Affenpinscher Dog Breed

The Affenpinscher is among the oldest toy breeds.
By: PawCulture Editors
Black Affenpinscher sitting

About the Affenpinscher Dog Breed

The Affenpinscher was originally bred to be used for pest control. More specifically, it was used to help keep the rodents out of the houses and stables in Germany. Today, the breed serves as a wonderful family pet and companion.

Affenpinscher Physical Characteristics

The Affenpinscher is small in size and compact in structure. Its ears are usually semi-erect, though it’s not uncommon to see erect ears. The tail of an Affenpinscher, meanwhile, is long and normally curls over its back. The Affenpinscher’s face is said to look like a monkey, with a beard and bushy eyebrows.


The Affenpinscher is most commonly seen in black, silver, black and tan, gray and red.


Short, shaggy coats are the most common.

Affenpinscher Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



Affenpinschers are affectionate, good watch dogs that are very loyal to their owners and great with kids.

Things to Consider

Regular grooming is needed and Affenpinschers have been to known to be very wary of strangers.

Affenpinscher Care

Ideal Living Conditions

This breed will do well in the city or in the country with an owner that has patience in the training process.  Affenpinschers are known to adjust well with children.

Special Requirements

Regular grooming is recommended for this breed.

Affenpinscher Health

Common conditions that can affect the Affenpinscher can include heart murmurs and luxating patella.

Affenpinscher History and Background

Referred to as the “Diablotin Moustachu” or the “moustached little devil” in France, the Affenpinscher is among the oldest toy breeds. Its name offers an apt description of the breed: affen, which means monkey, and pinscher, meaning terrier. The origins of the Affenpinscher are not very clear. While Dutch painters often sketched dogs that resemble this curious breed in the 15th century, there is no proper evidence to support the breed’s origin.

In 17th-century central Europe, several small terriers were experts in dispatching rats. These terriers were also used in Germany to keep kitchens and stables free from rodents. There were smaller types of the same dog that functioned as women’s lap dogs, pest controllers and comics by entertaining their owners with their funny antics. Later, it is believed, this small strain developed as the Affenpinscher, which was then improved by crossing with the German Pinscher, Pug, and German Silky Pinscher.

Many wire-coated toys, including the Brussels Griffon, descended from the Affenpinscher. The breed is most popular in Germany, often claimed to be its native land. The American Kennel Club granted it recognition in 1936, but the Second World War reduced its popularity. Today the breed remains rare in the United States and even in Germany.