Affenpinscher

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The Affenpinscher, also dubbed the "monkey terrier," is a spunky, curious toy dog that makes a great companion dog.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 15 years
Size:

Extra Small

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Medium

Temperament:
InquisitiveLoyalSpunky
Coat Color:
BlackGraySilverRedBeigeBlack And Tan

Best For

Affenpinschers are best for homes without small children. They thrive on attention in homes big or small and do best when their pet parent is around for most of the day.

Affenpinscher Traits

What makes the Affenpinscher an Affenpinscher? Let's find out how they stack up.

Affenpinscher Temperament

Has your curious personality ever led people to think you’re nosy? Affenpinschers know how you feel. The Affenpinscher is an incredibly curious and clever breed. Pair that with their playfulness and you’ve got a seriously entertaining dog on your hands. From walking on their back legs to dexterously grappling with toys and balls, your Affenpinscher’s antics will bring energy and joy to your home.

But Affenpinschers also have something of a Napoleon complex—a classic “big dog in a small body.” While they’re fearless and deeply loyal, pet parents would be wise to think carefully before pairing an Affenpinscher with little kids. The dog’s quick, explosive movements might scare little ones, and toddlers’ rough play might irritate or frighten the dog, triggering a barking spree.

Less bouncy than Pomeranians but more energetic than lap dogs, Affenpinschers could be trained to excel as a therapy dog, an office dog or a loyal sidekick for teens and adults.

How to Care for a Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher breed may be small, but their maintenance needs are not. Like human toddlers, Affenpinschers need pet parents to provide frequent physical care, positive reinforcement (aka rewards like treats, toys and praise for good behavior) and stimulation for their busy minds. The good news is that the Affenpinscher’s size means they can thrive even in the tiniest of homes!

Affenpinscher Health

Affenpinschers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, and they are generally hardy dogs, but they do have a few health issues to watch out for. Knowing the health problems this breed is at risk for can help you keep your Affenpinscher healthy for a long time.

  • Patellar Luxation: This common issue in toy breeds occurs when the dog’s knee cap pops out of place, resulting in a limp. Your vet can screen for this issue with a standard patella evaluation. If patellar luxation occurs in your Affenpinscher, talk to your vet about surgery to correct the problem.
  • Heart Disease: Affens are susceptible to a few heart diseases, like patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and mitral valve disease. PDA occurs when an arterial shunt doesn’t close after birth and may be treated with surgery. Mitral valve disease occurs when the mitral valve weakens and doesn’t close properly. Treatments may include prescription medications or a low-salt diet. Responsible breeders should screen for heart issues before passing a puppy along to a new pet parent. If you’re concerned about possible heart anomalies, talk to your veterinarian.
  • Vision Problems: Affenpinschers can develop eye problems like glaucoma (pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve) and cataracts (gradual clouding of vision). Affenpinschers are also more likely than other dogs to have Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a genetic eye disease. Breeders should screen Affenpinscher puppies for PRA. If you think your puppy or adult dog has developed a new eye issue, talk to a veterinary ophthalmologist about treatment options, which could include medicine or surgery.
  • Breathing Troubles: Affenpinschers are brachycephalic and can overheat and have trouble breathing when temperatures soar. (Brachycephalic pups have shortened airways that give them their distinctive squishy faces.) This is easily prevented by carefully monitoring your dog on summer days. Stick to the shade, keep water handy and stop activity immediately if the dog seems to be struggling to pant.

Affenpinscher History

The Affenpinscher origin story begins in 17th century Germany, when these tiny working dogs were bred to kill mice and rats. But whether by Affenpinscher intelligence or pure cuteness overload, they made their way indoors and into the hearts and homes of their parents.

As Affenpinschers joined the ranks of European house pets, various Affenpinscher clubs formed in France and Germany. The American Kennel Club welcomed them as an official breed in 1936, shortly before World War II. The war detracted from the breed’s popularity for some time, but Affenpinschers’ qualities of cuteness, playfulness and loyalty helped them make a comeback in recent years.

Here’s a fun Affenpinscher fact: In 2013, an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe made breed history by snagging the Best in Show award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Since then, Affenpinscher popularity has skyrocketed.

Thinking of adding an Affenpinscher to your home? Generally, you can expect an Affenpinscher puppy to cost between $650 and $2,000 for a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues. Check out the AKC’s website to find a reputable breeder. If you plan to buy an Affenpinscher puppy from a breeder, prepare a list of questions about the dog’s health, personality traits and any training (housebreaking, for instance) that has been provided. You can also seek out local Affenpinscher rescues to find a loving dog to adopt or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Do Affenpinschers shed?

Yes, Affenpinschers shed, but not excessively. Their wiry coat tends to shed less than breeds with softer or longer fur, making this breed ideal for pet parents who don’t want to vacuum up hair every day.

How do you pronounce Affenpinscher?

Affenpinscher is pronounced aaf-ihn-PIHN-sher.

What are the most common Affenpinscher mixes?

The most common Affenpinscher mixes are:

  • Affenpinscher-Brussels Griffon mix (Affengriffon)
  • Affenpinscher-Chihuahua mix (Affenhuahua)
  • Affenpinscher-Yorkshire Terrier mix (Affenpinscher Yorkie)
  • Afenpinscher-Poodle mix (Affenpoo)
  • Affenpinscher-Schnauzer mix (Schnauffen)

What does Affenpinscher mean?

Affenpinscher means “monkey-like terrier” or “monkey dog” in German.

Are Affenpinschers smart dogs?

Yes, Affenpinschers are known to be smart dogs. They sometimes have a bad reputation as being untrainable, but that’s because many Affenpinscher puppies are a bit stubborn. With patience and positive reinforcement, these smart, independent dogs respond well to training.

Do Affenpinschers bark a lot?

No, Affenpinschers do not typically bark a lot, but they can get yappy when anxious, scared or overstimulated. Like any dog, they can learn to quiet down on command or “talk” or bark when encouraged.

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Top Takeaways

Affenpinschers are clever, entertaining pets who make great companion dogs. They are trusty, spunky little sidekicks for families without young kids, and these lionhearted dogs are eager to stick by your side, offer snuggles and make you laugh morning, noon and night.

Expert input provided by Amanda Williams, DVM, a veterinarian at Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in Jupiter, Fla.; Karen Mancini, Affenpinscher Club of America board member and former owner of K-9 Connection in R.I.; and Emilea Byrum, KPA-CTP, RVT, owner and head trainer at Maggie’s Foundation: Pet Training in Indianapolis, Ind.

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