The Affenpinscher is a small and sprightly dog that is most famous for its amusing antics. These “ape‑ish” looking dogs act with purpose and seriousness, though their goal is often something silly, and provides their owners with nonstop entertainment.

Those that know and love this breed often say that their bold little dogs own them, and not the other way around! If you want an adorable and feisty breed, then these pups are the perfect choice for you. Read on to learn more about the Affenpinscher.

Description of the Affenpinscher

The name Affenpinscher is German, and translates to “ape terrier.” These dogs definitely live up to their name. Though the AKC classifies them as a toy breed, these lively dogs were originally bred to hunt down rats and mice, and making them very similar to the terrier.

But despite being tenacious little hunters, the Affenpinscher is also a charming housedog and a great family companion. Their sweet faces, small size, and funny mannerisms make them wonderful pets.

Thanks to its cuteness and overall hilarious personality, the Affenpinscher moved up in the ranks. Originally bred as ratters in Germany in the 1600s, these dogs moved into the house to become mice hunters, and then into the warm beds of their masters. Small, gregarious, and smart, this breed definitely knows how to work his humans!

This breed’s dense coat is harsh and short, which helps protect them from the often damp and cold winters found in many parts of Germany. Their coats come in black, grey, silver, red, black and tan, and beige.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Affenpinscher is a generally healthy breed that lives an average of 12 – 15 years. Working with a reputable breeder can help prevent potentially life-shortening health problems, but always be prepared for illness.

A toy breed, the Affenpinscher is small but mighty. They stand 9 – 11.5 inches tall, and weigh 7 – 10 pounds.

Protective Ability

These vigilant dogs are often quick to alert you to strangers, but usually quite friendly when they actually meet someone they don’t know. Though extremely fearless and brave beyond their size, these small dogs don’t provide much protection unless you are looking for a guard against mice.


Feisty and often independent, it will take some extra patience and creativity to train the Affenpinscher. But with consistence and time your dog will learn.

Positive rewards-based methods are best for this breed. They are eager to learn, and proper motivation like treats, toys, and games go a long way.

Keep training sessions short and fun, as the attention span of this breed can be quite short. If you are new to this breed, or puppies in general, consider getting a qualified trainer who has experience with toy breeds.

Energy Level

The Affenpinscher is an active dog, but they don’t require too much exercise to stay happy. They are well suited to people who want to play games in the backyard or go for long walks, but are too small for the more active person.

Sedentary families that don’t mind at least a few short walks a day will find a jovial and compact companion in this breed. They adapt well to small quarters and are not overly rambunctious inside.

What Living with an Affenpinscher is Like

This is an all-around kind breed.

These confident dogs are fearless with other dogs and strangers, but are not the best choice for small kids. Their feistiness and limited patience don’t mix well with children that may want to play rough.

Sedentary families will find an agreeable and adaptable pet in the Affenpinscher. They love to play games and are up for a challenge, but are also happy to lounge around and hang out with their families.

Care of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is quite adaptable to many different lifestyles, but the thing that this breed always needs is companionship and affection. These dogs bond closely with their humans and do not do well if left alone for too long.

Environmental Needs

Whether hot or cold outside the Affenpinscher can often handle it without issue. Just be sure to keep an eye on your dog in extreme temperatures, as they can be prone to overheating or becoming too cold.

Exercise Needs

Even though they are so small, they still need moderate exercise every day to keep fit and happy. A few walks, backyard playtime, and certain canine sports are all great choices for the Affenpinscher.

Shedding and Grooming

The wiry coat of the Affenpinscher should be brushed two or three times a week with a brush and metal comb. Trimming every few months will help keep hair out of your dog’s eyes and nose.

This breed sheds moderately.

Regularly trim your dog’s nails, brush his teeth, and clean his ears to prevent poor hygiene, and possibly pain.

Ideal Home Environment

The Affenpinscher is a great dog for those without children who want a fun and loving companion. These dogs are curious and do well in a home where they get attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

It is important to acknowledge that this breed has potential health issues that can be expensive or time consuming to deal with.

Health Concerns

Patellar luxation, heart anomalies, vision problems, hip dysplasia, and breathing problems are common for this breed. Working with a reputable breeder and bringing your dog in for regular checkups can help catch, treat, and possibly prevent these issues.

Behavior Problems

The Affenpinscher is a highly social breed that bonds closely with its family. They can suffer from separation anxiety, so be sure to begin socialization early and give your dog plenty of daily interaction.