Affenpinschers are small, square-built dogs covered in wiry, dense coats that come in black, tan, black & tan, gray, silver and red. Their round heads—covered in long hair—have short muzzles, dark eyes and black noses. Their ears either point straight up or droop a little; sometimes, they are slightly cropped. Affens have short, straight necks that slope down to deep, broad chests and level backs. Their tails are usually carried high and curl over the back, unless they are cropped. Overall, Affenpinschers have a neat but scruffy look.
The “monkey terrier” moniker applies to more than just looks: Affenpinschers love to goof around. As toy-sized dogs go, they are very sturdy and vigorous, with a great sense of high-energy fun. When you walk in the door, your Affen may greet you with a toy in its mouth—an invitation to wrestle and romp around on the carpet. They also have a great sense of humor and enjoy making people happy.
Loving and loyal, Affenpinschers are also tirelessly protective—keeping strict tabs on every little sound or change in the household. They make excellent watchdogs, being both courageous and loud when the need strikes. Affens make ideal apartment dogs, making good use of small spaces and helping with minor pest-control issues.
Affenpinschers have an endearing fearlessness. Like many other small breeds, they have no idea how small they actually are. For their own safety, make sure they are always on a leash in public. Otherwise, they may challenge much larger dogs. Also remember: As sturdy as they may seem, Affens are fragile pups: Always handle them carefully and watch where you step and sit—they could be right under you.
A healthy Affenpinscher can live as long as 12 years. Generally healthy, some develop eye and respiratory problems. Their thick coats should be brushed several times per week to prevent matting. Consider a professional groomer when it comes to trimming your Affenpinscher. They shouldn’t be clipped too short.
The Affenpinscher (which means “monkey terrier” in German) originated in Europe as a farm dog, flushing rats out of stables and tracking game in the countryside. Over time, Affenpinschers were bred smaller and became popular home companions; however, they still helped keep pesky mice and rats away. Before being registered by the AKC in 1936, the Affenpinscher helped shape several major breeds in Europe, including the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon.