Affenpinscher: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

The Affenpinscher is a dog breed from Germany recognized by the FCI. The animals are in FCI group 2, section 1.1. Standard 186 ranked.

Affenpinscher Dog Breed

Size: 25-30cm
Weight: 4-6kg
FCI Group: 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molosser – Swiss Mountain Dogs and other breeds
Section: 1: Pinscher and Schnauzer
Country of origin: Germany
Colors: Black with black undercoat
Life expectancy: 14-15 years
Suitable as: domestic, companion, guard, the family dog
Sports: –
Character: Fearless, alert, persistent, affectionate, quick-tempered passion
Outlet Needs: Medium
Low drool potential
The thickness of hair low
Maintenance effort: medium
Coat structure: hard, stringy, dense
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: rather yes

Origin and breed history

The Affenpinscher is one of the oldest dog breeds, although the exact origin has not yet been fully clarified. The fact is that the pinscher, which has probably been around for thousands of years, is involved in the origin of the breed. Some experts even see similarities in the skull of a pinscher with the peat-sweeping dog, which, according to archaeological finds, populated all of Europe as early as the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.

The painting “The Arnolfini Wedding” by Jan van Eyck provides definite proof of the existence of the Affenpinscher. The painting, which dates from 1434, shows a small dog that bears a striking resemblance to the Affenpinschers known today. However, the Flemish artist was not the only one to immortalize the breed in his works. Albrecht Dürer, who lived from 1471 to 1528, also dedicated several woodcuts to the breed. The family of the popular Empress Elisabeth of Austria is also said to have owned Affenpinschers. Numerous legends surround the breed. The well-known German cynologist Josef Berta related that on a cold winter night in 1824 a rich lady from Hamburg allegedly gave away a pair of Affenpinschers to a couple who collected the toll. The animals were extremely valuable at that time, as you paid one thaler for two bitches or one male.

In times when there were no cars, Affenpinschers were very popular as companions for carriages. They proved to be extremely versatile: despite their relatively short legs, they were able to walk alongside the carriage for long stretches, and at night they looked after their owner’s belongings. How popular the Affenpinscher was is shown by the fact that the breed was mentioned in the well-regarded reference book “Brehms Tierleben”, which appeared at the end of the 19th century. In it he described him as an entertaining and lively dog ​​who is always devoted to his people. It would take almost until the turn of the century for the animals to be recognized as a separate breed. Until 1896 they were kept together with Miniature Pinschers. Only after the foundation of the German Pinscher Schnauzer Club was a separate breed standard defined.

Nature & temperament of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a lively animal that loves variety. With his exuberant temperament, he needs a lot of variety. Despite being a relatively small breed, the Affenpinscher is surprisingly resilient. He likes to prove his condition on long walks. Since he has a pronounced play instinct, he gets along well with children. When the Affenpinscher is naturally busy, he also loves to cuddle with his family.

Although he is very affectionate towards his people, there are two personalities in the little dog. The self-confident animal wants to protect its pack at all costs and acts as the guardian of the family. When he shows this side to strangers, he can seem a bit short-tempered. No wonder the French call him “Diabletin Mustache” (in English: little devil with whiskers). As long as everything goes according to the head of the little four-legged friend, he is extremely cooperative. If something goes against the grain, a bad mood spreads. Then the four-legged friend switches to stubborn until his owner distracts him with a game or a caress. Since the Affenpinscher is not resentful, his sunny disposition quickly shows itself again.

What is the temperament of an Affenpinscher?

Despite its small size, the Affenpinscher is a real bundle of temperaments. He needs a lot of exercises and wants to be challenged both physically and mentally. When dealing with his family, he proves to be affectionate and cuddly, he also gets along well with children. However, he often shows his qualities as a guard dog to strangers. Only after a while does he gain confidence.

The appearance of the Affenpinscher

The face of the breed is characterized by a well-defined and high-domed forehead. The stop should be spherical rather than straight. The animal has its V-shaped ears turned forward. According to the breed standard, small, pricked ears are desired.

The Affenpinscher looks at its owner with an innocent look, this effect is reinforced by the black, round lids. The straight, short bridge of the nose is also characteristic. Although the animals have an upturned lower jaw and an underbite, the teeth should not be visible when the mouth is closed. As the name suggests, the animal is reminiscent of a monkey. He looks cute with his bristly eyebrows and whiskers. The head is followed by a short neck and a slightly sloping back. It ends in a curved rod in the shape of a sickle or saber.

Height and weight:

  • the Affenpinscher is between 25 and 30 centimeters high
  • it reaches a weight between 4 and 6 kilograms

The breed standard of the FCI exclusively provides for black as a coat color. Because of its rough coat, it is sometimes mistaken for a Griffon. Under the shaggy fur is a dense undercoat. The coat of fur is about an inch long, being longer at the head and shoulders. One of the breed’s advantages is that it sheds little.

Upbringing and keeping the Affenpinscher – this is important to keep in mind

Since the Affenpinscher is easy to train in principle, it is also suitable for beginners. Just don’t make the mistake of underestimating your little four-legged friend. He must be raised like a great breed. Precisely because of his exuberant temperament, he needs clear boundaries. If he is raised consistently, he is an uncomplicated companion. Since he is very affectionate, he likes to follow his owners as long as he accepts them as the pack leader. Clear rules are particularly important when the Affenpinscher switches to stubborn behavior. The little four-legged friend immediately exploits insecurities.

Well-behaved animals turn out to be reliable and unobtrusive companions. Since they fit into small transport boxes due to their small size and low weight, you can take them with you in the passenger compartment of the aircraft. There are no problems with train journeys either. The small box takes up very little space in the car. Dogs that are busy according to their temperament like to accompany their owners to the office or to the restaurant and behave inconspicuously.

How much does an Affenpinscher cost?

A purebred Affenpinscher with good papers costs between 1,500 and 2,500 euros.

Diet of the Affenpinscher

Since the Affenpinscher is not prone to allergies or food intolerances, it does not need any special food. He eats both dry and wet food and is also happy about home-cooked food. It is important to adapt the amount of food to the activity level, age, and weight of the animal.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

Since the Affenpinscher has changed little over the centuries and never became an over-bred fashion dog, the breed generally enjoys good health. The average life expectancy of the animals is 15 years. Since its snout was not deliberately bred small like the pug, for example, the Affenpinscher does not suffer from respiratory problems. If the feed is appropriate for its activity level and low weight, the breed does not tend to become overweight. Since the dense undercoat protects against both heat and cold, the Affenpinscher is less sensitive to the effects of the weather.

How old do Affenpinschers get?

Affenpinschers live to be around 15 years old.

Affenpinscher care

If you decide to get an Affenpinscher, you should plan some time for grooming. Although it is not particularly complex, the animal still has to be brushed regularly. When going for walks in nature, it is worth checking your four-legged friend after returning home, as small twigs and leaves can get caught in the dense coat of fur. It is best to get him used to a comb and brush when he is a puppy. Then the care ritual later takes place in a relaxed manner. It is important that the dog associates brushing with something pleasant. It should not be done quickly in between, but above all in the habituation phase in connection with extensive stroking. To tame the rough and curly coat, the Affenpinscher should be trimmed twice a year. The care ritual also includes the ongoing control of the paws. If the claws do not wear out regularly, they must be trimmed after a few weeks.

Affenpinscher – activities, and training

In general, the breed adapts to the lifestyle of its owners. She feels at home in both the city and the country, provided she gets enough exercise. The Affenpinscher is by no means suitable for couch potatoes who prefer to spend their evenings in front of the television. The lively animal appreciates long walks and hikes in nature and likes to let off steam with other animals. He likes to live out his urge to move in dog sports: Dog dancing is just one of the activities he enjoys. With his clever mind, he also learns tricks in no time at all.

Good to know: special features of the Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a very rare breed of dog, only 20 to 30 puppies are born each year. In addition, there are usually only two to three puppies in the litter. If you are interested in an Affenpinscher, you may have to expect a long wait. Information is available from the Pinscher-Schnauzer-Klub 1895. Sometimes you have to put up with long journeys to see a puppy from a breeder. Due to the low supply, patience is required during the search. Nevertheless, one should not rashly decide on an animal. Reputable breeders present the papers of the parents, which, like those of the puppies, bear the FCI logo. Before moving to their new home, the animals are vaccinated and chipped.

The tripple gait of the four-legged friend, which is caused by the special position of the legs, is also very characteristic. The facial expression of the animals is unmistakable: they almost seem a little grumpy. A resemblance to South American species of monkeys can be seen in the face.

Disadvantages of the Affenpinscher

One of the disadvantages of the breed is that it is very rare. With his friendly and open-minded nature, he casts a spell over his family. However, there are two faces slumbering in the little animal. If something goes against the grain, it shows his displeasure about it very clearly. Therefore, it is not necessarily suitable for families with small children who may irritate the animal with uncontrolled movements.

Reluctance towards strangers can also prove disadvantageous. If someone approaches the home, he will report reliably. The animal takes its role as a guard dog very seriously. Sometimes it may take some time before they accept the visit and calm down. The Affenpinscher also demonstrates considerable self-confidence towards unfamiliar dogs. Early socialization is especially important with this breed. This breed of dog should already have contact with other dogs when they are puppies so that the four-legged friend can later correctly assess situations.

There can also be problems with the Affenpinscher when dealing with small children. They don’t want to be treated like toys. If a child hugs the four-legged friend too tightly, it may react by snapping or growling.

Is the Affenpinscher right for me?

Just like with any other dog, buying an Affenpinscher should be well thought out. After all, the animals are relatively old at 15 years. The Affenpinscher places few demands on its husbandry. He also gets along well in a small apartment in the city. Nevertheless, it is absolutely unsuitable for couch potatoes. If you want to have a balanced dog by your side, make sure you have enough exercise.

The Affenpinscher likes to move and is therefore suitable for active families. He is at his best in dog sports such as agility or dog dance as well as on hikes in nature. With his curious nature, he loves challenges. You can take the breed with you on vacation without any worries if the hierarchy has been clarified in the upbringing. Inconsistency immediately punishes the animal with undesirable behavior. As cute as the Affenpinscher is as a pup, you have to follow a consistent lineage from the start. Clear rules give the four-legged friend orientation and enable a harmonious coexistence. Those interested in the breed should also keep in mind that they require regular grooming. The rough coat needs to be brushed at least two to three times a week and trimmed twice a year.

The breed suits active people who enjoy spending their free time in nature. If children are prepared to deal with the small and light animal, it is also a tireless play partner. As the breed portrait shows, the four-legged friend is suitable for people who like to deal with the animal and like to be in nature. With the help of professionals from a dog school, the Affenpinscher can also be easily trained by beginners.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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