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Affenpinscher image
A black Affenpinscher
Height 25–30 cm (10–12 in)
Weight 4–6 kg (10–15 lb)
Coat wire-haired
Color black
Life span 11–14 years
Kennel club standards
VDH standard
American Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Affenpinscher (German: [ˈafn̩ˌpɪnʃɐ] ) is a German breed of small toy dog of Pinscher type.[1]: 30  Originally developed as a mouser, the Affenpinscher is now commonly found as a companion worldwide.[2]


An Affenpinscher circa 1915

The word 'Affenpinscher' derives from Affe, German for 'ape' or 'monkey'; it is sometimes translated as 'Monkey Terrier', although the dog is a pinscher and not a terrier.[1]: 30 [3]

The origins of the Pinscher group of dogs are unknown.[4] Dogs of this type, both rough-haired and smooth-haired, were traditionally kept as carriage dogs or as stable dogs, and so were sometimes known as Stallpinscher; they were capable ratters.[4] Until the late nineteenth century, both rough-haired and smooth-haired types were known as Deutscher Pinscher, and came from the same lineage; puppies of both types could occur in the same litter.[4]

In 1880 the Pinscher was recorded in the Deutschen Hundestammbuch of the Verein zur Veredelung der Hunderassen.[5] In 1895 Ludwig Beckmann [de] described five varieties of Pinscher – the rough- and smooth-haired Pinscher, the rough- and smooth-haired Miniature Pinscher, and the Affenpinscher.[4][6]: 152  In 1895 a breed society, the Pinscher-Schnauzer-Klub, was established for both types, both rough- and smooth-haired.[5]

Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600.[2] There were originally thought to be two sizes, the larger size is now extinct.[1]: 30  The larger size was approximately 30 to 33 centimetres (12 to 13 in), and came in colors of grey, fawn, black, tan, and red.[2] White feet and chests were also common.[2] The breed was created to be a ratter in homes, working to remove rodents from kitchens, and also granaries and stables.[7] Early breeders crossed the various schnauzers and pinschers with the goal to create a mouser who also was a good companion dog.[2] Some of the breeds that may have been included to produce the Affenpinscher are pugs, German pinschers, schnauzers and silky pinschers.[2]

The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature Schnauzer which was thought to be from affenpinschers crossed with standard schnauzers in addition to other breeds.[8][1]: 30  The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1935 and the FCI in 1955.[9][10]

An Affenpinscher exhibited at a dog show

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, a.k.a. Joe, a five-year-old Affenpinscher, was named Best in Show at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.[11]


Affenpinscher portrait


An Affenpinscher generally weighs four to six kilograms (9–13 lb) and stands 25–30 cm (10–12 in) tall at the withers.[10] It has a harsh rough coat when it is not clipped, but if clipped it can be softer and fluffier. It has a notable monkey-like expression (affe is German for monkey). Its coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders, forming a mane, with a shorter coat over the back and hind quarters. It is harsh and wiry in texture when properly maintained. The FCI and British The Kennel Club breed standards specify that the coat must be black,[12][13] but the American Kennel Club also allows grey, silver, red, black and tan, and beige (a mixture of red, brown, black and white hairs).[14]


Affenpinschers have a distinct appearance that some associate with terriers. However, they are part of "Group 2, Section 1: Pinschers and Schnauzers" in the FCI classification, and not the terrier group.[15] They are active, adventurous, curious, and stubborn, but they are also fun-loving and playful. The breed is confident, lively, affectionate towards family members and is also very protective of them.[1]: 30 

Affenpinschers are somewhat territorial when it comes to their toys and food, so they are not recommended for homes with very small children. This dog is mostly quiet, but it can become very excited if attacked or threatened and shows no fear toward any aggressor.[16]


A UK study found a life expectancy of 9.3 years for the breed compared to an average of 12.7 for purebreeds and 12 for crossbreeds[17]

The Affenpinscher is prone to hip dysplasia.[18] As with many small breeds of dog, they are prone to collapsed trachea and luxating patella.[19] Some are prone to fractures, PDA, open fontanel and respiratory problems in hot weather. Ocular conditions such as cataracts are occasionally reported.[20] An emerging concern is syringomyelia, although the incidence is currently unknown.[21]

Affenpinscher bitches are more prone to seasonal flank alopecia, which seems to affect them during the winter.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e David Alderton (1984). The Dog: The Most Complete, Illustrated, Practical Guide to Dogs and Their World. London: Quill Publishing Limited; Secaucus, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. ISBN 0890097860.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Breed History - Affenpinscher Club of America". Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  3. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature: Affenpinscher (186). Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed January 2024.
  4. ^ a b c d Christel Simantke (2003). Die Gefährdete Nutztierrasse des Jahres 2003: Gefährdete Haus- und Hofhunde: Von Spitzen und Pinschern (in German). Witzenhausen: Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen. Archived 6 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b Rasseportrait: Deutscher Pinscher (in German). Remscheid: Pinscher-Schnauzer-Klub 1895 e.V. Archived 23 March 2022.
  6. ^ Ludwig Beckmann (1894–1895). Geschichte und Beschreibung der Rassen des Hundes (volume II, in German). Braunschweig: Druck und Verlag von Friedrich Bieweg und Sohn.
  7. ^ "Origin and History of Affenpinscher Dogs". Doglime. March 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Affenpinscher Club of America: Breed History. Retrieved March 23, 2007. Archived April 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "History of Affens in the US - Affenpinscher Club of America". Retrieved 2023-09-08.
  10. ^ a b Compiled from various sources:
    • "FCI Standard - Affenpinscher" (DOC). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. September 2, 2009. p. 5. Retrieved March 29, 2011. Height at withers : Dogs and bitches 25 to 30 cm Weight: Dogs and bitches : appr. 4 to 6 kg
    • "Australian National Kennel Council - Affenpinscher". Australian National Kennel Council. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011. Height: 24-28 cm (9.5 -11 in) Weight: 3-4 kg (6.5-9 lb).
    • "United Kennel Club: Affenpinscher". United Kennel Club. April 15, 2007. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011. The acceptable height range, for both sexes, is between 9 and 11 inches. Weight ranges from 8 to 13 pounds.
  11. ^ "Affenpinscher wins Best in Show at Westminster dog show" Kelly Whiteside, USA Today Sports. Retrieved February 13, 2013
  12. ^ FCI-Standard N° 186: Affenpinscher. Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed December 2023.
  13. ^ The Kennel Club (UK) breed standard Archived November 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  14. ^ AKC breed standard. Retrieved March 23, 2007.
  15. ^ "Group 2 : Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs". FCI. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Personality". Affenpinscher Club of America. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  17. ^ McMillan, Kirsten M.; Bielby, Jon; Williams, Carys L.; Upjohn, Melissa M.; Casey, Rachel A.; Christley, Robert M. (2024-02-01). "Longevity of companion dog breeds: those at risk from early death". Scientific Reports. 14 (1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-50458-w. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 10834484.
  18. ^ Canine Inherited Disorders Database, University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved March 23, 2007
  19. ^ The Affenpinscher Club UK
  20. ^ Alex Gough, Alison Thomas (2004). Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 9781405107488.
  21. ^ Veterinary Canine Health Scheme: Syringomyelia Scheme | Vetsforum Archived February 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Waldman. (1995). Seasonal flank alopecia in affenpinschers. The Journal of Small Animal Practice., 36(6), 271–273.