The Affenpinscher — What to Expect of This Dog Breed

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Today’s Affenpinscher can trace its origins back to dogs imported from Germany.

Dogs which we might categorize as Affenpinschers today, have appeared in German artwork dating back to the 16th century: depicting them as ratters and companions. However, as is true of many breeds, there are no reliable written records of the breed until the late 19th century.

At this time, it seems there were two sizes of wire-haired pet terriers. A larger, longer muzzled type and a smaller, round-headed, shorter muzzled and prominent jaw type. It is fairly certain that the larger type later became the Miniature Schnauzer, and the smaller became the Affenpinscher.

In 1902, an attempt was made to write the very first “Affenpinscher Breed Standard”, by the Berlin Lapdog Club. As a result of the standard’s vague nature, the Affenpinscher was merely described as anything that did not resemble a Miniature Schnauzer. However, by 1913, the obvious breed differentiation was established, and it was generally accepted that the Affenpinscher’s jaw should be under-shot.

The heaviest concentration of Affenpinscher breeding in Germany took place in Bavaria, Munich, and Saxony. There was an observed spike in Affenpinscher registrations just before World War I, but numbers decreased during the War. Affenpinschers enjoyed prosperity in Germany from the mid-1920’s to the second World War.

The Affenpinscher was admitted to the American Kennel Club’s Stud Book in 1936, and a Standard based on the then current German standard was adopted. The first Affenpinschers entered in the Stud Book, three bitches and one dog, were all German imports owned by Mrs. Bessie Mally of Cicero, Illinois. However, it appears that none of the pre-World War II Affens contributed to the breed as it exists in the US today.

Today’s Affenpinscher can trace its origins back to dogs imported from Germany by Mrs. Evelyn Brody, around 1950. One of Mrs. Brody’s imports, Bub V. Anwander, was the first American Champion of the breed.

Characteristics & Temperament

The Affenpinscher, or “Monkey Terrier”, got his name from his unusual facial appearance. With large, dark eyes, protruding jaw and lower lip, and whiskers sticking out from the face; all enhance the “monkey-like” expression.

However, the Affenpinscher does more than just resemble a monkey. This unique breed exhibits calculated dexterity with his forepaws; often grappling and tossing toys (or prey).

The Affenpinscher is a breed of the Toy Group. They range in size from 9 to 12 inches at the withers, and should weigh approximately 8 to 10 pounds. The body length should approximately equal the height, giving the dog a “box-like” body type. The coat is a wirey, terrier-type which requires “stripping”.

The temperament of the Affenpinscher is often described as “comically serious”. It is said they are “little ruffians with a swagger”, also. They exhibit a great loyalty to their family and friends, and are fearless towards any threat.

They are typically a quiet breed, but are known for their “terrier spark and fire”.


As with any breed, Affenpinschers are all individuals. They all have their own personalities and quirks. The traits to be listed below are based on my experiences, and should not necessarily be attributed to the entire breed. However, they do bear mentioning.

  • Affenpinschers, by virtue of their stubborn terrier attitude, can be difficult to housebreak.
  • While it seems they are in the “hypo-allergenic” category, they do indeed shed…sometimes profusely.
  • Some Affens do not do well with children.
  • Some Affens will not be compatible with other pets; particularly rodents (Hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, rats, mice, etc…). Affens were bred as ratters, and their heritage still burns strong in their bellies.
  • Affens have a tendency to leap or “fly” from high places.

Frequently Asked Questions


Affenpinscher (af-en-pin-cher)

Do they come in colors other than black?

Yes. Affens can be black, silver, greay, black and tan, or red.

Do they require alot of grooming?

Ideally, no. The coat is a wirey, terrier-type that does not require frequent brushing or bathing. However, they do need to be “stripped” to maintain a healthy coat. This is an easy skill to master. It involves pulling the dead, dull hair out…leaving shiny new hair behind. The more dilligent you are about keeping your Affen stripped, the less shedding you’ll have to deal with.

How are they with children?

Depends. I have an Affen who loves children, and another who is less than fond of them. I think it depends on what they were raised with, and possibly if they’ve had a bad experience. (i.e. being dropped by a child)

C’mon, they’re a Toy dog. How sturdy could they be?

Very. Affens are a medium boned breed, and very sturdy. Not to say you should encourage heavy rough-housing, but a few tumbles never stopped a determined Affen.

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