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Published on 10 May 2021

Affenpincher black dog sitting and yawning on the garden.

With an endearing expression and personality to match, the Affenpinscher is a spritely character suited to a household without small children. 

Affenpinschers were bred in Germany and they are a very old breed that existed as far back as the 1700’s. They were bred for hunting rats and mice. Affenpinschers are famous for their monkey like face, which is how they got their name as “Affen” means “monkey” in German.

They are a “toy” sized breed with heights of 23 to 30 cm, and weights around 3 to 6kgs. Females tend to be a bit smaller than males. Affenpinschers come in a variety of colours including Black, grey, silver, red, black and tan, beige. Their life expectancy is around 11 to 14 years. They are a brachycephalic breed and are susceptible to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).

Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics


Germany, 17th century 

Also known as 

Affen, Affie  

Bred for

Hunting rats, companionship 


Toy, 23 to 30 cm, 3 to 6kgs

Weight range

3 to 6kgs


Black, grey, silver, red, black and tan, beige 

Life expectancy

11 to 14 years 


Scruffy, dense rough coat that benefits from regular clipping, minimal shedding


Feisty, confident, affectionate 

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Experienced dog people, better suited to households without with small children  

Apartment friendly

Can adapt to apartment living but needs exercise and entertainment and may become destructive if bored


The Affenpinscher is spritely, alert, and intelligent. On the flip side, they can be mischievous and stubborn. To their family, they are typically very loving and loyal, but can be defensive with strangers. 

Due to their small size and big personalities, they may be a better choice for families with older or no children. Daily exercise is important to keep them happy and healthy. 

Early socialisation and training with other dogs, people and animals is important to ensure good manners later in life. Show caution when introducing an Affenpinscher to other small animals, as they may still retain a strong prey drive and can be aggressive towards small animals. 

Affenpinschers can adapt to apartment living if they are given plenty of exercise, entertainment, and attention as boredom and loneliness can result in destructive behaviour. 


They have a thick, shaggy coat that requires daily grooming. Frequent clipping at the groomers helps to keep them looking their best. Ear cleaning should also be a part of the regular grooming schedule to help keep the ears clean and free from debris to help prevent ear infections. 

Teeth cleaning should also be a part of the maintenance routine. Prevent parasites by ensuring your Affenpinscher is on flea control all year round and tick prevention if you are in a paralysis tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Affenpinscher, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. 

Make sure your pup always has a supply of fresh, clean water available. 

Affenpinscher two black dogs sitting in forest next to fly agaric.

Common health concerns 

According to PetSure data from 2013 to 2018, brachycephalic breeds have a higher prevalence for many major health problems including patella luxation, skin conditions, eye conditions, anal gland problems, digestive diseases, and ear infections

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is caused by changes in the airways which can result in lifelong breathing problems. Read more about brachycephalic dogs here.

From 2016 to 2020, Affenpinschers most commonly visited the vet for cancer including meningioma and mast cell tumours , skin conditions such as allergies, and patella luxation (dislocating kneecap). 

Table: The five most common reasons for an Affenpinscher to visit the vet from 2016- 2020. Source: PetSure claims data. 

RankConditionAverage cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)
Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)
1Cancer, including meningioma and mast cell tumour$598$3,074
2Skin conditions, including allergic skin disease$161$704
3Patella luxation$582$6,177
4Gastrointestinal problems$255$1,727
5Traumatic accidents, including bite wounds and bone fractures$822$6,557

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.


Portrait of black Affenpinscher dog relaxing on bed.

Most popular Affenpinscher names

Most Popular names (PetSure data, 2010-2020)

  1. Alfie
  2. Gabby
  3. Daisy
  4. Dolly
  5. Scruffy
  6. Charlie
  7. Jet
  8. Merlin
  9. Sandy
  10. Baxter

Most popular female names  

  1. Gabby
  2. Daisy
  3. Dolly
  4. Sandy
  5. Bess
  6. Coco
  7. Gypsy
  8. Hazel
  9. Opal

Most popular male names

  1. Alfie
  2. Scruffy
  3. Charlie
  4. Jet
  5. Merlin
  6. Baxter
  7. Bob
  8. Chase
  9. Chewy
  10. Harvey

Did you know?

In France, the Affenpinscher is described as the diablotin moustachu which means “moustached demon”.

Where can I get an Affenpinscher?

Affenpinscher are not very common in Australia. It may be possible to find one via a breed specific rescue organisation. You may also find a perfect small dog for you and your family at your local rescue organisation or shelter who needs a loving home. 


  1. American Kennel Club, Affenpinscher, accessed on 15/03/21
  2. The Kennel Club, toy Affenpinscher, accessed on 15/03/21
  3. Wikipedia, Affenpinscher, accessed on 15/03/21

Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits and exclusions apply. is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 and Pet Culture Pty Ltd ABN 69 644 613 098, AR 001284860. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at .

Kylie Mitchell

Kylie Mitchell


Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie Mitchell's Pets

  • MeekaMeeka
  • Bei BeiBei Bei
  • NoahNoah

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