Affenpinscher Breed Information Guide: Quirks, Pictures, Personality & Facts

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

October 12, 2019

Intro / Overview

(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)

The Affenpinscher stands just one foot tall, but has a big personality that will leave you laughing and smiling. They’re confident in their intelligence and their ability to love humans fiercely. If you’re looking for a dog that makes you laugh and an affectionate best friend, the Affenpinscher may be right for you. Here’s a guide to help you get to know these furry beasts and how you can bring one into your life.

Also Known As…

Affie. Affen. Monkey Dog. “The little devil with a mustache!”


The Affie has origins in 16th century Germany, where they were bred to catch rodents and other pests. They started off a bit bigger and were bred down to their current size over the years, becoming excellent dogs for small spaces. Affies became rare during World War II, but after then became more popular, with breeders mixing them with the Griffon Bruxellois breed, which accounts for their flat faces and increasingly small size.


The Affenpinscher stands an average height of 9-12 inches tall, making them toy-sized dogs.

Weight Range

Affens weigh 6.5lb-13.2lbs, on average.


Affenpinschers pack a lot of personality into a tiny package. They’re funny and fearless, curious and confident. You’ll see a serious nature in their eyes when they’re not playing and trying to outsmart you. They like exercise but as a small dog, don’t need rigorous hikes to stay happy. They’re loyal pets that love to be around their humans, curling up on the couch or in your lap after a long day.

Intelligence / Trainability

The Affen is a curious and intelligent dog that enjoys learning new skills. They love to learn, but you’ll can also be stubborn and willful, making strong training important if you want to tell your Affen what to do. Otherwise they may start telling you what to do – an entertaining sight from such a small creature, but still something you should try to avoid. 

Best Training Techniques For Affenpinschers

Make friends with your Affenpinscher as you train them. They’re loving and affectionate and don’t respond well to negative reinforcement, becoming willful and stubborn. Instead, use treats and praise to train an Affen, and you’ll get them on your side. They don’t know better than you, but at first an Affen will disagree on that front. Use treats, but not too many. Remember that they’re little dogs, so those treats can add up quickly to some extra pounds, especially as this breed is susceptible to weight gain.

Ideal Environment

Because of their small size, Affies do well in a variety of environments, both big and small. They’ll be happy in a large house or a small city apartment as long as they’re loved and get some good time outside each day. They love an affectionate owner more than anything, as well as some solid playtime. If you have that down, your Affie will be happy.

Good For Families And Kids?

The Affenpinscher is a playful breed, which can mix well with a family with kids. However, they don’t have a high tolerance for the extended high energy some kids have. These dogs like to play, but may grow tired of playing with kids for hours. Give them some time to recuperate – or to hang out with the adults they see as more on their level – and they’ll be ready to play again. 

Average Lifespan

Affenpinschers live an average of 12-14 years.


Affies can live up to 14 years, but do have some health problems associated with breeding tactics. Their flat faces are adorable but as with other short-nosed breeds, they are prone to brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which can cause airway issues and other respiratory problems. 


Affenpinschers have a moderate energy level, which means they love to play, but you won’t find yourself chasing them for hours in the yard. They’re great for walks and games outside, but they won’t be up for going on hikes or long jogs.

Friendly With… (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)

The Affie is good with other dogs and tend to get along well with others at the dog park or on walks. They do fairly well with cats if they’re raised with them, but may be prone to trying to chase down your feline friend if not. They’re also pretty friendly with strangers, especially once they’ve been socialized to understand that others on the street aren’t a threat. Affenpinschers were bred to chase down rodents, so be wary about introducing an Affie into your household if you have small pets, especially any of the rodent variety.

Coat & Grooming

Affenpinschers have a shaggy, rough coat that doesn’t grow too long, and they don’t shed much. They don’t need much weekly grooming, but do require some upkeep. Brush your Affie regularly and they’ll maintain a clean appearance, and use a fine-toothed comb on their faces for control. You can decide how shaggy you’d like their body to be, so feel free to take them to the groomer to strip down or trim their coats. You may need to do this every three months or so, which is about how often you should wait between baths. Give them a bath if they’ve been playing in the mud or at the beach, but once they’re clean, there’s no need to bathe them more regularly than every few months. 


These dogs will make you laugh, but don’t expect them to laugh at themselves. They take themselves very seriously. Which, of course, makes them even funnier to be around. Expect some side eye from your pup when they’re feeling stubborn.

Toys Affenpinschers Would Like Best 

Affenpinschers are smart pups, which means they may love a treat-dispensing toy, especially when they can’t get time outside.  They may also like a nice Plush Toy to play with on their own, which they’ll be good at doing as long as you’re in sight. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a Fetch Toy, particularly the “Best Balls Ever.”

Recommended Diet Or Supplements

Feeding your Affenpinscher (or any dog) the freshest whole food diet you can afford (trying to eliminate fillers, grains, or inflammatory proteins such as chicken), can go a long way to decrease health issues and increase longevity.

Fish Oil Skin & Coat Supplement

These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)

Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil

BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)

Glucosamine Supplement For Hip & Joints

These veterinarian-formulated supplements are made with all natural glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all packed into a delicious soft chew. ($32.99.)

Recommended Products

Affenpinschers, just like any dog, love to take a load off after a long day of…running around for hours on end or whatever they’re doing. That’s why they deserve their own bed, especially if they have joint issues.

Orthopedic Ultra Plush Memory Foam Dog Bed

This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the most active of dogs! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. ($27.99-64.99.)

Notable Rescues To Find The Affenpinscher Of Your Dreams:

Ready to get your hands on one of these adorable, friendly and confident pups? Below is a rescue organizations to help you find your very own Affenpinscher, your new best friend. 

Affenpinscher Rescue of America brings together Affies with the right owner. They rescue dogs from around the country, gathering them from shelters or from owners who have surrendered their Affies. The organization is dedicated to rehoming these dogs with responsible owners, conducting home visits prior to adoption and provide services such as spaying and neutering, vaccines and other medical care before teaming up an Affie with their new owners.

While there aren’t other rescue centers specifically dedicated to rehoming Affies, look around shelters in your area or around the country to find an Affenpinscher in need of a new, loving owner.

Notable Instagram Affenpinschers

The Affenpinscher is an extremely photogenic dog. The eyes, the shaggy fur and the over-the-top amounts of personality all lend themselves to a great photo. Here are a few Instagram accounts for you to peruse when you’re in need of some good Affie side eye.





***Looking for a gift to blow your Affenpinscher’s mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂

Dachshund with chewrassic bark barkbox

Featured image via Bento434/Instagram

Want More Breed Guides Like This?

Brussels Griffon Breed Information Guide

Norfolk Terrier Breed Information Guide

Bichon Frise Breed Information Guide

Pekingese Breed Information Guide

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

October 12, 2019


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.