Brief History of the Harlequin Pinscher
** Information below gathered from Nancy Anderson-Founding breeder of the New Harlequin Pinscher**
The Harlequin Pinscher is one of the original patterns that the Germans had, bred and registered as Miniature Pinschers. As it goes with most clubs when somebody gets in the position of authority and power and decides they don’t like something they change it irregardless of what the eventual outcome will be and the same holds true for the Harlequin Pinscher.
The Harlequin Pinschers history does run hand in hand with that of the Miniature Pinscher. Both the Min Pin and Harlequin Pinschers native land and place of origin is Germany. The first documentation for the Miniature Pinscher was established in 1880. The first Miniature Pinscher Breed Standard was established in 1895 by the Germany Pinscher Klub now called the Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub. The colors listed were Red/Yellow, Gray-Yellow, blue/tan, Black, Gray like iron or Silver Gray, either one color or with yellow-brow or light red marking at the eyes, muzzle and legs. Of one color, blond, or dirty gray-white or white with black spots. There is no concrete evidence of the exact colors in the standards description as there is little to no documentation that was kept on the development of the breed. We can only speculate that the Dirty Gray-White would most likely be Merle and the white with black spots was likely the Double Merle version of the Harlequin or it could be possible that it was actually Piebald in the breed as well.
**The true origin of the Merle Miniature Pinscher is unknown as at that time the merle coloring did not occur in any terrier breeds thus making the Merle Miniature Pinscher and later known as the Harlequin Pinscher the first Terrier breed to come in the Merle pattern. It is thought that small sized Pinschers were probably crossed to either some breed of merle hound or merle herding dog resulting in the Merle Miniature Pinscher.
In the 1920’s the merle version of the Miniature Pinscher became part of a controversial subject in the German Miniature Pinscher Breed Club and was unfortunately removed from the German Breed Standard and was forced to start their own breed which became known as “Harlequin Pinscher”.
The Original Harlequin Pinscher breed standard established in 1923 called for it to be 12-14 inches tall being 22-26 pounds in weight. The color variations were Harlequin on a white, gray or black background having a black or self-colored nose according to coat.
The early breeders of the Harlequin Pinscher however were unaware of the genetic makeup of the Harlequins and the gorgeous but semi-fatal status of the Merle gene. Over a period of years the dogs became decreasing in number due to hereditary defects.
The American Kennel Club allowed the first registration of a Miniature Pinscher on March 31, 1925 which was an imported one from Germany and was listed as being “black, red, brown”. The Harlequin description was ALWAYS a breed pattern FAULT in the AKC Breed Standard and then changed to a disqualification in later years. A foursome of Harlequin Pinschers was shown at Crufts in 1938.
**One breeder in the United States was known to of bred Harlequin Reh Pinschers in the “Black & White” variety as late as 1940.
The AKC approved a revised Breed Standard on May 13, 1958 for the Miniature Pinscher which included only Black, Red and Brown as approved colors by the standard. Other colors at that time were still listed as FAULTS. The last known Miniature Pinscher registered with the AKC with the Harlequin pattern is ???????.
The re-development of the Harlequin Pinscher
The American Canine Registry (ACR) accepted into it’s sister registry, American Pedigree Registry, the first documentation to the re-development of the Merle Miniature Pinscher for pedigree documentation only in 2004. The requirement was that a one time cross could be achieved with a Merle Rat Terrier of superior quality and health and the Merle offspring from that cross was to continue the development by being bred only to Miniature Pinschers and upon 7th generation they would be accepted as purebred Merle Miniature Pinschers with documented lineage. Many years before 2004 a trio of elderly ladies had already done the Merle Rat Terrier and Miniature Pinscher cross and had already established several generations of Merle Miniature Pinschers that became later classified as F-series (*i.e. F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6) Miniature Pinschers in the Merle pattern. Nancy Anderson was able to trace these dogs lineage back with enough documentation to get them accepted into the foundation lineage and go from that point forward to where we are today with not only MERLE Miniature Pinschers but Harlequin Pinschers in Merle, Brindle, Piebald, Brindle/Merle, Brindle/Piebald, Merle/Piebald and Merle/Brindle/Piebald as well. In 2007, the Harlequin Pinscher Association (HPA) was formed.
The Brindle Patterned Harlequin Pinscher did not receive recognition until 2 years later in 2009.
A Merle x Merle breeding is considered unethical.
Due to unforseen circumstances we no longer register our pups with HPA. Our future pups lineages will be recorded with the North American Purebred Registry (NAPR) It’s not a new or fancy registry. Just a place that my pups lineages can be recorded for future references.