The Affenpinscher makes a wonderful friend and companion who will fit well into your home, if you provide the needed love, care and training.

History and Function

The origin of the Affenpinscher is lost in the mists of time since they are believed to be one of the oldest toy breeds. Early representations of the Affenpinscher can be found in the works of Van Eyck, Durer and other artists.

Apparently Affenpinschers originally were ratters in German stables, with the word Affenpinscher used to describe a wire haired rat terrier with a monkey-ish appearance. “Affen” means “ape” or “monkey” in German, and “pinscher” means terrier or dog.

The little monkey dogs were brought into the kitchen to combat the European rats and mice who threatened food supplies and terrified women by running beneath their long skirts.  The Affenpinscher never returned to the stables! In 1889 the word Affenpinscher was first applied to a class of dogs at a German dog show. The little dogs with rounder heads, shorter muzzles and undershot mouths in a litter of wire-haired rat terriers were called Affenpinschers.

The German Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub began registering these dogs in Volume 11 (1903-07) of their registrations with 14 entries in colours of yellow, red, gray, black and black and gray recorded. In the 1920s and 30s, Affenpinschers appeared in circus and cabaret acts.

Breed Characteristics

The Affen is a merry little dog. True to his terrier forebears, the Affenpinscher often is an independent thinker. He should be a sturdy compact dog of medium bone, not delicate in any way. Size should be between 91/2 and 111/2 inches at the shoulder, and weight should be between 8 and 10 pounds. His eyes are round, black and brilliant but should not bulge or protrude.

Ears may be natural – standing erect, semi-erect or dropped – or cropped. All are acceptable ears as long as the monkey-like expression is maintained. Tails may be docked or left natural. Permitted colours in the Affenpinscher are black, gray, silver, red (ranging from wheaten to a dark orange), black and tan or belge. Affens may have a black mask on the face.


The look of an Affenpinscher should be “shaggy but neat.” The Affenpinscher should have a cape or mane: longer, less harsh hair extending from the back of the shoulders forward toward the front of the neck.

The Affen’s coat should be harsher or wiry on his back and may be stripped (hand plucked). The longer hair on the head, eyebrows and beard stands off and frames the face to emphasize the monkey-like expression. Thinning shears and plucking can be used to neaten the remainder of the dog.


Like many toy breeds, Affenpinschers can be challenging to housebreak. both diligence and patience are required. It is highly recommended that Affenpinscher puppies be crated trained. Your commitment and hard work will determine your success.

Affen’s can be dominant little dogs, so puppy kindergarten training is also recommended. Affen’s respond best to positive training methods; such as clicker and food based training. They are quick to learn and are successful in obedience and agility, as well as in the conformation ring.