Affenpinscher Pros And Cons

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 13 December 2022

Affenpinschers are confident, funny and fearless dogs.


Breed name: Affenpinscher
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 9 inches to 11.5 inches
Weight: 7 to 10 lbs

A member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group, the Affenpinscher is often described as human-like partly thanks to their large personalities and facial expressions.

Affenpinschers are credited as having an apish appearance, earning the nicknames “monkey dogs” and “ape terriers” which is a nod to their appearance and personalities.

If you’re a big fan of the Star Wars franchise, you’ll notice their uncanny appearance looks a little like Ewoks and Wookies.

Recognised by the AKC in 1936, the Affenpinscher is the 159th most popular dogs in the United States at the time of writing and remain quite rare worldwide.

They’re a brave and loyal dog breed that can make great companion pets.

Affenpinscher (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Affenpinscher (Photo: Adobe Stock)

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Affenpinscher pros and cons, examining the advantages and disadvantages of owning this breed.

We’ll hear from Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) and Falco (@falco.thefluff).

Affenpincsher Pros

Companion dogs

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

Affenpinschers are a small breed so they can be well-suited to life as companion pets. They’ll usually have a friendly and sweet personality, getting along with most members of the family and new people they meet. While they can have a goofy and mischievous side, Affenpinschers relish being by the side of their owner.

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) provided an insight into this companion dog.

You’ll never be alone. Affenpinschers are great companion dogs… almost too good. They love to be in your presence and right by your side at all times. A really good dog for those working from home.

However, Falco (@falco.thefluff) isn’t as big a velcro dog as Frankie and Tomlin despite being affectionate with family. This highlights that every dog is different even within the same breed.

Affenpinschers are a good balance between affectionate and independent (leaning more toward the side of being affectionate, though!). Always excited to see you when you get home, jump onto the sofa and cosy up for a nap sometimes. But other times happy to just sit on his own chair and observe you from a distance.

Low Maintenance coat

The Affenpinscher have a slow-growing coat so they’ll only require a trim every few months. You can get away with giving your Affenpinscher a brush once or twice a week. The Affenpinscher is often described as being as hypoallergenic dog breed. Although they’re considered hypoallergenic, it should be noted that Affenpinschers do shed to some degree.

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) have coats that are easy to take care of.

They’ve got a relatively low maintenance coat. Their wiry hair may look scruffy but they’re also not dogs that shed their fur and so a brush once a week or so can be a great bonding experience.

Not Destructive

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

If you want to avoid getting a dog breed that has a reputation for being a destructive chewer or destructive digger, you’ll be relieved to find out that Affenpinschers don’t have a reputation for being overly destructive dogs. Frankie and Tomlin’s owners Emma and Joshua (@the.monkey.dogs) went on to add on this topic:

Not typically destructive behaviourally. They do LOVE to play but are happy to chew on a toy or just chill and sleep. We’ve not had any issues with cords and cables or shoes being chewed through, although given point 1 they do love to steal your washing and hide it/sleep on it.

Conversation Starters

It’s hardly a surprise that Affenpinschers tend to attract attention wherever they go. These monkey dogs have such expressive faces that are unique and eye-catching. If you decide the Affenpinscher breed is a good fit for you, you’ll need to be prepared for lots of questions and fandom.

Emma and Joshua shared their experience with Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

Conversation starter – here in Australia affenpinschers are a highly regulated breed with only 30 or so pups born in a typical year in the whole country. Because of that and their unique features so many people will stop you to talk about the dog. They may often mistake them for a Brussels Griffon but just a short conversation can open so many eyes to the joy of this breed.

Falco (@falco.thefluff) can hold an audience his parents have other family and friends over.

Human-like mannerism and seriousness is so endearing and comical sometimes. Our Affenpinscher enjoys sitting in an armchair when the rest of the family is lounging on the sofa. He sits on his four paws quietly observing the family exchange as if it is decorum. He even sits on the armchair when friends are around so he can feel like a part of the group.

Relatively Quiet

Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

Unlike some small dog breeds that have a reputation for being yappy dogs, the Affenpinscher isn’t a big barker. They’re pretty quiet dogs unless there’s something that does deserve their attention.

Falco (@falco.thefluff) rarely barks unless he spots a stanger.

Mostly quiet and does not bark a lot unless a stranger comes by. Quickly warms up to friends that visit if he senses a relaxed atmosphere. May still bark if someone is overly energetic/ loud though!

Low Costs

Affenpinschers are tiny dogs – ranging from 9 to 11 inches tall and weighing from 7 to 10 pounds. As a small dog breed, they don’t require a lot of food to keep them fuelled. So you won’t have to spend as much on their food as a big dog breed.

Emma and Joshua shared how much Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) eat.

These guys eat so little that you’ll barely notice the change in your spending if you get one. Seriously, roughly 60-70 grams of kibble a day and you’re done (aside from some nutrient rich treats in moderation). That being said, they’re so food motivated that you’ll want to ensure you train them to leave you alone (perhaps in a crate…the dogs not you) whilst you eat. Small bites from your plate each day really do add up and can cause long term health issues.

Affenpinscher Cons

Velcro Dogs

While companion dogs can be a good thing, it can also become a problem if they’re so attached to you that they want to join you in the loo! While some Affenpinschers are independent such as Falco, there are other Affenpinschers who’ll refuse to leave your side. This attachment can also lead to separation anxiety.

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) are example of velcro dogs.

You’ll never be alone. No, seriously, alone time is now no longer a thing.


Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

While they don’t shed that much and don’t require a lot of grooming, Affenpinschers will require a trim every three months to prevent their coat from becoming too long or matted. If you’re relying on the services of a professional groomer, you’ll need to budget for this expense.

Joshua revealed that it’s difficult to find groomers for Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs).

Groomers are hard to come by. Here in Australia Affenpinschers are such an uncommon breed that few people have ever heard of them and even fewer groomers have ever seen them and so to get a ‘typical Affenpinscher trim’ requires a lot of trial and error and patience on your part as you coach your groomer of choice through what your expectations are.

Falco (@falco.thefluff) can often end up looking like Chewbaka.

Affenpinschers have a thick coat of fur which grows quickly, requiring a haircut just about every 2 weeks. Although, if you like the shaggy look, it is still quite neat and does not shed as much as other dogs! They still look cute with their mane all outgrown and unkempt, ours definitely looks like a little Chewbaka if we let his fur grow out long and are lazy to cut it. (We find it very endearing)

Supervision Around Young Children

As a small dog, an Affenpinscher can be nervous around boisterous children. They won’t feel comfortable in an environment where playtime descends into rough handing. For that reason, you should think carefully before introducing an Affenpinshcer into a setting with young children.

Emma and Joshua (@the.monkey.dogs) added on this particular point:

Not great for young children. This may be a general comment but, especially for smaller dogs, children often don’t realise how intimidating they can be to such a small dog so if you have young kids these aren’t the dog for you, but If you have no kids or your kids have left home and your just wanting a companion these are for you!

Falco’s mom Shanice (@falco.thefluff) backed up Emma and Joshua’s point.

Affenpinschers may not be very friendly with children. Often refusing to be touched or hiding behind furniture when the occasional outgoing/ high energy kid approaches. However, our affenpinscher seems to be great with children who are more shy and gentle. His curiosity often gets the better of him and he approaches if the child keeps to him/herself.


Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

Falco the Affenpinscher (Photo: @falco.thefluff / Instagram)

Affenpinshcers are sometimes stereotyped as an example of a stubborn dog breed. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start training your Affenpinscher from a young age to increase your chances of having a balanced and well-behaved dog on your hands.

Emma and Joshua joked that training Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs) was akin to having toddlers!

You think you have your hands full with your 2-year old toddler…well, have you ever met an Affenpinscher. You’ll need the patience of a Saint to wait these little guys out but trust me…it’s worth every second.

Shanice shared that potty training Falco (@falco.thefluff) took consistency and patience.

Training needs to be shaken up once in awhile. Affenpinschers love learning new things and they learn it quickly. But they often get bored and you may need to rack your brains thinking of new ways to stimulate their brains. That said, house training may take awhile as they can be stubborn sometimes. The occasional naughty deeds may occur as they get bored or are left alone for too long in protest.

Weight Management

Obesity is a big problem and especially amongst smaller dog breeds. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your Affenpinscher’s diet and avoid feeding them scraps from the table. Excess weight can lead to other health problems.

Emma and Joshua (@the.monkey.dogs) emphasized the importance of discipline as an Affenpinscher owner.

They’ll look at you and you’ll likely give in and feed them them all the things they don’t need and aren’t allowed to have. Because they’re so small that little excess weight is going to take forever to get off. So best start firm and strong and keep them healthy from the get go.

Sticklers For Routine

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

Frankie and Tomlin the Affenpinschers (Photo: the.monkey.dogs / Instagram)

Affenpinschers like a consistent day-to-day routine to help create a relaxed and stress-free environment. Shanice shared that Falco (@falco.thefluff) likes to stick to his routine.

Does not let me sleep in as much as I can even on weekends because it’s time for his walk/ time to eat breakfast. But if you’re able to go back to sleep after your dog has licked your fingers, toes, and face, perhaps you will still be able to get your weekend lie-in.

Commonly Asked Questions About Affenpinschers

Are Affenpinscher good dogs?

Affenpinscher (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Affenpinscher (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

This depends on your definition of ‘good dog.’ But honestly the Affenpinscher is a good dog for the right person. They do require some short bursts of focussed attention each day and prefer to be with people (very much a companion dog) so if you’re likely to be out a lot you’ll probably be best to look at other breeds.

Does the Affenpinscher shed a lot?

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

As a hypoallergenic dog they’re great for those with allergies. Shedding is not something that you have to worry too much about but given their wiry hair you do need to be onto regular brushing at home.

How smart is an Affenpinscher?

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

Both smart and stubborn. They’re emotionally intelligent dogs and quickly learn your routines (and theirs also).

But seriously, all dogs are smart, some just need a little more practice than others. These guys can be trained as highly as you want but if your happy to make do with good leash walking and non-reactivity then that’s simple enough. Consistency is the key and 30 mins a day in 2-3 sessions will see a well trained.

How much exercise does an Affenpinscher need?

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

A 45 minute walk each day (or two smaller walks) is often enough to drain them physically (along with a little play at home) but their mental enrichment is more important and often neglected. Because they’re so smart a simple walk isn’t always enough so we tend to go for a ‘sniff walk’ at least twice a week. That being that we aren’t simply doing the same ‘walk nicely on the lead beside me’ walk but rather switching over to a long lead and allowing the dog to sniff until their hearts content. We often only walk half or a third of the distance in the same amount of time but the dog is so much more worn out.

Another good exercise for them is to not forget to reinforce their training. 10 minutes a day of revisiting Loose Lead Walking, Manual Handling, Sits, Drops (and even more advanced things if that’s your thing) will keep your dog mentally healthy but also physically healthy too.

How long does an Affenpinscher live?

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

We’re guessing and going off Google here as we’ve never owned one for its whole life but as a smaller dog you should expect between 12-14 years. So they’re not a short term investment. You need to be in this for the long haul.

Do Affenpinschers need grooming?

Frankie and Tomlin (@the.monkey.dogs):

Yes. Their wiry hair isn’t something most people have experience with so at home a regular brush at least once (perhaps twice) a week is a must! Groomers for Affens are not always east to come across. Often they will be cut like a Schnauzer so you do need to be quite firm on what your expectations are with the groomer and not all groomers offer the best service for keeping an affenpinschers coat nice which is hand stripping.

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