AKC Toy Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Named “monkey dog” because of his monkey-like facial structure and expression, this feisty toy terrier originated in Germany. The name Affenpinscher actually means “monkey-like terrier.” At first a farm dog and ratter, probably larger in size, the Affenpinscher was miniaturized and became a house pet during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today the Affenpinscher is primarily a companion dog.


The Affenpinscher is a small dog with a harsh, shaggy coat, and longer hair all over the face. This dog is square-bodied, with a deep chest and round head with a well-defined stop. The lower jaw is generally slightly undershot, protruding below the dog’s short nose. The dog’s teeth and tongue should not show when his mouth is closed. The black eyes are prominent and rounded, but should not bulge or protrude. The rims of the eyes are black. The hairy ears are pointed and erect when cropped, but may be left natural, in which case, they might be erect, semi-erect, or dropped. The tail may be natural or docked to 1 or 2 in.; it is carried erect. The coat is usually black or dark gray, but tan and red (with or without a black mask) are also acceptable. A small white patch on the chest is acceptable. The preferred height is 9-1/2 to 11-1/2 in. The Affenpinscher is described as having a “neat but shaggy” appearance, with a monkey-like face.

Key Facts

  • Height:  9-1/2 to 11-1/2 in.
  • Size:  Very small
  • Weight:  6 to 9 lbs.
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Watchdog, agility, and performing tricks


Sensitive to temperature extremes. Like any short-nosed breed, the Affenpinscher might suffer from respiratory problems in hot weather. And like most toy breeds, they become chilled in cold weather. Tends to guard food and toys. Not recommended for younger children. Most are accepting of other pets in the family, especially when raised with them. Might challenge large dogs and other large animals unwisely. Some bloodlines are prone to fractures and slipped stifle.


Terrier-like personality. Fiery little dog, courageous, and confident—a fearless defender. Very affectionate and amusing. Playful and inquisitive. Loyal. Enjoys being with his family. Needs consistent, firm training. Some are difficult to housebreak.


  • Children:  Not recommended for children
  • Friendliness:  Loves everyone
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Can be a bit aggressive toward other dogs
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Very active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Occasional trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking/Cropping:  The ears are customarily cropped, and the tail is customarily docked.
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Average 11 to 13 years

Useful Links

AKC® Affenpinscher Breed Standard

Affenpinscher Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher Gifts