Brief History of the 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.   Their native land and place of origin is Germany.  The first German 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.  Nancy Anderson not being one to stop once one goal is achieved decided to take the next step and petition ACR for a Harlequin Pinscher breed classification.  Due to the limited number of Harlequin Pinschers and the sure re-extinction of the breed associated with the Merle pattern however she was denied the request.  In 2007, Nancy Anderson had worked out what she felt were the objections for the refusal to re-establish the Harlequin Pinscher breed classification and once again petitioned ACR for breed designation approval with the organization of a Harlequin Pinscher Breed Club which would document more of the one time Merle Rat Terrier – Miniature Pinscher crosses and begin a program of documentation for the F-series hybrids.  After much debate and reorganization on both parties a YEA Vote was achieved and the Harlequin Pinscher Association, now known as the HPA was officially formed on October 19, 2007 with the FIRST Harlequin Pinscher officially being registered as “Run-N-Ridges Ole Time Revival N Mayhem” which had already achieved his Grand Championship status earlier in the year as a Merle Miniature Pinscher establishing his Superior Quality for being an excellent representative of the breed in which to continue the production of the Harlequin Pinscher.  The first F1 dam being credited for the beginning of the revival of the Merle Miniature Pinscher or Harlequin Pinscher was appropriately called and registered as “Allie Oops” being a Chocolate/Tan Merle with the registration number of 488-591-0104-F1.
The Brindle Patterned Harlequin Pinscher did not receive recognition until 2 years later in 2009.

THE FOUNDATION STOCK Registry was discontinued January 1, 2017.

The HPA rules are VERY STRICT and are to be abided by and WILL BE UPHELD WITHOUT EXCEPTION whereas ONLY 1 PARENT may be Merle and the subsequent parent being that of a Purebred Miniature Pinscher of the NON-Merle pattern.  A Merle x Merle breeding is considered unethical.


Comes in varying shades from light blonde color to a deep dark mahogany.  Red is the lighter genetic type with NO black tipping on hair.  Stag Red is the darker genetic type with black tips on hairs.  ​Nose can be Black or Brown.  Brown nosed Red is the Red dog expressing they carry the brown gene.

                   Stag Red                                               Brown nosed Light Red                Brown Nosed Dark Red



Light Red with Black Nose











Blue-Fawn is the dilution of the black hairs on a Stag Red dog instead of the whole coat being diluted.  A blue-fawn has a blue pigmented skin making the coat appear a Peachy cream color.
To be breed standard Blue-Fawns must have Blue noses, blue eye rims and blue paw pads.
Blue-Fawns DO NOT have tan/rust points.

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           Stag Red Merle                                                Red Merle with Brown Nose                 Red Mom with Red Merle and Black and Tan pups

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                                                                                                      Brown and Tan Merle

                          Blue and Tan Merle with Tweed Modifier                                               Brown and Tan Merle with Tweed Modifier
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This is a dual pattern where the merle and brindle pattern is expressed on the same dog.  The Merle and Brindle genes are located on separate loci’s, therefore it is safe to breed these two patterns together.
Black and Tan Merle/Brindle Harlequin Pinscher
        Black and Tan Merle Tri                                             Black and Tan Tri  Min Pin                                             Blue and Tan Merle Tri                         Harlequin Pinscher                                                                                                                                                 Harlequin Pinscher
Black and Tan Tuxedo Rat Terrier
Black and Tan Merle Piebald Harlequin Pinscher