The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. The name is derived from the GermanAffe (ape, monkey). The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) andMiniature Schnauzer. Dogs of the Affenpinscher type have been known since about 1600, but these were somewhat larger, about 12 to 13 inches, and came in colors of gray, fawn, black and tan, gray and tan, and also red. White feet and chest were also common. The breed was created to be a ratter, working to remove rodents from kitchens, granaries, and stables.
An Affenpinscher generally weighs 6.5 to 13.2 pounds (2.9 to 6.0 kg) and stands 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) tall at the withers. It has a harsh rough coat when it is not clippered and if clippered it can be softer and fluffier. It has a notable monkey-like expression (Affemeans monkey in German). Its coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders forming a mane, with shorter coat over the back and hind quarters.
Affenpinschers have a distinct appearance that some associate with terriers. They are different from terriers, however, in that they are actually part of the pinscher-schnauzer of group 2 in the FCI classification and so often get along with other dogs and pets. They are active, adventurous, curious, and stubborn, but they are also fun-loving and playful. The breed is confident, lively, affectionate towards family members and is also very protective of them. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training since some can be quite difficult tohousebreak. This type of dog easily becomes bored, so training should be varied. The affenpinscher has a terrier-like personality.
The most common causes of death were old age (24%), urologic (19%), and “combinations” (14%). Some are prone to fractures, slipped stifle, pda, open fontanel and respiratory problems in hot weather. The affenpinscher is prone to hip dysplasia.
A small sample (N=21) of affenpinschers in a UK survey had a median lifespan of 11.4 years, which is a typical lifespan for a purebred dog, but a bit lower than most breeds of their size.