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Affenpinscher image
A black Affenpinscher
Common nicknamesAffen
Height 23–30 cm (9–12 in)
Weight 3–6 kg (7–13 lb)
Coat Wire
Color Black, grey, silver, red, black and tan, or beige (mixed black, white, brown and red hairs), all with or without black mask
Litter size 2–3 puppies
Life span 11–14 years
Kennel club standards
VDH standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Affenpinscher, also known as the Monkey Terrier, is a small-sized terrier-like toy Pinscher breed of dog that originated in Germany. With a distinctive appearance and charming personality, the Affenpinscher has gained popularity among dog lovers worldwide.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Affenpinscher as loyal, curious, and famously amusing. The breeds personality is described as almost-human, and a fearless comedian.[1]


An Affenpinscher circa 1915
An Affenpinscher circa 1915

The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. The name "Affenpinscher" is derived from the German affe (ape, monkey). When translated in English, the name means Monkey Terrier, supposedly so called because the breed's little face looks more than a little simian.[2] The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature Schnauzer.[3]

Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600, but these were somewhat larger, about 30 to 33 centimetres (12 to 13 in), and came in colors of grey, fawn, black, tan, and red. White feet and chests were also common. The breed was created to be a ratter, working to remove rodents from kitchens, granaries, and stables.[4]

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, a.k.a. Joe, a five-year-old Affenpinscher, was named Best in Show at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.[5] This win is notable since it was the first time this breed won Westminster's Best in Show.


Affenpinscher portrait
Affenpinscher portrait


An Affenpinscher generally weighs three to six kilograms (7–13 lb) and stands 23 to 30 centimetres (9 to 12 in) tall at the withers.[6] It has a harsh rough coat when it is not clippered, but if clippered it can be softer and fluffier. It has a notable monkey-like expression (affe is German for monkey). Its coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders forming a mane, with a shorter coat over the back and hind quarters. It is harsh and wiry in texture when properly maintained. The FCI and KC breed standards specifies that the coat must be black,[7][8] but the AKC also allows grey, silver, red, black and tan, and belge (a mixture of red, brown, black and white hairs);[9] other clubs have their own lists of acceptable colors, with black being the preference. The tail is sometimes docked, but in places like Europe, it is illegal.


Affenpinschers have a distinct appearance that some associate with terriers. They are different from terriers, however, in that they are actually part of the "Group 2, Section 1: Pinschers and Schnauzers" in the FCI classification and so often get along with other dogs and pets.[10] They are active, adventurous, curious, and stubborn, but they are also fun-loving and playful. The breed is confident, lively, affectionate towards family members and is also very protective of them. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training since some can be quite difficult to housebreak. This type of dog easily becomes bored, so training should be varied. The affenpinscher has a terrier-like personality.

Affenpinschers are somewhat territorial when it comes to their toys and food, so they are not recommended for homes with very small children. This dog is mostly quiet, but it can become very excited if attacked or threatened and shows no fear toward any aggressor.[11]


A small sample (N=21) of affenpinschers in a UK survey had a median lifespan of 11.4 years,[12] which is a typical lifespan for a purebred dog, but a bit lower than most breeds of their size.[13] The most common causes of death were old age (24%), urologic (19%), and "combinations" (14%).[14]

The affenpinscher is prone to hip dysplasia.[15] As with many small breeds of dog, they are prone to collapsed trachea and luxating patella.[16] Some are prone to fractures, PDA, open fontanel and respiratory problems in hot weather. Ocular conditions such as cataracts are occasionally reported.[15][17] An emerging concern is syringomyelia, although the incidence is currently unknown.[18]


Affenpinschers often appear on lists of dogs that allegedly do not shed (moult).[19] However, Affenpinscher females are confirmed to be more prone to seasonal flank alopecia, which seems to affect them during the winter. [20]Every hair in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle, which has a three phase cycle, as do most mammals. These cycles are: anagen, growth of normal hair; catagen, growth slows, and hair shaft thins; telegen, hair growth stops, follicle rests, and old hair falls off—is shed. At the end of the telegen phase, the follicle begins the cycle again.[21] The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog.

Frequent grooming reduces the amount of loose fur in the environment.

See also


  1. ^ "Affenpinscher Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  2. ^ "9 Affenpinscher Mixed Breeds: Cute, Scruffy Doggos". Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  3. ^ Affenpinscher Club of America: Breed History. Retrieved March 23, 2007 Archived April 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Origin and History of Affenpinscher Dogs". Doglime. March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Affenpinscher wins Best in Show at Westminster dog show" Kelly Whiteside, USA Today Sports. Retrieved February 13, 2013
  6. ^ Compiled from various sources.
    • "FCI Standard - Affenpinscher" (DOC). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. September 2, 2009. p. 5. Retrieved March 29, 2011. Height at withers : Dogs and bitches 25 to 30 cm Weight: Dogs and bitches : appr. 4 to 6 kg
    • "Australian National Kennel Council - Affenpinscher". Australian National Kennel Council. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011. Height: 24-28 cm (9.5 -11 in) Weight: 3-4 kg (6.5-9 lb).
    • "United Kennel Club: Affenpinscher". United Kennel Club. April 15, 2007. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011. The acceptable height range, for both sexes, is between 9 and 11 inches. Weight ranges from 8 to 13 pounds.
  7. ^ FCI breed standard Archived August 22, 2004, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  8. ^ The Kennel Club (UK) breed standard Archived November 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  9. ^ AKC breed standard. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  10. ^ "Group 2 : Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs". FCI. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Personality". Affenpinscher Club of America. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  12. ^ Dog Longevity Web Site, Breed Data page. Compiled by K. M. Cassidy. Retrieved July 5, 2007
  13. ^ Dog Longevity Web Site, Weight and Longevity page. Compiled by K. M. Cassidy. Retrieved July 5, 2007
  14. ^ Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee Archived 2013-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. 2004. Purebred Dog Health Survey. Retrieved July 5, 2007
  15. ^ a b Canine Inherited Disorders Database, University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  16. ^ The Affenpinscher Club UK
  17. ^ Gough, Thomas (2008). Breed predispositions to disease in dogs and cats. Oxford, UK: Wiley. p. 11. ISBN 9780470690802. OCLC 232611746.
  18. ^ Veterinary Canine Health Scheme: Syringomyelia Scheme | Vetsforum Archived February 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Dogs That Do Not Shed". Go Pets America. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  20. ^ Waldman. (1995). Seasonal flank alopecia in affenpinschers. The Journal of Small Animal Practice., 36(6), 271–273.
  21. ^ Evans, Howard E.; de Lahunta, Alexander (August 7, 2013). Miller's Anatomy of the Dog (Fourth ed.). Saunders. pp. 71–73. ISBN 978-1437708127.