The Affenpinscher Dog
"Monkey Terrier"

descriptive textDog breed info
(Monkey Terrier)
Weight: 7 — 9 lbs
Height:9” — 12”
AKC Rank 2008 #130
Lifespan 12—14 yrs
Group: Toy
Origin: Germany

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Dog Health, Dog Illness, Medical Problems

    Dog Breed Info - The Affenpinscher

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    Breed Overview

    Origin: 1600’s. Original function: Hunting vermin, Lap dog. Today, Companion dog. Colors: Black, Grey, Silver, Red, Black and Tan, Beige w.wo blk mask.,

    This breed dates to the 1600’s and comes from Germany where it was used to rid farms, stables and fields of various rodents. The name Affen means monkey and Pinscher means terrier so it is alkso know as the “Monkey Terrier.” The name comes from the appearance of the face, something similar to a monkey. This is considered one of the oldest of the toy breeds. It has been written that the Affen was derived from crossing Miniature Pinschers with Pigs and breeds similar to pugs but the records are not clear.. This dog does have that “Brachycephalic tendency” which would suggest a heritage of “smashed-in faces” somewhere in the heritage.

    The dog worked on farms and in villages keeping vermin under control for many years and gradually became popular with household's as indoor pets. They continued to cleanse the local markets of rodents, but found comfort in private homes all over Europe as a house pet The breed came to the USA in the 1900’s, gained some popularity and the AKC registered it in 1936.

    The Affenpinscher
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    Wants to please but is not always fast and easy to train. Toy dogs are like that. Learns best with clicker training and positive reinforcement. This breed MUST be trained in basic commands and obedience but be firm and friendly doing it. This little dog doesn’t like harsh demands.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Affenpinscher? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Potty Training

    The Affenpinscher puppy can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training so you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

    Affenpinscher puppy
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    The Affenpinscher is a bouncy, active lively and bold little breed that loves to play and explore. She is curious and into everything to satisfy her curiosity. This is a busy, inquisitive dog. The word “Affenpinscher” means “Monkey Terrier” and this little creature lives up to it! She’s very playful and into mischief and trouble if given the chance. This dog needs constant, storing training and reminders that she is NOT the boss of the house because her terrier-like ways are always ready to take over the place. She should not be allowed to become bored or she will create her own kinds of activities. The breed can be very stubborn at times. The Affen is very affectionate, is a great house pet, and loves its’ family. The Affen is okay with older, well-mannered children but is not suited for younger kids, as it lacks the size and tolerance to put up with small children’s antics. They do fairly well with people in general, bark, dig and climb a lot, and MUST live with an active family that maintains a positive, ALPHA LEADER control over the dog at all times. This breed will try to run the house and the owners if not contained by firm leadership. If the dog is too barky, nippy, and trying to guard her food bowl or otherwise aggressive, it’s because the owner and family haven't shown a true alpha-leadership role in the household.

    While this is an interesting house pet, it may not be a good choice for the first-time pet owner.

    If you happen to get an Affen with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    Usually does well with other dogs, even better if raised with them. They tend (sometimes) to challenge big dogs, ignoring their small size, and find themselves in trouble for doing it.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    .Can usually blend in with other pets; even better if raised with them.

    Friendly Toward Strangers

    Generally accepting of strangers. Will bark until she knows who is at the door or in the yard.


    Very playful. The Affenpinscher is a bit of a clown and loves to entertain—She’s not called the Monkey Terrier for no reason!


    Very affectionate. This is a loving little ball of fur.

    Good with children?

    Okay for OLDER kids—6 or 7 and up that are well-mannered and have been taught how to behave around a small dog.

    Not suitable for very small children, toddlers and such.

    Good with Seniors over 65?

    The Affen is an excellent choice for seniors. They are easy to care for, playful, affectionate, fun to own, loving, lap dogs, need a minimum of outdoor exercise and are good watchdogs. A good choice for any senior. If longevity of the dog or training are issues, find an Affenpinscher Reissue group or shelter and get a 2 or 3 year old dog that is house trained and knows a few commands. You will save the senior some headaches.

    Living environment

    Apartment, condo, farm, ranch all okay. This dog needs to be indoors and does not do well in the hot sun or cold snow. Keep her warm and cozy, cool and comfy.

    She might like a small fenced back yard to snoop and explore in, but it’s not necessary.


    Energy level

    Lots of energy. I’d rate this one at 7 bars out of 10.

    Exercise needs, daily

    Actually, one or two simple walks on leash a day and some vigorous play in the house will satisfy her exercise needs. This dog burns her energy by running around in the house or yard so she's easy to care for.


    Good watchdog. Loud bark and will alert to anything happening around the house.

    Guard dog

    No. Too small.


    Little to none. Good for allergy sufferers.


    The Affen has a fairly harsh coat. Brush or comb three times a week to keep it neat. The coat needs shaping with scissors four times a year which can be done by a groomer.



    Suggested Reading - The Affenpinscher
    Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

    3rd book from the left teaches the way to "Play With Your Dog," and when and where. It's a good book for kids to read. Click on the cover and view the Table of Contents to get an idea of what's in the book.

    Another book I like and use is the book on the far right by the American National Red Cross which deals with dog health, dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners.


    Affenpinscher Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Affenpinscher puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. We don't offer a breeder referral page on this site, but if you check the web, there are plenty out there. It's not often that Affenpinscher puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway as sometimes a raid on puppy breeders will occur.
    Affenpinscher Breeders with puppies for sale.

    Affenpinscher Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for an Affenpinscher Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Affenpinscher Rescue - (Nationwide) As I write this, Petfinder is listing only 71 Affenpinschers available for adoption in the USA. That number can change, but it is an indication of how scarce this breed is in the country. If you do adopt, try to locate any dog health papers that might exist for possible future use.
    Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas. It's worth checking out. There are Affenpinscher Rescue groups online and don't forget your local kennels and newspapers.

    Dog Health Issues For The Affenpinscher
    Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Affen by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below. scare you. Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, weak legs. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small dogs like the English Cocker Spaniel. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

    • Corneal ulceration—Caused by eye injury and common to dogs whose eyes are prominent. Corneal ulcers can easily become infected. Keep all dogs with prominent eyes like Pugs and Boston's away from dirty, polluted, dusty areas. Infections are very hard to treat.

    • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca—(Keratitis) A fancy way of saying “dry eye.” Inadequate tear flow causes painful eye infections of a chronic nature. Causes vary from distemper to certain medications to removing the third eyelid tear gland.. Often treated with cyclosporine drops. or an ointment called cyclosporine topical therapy.

    • Open fontanel—Hereditary. The Skull bones don’t close completely at birth leaving an opening on top of the skull. This condition is often associated with hydrocephalus which is too much liquid around the brain causing pressure and swelling. Increased pressure can prevent brain tissue development and there will always be a “soft spot” on the skull.

    • Brachycephalic syndrome—Difficulty breathing in dogs with a short face and head such as, but not limited to, the Bulldog. They have a soft, fleshy palate, narrowed nostrils and larynx. Dogs with this may snort, cough, have a low tolerance for exercise, possibly faint easily, especially in hot weather, and breath noisily. This puts a strain on the heart. There can exist a lack of coordination between trying to breathe and swallow. Gastrointestinal problems can follow. Heat stroke is highly possible so keep your dog COOL.

    • Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposed to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.

    • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision which, if not treated, can lead to total blindness.

    • Cushing’s disease—(Hyperadrenocorticism) Too much glucocorticoid is produced by the adrenal or pituitary glands at which time symptoms occur such as hair loss, increased drinking and urination, increased appetite and enlarged abdomen. The disease progresses slowly and the dog can be sick 1 to 6 years without anyone noticing any symptoms. Some dogs may have just one symptom, usually hair loss and owners often contribute the dog's condition to “old age.”. This is not a young dog’s illness. There are several treatments available including surgery which might save the dog’s life depending on the existence of cancerous tumors.

    Other health problems could occur with your Affenpinscher. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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