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An affenpinscher dog outside.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Toy Group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 8 to 12 inches
  • Weight — 6 to 11 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Dense and coarse medium-length coat
  • Coat color — Common coat colors include beige, black, red, gray, silver, and black and tan, with no major differences between puppies and adults
  • Exercise needs — Average
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 12 to 16 years
  • Temperament — Passionate, loyal, friendly, courageous, and independent
  • Hypoallergenic — No, but their low shedding and drooling make them a good option for owners with allergies
  • Origin — Germany

Affenpinscher fun facts

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Affenpinschers Charlie; Coco is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our female Affenpinscher owners love Elsie and Luna equally. 

  • This breed’s name translates to “monkey terrier” in German. This name was coined based on the affenpinscher’s wiry coat and ape-like appearance.
  • Affenpinschers were originally bred  as “ratters.” They worked as master hunters to keep mice and rats at bay, lowering the risk of disease and lost crops throughout the European countryside.
  • While many historians believe the breed emerged in the 17th century, they may have been around for longer. Similar descriptions matching the affenpinscher breed have surfaced from the 1500s and earlier, which could point to an earlier origin point for these dogs.
An affenpinscher sitting on grass.


The Affenpinscher is often called the “monkey-dog” for its black mask and stands less than a foot tall. Their dense, wiry coat typically comes in black, gray, silver, red, black and tan, or beige. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, the most common coat color for the Affenpinscher is black, with brown a close second. Most Affenpinschers (83%) have a black coat and a few white or silver hairs mixed in.

Affenpinscher temperament and characteristics 

Affenpinscher dogs are very playful, and enjoy exercises that challenge them both physically and mentally. While they do love to get out there and romp when they can, they aren’t considered to be high-energy dogs — making them a good fit for families that enjoy spending time indoors. They have gained popularity in families with children, as they’re one of the most affectionate and friendly  toy breeds. They often do well with other cats or animals in the home as long as proper socialization has taken place.

Despite their lower energy needs, affenpinschers need plenty  of attention and love to keep them connected and satisfied. If you’re planning on welcoming an affenpinscher into your home, you might consider setting aside at least an hour a day for one on one attention.

Common affenpinscher health problems 

Affenpinschers are not known as delicate dogs, and are generally healthy. However, they can be genetically predisposed to certain health conditions. Understanding what to look out for in your affenpinscher can help you give them a higher quality of life. Read on to learn more about possible medical problems that can affect affenpinscher dogs.

  • Patellar luxation . This occurs when the kneecap moves out of place, causing strain in the joint capsule. Besides “favoring” the leg, you might notice imbalance or ‘hopping’ in your dog’s gait if this becomes a problem. Your vet may opt for lifestyle changes, pain management techniques or surgery to address the condition.
  • Hip dysplasia. Common in small size and mid-size breeds, hip dysplasia occurs when the “head” of the femur is misaligned with the hip socket. This can cause discomfort and inflammation in the area if left untreated. Your vet may choose to treat with pain management techniques or surgery if the situation requires it.
  • Corneal ulcer. A corneal ulcer occurs when there is erosion to the sensitive tissues of your dog’s cornea, interfering with perception and leading to vision problems.. As the condition progresses, you may notice “cloudiness” in the eye’s appearance due to fluid accumulation. Your vet may choose to treat with ongoing medication to preserve their quality of life and vision for as long as possible.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease . This condition occurs when there’s sudden disintegration of the head of your dog’s femur, or leg bone. This can happen spontaneously, and can cause discomfort or difficulty walking. Your vet may treat with lifestyle changes, physical therapy or surgery if the situation requires it.

Cost of caring for an affenpinscher

Affenpinschers, while vulnerable to dysplasia and eye disease, are not necessarily medically expensive. Many live long and healthy lives with minimal medical intervention or additional cost. However, it’s always best to be prepared. If you’re looking to save on your next trip to the vet, we recommend investing in pet health insurance. Beyond reducing cost, you’ll be able to have the peace of mind that you’re covered in the event of an emergency. You may even score extra benefits if you sign up early on in your pet’s life!

An additional option to consider would be a pet savings account. These are generally known to be a bit  more flexible than a pet health insurance plan, while providing similar benefits for your affenpinscher pup.

The average cost you can expect to spend with your first year with your affenpinscher is approximately $3000-$4000. This accounts for the purchase price of your pup, registration fees, their first vet visit and the food and toys they’ll need to have a great first year in your home. After this, you can expect to spend about $1,500 per year on routine medical expenses, food, and toys to keep them occupied.

Three affenpinscher puppies.

History of the affenpinscher breed 

Affenpinschers are considered a rare breed in the domestic United States, but are very common to see across Europe. These “monkey dogs” dogs originated in Germany, making a name for themselves across Western Europe due to their study build and expert rat hunting skills.

As the breed became a popular household pet in the late 1800s, they also became known for their interest in humans and tendency to “insert” themselves in a family due to their friendly nature. Their intelligent, performative, and biddable personality traits continued to shine through over the past 200+ years, encouraging many people to see them as skilled pups with  serious showdog potential. In fact, an affenpinscher named “Banana Joe” won the Best in Show award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as recently as 2013. The historic first Westminster win highlighted the potential and exceptional skill set this breed maintains today.

Caring for your affenpinscher

Considering welcoming an affenpinscher into your home? Preparation is key to making your first few weeks a success. After all—caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming!

That’s why our experts have put together a quick-start guide to preparing for your affenpinscher. To start, you’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. This gives them the foundation they need to have a healthy and happy life with you!

We also recommend puppy-proofing your home and preparing for teething early on to protect your furniture as much as possible. Doing this early gives you a safe, trainable landscape to help redirect your dog in times of growth, keeping their teeth off the furniture and any risky furniture pieces out of their mouths.

Lastly, we recommend signing up for FidoAlert. This special tool provides a free Fido ID and tag so you can track your pup at any point—helping to avoid any heartbreaking impromptu escapes.


Affenpinschers are considered by some to be a compact version of a working terrier. While they have similar energy and exercise needs, they also enjoy any form of entertainment that exercises their brain as well as their body. Frisbee, light games of tug-of-war, and outdoor maze challenges are all great choices for your affenpinscher, who actively work to protect their small body from injury (like you might see with frequent roughhousing).

About an hour a day of intentional play will be enough to help your affenpinschers burn off any excess energy and feel rejuvenated. They are fairly resilient dogs that enjoy a variety of climates and environments, and they can do well in a group play setting or on their own.

An affenpinscher playing in the snow.


Grooming your affenpinscher is fairly time intensive. You’ll want to schedule baths approximately every 6 or so weeks to keep the fur and skin as healthy as possible. Brushing should be far more frequent, happening at least once or twice weekly with two separate tools: a metal rake comb and a slicker brush.

The affenpinscher breed members are known for their rough coats, featuring especially wiry fur around the ears, lower jaw, and neck area. Taking time to really clean and moisturize the fur in these key areas will help to temper the breed’s fur and replenish a healthy level of moisturization and shine to the fur and skin.

The metal comb works to detangle any knots or snags in your pup’s coat that can occur naturally from romping around. The slicker brush goes to a deeper level, brushing from the root of the hair outward and distributing vital moisture along your pet’s hair shaft. Frequent and proper brushing technique can support the breed’s hypoallergenic effect compared to other similar dogs.

It’s important to note that no breed is truly hypoallergenic. Allergic reactions can occur in some individuals due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered “hypoallergenic” generally simply shed and drool less than other breeds, and thus have a smaller effect on those with dog allergies. This effect can be enhanced with regular brushing and cleaning.

Diet and nutrition

Affenpinschers are relatively hardy and do well with an average dog diet. Balanced, high-quality dog food that offers proportional amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates can be enough to sustain your affenpinscher.

On average, you can expect your affenpinscher to eat about two cups of dog food per day, spread out between two to three meals. Puppies and senior dogs may eat more or less depending on their specific stage of development, or the presence or absence of any medical problems.

Before altering or adjusting your dog’s diet or amount given, we recommend speaking with your vet. They can provide you with tailored information regarding your pet’s nutritional requirements based on their unique medical history and needs.

Training your affenpinscher 

Affenpinschers are considered to be extremely trainable due to their high level of intelligence and performance capability. In the hands of the right trainer, members of this breed can find success in any level of formal training, ranging from basic socialization to more advanced tricks and skills.

We do want to note, however, that they are very independent and are known to like to do their own thing. This can be a challenge at times, especially if you’re on a rigorous training schedule.

To help make the most out of every training session, we recommend certain training methods and styles. Methods such as mirroring, clicker training, and positive reinforcement with special treats or toys can all be great ways to keep your pup engaged.

Black affenpinscher in grass

Breeds similar to the affenpinscher 

Not quite sure that an affenpinscher is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Border terrier. These terrier types are great for children and have low-maintenance grooming schedules, making them a great fit for larger families or those with young children.
  • Cairn terrier. While noisier than the affenpinscher, these dogs are friendlier and more compliant, making them an excellent choice for first-time pet parents.
  • Miniature schnauzer.  This toy breed is known for their friendliness to children. However, they may be noisier and less trainable than affenpinschers.

Frequently asked questions

What breeds make up an affenpinscher?

While there were many breeds crossed to make early renditions of this toy breed, historians generally agree that parent breed types likely included pugs and German pinschers.

Are affenpinschers hypoallergenic?

Affenpinschers are considered to be hypoallergenic in the sense that they are less prone to provoke allergy attacks in certain people. However, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, as allergy-causing proteins can still be present on pet fur from self-bathing and care routines.

How energetic are affenpinschers?

These “monkey dogs” have moderate energy levels, enjoying both physical and mental stimulation. They can keep up with your daily routine, and also enjoy staying in and relaxing —making them a great choice for working or somewhat sedentary pet parent lifestyles.

Do affenpinschers bark a lot?

While affenpinschers may be “barky” when provoked, this breed tends to vocalize only when needed or when they feel overstimulated. They are a great choice of pet for those who prefer quieter lifestyles.

How much do affenpinschers shed?

Affenpinschers don’t shed excessively. Any shedding they do end up doing can usually be curbed with more frequent brushing schedules.