The Monkey Dog

Photo of Affenpinscher


The determination and wiry coat hark back to terrier breeds, with a sprinkle of flat-nosed breeds, giving them their distinct expression. The Affenpinscher originally called the Miniature Pinscher his brother, with both often born in the same litter. These were often scrappy little farm dogs, helping to keep the farmsteads free of rodents.


Affenpinschers can be a bit obstinate and might find the bird in the tree more interesting than heeling on leash. Distracting them and using play tactics work better than issuing orders. Bribes work too! Like monkeys, they can be mischievous, teasing other household pets. Other animals should be introduced when Affenpinschers are puppies – they're not crazy about sharing toys.


The coat might be one of many colors: black, red, gray, silver, or black and tan. The dog may be totally natural or have his ears cropped and tail docked.


These dogs' intelligence makes them good candidates for obedience or agility. They'll eagerly run through a tunnel to bark furiously at a caged rat. Firm, consistent, but gentle trainers have the greatest success in keeping the Affenpinscher's attention and respect.

Grooming & Care

Keep the coat from irritating the large eyes. Brush at least once a week. Neatness can be maintained by trimming with scissors or hand stripping like a terrier. The brachycephalic facial features mean care should be taken with extreme heat or cold.

Health Concerns

Some bone diseases, so wise to choose from OFA parents. Some may have heart murmurs or kidney problems. Hypothyroidism can occur.

Famous Affenpinscher

Banana Joe, the first Affenpinscher to win Best in Show at the Westminster dog show.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Full-time (but no overtime)
Personal Style Playful, Confident
Training Style Consistent, Firm, Positive
Home Anything goes with enough exercise
Children Gentle and respectful kids
Experience Definitely preferred
Quick Facts
Size Toy
Grooming Easy to care for - brush weekly
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Learns well but bores easily
Temperment Alert, Bold
Challenges Barking, stubbornness
Height 8 to 14 inches
Weight 7 to 12 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone Bores easily and can get into mischief
With Kids Fine with older kids
With Strangers Wary
Availability Rare and may have a waiting list

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