What Is There to Know About the Affenpinscher?

Pet Type


April 13, 2020

As many people know, there are many, many different kinds of dog breeds out there. There are the massive breeds that tower over all of the others, such as Great Danes, and then there are the toy and teacup dogs, such as the Chihuahua.

There is just about every kind of dog in between these, from lanky to fluffy, and back again. If you are looking for a new breed of dog to adopt, you might not know where to start. Chances are that if you begin searching for breeds of dogs, you will find the Affenpinscher close to the top of the list. This unique dog breed is well-loved for its personality and its appearance, even being described as a “mustached little devil” by the French. These dogs do well in apartment situations, family environments, multi-pet households, and just about anywhere it can have people to entertain with its humorous antics.

If you are looking for a dog with a personality bigger than its own body, and a dog that can be a loyal, energetic companion for over a decade to come, then the Affenpinscher might be the best one for you.

What Is the History of the Affenpinscher?

This particular breed of dog is believed to have originated around the 1600s in various cities throughout Germany. In fact, the name “Affenpinscher” means “monkey terrier,” which is believed to come from a combination of this breed’s energetic behaviors and the facial features.

Originally, this breed was known to work on farms, particularly in the stables where they would catch rats and other pests. As the idea of having an animal inside the house became more tolerable, people began to keep these dogs inside to catch rodents that found their way into the kitchen.

Throughout the course of time, selective breeding has turned the dog into a much smaller variant of what it used to be, and into the category of a “Toy” dog. Interest wavered for many decades until relatively recently, when an Affenpinscher won the “Toy Group” contest at a dog show.

Because of this, the Affenpinscher is not the most common dog out there in current times, so they may be hard to find, and when you find them, there’s a good chance that they will not be inexpensive.

What Does the Affenpinscher Look Like?

Generally speaking, the Affenpinscher is a relatively small, squarely proportioned dog. Its stature is compact and sturdy, and the dog itself is equally as sturdy.

More specifically, these dogs tend to come in at an average of 10 inches tall and weighing between 7 and 10 pounds. This specific breed derives from the working terrier, meaning that its facial features are going to be fairly similar to most other terriers out there, although many people describe the face as monkey-like.

The fur on the dog’s face often appears to give the dog eyebrows and a beard, which is what the Affenpinscher is most known for in appearances.

The Affenpinscher’s coat is wiry and rough, typically being about an inch long on the body, longer on the head, chest, stomach, and legs. Because of the wiry and rough nature of this dog’s coat, it actually provides some protection from pests and harsh conditions, meaning that this dog will be plenty capable of dealing with harsh seasons. The fur of this breed is hypoallergenic, and can come in a variety of colors, typically leaning toward more neutral solid colors.

What Kind of Personality Does the Affenpinscher Have?

In addition to their unique appearance, these dogs are known for being comical in terms of their personality as well. Most people describe their Affenpinschers as bold and outgoing, while also being curious and playful creatures. They are generally friendly and willing to meet new people.

These dogs are not inherently aggressive, although if they are properly trained, they can become good watchdogs due to their courageous nature. In some areas, this dog is sometimes referred to as a “monkey terrier,” and there is plenty of good reason for that.

Besides its facial features, these dogs tend to vocalize themselves a lot, and if they do not get all of their energy out through walking and playing, may even be found trying to climb parts of your home. With that being said, you can expect that these dogs are active, energetic, and more than happy to play with children (assuming the children know how to play with dogs properly). Unlike other terrier breeds, these dogs are often good with other dogs and pets, making them a wonderful addition to most families.

What Kind of Care Does the Affenpinscher Need?

When all is said and done, this dog breed is one of the easier breeds to care for. They are naturally intelligent, meaning that there’s a good chance that it will pick up on training quickly and easily, although their stubborn nature might make things more difficult.

Because these dogs were bred to catch mice, they have a natural prey drive, which is something to consider when you factor in how much exercise your dog is going to need. These dogs are energetic, even more than most terriers.

As for grooming these dogs, you won’t have to worry about it too much. Due to the wiry, rough nature of this breed’s hypoallergenic coat, they do not shed much at all and the coat itself is pretty easy to brush out every so often. Because these dogs are small, when it is time to brush out the coat, it doesn’t take very long at all. Most people settle for brushing out the coat two to three times a week to ensure that the longer pieces of fur do not get matted and tangled. As for shedding, it is typically seasonal, so you won’t have to worry about it affecting your furniture too much throughout the year.

What Kind of Health Does the Affenpinscher Have?

While there is always the risk of hereditary disease when you are getting a completely purebred dog, there are a few other risks that you should look for and be wary of.

For the most part, this breed is healthy compared to others. Because of the small stature of the dog, there aren’t as many complications that larger dogs encounter. You should be on the lookout for conditions that affect the heart and vision, hip dysplasia, and luxating patella, as these are the commonly passed down hereditary problems that this breed encounters.

This breed also has a notably short face, meaning that it will encounter many of the same problems that short-faced dogs do. These can include snoring, trouble breathing (specifically in hot weather), and overheating.

If you live in an area that experiences hot summers, you will need to make an extra effort to ensure that your dog can breathe easily. One thing that many people do not expect with Affenpinschers is the fact that they are somewhat prone to weight gain. This means that it is even more important for you to make sure that your dog is getting regular exercise. On average, these dogs have a life expectancy between 12 and 15 years, meaning that it will be your companion for well over a decade to come.