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Affenpinscher – Fun Facts and Crate Size

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Affenpinscher - Fun Facts and Crate Size


Quick Facts:

  • AKC recognized in 1936
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy: Medium
  • Recommended Crate Size: 18" dog crate*

 Return to main Dog Crate Size Breed Chart.


How could any dog whose nickname is the “Monkey Terrier” not be downright adorable? 

The Affenpinscher is very monkey-like and is one of the oldest toy breeds in existence and...sure enough, he bears an uncanny resemblance to a monkey. 

In fact, the “affe” is German guessed it, “monkey” and pinscher is a ratter or guard dog.

Emerging in the 1600s, this cutie pie is a German, where he was utilized to hunt rodents in gardens and on the farm.  He worked his way into the house, keeping the mice and rat population down. 

Somewhere along the way, his job switched to more of a family entertainer and eventually, a loving companion.


The Affenpinscher is a medium-sized ratter dog that originated in Germany in the seventeenth century for the purpose of pest control which was very important in that day and time because rodents spread diseases that there were no cures for.  Automatically, he was a dog of great purpose.

He is a terrier type and is a proud member of the subgroup Pinschers and Schnauzers.

As mentioned before, this little dog is also called “the Monkey Dog”.  He is also endearingly named “the Mustachioed Devil” or "Little Devil" because he sports a long mustache and due to his restless, bounding energy.

While the Affenpinscher was quite popular in Germany and Europe prior to World War ll.  Often seen tucked under the arms of famous people, like German film stars and royalty, this guy was considered a fashion statement all his own. 

He was featured by the famous artist Renoir who adored the playful pup and expressed as much by painting pictures of this small breed more than once.

The Affie suffered a slump during the war and all but faded away.  Then, miraculously, after the war, he was introduced to America where he enjoyed a loving reception and still enjoys such.  To this day, he has not regained his popularity back in his home country of Germany though.

Intelligent, independent, courageous, and optimistic, this small dog breed was all he was created to be...and more. 

He, unlike most pinscher types, was not fond of fighting.  This monkey-looking fellow was a peace lover, intent on problem-solving and the problem at hand was rodents.

If a fight does come his way, however, he’s not likely to back down even though he is small to medium in size.  He is confident enough to take on much larger dogs and critters if he is challenged.

As time passed, the happy natured Affenpinscher grew in popularity as a companion and family dog.  He was perfect for that part too.  He was formally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. 

He is actually a rare breed which is celebrated.  His boldness coupled with his clown-like charm makes him irresistible.

One of the defining moments for the Affen came when Ch Yarrow’s Affenpinscher, Super Nova, won first place in the Toy Group competition in 2002 which was nationally televised in the Westminster Kennel Club Show. 

He was an instant star as was the dog breed many were unfamiliar with until that time.

The Affenpinscher is a great traveler.  He loves adventure and loves to explore.  He also adores his time outdoors and does well outside to an extent but should certainly be brought in at night as a rule. 

There’s really not much this mustached monkey clown doesn’t love which is yet another thing to love about him.


The Affenpinscher is likely to have black hair or can have silver, gray, red, or brown-black.  His dense, wiry fur is around an inch long on his body and shorter on his tail.  Black is the preferred coat color according to the AKC.  The FCI and KC standards insist that no other color except black are acceptable.

His rough coat is wiry, and a bit harsh but when it is clipped, can be softer and fluffier.  It is shaggy (almost comically so) over his shoulders and on his little head which resembles a mane, of sorts.  The coat on his back and hindquarters are shorter than the rest of his body. 

He is small but sturdy and compact in structure, usually standing about 9-12 inches.  Interestingly, the breed has lost some inches and has become shorter through the ages which were intentional with the intent of downsizing the breed.  He usually weighs in somewhere between 8 to 10 pounds.

This breed has a blunt snout and symmetrical ears that stand erect or semi-erect.  His tail tends to be long and curls up over his back.  This character resembles a monkey with his long mustache, bushy beard, and crazy eyebrows.  His facial hair tends to be noticeably longer on his face than on his body.


It is recommended to give your Affenpinscher food that is specially formulated to medium-sized breeds and for Affenpinschers in particular, if possible.

It is highly recommended to discuss your exact food and nutrition play with your pup’s veterinarian and/or breeder so you can determine the size and frequency of his meals in order to ensure that your monkey has a healthy, long life.

It is likely that his vet or the professional you speak with will recommend smaller, more frequent meals when he’s a puppy and perhaps fewer ones as he grows. 

This breed can be overeaters which is dangerous to his health so you want to take measures to prevent him from becoming overweight.  They also are small and can’t hold that much at one time so limit his treats to be sure what he does eat is of the nutritional food he needs.

Your vet will probably mention the importance of giving him ample protein to fuel his energy along with other vitamins and minerals that are vital for his health.

It is also imperative to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.


The Affenpinscher doesn’t shed for the most part.  But, because his coat is wild and wiry, he’s not exactly maintenance free. 

Oddly, his coat is tough and coarse on the outer side but has a curly bottom layer that is softer.  He requires a good brushing every few days to keep tangles and mats at bay and to promote the health of his coat and skin.

You can, if you choose, have his hair clipped.  It does make it less haphazard and wiry and it will be softer to the touch too.  He will need a trim now and then even if you don’t clip him or have him professionally clipped.  The beard, mustache, and other facial hair should be shaped up too.

Don’t forget to keep this breed’s ears cleaned and dry.  Clean his eye area too with a clean, damp cloth.  The corner of his eyes should get a little extra TLC so they don’t get irritated as is common with this breed. 

Keep his nails trimmed down.  If he has things his way, he’ll wear them down naturally by romping around outdoors but if he doesn’t, or if they become chipped or cracked, be sure to tend to the matter promptly.

You’ll need to brush his teeth once per week or more.  You can use a doggie toothbrush and fun flavored toothpaste made especially for dogs or you can even use your fingers.  Keeping up with his dental hygiene is important to your pup’s health to prevent cavities and gum disease.


If you are not into exercising your Affenpinscher, don’t get one...point blank.  These friendly dogs are lively and energetic.  He has the need to get his pent up energy out.  This dog was bred to be a working dog so he was meant to be active and...he sure is!

A minimum of 30-40 minutes of formal, brisk walking per day is a must.  He would greatly benefit from two 20 minute walks since he does best with his small bursts of energy. Long walks can be done at a slower pace but for short walks, he likes to practically trot.

Playtime in between is advised too.  He will create his own games but also loves interacting with humans like playing fetch, ball, and Frisbee.  Incorporating games that involve little bursts of energy are perfect for him.  Remember his roots are in ratting so he’ll love activities that embrace his heritage.

This dog is suitable for small quarters such as an apartment or condo because he’s not very big.  But, he’s active and will need regular, daily walks at a minimum and would benefit from having a dog park or play yard as well.  He is also a champ on the farm or ranch as long as he is inside at night. 

If you are going hiking, bring your little mustache guy along.  Do remember that his little legs are ready to roll but they don’t last all that long so give him a rest and he’ll be ready to go again. 

He is steady and surefooted, a mini-athlete of sorts.  But, since he doesn’t realize his limits, it’s important that you do.

Pet Crate Size

Pet Crates Direct recommends 18" dog crates* for most adult Affenpinschers.

More Information

Affenpinscher dog crate size


The Affenpinscher is fairly high energy, loving his brisk walks and whatever other fun activity might come his way. Many of his personality traits stem back to the days when rodent hunting was the reason he existed.

This breed is a bit on the noisy side.  He loves to bark. He doesn’t usually bark loud unless he feels sure there is a real and present danger, just insistently. 

To him, it is not in vain though, barking just to be barking, he is barking for a reason.  In the days of old, he barked to frighten rats and mice away or possibly to alert his people of rodent nests. 

But in modern times, he is more likely to be warning his family that the mailman is nearing or that a cat is lurking in the neighborhood.  To him, alerting of such things are part of his job. 

That behavior, however, can be worked on through conditioning and training.  Still, it is important to realize, prior to taking an Affenpinscher on, that barking is ingrained in his being.  He does make an excellent watchdog due to his barking though.

Active, adventurous, curious, and even stubborn are words often used to describe the Affenpinscher.  He is quite social and gets along well with humans, both adults, and children (to an extent), and with most other household pets, especially if he is raised with them.

This dog is quite protective and loyal almost to a fault.  He is known to be possessive of his toys, treats, and sometimes, his space.  For this reason, there is a hesitation in recommending him for families with small children. 

If he feels he, or his “stuff”, is threatened, he doesn’t mind to return the favor with a snap or actual bite.  He may also be food aggressive which should be nipped in the bud as a young puppy and never be allowed.

The energy level of this breed can be an issue for some.  He’s not just a little lap dog.  He is playful and when he gets wound up, takes some time to settle back down. 

He is recommended for active individuals and families.  If he doesn’t get his energy out constructively, he’ll do it any way he can.  You may find slippers shredded, furniture dismantled, or the entire backyard dug up.  He simply must be wound down.

This breed is very intelligent.  He is sometimes trained as a therapy dog due to his trainability coupled with his smarts. He loves very deeply which makes him not only an excellent therapy dog but an all-around great family or companion dog too.

In fact, this dog is such a fantastic breed, he’s been used to create other breeds like the Smooth Haired German Pinscher, the German Silky Pinscher, and the Brussels Griffon. 

He also parents designer dogs which became popular to do in the ’90s.  The Affenpoo is a creation of an Affenpinscher and a Poodle.  An Affenchon is a mix of Affie and Bichon Frise while an Alusky is a mix of Affen and an American Husky.  An Affenhuahua is...yep, a thoughtful blend of a Chihuahua and an Affie.

Practically every breed has been mixed with the Affenpinscher successfully for the intent of blending his adorable playfulness, his basically non-shedding, hypo-allergic coat and his loving loyal characteristics with other dogs and their positive qualities.

Affies are a hoot.  They love performing and are clowns.  The mustache fellow loves to do random crazy antics like attempting to tote a rock around, sneaking into your purse or wallet, or maybe even eating a bug. 

They might also take off walking backward. He’s apt to do anything that brings a smile or a laugh.  For sure and for certain, there’s never a dull moment with this little monkey!


The Affie requires a firm but loving training.  He is very intelligent and will have no problem knowing what it is you want and when you get him to cooperate, he’ll ace any command or trick request you put out there for him. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the Affie has a mind of his own and is unique in the way he needs to be trained. 

He is a social guy but he more feels he’s an equal with you rather than your student.  A strong personal bond between the two of you and your insistence on being the alpha is a must.

But, he can be a bit stubborn and if you don’t make it clear that you are the pack leader, he’ll certainly be happy to play the role.  It’s very important to handle is training positively. 

Plenty of praise and some treats here and there are helpful.  Never talk gruffly to him though or he will get his feelings hurt and probably refuse to lay his heart out on the table again.  He’ll become defensive and uncooperative.

Housebreaking your Affenpinscher can be challenging.  He may not want to slow down long enough to go do his business and it is usually the initial training he will encounter so you’ll be showing him who’s boss for the first time. 

Do keep in mind that he is a toy dog breed and his bladder isn’t that large.  Take him to his potty spot often and use plenty of patience and consistency.  Once you get him potty trained, however, the rest of his training should go much smoother.

You’ll definitely want to get right to obedience training with the Affenpinscher.  His barking and possessiveness will need to be addressed. 

You’ll also want to teach him basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “heel”.  Those things will teach him obedience but are for his safety and for the safety of other humans and pets too.

Repetition is imperative with this breed but, he is quite apt to get very bored very easily.  Keep things interesting and challenging, remembering that is very smart. 

Don’t let him get by with digging his heels in the dirt, refusing to cooperate.  Keeping things simple and upbeat is vital.

Socialization training will be needed early on.  Expose him to different people, places, and things so he doesn’t over-react to any of them.  Get him used to quiet solitude and to loud noises in crowded places too. 

You’ll want him to be around people of all types and ages and different pets and animals too.  Train him to be mannerly and not to be too bold with bigger dogs.

Talk about a tricked out dog, this dog is one of the best at rising to the challenge of performing tricks.  You’ll be rolling over laughing yourself because he picks up on them easily, a natural at being the center of attention.

Agility training is great for this pup because he’s so active and agile too.  He will most likely take right to the course and love every minute of it.

Brain activity exercise needs are great for the Affie.  They keep him sharp and discourage him from becoming bored.  You’ll be amazed, time after time, at just how intelligent he is.


Affenpinschers are a healthy breed in general.  They generally enjoy a life expectancy of somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 years.  There are some medical conditions to watch for, however.  Some of these ailments are:

Anasarca is a swelling of the entire body due to it retaining too much fluid.  It is sometimes a result of malnutrition, an illness, or any condition that changes the body’s proteins which affects the balance of proteins. 

It can be associated with blood vessel abnormalities or lymphatic system issues as well.  If your dog seems to be retaining fluids, be sure to waste no time taking him in for the vet to check out.

Respiratory health problems plague this breed, unfortunately.  Allergies are common too.  He may be sensitive to his food or to things in the environment like grasses and the detergent his bedding is washed in.  His allergic reaction may bring about respiratory difficulties or skin irritations.

Brachycephalic Syndrome is a condition that is hereditary for some breeds like Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Bull Mastiffs, Boston Terriers, Chinese Pugs, and Affenpinschers too. 

Due to a shortened head and a pushed in face and nose, dogs can suffer from the problem of having their soft tissues within their face and head being altered and therefore, not functioning properly. 

They often have trouble breathing correctly because their entire anatomy is not as it should be to work correctly.

Cataracts are coverings of the eyes and may develop in your Affie as he ages.  They reduce his vision and can, if need be, be removed if they are causing too much trouble for him. 

You will notice a tell-tale coating that looks filmy over his pupils and should take him in if you see such a thing. 

Corneal Ulcers is another eye issue that is seen in this breed.  It is due to a bacterial infection of the eye that invades the area of the cornea.  It may follow a traumatic injury to the eye or surgery of the eye or can appear for no apparent reason sometimes.  Loss of vision and blindness are possible side effects.

Cleft Palate deformities are common in the Affenpinscher, unfortunately.  This condition entails the attachment of his lip or area in the roof inside his mouth.  Dogs with short and stubby faces are most prone to this problem. 

The condition is present at birth with the abnormal structure of the palate or lip and can be surgically fixed if it is interfering with his eating, drinking, or comfort.

Cushings Disease is the most common reason dogs have hyperadrenocorticism in dogs which is a benign pituitary tumor.  The tumor can be malignant but usually isn’t. 

The disease itself involves excess levels of the hormone cortisol.  Increased thirst, frequent urination, obesity, loss of hair, lethargy, increased panting, and increased hunger are all signs of this malady.  If you suspect your pet has this condition, he should be examined immediately.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, also known as “dry eye”, is another eye issue that can be seen in this breed.   It involves inflammation of the cornea and also from the tissues that surround the cornea. 

This condition can affect your dog’s eyesight and lead to serious complications if left untreated. 

Legg-Perthes Disease is a degenerative condition that is sometimes seen with Affies that is a deterioration of the hip joint.  It entails the spontaneous, haphazard wearing down of the head of the femur bone which is located in the hind leg. 

This condition is usually noted by limping or lameness and can be very painful so any indication that your dog has this should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately.

Oligodontia Patella Luxation is a slipping of the kneecap from its normal position where it lodges and is able to provide mobility.  This is basically, the kneecap slipping or popping out of place. 

The condition can be painful and can cause limping or lameness.  There are procedures and treatments that may be optional if your pooch experiences this medical issue.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a condition of the aorta which is the main artery which provides oxygenated blood from the left side of the heart into the entire body. 

The blood flow is stunted in this medical problem and therefore the body doesn’t receive adequate oxygen to fuel it.  If your dog seems overly tired or just sick in general, he should be tested for this abnormality.

Bumps and bruises from his rough and rugged outdoor play are not uncommon.  He may get cut or suffer other minor injuries because he’s a livewire and doesn’t always know when to call it quits.

This breed has a tendency to not fare too well in extremely hot weather. Partly due to his respiratory sensitivity and maybe partly because of his double coat, he just has issues with the heat.

Hip Dysplasia is not uncommon in the Affenpinscher.  This condition entails the deformity of the socket the hip fits into. 

The condition can be a birth defect or can be acquired over time through environmental causes.  The hip tends to slip in and out and is not held in place properly, causing limping, pain, favoring other legs, and even lameness. 

If you notice problems with your dog’s hips or legs, be sure to have him checked out immediately. 

Making sure you go through a responsible breeder if you go through one at all will help ensure you get an Affie that is healthy and happy, just as all dogs should be.

Is an Affenpinscher Right for Me?

If you are thinking that you’d like a little Monkey Dog in your life, it’s important to be sure you are a good match for him and vice versa.  This dog is a wonderful one but he is not for everyone.

Are you willing and able to exercise him?  That is a must.  He has lots of bursts of energy and it will have to be channeled or he’ll get into mischief.  He simply can’t contain it all without releasing though exercise. 

Even if you live in a small space, he will do fine there as long as you commit to give him plenty of exercise on a daily basis.

Can you deal with his barking?  This trait runs through his blood.  Sure, you can train him to curb his urge to bark, but, it will require dedication to do so.

This dog loves to be with his pet parent.  He won’t be too happy being left alone for extended periods of time.  So, be sure you are not just going to leave him by himself too much.

Are you a novice dog parent?  This dog isn’t difficult to deal with for those who are determined to learn and are dedicated to do whatever it takes to exercise him and properly train him. 

He is a great partner who will usually work with you instead of against you if you establish your leadership role in a calm, loving, and assertive way right off the bat.

This pup was created to rat.  There will be things ingrained within him, like his love for barking and his territorial nature that will take time and patience to change. 

There are also other traits of his heritage that you won’t want to change but rather, you’ll need to embrace.  His playful outgoing nature, his sensitivity, the frequent energy spurts, his antics, and his loyalty are definitely characteristics to cherish about the Affie.  Can you do that? 

If you have small children, this breed may not be your best bet.  He can be rambunctious and can also snap if he feels he, his toys, his treats, his space, or his food is threatened.  If your children are calm and older, he may be an excellent choice though.

Are you ready to add a little amusing, inquisitive, slightly mischievous monkey into your life?  If so, you’ll go bananas over this guy and your life will likely never be boring again.

* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.

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