Home Breeds The Affenpinscher: Breed Info, Temperament and Facts

The Affenpinscher: Breed Info, Temperament and Facts

Origin: 1600’s. Original function: Hunting vermin, Lap dog. Today, Companion dog.

Colors: Black, Grey, Silver, Red, Black and Tan, Beige

Affenpinscher Temperament

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 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.”


Is the Affen 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.


Breed History

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.