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How To Breed Affenpinschers – History, Breeding Practices & Health

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Published on
Wednesday 14 August 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to breed affenpinschers
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Learn how to breed Affenpinschers with the most complete guide on the internet. The Monkey Terrier is a lovely, playful and friendly breed that enjoys great popularity in the USA, and today you are going to learn everything about it.

Exclusive info about its origin and history, insights about its temperament and appearance, a complete review of the health issues and expert advice for breeding Affenpinschers successfully.

Background of Affenpinschers

The Monkey Terrier has a fabulous history that traces back to Germany in the 17th century. To bring you a solid and complete background, here you have a complete revision. You will learn why they were created, where they come from and why they are so special.


As we saw, the Affenpinscher origin dates back to the 17th century in Germany, but back then, they were different from the version we have nowadays:

  1. 12-15 inches versus 9-11 inches
  2. White chest and feet (a very common trait)
  3. Bred to be a ratter (to eliminate rats and mice at home, farms, and granaries)

To fulfill its main purpose – to be a ratter – breeders needed to make it smaller and better adapted to deal with such pest at home, as well as more likable appearance-wise. Therefore, they started to crossbreed it with other breeds:

  1. Silky Pinscher: Responsible for giving many Affenpinschers their beautiful and soft silver coat
  2. Pug: To reduce its size and bring it special skull and facial features
  3. German Pinscher: Responsible for giving it its characteristic wiry and soft coat

The experiments were successful and gave origin to a smaller, cute and playful terrier that won the hearts of German women in no time. It made an excellent lapdog and an efficient ratter; the recipe for success.

It is important to know that it was not until several decades later, the 1800s, that this dog got scientific recognition of its kind thanks to Swiss and German zoologists:

  • Theodor Studer
  • H.G Reichenbach
  • Ludwig Rutimeyer


The ancestor of Affenpinschers were wirehaired pinschers, which can be traced back as far as the 15th century in Germany. They inspired several works of art, being the most prominent:

  1. The paintings by Jan van Eyck, an important Flemish artist
  2. The woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer, a recognized artist from Nürnberg

When we talk about the ancestry of the Affenpinscher, it is necessary to talk about one of the most important events of the dog world, the Neolithic lake dwellings in the alpine region (1854). This amazing discovery brought us relics that dated back to 3000 B.C. and allowed us to discover that the Stone Age Canis familiaris pallustris was the main ancestor of Pinscher breeds, including of course the modern Affenpinscher.

In addition, the Affenpinscher was also used in the development of the Miniature Schnauzer and the Brussels Griffon.

the rare affenpinscher breed
The Affenpinscher is a rather rare breed with a scarcity of puppies available on the marketplace.

Affenpinschers in America – The Rise, The Decline and The Rise

Although the breed originated in Germany, nowadays the USA has the biggest population of Affenpinschers in the world. According to the AKC Gazette, the breed arrived in America during the decade of 1930. Furthermore, this statement becomes fully valid because Mrs. Bessie Mally (Cicero, Illinois) was the first person to import Affenpinschers to America in 1935.

Although they suffered a severe decay in popularity since 1940, because it was the last time the Stud Book registered an Affenpinscher entry. It was due to the strong negative sentiment towards everything related to Germany. This dramatic event lasted for nine years.

Nonetheless, after such events, it again gained notoriety, especially thanks to celebrities like Evalyn Walsh McLean, a famous heiress, and socialite, known for being the owner of famous diamonds: the 45-carat Hope Diamond and the 94-carat Star of the East. She owned several dogs and had a special love for the Affenpinscher, to which she brought priceless publicity that boosted its popularity.

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the most prestigious contests in the dog world, and the Banana Joe V Tani Kazari was the first Affenpinscher in the world to win it. It won the 137th edition and brought more publicity and notoriety to its breed, thanks to becoming the champion of the Toy Group.

Nowadays it is 12 years old and his accomplishment marked a hit in history, which has inspired more owners of this breed.

Standard Appearance

The appearance of the Affen is one of the most powerful traits that draw more and more fans. These are the main characteristics.

Size and Weight – They are small dogs that belong to the Toy category; this is the average range for size and weight:

  • Size: 9 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 7 to 10 pounds

That is why it made an excellent lapdog, thanks to its petite size.

Colors – Affens come in a wide variety of colors:

  • Black
  • Tan
  • Grey
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Belge

Furthermore, there are several variations:

  • Steel blue
  • Black with red points
  • Red with steel blue sable and mask
  • Fawn with black sable

As you can see, there is plenty of variety when it comes to colors. Nonetheless, black-coat Affens are the most popular.

Skull Shape – Its head shape is round, domed and slightly high. Its face is similar to an ape, and that is why it receives the name of Monkey Terrier as well as Ape Terrier. In fact, Affenpinscher means “monkey dog” in German. Furthermore, it resembles the brachycephalic skull shape and it is proportional to the body.

Coat & Fur – Their coat and fur are soft, shaggy and untidy. Furthermore, it is harsh and dense. Its coat does not shed and requires minimal grooming.

Ears – They range from small to medium in size. They are located close to the skull and they are set high. They have a characteristic V shape. They can vary from erect to semi-erect, mismatched and dropped.

Eyes – Round in shape, dark color, and their size is moderate. One of the most distinctive features are the eyes rims, which are highly pigmented and fit perfectly.

Nose – It features well-opened nostrils and the color is bright and can vary from black to liver or flesh-colored.

Muzzle – Its muzzle has a straight plane and it is significantly shorter than the top skull. Furthermore, its jaws are well-developed and can exert plenty of force. 


Its grooming requirements are quite low because you only have to do it once a week. Its coat is inherently shaggy and untidy, and therefore, brushing it once a week is more than enough.  Here you have the best grooming tips:

  • Use a slicker brush for the entire coat
  • Use a greyhound comb to comb through its fur
  • With your hands, break apart mats

Do this once a week and you will keep the coat of your Affen in excellent conditions. Furthermore, the good news is that this breed does not shed hair at all, and therefore, it is considered a hypoallergenic dog.

Breed Temperament

When you choose what dog to buy or to breed, the temperament and attitude play a critical role. Here we will let you know if an Affenpinscher is a right dog for you.

As we have seen in the background about the breed, they were created to hunt small rodents like rats and mice. Furthermore, after successful crossbreeding, they became ideal lapdogs.

Main Personality Traits

The Affens are popular for being playful, alert, curious, active, inquisitive and affectionate. It is a unique blend of features that sets it apart from other toy breeds. Furthermore, they had a great work ethic, because after all, they were bred with a functional purpose. They act with tons of confidence, just like they were the biggest dogs in the neighborhood.  Nonetheless, it is also known for its stubbornness.

With Kids


They can do well with children at home; however, this breed is very territorial, and therefore, it requires training to do well with small kids.

With Strangers

Again, due to their territorial nature in addition to their alertness, they do not welcome strangers easily. Early socialization and training will ease this aspect of their personality. However, it makes them excellent alert dogs.

With Other Dogs

The same traits make it a priority to socialize your Affen with other dogs from an early age. They are fearless, and therefore, they can react negatively to any kind of dog. Therefore, if you want to make your Affen friendlier towards strangers and other dogs, then you need to start the socialization process as soon as possible.

With Other Pets

Due to being ratters, they do not well with other small pets, especially rodents. It is their instinct to go after them. Socialization can ease up this aspect; however, remember that they will attack small rodents no matter what.


Due to their stubbornness, they are difficult to train, but not impossible. In their favor, they have the love and loyalty to their owners, which makes it a priority to please their masters, along with their surprising intelligence, which is above average. Training them is a challenge, for sure, but it is doable.

The secret to training an Affenpinscher successfully is to keep it challenged constantly. Therefore, it is better to keep training sessions shorter and more frequent, with plays and walking in between, to maintain their interest and mood in a good state.

Health Issues when Breeding Affenpinschers

Like every breed, they carry certain problems and predisposition to develop specific ailments and syndromes. Here is an honest and careful review of the most common health issues that affect Affenpinschers.

Patellar Luxation

An issue that affects small dog breeds, including the Affenpinschers. It happens when the patella is not aligned properly. It can derive in lameness, arthritis and joint paint. All Affenpinschers are born with this condition, but it only develops when they are older. The most common case of patellar luxation is bilateral luxation, which accounts for 50-65% of cases. With early treatment, it can be controlled and stopped.

A patellar luxation damages the ligaments progressively because the patella moves too far to one side and another. In severe cases, surgery is needed to repair the damage.


Small dog breeds, like the Affens, are especially predisposed to developing arthritis. As we have seen, it can be a result of patellar luxation due to the constant friction. Furthermore, another source can be hip dysplasia, which is another prevalent health issue in this breed. It especially affects senior Affenpinschers.

The best way to stop it from developing is by taking care of the diet of your dog and by treating the most common sources: patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Depending on the severity of the case, the veterinarian will suggest different anti-inflammatory drugs like Rimadyl.

Legg-Perthes Disease

The Legg-Perthes disease causes the damage and degeneration of the head of the femur (known as avascular necrosis). It is recurrent amongst miniature dogs between 4-12 months of age. Indeed, it leads to the disintegration of the coxofemoral, the joint that unites the hip joint. It can also lead to inflammation and osteoarthritis. The causes of this disease remain unknown.

If you notice that your dog is not placing weight on a specific leg, then it is a sign that the disease is affecting that leg. Another indicator is the loss of muscle mass on the affected leg. It can greatly affect the quality of life of your pet, and therefore, it requires immediate treatment.

Hip Dysplasia

Like patellar luxation, hip dysplasia also affects toy dogs. However, it is most common amongst big dog breeds (20-40% of cases). It happens when the socket joint and ball of the hips have not developed properly, which leads to the deformation of the hip. Veterinarians have arrived at the conclusion that it is a genetic condition that becomes worse due to external factors.

Furthermore, it causes the lameness of rear legs, and in several cases, the condition is present from birth. Again, like patellar luxation, it might require surgery in some severe cases.

Heart Murmurs

They are not a health issue itself, but rather the manifestation of other conditions. The cause is abnormal blood flow and they are vibrations in the heart, and fortunately, it is possible to treat them. Nonetheless, the veterinarian needs to diagnose the cause of the murmurs to bring appropriate treatment. These are the most common causes:

  • Endocarditis
  • Heartworm disease
  • Defects in the heart walls
  • Tumors
  • Cardiomyopathy

If you notice them, then you should take your Affen to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis, because they might indicate a congenital cardiac defect or disease, which will need immediate treatment.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Similar to heart murmurs, but in this case, it is a real health issue rather than a manifestation of underlying problems, Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a cardiac condition characteristic of Affenpinschers. A congenital defect that affects the ductus arteriosus, which is a large blood vessel.

This condition needs immediate treatment, because if left untreated, it has a mortality rate of 50% by one year, because it leads to heart failure, and consequently, to death. You can detect this disease from birth, and due to the tendency of Affens to develop this defect, then you should inspect them as soon as possible.



Affenpinschers are predisposed to developing Distichiasis, which causes abnormal hairs to grow inside the eyelid. They can cause corneal ulcers and severe eye pain. This health issue is common amongst small and toy dog breeds, and fortunately, it is easy to treat because the veterinarian only needs to remove the hairs. Therefore, it is not life-threatening.

Nonetheless, you need to do it as soon as possible to avoid damage, which in severe cases can be permanent.

Canine Follicular Dysplasia

A disease provokes abnormal hair loss. It affects the structure of hair follicles, which causes the effect known as alopecia. There are different types, but the most common kind that affects Affenpinschers is seasonal follicular dysplasia.

It affects each breed differently, and in the case of Affens, it affects the back and the flank region. In young Affens, it can be mild, but in senior dogs, it is more severe.

Syringomyelia (SM)

A disease that fills cavities in the spinal cord with fluid. The most characteristic symptom of this ailment is “phantom” scratching, which happens when the dog tries to scratch its neck or shoulders without touching the skin. Here is a computer simulation of SM, to have a visual reference. It causes neck pain, which can range from mild to intense, which affects the quality of life of your pet.

It is one of the most serious diseases that your dog can develop because it stops the brain from sending proper signals to the rest of the body due to the blockage in the spinal cord. The more abnormalities your dog has, the more intense the pain will be.

In most cases, it is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce the production of spinal fluid. Nevertheless, in the most severe cases, surgery will be necessary.

Breeding Practices with Affenpinschers

Affenpinschers tend to have some problems during pregnancies. But let’s see what else is involved when breeding Affenpinschers successfully. Take note that the best way to avoid the aforementioned health problems is to breed with Affenpinschers with a clean health record and proper documentation. It will be more expensive, for sure, but it will increase your chances of getting a litter of exceptional health.

affenpinscher breeding for rats
Originally, Affenpinschers were bred to hunt down rats in houses, factories, and common spaces.

Litter Size

The average litter size of an Affenpinscher is very small as it only yields 1 to 3 puppies. Although in some cases, it can yield up to four puppies, such cases are the exception to the rule. They are blind when first born and they are exceptionally fragile, therefore, they require special attention and care.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that Affenpinschers can have only one litter per year for the puppies to be healthy. Avoid back to back breeding with them. Make sure that the breeder follows this protocol. Due to the small litter size, they tend to cost a lot more, especially when they are from certified breeders with all the listings and documentation.

Birthing Problems


As we have seen, Affens have a large series of recurrent health issues, and therefore, it is critical to buy your dog from a breeder that follows good and healthy practices. It will be more expensive than adopting one or buying it from a non-accredited breeder, but it will save you from tons of headaches.

Unfortunately, there is no public breeding protocol, which is due to the rarity of this breed. Outside the USA, Affenpinschers are not very popular –for example, in the UK, there are only 30 breeders and the same goes for Australia with even fewer breeders. Therefore, your best move is to buy from an accredited marketplace that brings you proper documentation and thorough health screening.

Read through our article on birthing problems in dogs to learn about potential issues that could arise at labor and delivery.


Due to their rarity and scarcity, and because there are not many breeders even in the USA, their price ranges between $2,000 to $3,500 USD. Here you have a few examples:

  • An 8-week old Affenpinscher puppy with OFA listings that certify its optimal health (free of common health issues) and with health screens on the fathers costs $3,500 USD
  • A 1-year old puppy with OFA listings and health screens from the fathers costs $2,500 USD

As you can see, the documentation and age play a huge effect on the price. You can adopt one for much lesser, but as we have seen, due to the multiple birthing problems that can happen because of the health issues that affect this breed, it might not be worth the discount.

Now you have in your hands all the information on how to breed Affenpinschers. You have a clear revision of their history and ancestry, expert analysis on their most common health issues, insights on their temperament and guidelines about breeding itself. Everything you need to get started the right way!

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