13 Small Monkey Breeds With Big Cute Eyes (Some Can Be Pets!)

Tiny monkeys are the cutest. In this article, we will look at all the small monkey breeds out there and check out some interesting facts about them.

Get ready for cuteness-overload!

Let’s start with a table of all the small monkey breeds:

Breed Size
Tarsiers 4-6”
Marmosets 8”
Squirrel Monkeys 10-14”
Spider Monkeys 33”</td
Saki Monkeys 12-20”
Howler Monkeys 22-36”
Gibbons 31”
Macaques 16-28”
Guenons 16-22”
Vervet Monkeys 16-20”
Capuchin Monkeys 12-22”
Night Monkeys 25”
Titi Monkeys 10-22”

Can I Keep Them As Pets?

Tiny Monkey pet

In the list below, we have marked all the species that can be kept as pets. You will see it in little parentheses after the headline.

Even though you might be able to buy them as a pet (legally) there are several factors you need to think deeply about before getting one. Because it’s no easy task to care for a monkey!

Here are some of the things to think about:

  • Some will never learn to pee outside (!)
  • They can be aggressive
  • They are typically not very willing to cuddle
  • They require lots of space
  • They should never be kept in small cages
  • They are strong

On top of all of these important considerations, you need to know that these creatures are expensive. Like really expensive. Not only does it cost a lot to acquire them in the first place, but it also takes a lot of equipment and special food in order to keep them long-term.

You should also be aware that some of them will live 20 to 30 years, so it’s almost a life long commitment to buy one of these cute little creatures.

So just like you shouldn’t keep a chimpanzee at home, you shouldn’t keep these primates either. Primates are not good pets, they require a lot of attention and a lot of space. You need to know exactly what you’re doing and it probably takes a whole lot of education too.

You definitely need to talk to a specialist before you decide that this is something for you.


Tarsiers (small monkeys)

The tarsiers are very famous for their huge yellow eyes. They have a very intense look because the eyeballs are almost popping out of their little heads.

The eyes are wide open and the and they seem really big in pictures because this tiny primate is really small.

They are only 4-6 inches long (10-15 cm) but when you add the tail to the equations their size triple.

Common Marmosets (pets)


There are 22 species of the Marmoset family. They belong to what we called the New World monkeys.

They are typically around 8 inches long (20 centimeters) and they have little claws instead of nails.

These are five families of primates that are found in tropical regions of Central and South America. Contrary to the old world monkeys, the New World monkeys have flat noses.

Pygmy Marmosets (pets)

The Pygmy Marmosets look extremely cute when they are lined up like above. They look almost like baby birds and you could mistake this family for being small owls.

They have a very intense look and their little hairy faces tell just how curious these little fellas are.

Together with the Tarsiers above, they are the tiniest monkey breed in the world and they are only around 5 to 6 inches tall (14- 16 centimeters).

They are also known as “finger monkeys” because they are so tiny and small.

Are finger monkeys good pets?

Just as we mentioned at the top of the article, monkeys are very special animals and they require a lot of attention and time if you want to keep them as pets.

You should also know that the little finger monkeys will typically get rather aggressive when they grow up.

There’s also the issue with them being very social animals. You’re shouldn’t keep one of these creatures alone they should be kept in at least a pair of two. So as you can see, it quickly becomes a big responsibility and they do require a lot of money and attention.

Squirrel Monkeys (pets)

Squirrel monkey (small monkey breed)

The squirrel monkeys also live in the tropical forest of Central and South America. There are five different species and they all have short and close fur.

They are between 10-14 inches tall (25-35 centimeters) and they have long hairy tales.

Just like all the other monkeys in this article, they are not easy to keep as pets. They will not learn to pee and poop in the same spot (like cats) and they will typically get bored and start throwing their poop all around the house. So as cute as they look, they are almost also impossible to keep as pets.

Spider Monkeys

Spider monkey

That are 14 Spider monkey species and subspecies. Several of the species are critically endangered. Just like a long list of other animals from the rainforests are endangered.

Just like the majority of the monkeys in this article, they also live in Central and South America.

They will typically be around 33” (85 centimeters) tall so they are among the biggest monkeys in this article.

White-Faced Sakis

Monkey with really funny haircut

The Saki family of monkeys are typically between 12-20” (30-50 centimeters).

There are around 16 species of the Saki monkeys and the white-faced saki (above) is one of the most popular and well-known.

They also live in the rain forests of Central America and they will sometimes go onto the land. Otherwise, they will stay in the trees and live most of their lives and the branches. They mostly eat fruits but they will also eat a small proportion of leaves flowers and insects.

Howler Monkeys

Howler Monkeys in tree (small breed)

There are around 15 species and subspecies of the howler monkeys. They are around 22-36” tall (55-91 centimeters) and they also have round snout-like noses.

Their tails are amazing. They can use them to pick fruits and nuts from the trees and they can hold the weight of the body. They typically live in a pretty large group of up to 20 individuals. The males are able to get along as there will typically be around free adult males and one group.

They are quite friendly to each other but they will eventually fight and cause harm to each other.


Gibbon monkeys are small monkeys

There are a lot of different Gibbons species and subspecies (+40) and even a few that have gone extinct.

They are around 31” (80 centimeters) tall and they are very social creatures.

They have incredibly loud voices and they can actually scream much louder than humans.

Macaques (pets)

Tiny Gibbon monkey

There are around 27 species and subspecies among the Macaque family of monkeys.

They are between 16-28 inches tall (40-71 centimeters) and they have actually often been used for animal testing of products for humans.

They have also been cloned and used for other types of lab tests as well.

They belong to the family of old world monkeys and they often live quite close to humans. They are mainly vegetarians but they are also eating insects and other tiny animals. They are found in the tropical rain forests of southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, and the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

They’ve will typically live around 20 to 30 years. So as you can imagine, they do not make good pets for kids. If you want the Macaques as pets you should get at least two as they are social creatures. They require a long-long commitment and you should always consult a professional before getting one.

Guenons (pets)

Guenon Monkeys

The Guenons are between 16-22 inches (42-55 centimeters) and there are 26 species.

They have a beautiful soft for that covers most of the body, and they are typically reddish, brown, green, or yellow. So as you can see, they are very colorful creatures and that’s also what draws the most attention to them.

They have cute little noses that are short and round.

They live in West Africa where they will eat leaves, fruit, and other vegetation. They will also eventually eat smaller animals and insects. They are long and slim creatures with long arms and legs. They live in groups, just like many of the other monkeys, and they will typically only have one male in the group.

The Guenons are also very high maintenance as pets. Like the other monkeys, they tend to live around 25 years in captivity so you need to be ready to make a lifelong commitment here.

You should also remember, to get at least two. These are animals that normally live in large groups and they will not do well on their own.

Vervet Monkeys

Vervet Monkeys

There are five species of the Vervet monkeys and they are all found in South Africa. They are primarily Herbivores, which means they will eat plants and other vegetation.

They are around 16-20 inches (40-50 centimeters) and they also live in groups.

The mothers are only able to recognize their offspring by their specific screams. They all have specific screams and they use it frequently in order to catch the mother’s attention.

Capuchin Monkeys

Capuchin Monkeys

The arm all than 20 little monkeys of the Capuchin family. They are quite famous and they have often been featured in movies and TV shows due to their cute look and willingness to cooperate.

They live in Central and South America and they will be between 12 to 22 inches (30- 56 cm) tall.

Capuchins (pets)

Tufted Capuchins

The capuchins are also known from movies and TV. They are very popular due to their very characteristic and almost serious look in their eye.

They are extremely intelligent and they will live up to 40 years.

If you are still considering getting one as a pet (after reading that fact) you should also know that they will never learn to use a diaper. Like ever. So you should get ready to clean up poop and urine for the next 40 years or so.

Golden Lion Tamarin

Despite the funny name, the Golden Lion Tamarin is not a lion. It just has a nice yellow fur that makes people compare them to a lion. You’ll see why:

Golden Lion Tamarin sitting in tree

The tamarins are small monkeys that live in the trees of the rainforests of Central America. They are extremely fast than typically living groups of around 40 members. They are on the horse which means they lived from fruit and other plants as well as smaller insects.

There are several species fitted in this article we are just looking at the Golden lion tamarin, (pictured above) and the red-handed Tamarine (pictured below).

The tamarins will live up to 18 years and they are between 5 and 12” tall (13 to 30 cm).

Red-handed Tamarin

The red-handed tamarind this really special, as you can see. It has tiny hands that are brightly colored in strong contrast with the black hair that covers the rest of the body.

It has a very friendly and intense look and its eyes and ears are pointy and look like it inspired the Gremlins movies.

Night Monkeys

Owl monkeys (night monkeys)

These monkeys are also often referred to as “Owl monkeys”.

That monkeys are around 25 inches tall (64 centimeters) and there are 2 species.

They have big brown eyes and they are nocturnal creatures which means they are mainly active that night. They are one of the very few night animals the doesn’t have eyes that glow at night (due to a reflective layer behind the retina).

This is the true indication that these animals evolved to become night creatures. They haven’t always been active at night but they developed this (probably) in order to survive. They are mainly found in central and south in America.

Titi Monkeys

Titi monkeys

The Titi monkeys are between 10-22 inches tall (25-56 centimeters) and there are 3 species as well as 3 extinct species.

They have a lot of different colors and very characteristic and long furry tails.

The number of known Titi monkeys has actually doubled in recent years. Biologists and scientists have been able to find several new species in the Amazon forest since the year 2000. This is amazing as it opens up a whole new world of monkeys for us to experience.

Are Pet Monkeys Legal In My State?

The rspca.org are working on a total ban on keeping primates as pets in the U.K. But so far, it’s still legal to have a monkey as a pet in several states in the U.S.

So far the RSPCA have collected more than 62,000 signatures in order to make it illegal to keep primates as pets in the U.K.

That being said, you are allowed to keep several monkeys as pets in most states in the United States including these states:

  • Nevada
  • Idaho
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

But be aware that you might need that permit. This is something you have to check out locally.

How Expensive Are Pet Monkeys?

A pet monkey typically cost around $5-$8,000 depending on age and temperament. If you want a young and well-behaved pet monkey you need to pay closer to $10,000. Beware that you should get at least two because they are social creatures.

They are very expensive.

Not only are they expensive to buy but they are also very expensive in the long run because they live a long life and they require a lot of tools and equipment.

You should expect to pay around a couple of thousand dollars for a big outdoor cage and you will also need a lot of toys and other items. They can quickly add up to around $1,000 as well. You need a lot of food and supplements to feed the monkey properly. They also take a lot of veterinarian care and the bills here can also quickly add up.

But the real investment, when it comes to the pet monkey, is the amount of time you need to allocate to taking good care of this cute little creature.

They are very social creatures, so you will need at least two pet monkeys so you can double most of the expenses listed above.

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