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Published on February 23rd, 2017 | by Debbie Martin


Know your pooches – Affenpinscher

What is an Affenpincsher Dog?

The Affenpincsher dog is also known as the Monkey Terrier or the African terrier and they are a terrier-like toy breed of dog. The name comes from the German word for monkey and they have a unique look with a monkey-like face. These dogs are also like monkeys in their temperament, as they are playful and mischievous and they love to “monkey around”.

Their coat is wiry and shaggy and their heads are a square shape, with a broad and deep chest. The lower jaw is undershot and these dogs have prominent round eyes. The limbs are straight and well boned and the tail is carried high. Usually these dogs have a coat which is dark grey or black but they can also come in tan, red, silver or light grey.

This breed of dog is a smaller version of a working terrier and they are a strong and sturdy dog. They are agile enough to catch and dispatch rats and mice. They also make a great family dog because they have friendly disposition.

History of the Breed

This type of dog is German in origin and they date all the way back to the 17th century. This breed predates the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon. This breed was originally created to be a ratter and to remove rats from the stables, granaries and kitchens.

This dog was bred in miniature form and became a house pet during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is still a ruthless hunter of mice and an outstanding watchdog, but these days it is primarily kept as a companion dog.

The Affenpinscher was officially admitted to the American Kennel Club’s studbook in 1936.


The personality of this sweet little dog is similar to other terriers. They are curious, bold and stubborn and they get along well with other dogs. They are playful and mischievous and they love to mess around. Despite their small size, they are very confident and they will quickly take an authoritative role if you do not show them discipline and boundaries. They will need consistent and firm training from a young age. They are very smart and they can be taught to perform a wide range of tricks. They will learn very quickly and they will adjust to change readily.

They are very smart dogs and can become bored easily, so they will need a lot of variety and training in their lifestyle. They also love being with their family and they are very affectionate to and protective of their family members.

It is not recommended to keep Affenpinschers in a house with small children, as they can be very territorial when it comes to their food and toys. They are usually quiet dogs, but if they feel threatened they can get aggressive.

Common Health Issues

Due to the fact that the Affenpinscher is a purebred dog they will suffer from certain genetic disorders as well as several acquired conditions that potential owners should know about.

Because of the shape of their face the Affenpinscher is prone to respiratory problems in hot weather. Also they can be prone to slipped stifle, patent ductus arteriosus, open fontanel and fractures. Sometimes this dog can be prone to orthopedic diseases such as luxating patella, hip dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Sometimes cataracts can affect the vision of this breed, as well as other eye problems such as tear duct disorders, dry eye, corneal ulcers and glaucoma. The dog can also be susceptible to hormonal and endocrine system diseases including Cushings disease. This breed can also suffer from skin problems including itchy skin, pyoderma and non-tumorous growths such as sebaceous cysts.


The coat of the Affenpinscher should not be cut short, as this ruins the coat for many years. Their coats should be combed and brushed weekly and it might also be necessary to pluck the coat. Many dog owners take their furry friend to a dog-trimming specialist, but it is also possible to learn to do it yourself. Sometimes the hair will grow in the corners of the eyes and cause irritation, so you will need to learn how to deal with these hairs promptly.

These breeds are known to shed very little hair so you will not need to clean their hairs off of the furniture.

More Tips for Owning an Affenpinscher Dog

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind if you are considering adopting an Affenpinscher Dog:

  • Make sure that you keep your dog in a cool environment over the summer, because their thick coat and stubby nose can cause them to overheat and to have trouble breathing in hot temperatures.
  • The Affenpinscher is a very playful dog, so take the time to let them run around without a lead in a fenced off garden or dog park.
  • Always choose a reputable breeder that only uses healthy dogs, reducing the chances of the litters developing a hereditary health disorder.
  • Your Affenpinscher needs to go on a walk at least once per day in order to run off extra energy. They should be made to heel beside the person who is holding the lead.
  • Make sure that you establish early on that you are the pack leader, so that your dog doesn’t become aggressive or territorial. The Affenpinscher can get protective of their food and toys unless you are clearly their pack leader.

These are just a few important tips to keep in mind when it comes to owning an Affenpinscher Dog, so that you and your furry companion can live happily together and enjoy each other’s company.


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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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