Weighing 7 to 8 pounds (3-4 kg) and not exceeding 11 inches (24-28 cm) in height at the withers, the Affenpinscher has harsh rough coat and a monkey-like expression (Affe is monkey in German). His coat is shaggier over the head and shoulders forming a mane, with shorter coat over the back and hind quarters. It is harsh and wiry in texture. The FCI and UK breed standards specifies that the coat must be black, but the AKC also allows gray, silver, red, black and tan, and beige; other clubs have their own lists of acceptable colours, with black being the preference.
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 subgroup of group 2 in the FCI classification 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 also very protective of them. This loyal little dog enjoys being with its family. It needs consistent, firm training because some can be quite difficult to housebreak. The training should be varied because the dog can easily become bored.
Affenpinschers are somewhat territorial when it comes to their toys and food, so they are not recommended for very small children. This dog is mostly quiet but can become very excited if attacked or threatened and shows no fear toward any aggressor. It is best suited for a family who likes a show and has a sense of humor.
The Affenpinscher is fairly healthy, but like almost all breeds it has a prediposition to some diseases, genetic or otherwise. One of the most common problems in Affenpinschers is luxating patellas . Other known problems include Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome, patent ductus arteriosus, and hip dysplasia. As with many small breeds of dog they are prone to collapsed trachea, which is best avoided by walking the dog with a harness instead of a collar.
The breed is German in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. Its name is derived from the German Affe ("ape", "monkey") . The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Miniature 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, black, fawn, black and tan, gray and tan, and even 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.