKC recognition

The American Kennel Club embraced this standard, which was translated into English, and the Affenpinscher was formally admitted into the AKC Stud Book in 1936. Nollie v. Anwander, one of four German imports owned by Bessie Mally of Cicero, Illinois, was the first Affen to be registered with the AKC.

The Affenpinscher’s breeding in the United States was halted during World War II. Interest in the breed did not resurface until the 1950s. He is still uncommon today, despite the fact that Ch Yarrow’s Super Nova won the Toy Group at the nationally broadcast Westminster Kennel Club Show in 2002. The Affenpinscher is ranked 125th among the American Kennel Club’s recognized breeds and variations.

Affenpinscher temperament

The Affen is an inquisitive and friendly creature who is always alert. He is devoted to his family and will do all in his power to keep them safe. It’s critical to keep him from attacking canines 10 times his own size. In the face of whatever he perceives as a danger, he might get agitated and take a long time to settle down.

These canines’ most well-known personality trait is their amazing fearlessness. While most little dogs have an uncanny lack of size awareness when it comes to guarding its family, the Affenpinscher takes it a step further. Indeed, if the situation calls for it, these brave dogs will most likely take on a bear! You’ll be shocked at how effectively this small pup can manage themselves in games and activities when this boldness is combined with surprising agility and skill.

When they’re young, Affenpinschers, like other dogs, require early socialization, which includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and experiences. Socialization ensures that your Affen puppy develops into a well-rounded, extroverted, and sociable adult dog. Enrolling him in puppy kindergarten is a terrific place to start. Regularly inviting guests over and taking him to crowded parks, dog-friendly businesses, and leisurely strolls to meet neighbors can all help him improve his social skills.

Are they good family dogs?

Affenpinschers don’t like when people do things like strike them, squeeze them, chase them, or corner them to hold them in their laps. As a defense, they might snarl or snap. Because of this, they are not good for families with small children. Young children sometimes don’t understand that a cute little Affenpinscher may not want “love and kisses.”

Any puppy should be socialized with small children, even if he won’t be living with them. You should always be watching them and making sure that they don’t do anything bad. Giving small children the chance to pick up a puppy or small dog is bad. It’s better if they sit down with the dog on their laps instead. If the dog’s body language shows that he doesn’t like the attention, put him in his crate.

Always teach kids how to approach and touch dogs, and keep an eye on any interactions between dogs and small children to make sure there are no bites or tugging on either side. Dogs who are eating or sleeping should never be approached by young children. They should also not steal the dog’s food, and they should not try to get close to them. A child should never be alone with a dog.

In the house, Affenpinschers get along well with other dogs and cats. But like other toy breeds, they don’t know how big they are, and they’ll attack dogs much bigger than them. 

The Affenpinscher’s coat

The Affenpinscher’s look is shabby but tidy. He has a thick, rough coat with a harsh texture that is about one inch long on the body, shorter on the rump and tail, and longer and shaggier on the head, neck, chest, stomach, and legs. A cape-like effect is created by the longer fur around the head and shoulders. Affens don’t shed much, but its coarse coat has to be cut to keep its unique texture.

The Affenpinscher comes in a variety of colors, including black, gray, silver, black and tan, and red, which varies from brownish to orangey tan. Some red Affenpinschers have black, brown, or white hair, as well as tan strains of hair. In addition to that, some black Affenpinschers have a few white or silver hairs. The longer hairs may be lighter in color than the rest of the body. Affenpinschers are only available in black in Europe, with a light gray fringing on occasion.

Caring for an Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is an excellent apartment dog, especially if your neighbors aren’t bothered by occasional barking. These dogs require a lot of love, but they don’t require a lot of space as long as their activity requirements are satisfied. Affenpinschers thrive in environments where they are surrounded by humans who provide continuous, positive reinforcement and care.

Affenpinschers aren’t recommended for households with small children because to their high activity level. Toddlers may be scared by your Affen’s quick movements, while your pup may be scared by a small kid’s rough play. They also have a stubborn tendency, so they require an experienced pet parent who can train them, feed their curiosity, and remain firm and calm when they want to assert themselves as the house’s leader.

Because the Affenpinscher is a curious breed, have a look around your house from their perspective before bringing your new companion inside. What strange objects are at their level that you would want to keep out of their grasp, such as a child’s toy that looks a lot like your Affen’s toy?

Because of his small size, the Affenpinscher should be a full-time housedog with only supervised access to a well enclosed backyard. These canines will not hesitate to face animals considerably larger than themselves, potentially resulting in a tragic confrontation.

The Affenpinscher, like many other toy breeds, may be difficult to housetrain. Be patient and constant in your approach. It is suggested that you teach your dog in a crate. The key to training an Affenpinscher is to make it as enjoyable as possible. Use a lot of incentive and praise!

The Affenpinscher is a simple dog to own in terms of nutrition, grooming, and training. They will live long, happy, and healthy lives if all of their basic needs are met.

Food and diet

With such a small stature comes a modest appetite, and these tiny digs don’t require much food to keep them going.1/2 cup of dry food divided into two meals is enough for them. Naturally, they’ll require high-quality food that meets all of their nutritional needs, including a solid dose of animal-based protein. Small dogs like Affenpinschers mature faster than larger breeds and require more nutrient-dense diet throughout these rapid growth stages. That’s why they should be fed age-appropriate meals.

Small dogs are more likely to become overweight, and even a minor alteration in their food can have a significant impact. After 15-20 minutes, pick up any food they’ve left behind and go easy on the sweets, no matter how sad that mustached face looks at you! Ensure that the first mentioned ingredient in their diet is an animal source, and that it is free of filler items such as wheat, maize, and soy.

The amount of food your adult dog consumes is determined by his size, age, build, metabolism, and degree of activity. Dogs, like people, are unique individuals that require different amounts of food. It practically goes without saying that a dog that is very active will require more than a dog who is sedentary. The type of dog food you buy makes a difference as well. The better the dog food, the more it will nourish your dog and the less you’ll have to shake into his bowl.


Although these dogs require more mental than physical stimulation, they still need walks and park romps. Pet owners should take their Affenpinscher for a walk, or a fun chase around the home once or twice a day.

Remember to keep their minds active as well. When Affenpinschers are unable to use their intelligence and social abilities, they may engage in destructive behaviors or become depressed. They may burn off energy by playing fetch, chasing each other around the flat, or learning new skills. Keep in mind that as your dog gets older, his or her activity requirements and pace will alter.

These dogs have a remarkable lot of energy for their little size. Fortunately, they also have the passion to match, making it simple to persuade them to go for their daily walk or run. To avoid excessive weight gain and to keep them healthy and happy in general, they’ll require at least 30-60 minutes of intense activity every day.

They are also lively creatures that will like playing fetch in the backyard, playing with toys, and taking leisurely strolls in the park, sniffing at each new fragrance. Keep them on a leash, though, because a squirrel will undoubtedly set them off on a hunt!

Training an Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers are bright, loyal dogs with a fiery, independent spirit that can make training difficult at times. Firm training, as well as correct socializing, must start at a young age. They are, however, eager to please, and rewards and positive reinforcement training makes the procedure rather simple.

Your bright little monkey-terrier will require training to ensure that they acquire proper manners and recognize that they are not in command. Affenpinschers are intelligent dogs who rapidly learn instructions such as sit, stay, shake, and talk. Building obedience skills also boosts confidence, making both the pup and the pet parent happier.

Depending on their personality features, housebreaking an Affenpinscher can be difficult, but persistence and patience go a long way. Begin toilet training right away. If something goes wrong, keep in mind that your puppy is enthusiastic and a little stubborn, not evil. Your dog is intelligent, so have faith that they will learn in due time.

Start socializing your Affen while they’re pups, just like any other dog, to get them acclimated to a variety of different people, pets, and settings. Preschool for puppies is a terrific place to start. Your puppy will have the opportunity to meet other puppies and learn how to play well with them, as well as interact with humans.

Finally, prepare your place for success before bringing an Affenpinscher into your house. What little nooks and crannies might they hide in? Which objects should you put on a shelf rather than on the floor so your dog doesn’t get into things he shouldn’t? To teach your Affenpinscher which locations and furnishings are acceptable vs off-limits, utilize positive reinforcement and a few treats.

Grooming an Affenpinscher

Brush your Affen regularly with a little slicker brush, then comb him with a metal “greyhound” comb to keep his shaggy yet clean appearance. Break up any mats or knots you come across with your fingertips. Spraying them with a detangler solution beforehand can assist. There’s a lot more to trimming and stripping the Affen’s coat to produce his unique look. But it’s pretty simple to pick up on. Your dog’s breeder may show you how, or the Affenpinscher Club of America website has instructions. You’ll both be pleased with the results if you’re patient and persistent while grooming your Affen.

Dental hygiene and nail care are two more grooming requirements. Affens, like other tiny breeds, suffer from periodontal disease. To help eliminate tartar and germs, you should brush their teeth multiple times a week. It’s ideal if you do it every day.

If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, trim them once or twice a month. They’re too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, ask your groomer to do it for you.

Affenpinscher health

Affenpinschers are typically healthy, however, they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. Not all Affens will contract any or all of these illnesses. But it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking of getting one.

By obtaining an Affenpinscher from a reputable breeder who employs ethical breeding techniques and screening for common illnesses and disorders, you can reduce major health risks. A reputable breeder will be forthright and honest about the breed’s health issues and the frequency with which they occur in her lines.

Affenpinschers have a few health issues that might be problematic, especially if you don’t buy from a reputable breeder. Luxating patellas, eye diseases, hip dysplasia, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease are among them.

Most common health problems

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Dogs are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or the dislocation of the kneecap, is common in these dogs. The kneecap usually sits in front of the hind leg’s joint and is maintained in place by ligaments. It moves around in a groove when the dog walks, protecting the joint but allowing the dog to move freely.

This little bone can dislocate and slip out of the groove in certain dogs. So it’s causing it to “float” freely about the knee. If left untreated, this can lead to major complications. It’s possible that the bone will be forced up against another bone, causing damage. Ligaments are frequently injured when the kneecap moves around incorrectly.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Generally speaking, this is a disease of tiny breeds. This condition—a malformation of the ball of the hip joint—appears between the ages of 6 and 9 months and might be mistaken for hip dysplasia. It leads to abrasions and arthritis. It can be surgically fixed, and with the aid of rehabilitation therapy, the prognosis is favorable.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.


Allergies to pollen, mold, and dust cause people to sneeze. Instead of sneezing, allergies in dogs produce itching. Atopy is a name used to describe a common skin allergy in these puppies. The feet, tummy, skin wrinkles, and ears are the most commonly affected locations. Symptoms normally emerge between the ages of one and three, and they can get worse as time goes on. Licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurring ear infections are the most prevalent allergy symptoms. The good news is that these diseases can be treated in a number of different ways.


Unfortunately, dogs too can develop epilepsy and seizures. Recurrent seizures with no known cause or abnormal brain damage characterize epilepsy. To put it another way, the brain appears normal on the outside but functions strangely on the inside. Twitching, shaking, tremors, convulsions, and/or spasms are all symptoms of a seizure.


In older canines, cataracts are a common cause of blindness. The lenses of his eyes become more opaque—in other words, hazy rather than clear. Many dogs adapt well to losing their vision and live happily ever after. Surgical removal of cataracts and restoration of vision may also be a possibility.

How much do Affenpinscher puppies cost?

Affenpinschers are rather rare dogs, which might make them difficult to locate and purchase. Before you may take one home, you may be placed on a waiting list. In average, plan to pay at least $500, while purebred puppies can cost up to $1,000.

You should meet the parent dogs before taking any puppy home, especially purebreds. You will get a clear picture of the pup’s potential behavior. While a dog’s personality is influenced by their upbringing and surroundings, a substantial percentage of their temperament is inherited. Meeting the parents will also allow you to inspect the breeding facilities and ensure that they are clean and well-run. A good breeder should invite you into their facilities, so if they refuse to let you meet the parents, you should be concerned.

You’ll need to budget for health exams, vaccines, and possible spaying or neutering in addition to the cost of your puppy. These are commonly ignored fees when taking a puppy home, and planning early may help.

Females vs. Males

When it comes to taking an Affenpinscher home, the last decision is whether to choose a male or female. It’s important to remember that, while sex may play a role, your dog’s temperament is mostly determined by their surroundings, upbringing, and breed. Males and females are both territorial, and both exhibit the breed’s inherent fearlessness and devotion.

Males are often more relaxed and easygoing than females, whereas females have a more independent streak, preferring to do their own thing.

We strongly advise spaying and neutering your dog, regardless of which option you pick. This will prevent men from roaming and ladies from becoming pregnant unnecessarily.

Final Thoughts on the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a little dog with a big personality. He’ Is feisty, passionate, and a lot of fun. If they have to live in an apartment, they’ll do good as long as they can stay close to their owners. Affens don’t need a lot of exercise, are easy to train, and are cheap to feed. That is making them a good choice for a new owner.

They could be great pets for a family, but they don’t do well with very young children and have a tendency to snap when they’re angry. They are, however, very loving and loyal animals that make great pets for families with older kids.

Affenpinschers are usually friendly and social, but they are not good for families with small children. High-energy kids bother them, and they don’t like being bullied or handled forcefully. They have been known to bite little kids who don’t know how to handle them. They are not hostile, though, and older children who can respect their boundaries will be tolerated.

It’s important to know that Affenpinschers form strong bonds with their owners and will need a lot of time, attention, and love from their owners to care for. Even if they’re tiny, they may be feisty and have a strong desire to chase down anything smaller than them. Because these dogs are so unique, you should look for a calm dog somewhere else.

However, they make great first dogs because they are easy to train. Although they can be hard to handle at times, their small size makes them adaptable to any environment.

You should get an Affenpinscher if you want a small dog that isn’t too hard to take care of but still has a lot of personality.

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.