The Affenpinscher


Group: Toy
Size: small
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Exercise: minimal
Grooming: minimal
Trainability: easy / moderate
Watchdog ability: high
Protection ability: low
Area of Origin: Germany
Date of Origin: 1600’s
Other Names: none
Original Function: Small vermin hunting and lapdog


The Affenpinscher is considered by many to be the oldest toy breed but the breed’s true history is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that the breed has been around since the 1600’s and was developed in Germany to hunt vermin. Its name in German means “Monkey Dog”. It has been suggested that the Affenpinscher was developed from crossing the small local German Pinschers with pug-like dogs from Asia. Eventually, the Affenpinscher was used in the development of the Brussels Griffon, Miniature Schnauzer and several other toy breed dogs.

In Germany, the Affenpinscher was developed to rid the kitchens and stables of mice. Their expertise in this field was famous and the little dogs soon found their way into the homes of people throughout Europe. In France, the dog was called the “moustached little devil,” which describes the breed’s appearance as well as his personality. From the 17th century, the Affenpinscher has been kept around small stables, on farms, and in stores for the purpose of keeping the rodent population down.


The Affenpinscher is a sturdy little terrier, characterised by his “monkeyish” expression. He is comical, intelligent and sometimes smug and stubborn. Although he is a member of the toy group, he has a personality more like some of those of the terrier group. The Affenpinscher is lively and self-confident dog, full of mischief, but a loyal companion to his owners. Affenpinschers are curious dogs with fierce loyalty and affection towards their owners. They have an amicable nature and a deep devotion that makes them an excellent companion and a supreme watch dog. They can do well in the city or in the country. They do need to be watched around larger dogs since these diminutive dogs don’t seem to understand that their size is a disadvantage when picking a fight with someone bigger.


Although an energetic and active dog, the exercise needs of the Affenpinscher can be met with indoor games or romps in the yard, or with short walks on leash. It enjoys playing outside, but it cannot live outdoors. Its harsh coat needs combing two or three times weekly, show dogs require stripping. Their coat does not moult it sheds which is minimal with regular grooming.

Official Breed Standard:

The dog is lively and self-confident, carrying itself with a comic seriousness. A loyal and loving companion to family and friends and though not given to yapping, watchful to strangers and fearless towards aggressors.

Wire haired, stout with an apish expression. Though small, the Affenpinscher is sturdy in build and not delicate in any way.

Head and Skull:
The head fairly small in proportion to the body; a domed forehead, broad brow and marked stop which, however, should not be indented. Muzzle blunt and short but not flattened as far as would cause difficulty in breathing or wrinkling of the skin. The chin prominent with good turn-up. The distance between the dark eyes and black nose forming an equally sided triangle.

Round, very dark and sparkling. Medium in size and not protruding.

Ears set high, upright ears preferred, although a small, neat drop ear is permissible.

The mouth should be slightly undershot with the lower incisors gripping scissor-like in front of the uppers. The teeth or tongue must not show when the mouth is closed.

The neck short and straight. Skin of the throat tight and unwrinkled.

The front legs should be straight, elbows close.

The back short and straight. Height at withers about equal to the length of the back. The barrel shaped ribs combined with only a slight tuck-up at the loin giving a sturdy appearance.

Hindlegs should be well set under the body without much angulation.

The feet should be small, round and compact and turn neither in nor out. The pads and nails should be dark .

A tripping, prancing movement.

The tail set high and carried high; left a natural length or docked to the third joint.

The coat should be rough and harsh in texture, short and dense on some parts of the body and shaggy and long on others. In particular, it should be long on the neck and shoulders. On the head a wreath-like circle should stand away from the skull framing the eyes, nose and chin giving the desired monkey-like appearance.

The colour should be black, although dark grey and black with grey, rich tan or brown markings are permissible.

Weight and Size:
Height 24-28 cm (9.5 – 11 inches) Weight 3-4 kg (6.5-9.0 lbs).

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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