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Affenpinscher Temperament: Where mischief and cuteness converge

These small, stubborn, and undeniably adorable dogs, Affenpinschers, possess a captivating charm far beyond their attractive appearance. If you're considering welcoming one of these delightful toy breed companions into your family, you must delve deeper into their unique qualities and characteristics before taking the plunge.

With a remarkable history tracing back to the 16th century in Germany, Affenpinschers were purposefully bred for their keen sense of smell, compact size, and unwavering vigilance. As we explore this breed, we'll unravel the captivating tales of their origin and how they evolved into the cherished companions they are today.

However, it is their temperament that truly sets Affenpinschers apart. Renowned for their imaginative minds, they possess a creative streak that both surprises and entertains. Their deep affection for their family knows no bounds, and they fearlessly confront any potential intruders, making them exceptional watchdogs.

This comprehensive blog post will delve into the depths of the Affenpinscher temperament, shedding light on their endearing traits and quirks. Additionally, we will address prevalent health concerns and answer frequently asked questions. By the end, you will have gained valuable insights to help you determine if the Affenpinscher is the perfect fit for your household.

So, let's embark on this journey of discovery and unravel the mysterious world of Affenpinschers together. Are you ready to explore the mischief and cuteness that define this remarkable breed?

Table of contents

Affenpinscher History: Where does the Affenpinscher originate from?

The Affenpinscher, with its distinctive appearance and lively personality, has a captivating history that dates back centuries. This breed, known as one of the oldest dog breeds, originated in Germany and was initially bred as a working dog. Exploring the roots of the Affenpinscher unveils its fascinating journey throughout the years.

The earliest references to Affenpinschers can be traced back to the 16th century in Germany. These dogs were primarily employed in German kitchens and farms in those times, serving as adept vermin exterminators. Their small size and agile nature made them highly effective ratters, diligently keeping mice and rats at bay.

While fulfilling their practical duties, Affenpinschers garnered attention for their convenient size and endearing looks. Their charming appearance quickly captured the hearts of female aristocrats, who appreciated their working abilities and sought their delightful companionship.

Affenpinscher Temperament
A charming vermin hunter

As both a skilled worker and a beloved companion, this dual role contributed to the Affenpinscher's rise in popularity. Their versatility and adaptability endeared them to people from various walks of life, solidifying their place as cherished pets and loyal companions.

Throughout the years, the Affenpinscher breed continued to evolve and enchant dog enthusiasts worldwide. Today, their rich history is a testament to their enduring appeal and the unique blend of qualities they possess.

While the exact origins remain veiled in mystery, it is believed that the German Pinscher, along with other flat-faced dog breeds, played a role in their development.

The oldest known reference to the Affenpinscher breed in artwork can be traced back to the 17th century. The breed's early ancestors were depicted in artwork and described in writings during this time. Paintings from the 1600s and 1700s, particularly those by Dutch and Flemish artists, often featured small terrier-like dogs that resemble the modern-day Affenpinscher. These artworks provide valuable evidence of the breed's existence and appearance during that period.

Indeed, some of the earliest representations of dogs resembling the Affenpinscher can be found in Albrecht Dürer's woodcuts and Jan van Eyck's paintings.

Furthermore, in the 1890s, Charles Verlat painted a portrait of a French Affenpinscher, showcasing the breed's distinct characteristics and charm. Additionally, renowned artist Renoir was fond of Affenpinschers, as evidenced by several paintings depicting these delightful little dogs.

These historical references highlight the enduring presence and appeal of the Affenpinscher breed throughout different eras, further solidifying their place in the canine world.

Affenpinschers are also believed to have paved the way for the Brussels Griffon. During the late 19th century in Belgium, breeders sought to refine the local small terrier-type dogs, which included the Affenpinscher. They aimed to create a breed with a more appealing appearance and specific traits suitable for companionship.

To achieve this goal, breeders crossed the local terrier-type dogs, including the Affenpinscher, with various imported breeds, such as the Pug and English Toy Spaniel. These cross-breedings helped shape the Brussels Griffon, resulting in a breed that showcased the desired traits, including a distinctive facial structure and a charming, affectionate personality.

The Affenpinscher's influence on the development of the Brussels Griffon can be seen in specific physical characteristics, such as the wiry and rough coat and expressive facial features. The Affenpinscher's temperament likely contributed to the Brussels Griffon's lively, playful, and spirited nature.

While the Affenpinscher and the Brussels Griffon are distinct breeds today, they share a common ancestry, with the Affenpinscher serving as one of the foundation breeds in the creation of the Brussels Griffon.

Affenpinscher Temperament
The Affenpinscher is a lively, playful and spirited companion.

The first registration of an Affenpinscher in the UK with the Kennel Club was in 1897. It's been a long way to establish the breed in the UK with much effort from breeders.

In Germany, most of the breeding was focused in Munich. Although many colours were allowed in the Affenpinscher breed back then, the biggest Club favoured black. In that time, the ratio of black Affenpinschers increased from 40% to 90%.

WWII was almost the nail in the coffin for this little breed. Only crossbreeding with the Miniature Schnauzer and Brussels Griffon could save them. In the 1940s, efforts were made to revive and promote the Affenpinscher breed in Germany. Breeders focused on breeding healthy dogs with good temperaments and adhering to the breed standards. These efforts were instrumental in bringing back the breed from the brink of extinction.

Since then, the Affenpinscher population has gradually increased, and the breed has gained recognition and popularity worldwide. Although still considered a relatively rare breed, the Affenpinscher is no longer at immediate risk of extinction.

In the UK, the Affenpinscher Club was established in 1982. This Club promotes interest in the Affenpinscher and educates people on the breed.

Affenpinschers are a quite rare breed. On average, an Affenpinscher mother typically births a litter of around three to five puppies. To put this into perspective, recent data from the UK Kennel Club reveals that in 2022, a mere 103 Affenpinscher puppies were registered.

While these numbers might appear small, they are a testament to the unwavering dedication of loyal Affenpinscher enthusiasts who continue to nurture and sustain the breed's future.

2021 Total

2022 Total

Q1 2023




Source: updated August 2023

Let's now look at the Temperament of this lovely breed.

What is the Temperament of the Affenpinscher?

If you're considering welcoming an Affenpinscher into your family, it's essential to understand their distinctive temperament. Life with an Affen in your home is guaranteed an adventure filled with joy and excitement. Let's explore the critical aspects of their temperament to help you determine if they're the right fit for you.

Affenpinschers possess a cheerful and bright temperament, making them excellent companions, particularly for families with older children who can respect their boundaries. They thrive on affection and being part of the family, so prolonged periods of solitude are not ideal. However, they can learn to be alone for a few hours if needed with patient training.

It's important to note that Affenpinschers may not be well-suited for very young children, as they may feel overwhelmed or smothered. Supervised interactions between Affens and children of all ages are crucial, as with any dog breed. They have a fragile size. Their small size makes them more vulnerable to accidental injuries, especially in households with young children who may not understand how to handle them gently. Care must be taken to prevent rough play or accidental falls that could harm the dog.

Their love for their family can lead to a sense of protectiveness, making them fiercely loyal. Additionally, Affenpinschers can exhibit territorial behaviour, so teaching younger children to leave them undisturbed during meals is essential.

Affenpinscher Temperament
The Affenpinscher is surprisingly courageous.

Affenpinschers are intelligent and energetic dogs, requiring a fair amount of exercise and mental stimulation. A minimum of one hour of walks and playtime each day is recommended. They are self-confident and lively, enjoying play and being active. They won't hesitate to confront intruders or larger dogs if they perceive a threat.

Affenpinschers can coexist harmoniously with other breeds and cats when adequately socialised early. However, due to their hunting background, it's advisable to avoid keeping small mammals like hamsters or rabbits as household pets unless introduced to the Affenpinscher from a very young age.

These vigilant dogs possess excellent watchdog abilities and can be sensitive to environmental changes. Their determined nature doesn't make them shy around strangers or other dogs. A mischievous air often surrounds them, and their creative minds may surprise you with their clownish antics, keeping you on your toes.

Affenpinschers relish being by your side, finding happiness in your presence. They don't require constant attention but prefer to have you within sight. They are generally good off-leash as they stay close to their trusted humans.

Training an Affenpinscher can present challenges due to their independent thinking and selective hearing. Patience and perseverance are vital for success. These dogs are highly food-motivated, so positive reinforcement, balanced with portion control, will help prevent obesity.

An owner who displays strong leadership skills will form the best bond with an Affenpinscher. They can learn remarkable tricks and commands once they recognise you as their Alpha.

Affenpinschers have a tendency to be vocal and may bark at various stimuli, including strangers, other animals, or even mundane sounds. This can be disruptive in shared living spaces or neighbourhoods, so proper training and socialisation are necessary to manage their barking behaviour.

Lastly, Affenpinschers are deeply loyal and sensitive dogs, attuned to their owners' emotions. They will provide comfort and joy, brightening your day even in the toughest times.

Due to their small size and minimal body fat, Affenpinschers can be sensitive to extreme temperatures. They may struggle in hot or cold climates and require additional protection or accommodations to ensure their comfort and well-being.

In conclusion, the spirited and loving temperament of the Affenpinscher makes them an exceptional companion for those seeking an adventurous, devoted, and entertaining furry friend.

Let's now look at some common Affenpinscher questions.

Are Affenpinschers hypoallergenic?

Yes, Affenpinschers are often considered a hypoallergenic breed due to their low-shedding and dander-retaining coat. Their unique coat characteristics make them a potential option for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to pet dander.

Affenpinschers have a coarse, shaggy coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. While they have a rugged appearance, grooming their coat is not excessively demanding. It's important to note that their coat should not be too short, as it helps retain any potential allergens within the hair rather than releasing them into the environment.

It's worth mentioning that while Affenpinschers are generally considered hypoallergenic, individual sensitivities to specific dog breeds can vary. Individuals with allergies should spend time with an Affenpinscher or consult with breeders or allergy specialists to determine their compatibility with the breed.

By understanding the unique coat characteristics of Affenpinschers, individuals seeking a hypoallergenic dog may find them to be a suitable choice, as their low-shedding and dander-retaining qualities can help minimise allergic reactions. The truth, however, is that no dog will be fully hypoallergenic.

Are Affenpinschers good guard dogs?

No, however, Affenpinschers have specific characteristics that can make them alert and effective as small watchdogs. While they may not possess larger guard dog breeds' size or intimidating presence, they have a natural instinct to protect their territory and loved ones. Here are some points to consider:

Affenpinscher Temperament
Despite their small size, Affenpinschers have a protective instinct towards their family members.

Alertness: Affenpinschers are known for their alert and attentive nature. They are quick to detect unfamiliar sounds or movements in their surroundings, making them excellent at alerting their owners to potential intruders or unusual activities.

Protective Instinct: Despite their small size, Affenpinschers have a protective instinct towards their family members. They are known to be loyal and will not hesitate to sound the alarm or confront intruders if they perceive a threat to their loved ones or territory.

Fearlessness: Affenpinschers possess a fearless and confident disposition. They do not back down easily, which can be advantageous in situations where they need to defend their home or family.

Vocalisation: Affenpinschers are often vocal and may bark to alert their owners or intimidate potential intruders. Their barking, combined with their assertive attitude, can be a deterrent to unwanted individuals.

However, it's important to note that while Affenpinschers can make good watchdogs, their abilities as guard dogs are limited due to their small size. They are not designed for physical confrontation and may not have the same level of protective instincts as larger, specialised guard dog breeds.

Proper socialisation, training, and supervision are essential for any dog, including Affenpinschers, to ensure they understand appropriate behaviour and can discern genuine threats from harmless situations.

If you're specifically looking for a dedicated guard dog, other breeds may be better suited to fulfil that role. Guard dogs include Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers, Akitas and Rottweilers.

Is the Affenpinscher a good family dog?

The Affenpinscher can be a good family dog under the right circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:

Temperament: Affenpinschers have a cheerful and bright temperament. They are known to be affectionate and loyal towards their family members. Their playful and mischievous nature can bring joy and entertainment to the household.

Compatibility with Older Children: Affenpinschers generally do well with older children who can understand how to interact respectfully with a small dog. They may not tolerate rough handling or excessive teasing, so supervision and teaching children appropriate behaviour around dogs is essential.

Potential Challenges with Younger Children: Due to their small size and sometimes sensitive nature, there may be better choices than Affenpinschers for households with very young children. They may not react well to being smothered or mishandled, so interactions with younger children should be supervised to ensure the child's and the dog's safety. A Border Terrier might be a good alternative.

Energy Level and Exercise Needs: Affenpinschers have a moderate energy level and require daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Playtime walks, and interactive activities are essential to prevent boredom and potential behaviour issues.

Training and Socialisation: Proper training and socialisation from a young age are crucial for Affenpinschers to become well-rounded family dogs. They can have an independent streak and may exhibit stubbornness, so consistent and patient training methods are essential.

Time and Attention: Affenpinschers are people-oriented dogs and enjoy being with their families. They thrive when they receive attention, love, and companionship from their owners. They may become anxious or develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They require considerable time and attention from their owners to be happy and well-adjusted.

Ultimately, the suitability of an Affenpinscher as a family dog depends on various factors, including the dog's personality, the dynamics of the family, and the willingness of the family members to meet the breed's specific needs. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialisation are crucial to ensuring a positive and harmonious relationship between the Affenpinscher and the family.

Affenpinscher's Temperament in a nutshell

Affenpinscher Temperament
The Affenpinscher has a steady and devoted following.
  • Affenpinschers have a cheerful and bright temperament being loyal and loving.

  • The coarse coat doesn't shed as much as one would think

  • Love playing and with a positive and happy outlook on life

  • Proper training and socialisation from a young age are crucial for Affenpinschers to become well-rounded family dogs.

  • They may not tolerate rough handling or excessive teasing, so supervision and teaching children appropriate behaviour around dogs is essential.

Potential health issues in the Affenpinscher breed

Like many purebred dogs, the Affenpinscher breed is associated with certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of. In addition to being aware of possible health conditions, responsible dog ownership involves providing regular veterinary care, including preventive measures like vaccinations, check-ups, and necessary treatments.

Considering the costs associated with these healthcare needs is essential when considering the financial responsibilities of owning an Affenpinscher or any other dog breed. Proper care and attention to your Affenpinscher's health can help ensure a happy and fulfilling life together.

While Affenpinschers generally have a lifespan of around 12-15 years, some individuals may be prone to the following health conditions:

Patellar Luxation: This condition develops when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and lameness. Regular veterinary check-ups and purchasing from registered breeders who test for patellar luxation can help reduce the risk.

Umbilical Hernia: Umbilical hernias in Affenpinschers can result from a small opening in the abdominal muscles around the umbilical area. Most cases are minor and may close on their own, but larger or persistent hernias may require surgical intervention.

Pyometra: Pyometra is a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus that can occur in unspayed female dogs.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to discomfort, lameness, and arthritis. Responsible breeders often perform hip evaluations on breeding dogs to minimise the occurrence of hip dysplasia.

Syringomyelia: Syringomyelia is a neurological disorder characterised by the formation of fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord. While more commonly associated with other breeds, it has been reported in some Affenpinschers. Regular veterinary care can help monitor and manage this condition if it arises.

When acquiring an Affenpinscher puppy, choosing a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings and provides necessary certificates is crucial. Additionally, all dogs, including Affenpinschers, require regular veterinary care and vaccinations for their overall well-being.

It's also important to be cautious about the materials used in pet toys and accessories. Opting for eco-friendly pet products made from natural plant-based fibres, such as hemp, can be a safer choice, as they are less likely to contain harmful substances.

Consider purchasing new accessories only when the old ones have reached the end of their lifecycle, promoting sustainability and reducing environmental impact.

We offer hemp-based pet products as a durable and eco-friendly alternative at Hooman's Friend. By making conscious choices, you can ensure your Affenpinscher's health and well-being while contributing to a more sustainable future.

Unique female names for an Affenpinscher

Unique male names for an Affenpinscher

Conclusion: Is the Affenpinscher the right breed for me?

In conclusion, the Affenpinscher breed is best suited for a specific type of owner who can meet their unique needs and appreciate their charming personality. They can be an excellent addition to the right household, bringing joy, entertainment, and unwavering loyalty.

First and foremost, an ideal owner for an Affenpinscher is one who understands and can accommodate their temperament. These dogs have a cheerful and bright disposition but also possess a mischievous streak that keeps things interesting. Owners who enjoy an active and playful companion will find great fulfilment in the company of an Affenpinscher.

Additionally, an Affenpinscher thrives in a household with older children who can interact respectfully with them. Younger children may not understand the need for gentle handling, and the Affenpinscher's small size makes them more vulnerable to accidental harm. Supervision during interactions with children is essential to ensure the dog's and child's safety and well-being.

Furthermore, an Affenpinscher requires a dedicated owner who can invest time and attention in their care. These dogs are people-oriented and thrive on companionship. They can become anxious or develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. Owners who can provide regular exercise, mental stimulation, and quality time will create a happy and well-adjusted Affenpinscher.

It is also crucial for prospective owners to be aware of the potential health issues associated with the breed. Responsible ownership includes selecting a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings and provides necessary certificates. Regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and preventive measures, should be part of the owner's commitment to their Affenpinscher's well-being.

Lastly, an Affenpinscher owner should possess patience, consistency, and a sense of humour. These dogs can exhibit stubbornness and selective hearing, making training a challenge. However, they can learn remarkable tricks with perseverance and positive reinforcement methods and become well-behaved companions.

In summary, the ideal owner for an Affenpinscher can provide a loving, active, and stimulating environment. They should understand the breed's temperament, be mindful of potential health issues, and be committed to their well-being. In return, the Affenpinscher will offer unwavering loyalty, endless entertainment, and constant companionship.

To discover more about various dog breeds, we invite you to explore our related articles or subscribe to our newsletter here. By signing up, you'll also receive a special code for a 15% discount on your initial purchase of our eco-friendly pet products.

We are committed to expanding our range to include information on all dog breeds soon. Stay tuned for updates and enrich your knowledge about our furry friends.

Owners voices

"This breed is so happy and full of joy. I wake up to smiling mischiefs ready to seize the day. Blessed are those of us who are loved by these monkeys."
"This is a very considerable breed, at the same time very cheerful and not intrusive, it is an excellent faithful partner, sometimes a little bit stubborn, but a brave friend in love with the owner. Sometimes I feel like they're from another planet"

Breed box



Dog Size


Dog Weight


Bitch Size


Bitch Weight




Feeding Need


Tendency to drool


Energy level

Very energetic

Tendency to bark


Tendency to dig


Attention need



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