Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Affenpinscher
Average Cost to keep/care for a Affenpinscher
Breed Specific Buying Advice
There is no mistaking the unique looks of an Affenpinscher because these little dogs have quite monkey-like faces. They boast being among the oldest of the Toy breeds around and their ancestry can be traced as far back as the 17th century. They were first bred in Germany, but today these little dogs have found their way to other parts of the world including here in the UK where they are typically kept as companion dogs. Apart from their adorable looks,
Affens boast fun-loving, albeit "naughty" natures and they like to be kept busy adapting well to living in towns or a country environment. However, the Affenpinscher is the sort of character that likes to be a lapdog, but they also like being out and about doing things whenever they can.
Affenpinschers are depicted in paintings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries which means they are one of the oldest toy breeds on the planet. They originate from Germany and translated their name means "mock terriers" or some people believe the rough translation should be "Monkey Mutt". These little dogs boast being the very first of the "monkey-faced" toy breeds to be developed and are responsible for the development of other breeds like the Griffon Bruxellois as well as the Griffon Belge. These extraordinary looking dogs were also used to create the Miniature Schnauzer. It is thought that at one time there were two sizes of Affens, but the larger of them no longer exists today.
These little dogs were originally bred to chase down vermin and proved themselves to be extremely good "ratters" and as such the breed soon became popular in Southern Germany during the 19th century. There are records of a 'Monkey Pinscher' dog being exhibited at dog shows in their native Germany and pretty soon well-heeled ladies of the day all had an Affen as their companion, but by the turn of the 19th Century and from then onwards, these little monkey-faced dogs were being exhibited in many dog shows across Germany and as a result they became popular with many German film stars back in the day. One of the most famous ladies being Mrs. Evelyn Walsh McLean, owner of the large Hope Diamond. They were also depicted on postcards.
At the time in Germany, Affenpinschers were classed in the same group as Pinscher Schnauzers with the first stud book listing 14 Affens in 1902 and their numbers continued to rise. Sadly, their numbers declined over the ensuing years and still remain quite low even today in their native Germany.
It is worth noting that the Affenpinscher played an important part in the development of another much-loved breed, namely the Miniature Schnauzer, but they were also used to create the Brussels Griffon too which was fortunate because after the World Wars, Griffons were used to rescue the breed from vanishing altogether. Griffons also helped develop Affens with shorter muzzles and prominent chins that we see in the breed today.
By the 1950's the Affenpinscher became a popular choice outside of Germany, mainly in the UK and the US where the breed gained a large fan base. Although, Affens were bred to have all the usual "terrier" traits due to their small size they were mainly kept as companion dogs and are still as popular today with people the world over thanks to their unique monkey-like faces and disarmingly comical personalities.
With this said, the breed's popularity was a little slower to take off than in the United States with the first Affen being registered with the Kennel Club in 1987. After this, as further three dogs were imported to the country by a lady called Mrs. Wood who set about promoting the breed in the UK.
Over the ensuing years, more Affens were imported into the country and the breed's popularity began to grow across the land. The Affenpinscher Club was later founded in 1982. Today, these charming little monkey-faced dogs have earned the reputation of being loyal and comical companions to share a home with and their popularity is gaining momentum from year to year.
Height at the withers: Males 23 – 30 cm, Females 23 – 30 cm
Average weight: Males 2.9 – 6.0 kg, Females 2.9 – 6.0 kg
The Affenpinscher is a sturdy little dog with a monkey-like face that boasts a rough and wiry coat. They may look small, but there is nothing fragile about an Affenpinscher. They are extremely confident and always full of self-importance. Their heads are quite small in relation to the rest of their body and they boast having a domed forehead with a wide brow and distinct stop. Their muzzles are short and blunt without being so much so that it causes breathing issues. They have prominent chins and their nostrils are nicely open.
Their eyes are very dark in colour, medium in size and round with dogs always having a sparkle in them. Ears are set high on their head and are small which dogs either hold upright or they can drop down too. The Affenpinscher has a slightly undershot jaw with a broader lower jaw, but their teeth never show when a dog's mouth is shut.
Their necks are straight and short with no sign of any wrinkling. Front legs are straight and close. Their backs are level and short with dogs boasting well sprung ribs and bellies that are slightly tucked up which adds to the breed's compact and sturdy appearance.
Their hindquarters are strong with a dog's back legs being nicely set under their bodies but never so much that it is exaggerated. Feet are round, compact and small with dogs having dark nails and pads. Their tails are set high which Affenpinschers carry well up with a slight curve in it.
When it comes to their coat, the Affenpinscher has a rough, short and dense coat that's harsh to the touch. The hair is slightly shaggier on certain parts of their body which includes their necks, shoulders and heads. The hair stands away from a dog's face which adds to their monkey-like looks. The accepted breed colour for Kennel Club registration is black, but dogs are allowed to have grey shading in their coats too.
When an Affen moves, they do so with a lively, alert, strutting action with dogs lifting their feet high off the ground when they do. They should however, never show any sort of hackneyed action.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
Affenpinschers are known to be real clowns with a bit of a mischievous side to their natures that adds to their overall appeal. With this said, for such small dogs they are extremely courageous which in short means there is a very large personality in a rather small body. With this said, they are the perfect lapdog and one that boasts being extraordinarily smart. It is said that Affens love two things in life, the first being given as much attention as possible and the second being their food.
They are intelligent, confident little dogs that boast all the usual "terrier" traits with an added cachet of self-importance. They are also known to be fearless which means they can get themselves into some difficult and dangerous situations by taking on much larger dogs. They are also known to be very wary of people they do not already know which is why it's essential for Affens to be well socialised from a young age to curb any sort of fiery and often quite aggressive behaviour towards strangers.
The Affenpinscher is also known to be quite "yappy", another behaviour that needs to be nipped in the bud when they are still puppies or it could lead excessive barking which can be a real issue for people who live in apartments. They do not like being left on their own for extended periods of time preferring human company because these little dogs can suffer from separation anxiety especially if they are not given enough exercise or mental stimulation on a daily basis. Rather than curl up in a cosy spot, an Affen will stand at the door or window waiting for an owner to return home.
Affenpinschers are a good choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their owners whether they are in a family environment or kept as companions.
Affenpinschers have a high prey drive and love nothing more than to give chase to anything that tries to run away. As such, care should be taken as to where and when an Affen can run off the lead more especially when there is wildlife and livestock close by.
Affens are known to have a very playful and fun-loving side to their natures and thrive on being entertained and entertaining their owners. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, an Affen quickly learns how to get their own way when they want something.
Affenpinschers are highly adaptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country.
Affens form strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained which includes barking incessantly to get attention and to show how unhappy they are at the situation.
Affens are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them which could end up making them timid and shy.
Care should always be taken when an Affenpinscher goes swimming because of their flat faces and the fact that some dogs have difficulty breathing. With this said, a lot of Affenpinschers enjoy taking a dip in the water, but anyone who shares a home with a dog that does not should never force them to go in because it would end up scaring them. With this said, care should also be taken when walking an Affen off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in or they fall in and then need rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Affens may be small in stature, but they are always on the alert and therefore quick to let an owner know when they are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their environment. However, thanks to their small size, they are not very good guard dogs and rarely would a well socialised Affen show any sort of aggressive behaviour when someone they don't know comes to the door, preferring to keep their distance and bark.
Because the Affen is an intelligent little dog that likes nothing more than to please, they are generally easy to train. However, their training and education must start when they are very young to curb some of their more annoying "terrier" traits which includes excessive barking and aggressive behaviour towards people they do not already know.
A puppy’s socialisation must be start as soon as they are fully vaccinated and this should include introducing them to as many new situations, people, animals and other dogs as possible so they grow up to be more well-rounded and balanced adult dogs.
Affen puppies, like all puppies, are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, once a puppy is settled in, owners must start out as they mean to go on to prevent their pets from developing any unwanted behavioural issues which includes "small dog syndrome". Affens may be cute when they are puppies, but they are also very smart and therefore quick to learn new things which includes the "good and the bad".
Puppies must be taught the limits and boundaries so they understand what their owners expect of them. It also helps establish a "pecking order" and who is the alpha dog in a household. The first commands an Affen puppy must be taught are as follows:
Affenpinschers are a great choice for families where the children in a household are older. They are not best choice if there are any toddlers or very young kids in the home. The reason being that Affens can be a little fiery at times and if they feel threatened or playtime gets too rough, they will retaliate by nipping a child. With this said, any interaction between an Affen and children should be well supervised at all times to make sure things stay nice and calm.
Care must be taken when an Affenpinscher is around any small animals and pets and this includes cats because they are terriers and as such would see them as "fair game" with disastrous results.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of an Affenpinscher is between 11 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Affen, although generally a healthy little dog, is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these lively monkey-faced dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following and some of which are associated with the shape of their faces:
Affen puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
As with other breeds, Affens can gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Affens are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Affenpinscher breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions for all recognised Kennel Club breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions for the Affenpinscher.
The Kennel Club strongly recommends that all breeders use the following scheme on their dogs:
As with any other breed, Affens need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Affen puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
Things you'll need for your puppy
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Affenpinscher puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Affen puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Affenpinschers need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with an Affenpinscher in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth, bearing in mind that they are known to suffer from dental issues anyway thanks to the shape of their heads and mouths.
Older Affens need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Affenpinschers don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
An Affens coat is naturally quite scruffy looking being made up of shaggy, harsh hair which means they are quite low maintenance on the grooming front. With this said, a weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats shiny albeit tousled looking and their skin in good condition. It's also a good to have their coats handstripped two or three times a year which is best left up to a professional dog groomer.
Puppies need to be introduced to grooming tools from a young age so they get used to them and look forward to the one-to-one attention they are given when they are being pampered and brushed. They need to have their paws, ears and other parts of their body touched on a regular basis so that when it comes to trimming their nails and checking a dog's ears, it is not a stressful experience for them to have to cope with.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Affenpinschers like to be kept busy and love being out and about exploring their environment. With this said, if the weather is bad, these little dogs are quite happy being given a short walk. Ideally, they need anything from 20 to 40 minutes exercise a day and this must include lots of mental stimulation throughout the day so that boredom does not set in which could lead to an Affen developing some destructive behaviours around the home. This includes excessive barking and tearing up the place.
Puppies should not be allowed to jump up or down from furniture nor should then be allowed to go up and down stairs until they are at least 6 months old because it puts too much pressure on their growing joints and they might just end up breaking a bone.
If you get an Affen puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Some dogs are known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but it's important not to spoil them because it could lead to more problems feeding them later. It's best to feed a mature Affen twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, an Affen puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Affen should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Affenpinscher should be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy an Affen, you would need to pay anything from £450 to over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Affenpinscher in northern England would be £24.67 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.82 a month (quote as of February 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an Affen and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for an Affenpinscher would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Affenpinscher puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Affenpinschers, as previously mentioned have consistently been a popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Affens there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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