Originating in Germany, early documentation of the Affenpinscher goes back to the late 19th century, but paintings from the 15th century have been seen to depict a breed that is believed to be an early ancestor. They were developed and bred to hunt rodents in kitchens, farms, and stables throughout Central Europe. At one point, the Affen was larger in size to carry out their farmyard duties, but sometime during the 18th or early 19th century, they were bred down to be more of a companion dog and still retain their ratting ability. The breed name Affenpinscher means "monkey terrier" in German and in France, they are called Diablotin Moustachu meaning "mustached little devil." It is thought that the breed may have been crossed with the Pug or other brachycephalic breeds to give them their known "flat-faced" appearance. They are also thought to be a predecessor of both the Brussels Griffon and Miniature Schnauzer.
Commonly thought to resemble Wookies or Ewoks from Star Wars, the Affenpinscher is known for its unique "monkey-like" face that sports a beard and thick eyebrows. They are a compact, sturdy, toy-sized breed that is squarely-proportioned. Standing at a small 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall, about the size of a small terrier, they have a dense, rough, wiry coat that is longer on the head, neck, chest, stomach, and legs to protect them from harsh conditions and the rodents they hunted. Do not let their small size fool you, the Affenpinscher is both tough and agile. They have round, dark eyes with a dark nose to match and a short muzzle. The breed's small tail stands out over the back while he or she is moving.
Affenpinschers tend to be very inquisitive, charming, and full of spunk. They also make great house pets because of their size and hypoallergenic qualities. Due to their high intelligence, Affens can learn quickly and adjust well to change, but they can be a little stubborn during obedience training. Positive reinforcement with praise, affection, and treats works best when training this well-mannered and easy-going terrier. Known for their confident and bold nature, the breed is a fearless protector that will alert you to strangers and other dangers, but they are not considered to be constant barkers. This shaggy little dog can get along with children and other pets, however, since they do not like to play rough and can bite if provoked, supervision will be needed for toddlers. Somewhat active, the Affenpinscher requires a daily walk around the neighborhood or a long romp in the yard for exercise. The breed is known for being very loyal and obedient to their owners, which makes them a great companion for a family who would enjoy entertainment from this little terrier.