The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. The name is derived from the German Affe (ape, monkey). The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature Schnauzer.

Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600, but these were somewhat larger, about 12 to 13 inches, and came in colors of gray, fawn, black and tan and also red. White feet and chest were also common. The breed was created to be a ratter, working to remove rodents from kitchens, granaries, and stables.

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari (AKA Joe), a five-year-old Affenpinscher, was named Best in Show at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. This win is notable since it is the first time this breed has won Best in Show at Westminster.


1 Appearance
An Affenpinscher generally weighs 6.5 to 13.2 pounds (2.9 to 6.0 kg) and stands 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) tall at the withers. It has a harsh rough coat when it is not clippered and if clippered it can be softer and fluffier. It has a notable monkey-like expression (Affe means monkey in German). Its coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders forming a mane, with shorter coat over the back and hind quarters. It is harsh and wiry in texture when properly maintained. The FCI and KC breed standards specifies that the coat must be black, but the AKC also allows grey, silver, red, black and tan, and beige (a mixture of red, brown, black and white hairs); other clubs have their own lists of acceptable colors, with black being the preference.

2 Temperament
Affenpinschers have a distinct appearance that some associate with terriers. They are different from terriers, however, in that they are actually part of the pinscher-schnauzer of group 2 in the FCI classification and so often get along with other dogs and pets. 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. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training since some can be quite difficult to housebreak. This type of dog easily becomes bored, so training should be varied. The affenpinscher has a terrier-like personality.

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 can become very excited if attacked or threatened, and shows no fear toward any aggressor.

3 Lifespan
A small sample (N=21) of affenpinschers in a UK survey had a median lifespan of 11.4 years, which is a typical lifespan for a purebred dog, but a bit lower than most breeds of their size. The most common causes of death were old age (24%), urologic (19%), and "combinations" (14%). The affenpinscher is prone to hip dysplasia. As with many small breeds of dog, they are prone to collapsed trachea and luxating patella. Some are prone to fractures, PDA, open fontanel and respiratory problems in hot weather. Cataracts are occasionally reported. An emerging concern is syringomyelia, although the incidence is currently unknown.

4 Shedding
Affenpinschers often appear on lists of dogs that allegedly do not shed (moult). Every hair in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle, which has a three phase cycle, as do most mammals. These cycles are: anagen, growth of normal hair; catagen, growth slows, and hair shaft thins; telegen, hair growth stops, follicle rests, and old hair falls off—is shed. At the end of the telegen phase, the follicle begins the cycle again. The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog.
Frequent grooming reduces the amount of loose fur in the environment.

Health Problems in Small Dogs

Health Problems 

In general, small dogs live longer than larger dogs. This is partly due to the fact that smaller canine bodies don’t work as hard as larger canine bodies and so their physiological systems and internal organs stay in a better shape for a longer period of time. Of course any single dog, either big or small, can vary greatly with regard to its predicated life expectancy, but on average you can expect smaller dogs to outlive larger dogs.
This is not to say however, that small dogs are without medical issues. Small dogs do have breed related health problems and it is up to the dog’s owner to recognize and treat possible medical problems. The issue that often arises though is that owners of small dogs sometimes fail to recognize problems or think that the medical problems of small dogs aren’t as severe. This is totally false and a great example is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that happens when a dog’s hip joint forms abnormally and it is usually seen in larger dogs. What most dog owners fail to realize is that small dogs also get hip dysplasia and they get it frequently depending on their breed. A larger dog with hip dysplasia will likely develop a very noticeable limp which is very painful. A small dog may only show a small limp. More precisely, the dog’s owner may only notice a small limp, but it’s a big limp for the little dog and causes great pain in our little friends.
Another medical problem that is common to some small dogs are brachiocephalic problems. These are problems that dog breeds with smooshed up or flat faces (like Pugs Pekingese and Shih Tzus to name a few) encounter. They often have trouble breathing and frequently wheeze and snort. Many dog owners of these breeds have no idea that this condition can be very serious. They mistakenly think that the snorting and weird noises are a cute part of the breed when in reality, they cause the dog stress. When left untreated, these dogs can expect a reduced lifespan.
Other conditions that are common in small dogs include luxating patella, collapsed trachea and oral disease. These and other diseases are serious and need to be treated even though they don’t present themselves as dramatically as in larger dogs. As always, it’s best to research the breed you’d like to get before buying or adopting. Small breeds are not immune from health problems and when they occur they are just as uncomfortable for small dogs as they are in larger dogs.