Top 6 Small Monkey Breeds that Stay Small / For Pets

Monkeys are not like any other animals in this world. They are not only exotic but also unique with some great qualities such as intelligence. That would explain why most of us want monkeys for pets.

You are reading this because you want a monkey as a pet. Although getting a monkey for a pet seems like a good idea, it is not always easy. This is mainly because they are social creatures that live in groups. Taking that away leads to aggression and unhappiness. 

This post includes 6 of the cutest small monkey breeds. You will learn everything you need to know about these breeds, including their size and the care level required. Read on for more insight.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What are Small Monkey Breeds?

The planet has a wide range of monkey breeds. They come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Even when you limit yourself to smaller monkeys, you will still have a very wide range of options.

Monkeys are intelligent and are human-like because of the genetic material we share with them. Smaller breeds have the added advantage of being adorable and easier to care for. Nevertheless, each breed has some specific qualities that others do not.

Their temperaments are different, and so is their appearance. So there are many things you should consider before you get a monkey, which is why we are going to dig into their specific qualities to help you make an informed decision.

Some of the small monkey breeds you should consider include:

  • Squirrel monkey
  • Pygmy Marmoset
  • Golden Lion Tamarin
  • Capuchin monkey
  • Tarsiers
  • Red-Handed Tamarin

Top 6 Small Monkey Breeds that Stay Small / You can keep as Pets

We will start by looking at the different characteristics of these adorable monkeys.

Small Monkey BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Tarsiers6 InchesBrown, white, with large eyes.$1000
Pygmy Marmoset6 InchesLight brown$1000 – $4000
Golden Lion Tamarin9.8 InchesRed coat with a mane on the neck$7000
Red-Handed Tamarin11 InchesRed hands with a black coat$3500
Squirrel Monkey14 InchesGrey with yellow legs$8900
Capuchin Monkey18 InchesBlack and white coat$5000 – $7000
Size, appearance, and price comparison of small monkey breeds

Squirrel Monkey

A Squirrel Monkey
Squirrel Monkey

This breed is gentle, clean, and affectionate.

Squirrel monkeys are native to South America in the tropical rainforests, except Brazil. This is among the oldest breeds of monkeys in the world.

An adult squirrel monkey will usually grow to around 14 inches of height, which is small.

Squirrel monkeys have a tail that grows to 16 inches. What’s more, they have a lithe build, short greyish coats, as well as yellow legs. These features make them so adorable, a pet that you would not mind keeping around you.

You will appreciate that this breed will be comfortable around you and your kids. They are very affectionate and clean. Their gentle nature makes them perfect for relating with kids.

Caring for a squirrel monkey can be a challenge. Stimulating and entertaining them is only part of the task. But there’s more. These are social creatures, so it would mean that you have to keep more than one.

Pygmy Marmoset

Pygmy Marmoset breed of small monkey
Pygmy Marmoset breed of small monkey

The Pygmy Marmosets are so adorable, mainly because of their size and faces.

These adorable monkeys are native to South American rainforests, where they thrive in groups. They are tiny and will only grow to a height of 6 inches with a tail 9 inches long. 

Pygmy marmosets are very tiny. For that reason, they are also known as pocket or finger monkeys, which is why people are interested in having them as pets.

Apart from being intelligent, they are affectionate and energetic, giving them a love for play. However, since they are tiny, you need to provide them with extra care. They can be killed very easily by accident.

Caring for a marmoset is not especially hard. You would need to provide them with adequate space for play. If it is a cage, it would be beneficial to play on trees and branches.

What’s more? Since Pygmy marmosets are social creatures, you must have at least two.

Golden Lion Tamarins

Golden Lion Tamarins breed of small monkey
Golden Lion Tamarins breed of small monkey

The Golden lion tamarins are among the most beautiful monkeys.

The exact history of this amazing breed is not known well. However, the first discovery of these monkeys was in 1972. Initially, it was around 500 animals, but that population decreased to less than 200 in around 1981.

This breed is concentrated in the tropical rainforest that is in Brazil.

An adult tamarin will normally grow to a height of approximately 9.8 inches.

You can easily identify a Golden lion by its beautiful red fur coupled with a majestic mane around its neck. This is a social breed that focuses on families. It is an intelligent animal that enjoys the company of humans or others of its kind.

It is not hard to care for a Golden lion tamarin. You would have to provide adequate space to play around in and give them adequate company and attention.

Capuchin Monkey

Capuchin Monkey small monkey breed
Capuchin Monkey breed of small monkey

A capuchin monkey is not only adorable but also intelligent.

The breed is quite common in the tropical forests of Paraguay and Nicaragua. They received their name from their caps that resemble capuchin monk cowls.

An adult capuchin will grow to around 18 inches.

These adorable monkeys have a unique coat. They mostly have a black and white coat, which is really adorable when coupled with their round faces.

Capuchins are social creatures that love staying in groups. If you decide to keep a capuchin as a pet, you would need to have more than one because they can become aggressive and unhappy when separated from others.

Care is not especially easy. You need to provide adequate sunlight coupled with a good diet and exercise. Otherwise, they might develop severe health problems.

Red-handed Tamarin

This is a good-natured, cooperative animal.

This amazing animal is mainly found in South America, Guyana, Venezuela, and Northern parts of Brazil.

Typically, a red-handed tamarin will grow to a height of 11 inches.

The red hands on a red tamarin are the first thing you will notice when you see this adorable monkey. The remaining coat is usually black, although you might see some golden splotches.

A red tamarin has a good nature and is very cooperative. Nevertheless, they can be a bit aggressive towards other people and threats, especially when in groups.

For adequate survival, a red tamarin will require exercise coupled with proper diets and company.

Tarsiers and Red-Handed Tamarin small monkey breeds
Tarsiers and Red-Handed Tamarin small monkey breeds


A tarsier is a social creature that is very energetic.

The breed is mainly found in the islands of Celebes, Bangka, Natuna, Sumatra, and the Philippines islands. They have been in existence for thousands of years.

A tarsier adult grows to a height of approximately 6 inches.

One striking feature of the tarsier is the large eyes that will make its head look longer and broader. The feet are also tall with a tufted tail.

These social creatures are not as intelligent as other breeds. However, they are energetic, always happy, and they love playing around.

Proper care of this monkey involves adequate playtime for exercise and social time with other monkeys. An adequate diet is also very important, and so is sunlight.

Where can you Buy a Monkey?

As you would expect, buying a monkey is not that easy. This is mainly because monkeys are not completely domesticated. They usually bring up a lot of aggression when they have been in the wild.

However, you can find a monkey from some experienced breeders. But that does not mean that it is also very easy to handle them. On the contrary, they can be quite a challenge too.

The recommended step to take is to find an owner who is ready to sell his or her monkey to you. Moreover, before getting a pet monkey, we would recommend that you read about them in general and what you should know about them before making the purchase. This will help you avoid some bad experiences.

Things to consider before getting a pet monkey. [Source: Ollie The Monkey]

Wrapping Up

Monkeys are quite popular pets, especially the smallest ones. They are not only adorable but also very intelligent, which is why we love them so much.

Currently, there are several places where you can buy a monkey. It is only recommended that you give proper care to those little guys.

If you love small monkeys, you would love small energetic dogs.