Weighing 7 to 8 pounds (3-4 kg) and not exceeding 10.25 inches (26-27 cm) in height at the withers, the Affenpinscher has bushy eyebrows, shaggy hair, and a monkey-like appearance. The coat is medium long and is harsh and wiry in texture. The FCI 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 always being the preference.
The breed is European in origin and dates back to the seventeenth century. Its name is derived from the German affe ("ape", "monkey") and pinscher ("terrier"). The breed predates and is ancestral to the Griffon Bruxellois (Brussels Griffon) and Belgian Griffon. 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.
The breed can be expected to live about 14-15 years. It is one of the healthiest breeds, with no known genetic health problems.
The Affenpinscher has a personality that some associate with terriers. They're different from terriers, however, in that they 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 defensive of them. This friendly 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. This breed learns quickly but its stubbornness might make it difficult to train.
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.