Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a lively, small dog with a distinctive shaggy coat. It originates from Germany and was originally bred to hunt vermin.

Affenpinscher breed category

Toy

Size of the Affenpinscher

Small

Country of origin

Germany

Size and weight of the Affenpinscher

Height 25-30 cms (10-12 in)
Weight 3-3.5 kg (7-8 lb)

Lifespan of the Affenpinscher

A healthy Affenpinscher should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of 14-15 years.

Affenpinscher breed profile

Surprisingly enough, the first Affenpinscher ever registered at the British Kennel Club, was in 1897. The dog was called Affie. There were no further registrations until the mid 1950s when an attempt to introduce the breed failed. In 1974 a successful attempt was made to reintroduce the breed and the dogs imported during that year and in 1975 are the ancestors of today’s breed. The Affenpinscher is not a smart dog; in fact, the breed standard in the UK calls for a shaggy coat. In Europe the only recognised and accepted colour is Black, however, this black may be enhanced by grey frosting.

The character of the Affenpinscher is that of a clown. They are jaunty, happy and happy-go-lucky dogs. They love to get into mischief, and are fearless dogs. In heart, they are bigger than the biggest dog and more loving than the most loving lap dog. An Affenpinscher would lay down its life to defend its human companions. Like a cat, you can never say you own it, the relationship between humans and Affenpinschers is not that of Master & slave, but more of intelligent being to intelligent being. Although it is yet to be proved, Affenpinschers are telepathic and can read ones moods and thoughts.

Affenpinschers are like Terriers in as much as if they are disturbed they make very good Warning dogs and a number of Affenpinschers can produce a wonderful chorus when they attempt to bay. They were bred originally to Rat, and this instinct can still be found in some, but not all, Affenpinschers. The Ratters amongst them also enjoy chasing rabbits and when this happens in open countryside you should not fear losing them, as generally the call of Din-dins, or some other term denoting food will usually bring them back to your side! The two things Affenpinschers love most are being cuddled and held, and food! The latter should be strictly controlled, as the tendency is to eat until they burst! Although a small dog, average height 11” (some can grow a little larger).

Exercising your Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers will take as much exercise as you wish to give them. We have known them to go mountaineering and fell walking, and have ourselves walked them in stages, roughly 10 miles in a day. If, however, the weather is inclement and a walk down the garden path is all you fancy, the Affenpinscher will be as happy with that. Affenpinschers are not the sort of dog that like being left, particularly where they are the only dog and it is said that the difference between most other dogs and Affenpinschers is that where most other dogs when left alone will find the warmest, most comfortable thing to settle down on, the Affenpinscher will stand waiting, and sometimes weeping, behind the door for your return. Like a well-known brand of chocolates, Affenpinschers grow on you. They really do get under your skin, and there are not many people who own only one. As breeders we find that people who have puppies from us soon come back enquiring for another.

Affenpinscher grooming

The correct coat needs no trimming. However, it is quite in order to tidy them up! In America the coat is trimmed very short all over and the furnishings are trimmed into a Chrysanthemum shape. One should remember that the Affenpinscher coat does not have an undercoat so to try and shorted the coat by stripping will cause not only severe pain to the poor little dog, but also produce a bare body! In the UK the ears are trimmed very short to show the outline, the furnishings are lightly trimmed to make the hair stand out down to the shoulders and the legs and feet are also trimmed lightly; however, it is preferable to leave the feet looking like ink blobs! In the UK the breed is not docked so the tail should also be tidied up, but not to the extent that it looks like a rat’s tail.

Health issues in the Affenpinscher

Problems that have been reported in the breed are Luxating Patella (loose kneecaps) & Hip Dysplasia. We have owned the breed for 30 years and luckily have never had these problems in our dogs, although we have bred them for all of this time. It would seem therefore that these problems only occur in certain lines and considerate breeding could eliminate this problem from the breed. It would be worth suggesting to new owners not to let Affenpinschers jump onto chairs, settees etc until they are 6 months old. As puppies they are into everything and if they are allowed to jump any sort of height until their bones are formed their bones fracture very easily. Many Affies, ours included, have had to have medical treatment for broken legs because they are foolhardy and into everything!


Once over the age of 2, Affenpinschers seem to be a very hardy breed, with few ailments, living to a good age.

Financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment