Harlequin Pinscher

9-13 lbs
Germany/United States
Merle Miniature Pinscher, Harlequin Min Pin, Merle Pinscher, Spotted Pinscher, Merle/Piebald Miniature Pinscher, Fancy Min-Pin

The Harlequin Pinscher is a newly developed breed that is an attempt to recreate a variety of Miniature Pinscher from the 1800s that sported unusually patterned coats such as brindle, merle, and piebald. Due to the serious and often fatal genetic defects that occur in the offspring when two dogs that have the merle gene are bred together, the first Harlequin Pinschers eventually disappeared. The ancestry of the original Harlequin Pinscher was lost when the breed was, but in the early part of this century, breeders began a careful development program utilizing contributions from Rat Terriers in order to reinstate the breed. 

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Miniature Pinscher and Rat Terrier

Harlequin Pinscher Health

Average Size
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats
Height: 10-13 inches Weight: 9-13 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats
Height: 10-13 inches Weight: 9-13 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hypoglycemia
Minor Concerns
  • Glaucoma
  • Skin Allergies
  • Food Allergies
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity
Occasional Tests
  • Skin Biopsy or Intradermal Tests for specific allergies
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Blood Glucose Level Testing
  • DNA

Harlequin Pinscher Breed History

The Harlequin Pinscher, essentially a Miniature Pinscher that was developed with a patterned coat, can be merle, brindle, piebald or any combination of those. The first attempts to create the Harlequin Pinscher occurred in Germany at some point in the late 18th century, and some believe the coloration was achieved by an outcross with Dachshund dogs, although there is no way to know for sure as this original strain is no longer in existence. 

Breeding merle colored animals must be done with extreme care as breeding two dogs with the merle genetics can lead to serious, sometimes lethal, birth defects. Unfortunately, genetic defects began showing up in many of the dogs with patterned coats such as the Harlequin variety of the Miniature Pinscher, which caused them to fall out of favor and dwindle away. While these patterns were originally accepted in the breed standard, in 1958 the breed standard was updated with the inclusion that black, red, and brown base colors would be the only colors accepted and specifying that any white marking larger than half an inch in any direction is a disqualifying marking. 

In the first part of this century, some breeders began the painstaking process of bringing the Harlequin Pinscher back, but without the health problems. A plan was accepted in 2007 in which a merle patterned Rat Terrier would contribute the merle genetics into the line, with the offspring being bred to purebred Miniature Pinschers. The seventh generation after the contribution of the Rat Terrier is considered by the Harlequin Pinscher Society to be a purebred Harlequin Pinscher. While the breed has not been recognized by any of the major kennel clubs, Harlequin Pinschers can be registered as such with the American Canine Association, or with the Dog Registry of America, Inc.

Harlequin Pinscher Breed Appearance

The Harlequin Pinscher is a small dog, the tallest being just over a foot in height, and rather deer-like in appearance. Most have a square profile, with the back being about as long as the dog is high, although some Harlequins can be a little long in the leg. They have elongated heads which are broad and flat towards the ears and taper forward in the direction of the muzzle, which is also somewhat tapered. The eyes of this breed can be blue, brown, or green and even come in bicolor on occasion and their triangular ears which are held erect, tend to be a little on the large size in proportion to their head. While their hind legs are angulated, the forelegs should be completely straight, and the paws of the Harlequin Pinscher are compact with slightly arched toes. The main difference physically between the Harlequin Pinscher and the more traditional Miniature Pinscher is the coloration, as any brindle, merle, or piebald markings were intentionally bred out of the Miniature Pinscher breed. 

Eye Color Possibilities
blue Harlequin Pinscher eyes
hazel Harlequin Pinscher eyes
brown Harlequin Pinscher eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
blue Harlequin Pinscher nose
black Harlequin Pinscher nose
brown Harlequin Pinscher nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Harlequin Pinscher coat
brindle Harlequin Pinscher coat
black Harlequin Pinscher coat
brown Harlequin Pinscher coat
blue Harlequin Pinscher coat
fawn Harlequin Pinscher coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Harlequin Pinscher straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Harlequin Pinscher Breed Maintenance

The coat of the Harlequin Pinscher is typically very easy to maintain. The short, coarse fur tends to shed dirt and dust, and these dogs have very little doggie odor so bathing is only really required if they get into something, and can often be replaced by a simple rubdown with a warm, wet washcloth. Brushing your dog with a slicker brush or grooming glove once every week or two is typically enough to help control shedding and keep the coat healthy and shiny. Small and toy dogs like the Harlequin and Miniature Pinscher are sometimes more prone to dental issues than larger dogs and dental hygiene should be started early and maintained throughout their lives. 

Harlequin Pinschers often suffer from hypoglycemia. Secure pet health insurance today to avoid high veterinary care costs. Our pet insurance tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like Figo and Spot. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

Brushes for Harlequin Pinscher
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Harlequin Pinscher requires monthly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Harlequin Pinscher Temperament

These dogs are typically very inquisitive and lively, with a strong sense of loyalty towards their chosen human. While their playful and alert natures make them excellent companions for older children, interactions with toddlers and younger children should be closely supervised to ensure that the dog is treated gently. They are naturally suspicious of strangers and of other dogs, but this trait can usually be mitigated somewhat by proper socialization. Harlequin Pinschers are also quite intelligent and they thrive on a steady diet of training of some sort, but when they are not provided with proper training and boundaries they can succumb to small dog syndrome and become vocal, demanding, and headstrong. While they do respond well to most facets of training, they are known for being difficult to housetrain, often because their puppy puddles are so tiny that they are overlooked, and they do have a tendency to chew on things that are not meant for them. 

Harlequin Pinscher Activity Requirements

While the Harlequin Pinscher is very lively and does best with frequent activity and interaction throughout the day, they don’t need those activities to be particularly time consuming as long as they are mentally stimulating, and they can often be handled indoors as these small canines don’t need a great deal of room. They also make suitable apartment dwellers, provided they aren’t left to their own devices too often as they can become quite vocal if they develop separation anxiety. It is important, however, not to overfeed these small dogs as excess calories in their diet can easily lead to obesity. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
6 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Harlequin Pinscher Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.80 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Harlequin Pinscher Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at six months
Height: 8.5 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at six months
Height: 8.5 inches Weight: 8.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs

Harlequin Pinscher Owner Experiences

1 Year
2 People
Extremely loving and loyal. Playful and inquisitive
3 years, 6 months ago
23 Months
1 People
Until Covid, 3 Mile walks daily. NoIndoor catch
HES bright. Dominance is a tussle between us. He’s very loving. Not cuffly but likes closeness & attention. We are close cäcompanions.
3 years, 3 months ago
3 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Lito is a piebald chocolate & tan with merle. One of his eyes is brown, another is blue. He is agressive towards people who want to touch him and he doesn't know, but he never harmed a person he knows, even if they annoy him. He only likes dogs like chihuahuas, toys or pinschers - so dogs, which looks like him. He will chase other dogs away. He is not so enerjetic like my minpin, but he will walk nonstop, if he only could follow me. He's like my shadow. A very loyal dog who never walks away from my side. He wants to follow me everywhere. He loves bags. If I bring one, he'll jump in right away. I traveled to Istanbul with him. We made a big sight seeing and shopping tour there. He was chilled and had no problem with the crowd. But if someone wanted to pet him, he snarled.
2 years, 9 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

Just found this female dog 1year old. We can not figure out what she is. She’s about 20 pounds but kind of looks like this? Your thought? Can I email a few photos?

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

Struggles with flying. Please help

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior

I have a male piebald harlequun pinscher who is deaf and may have bad eyes sight. He seems to be aggressive towards other people. I was told he is way more aggresssive than a puppy should be. He is 3 and a half months old. The vet says he may have menatal problems as well. What are some things i could do to help or curb the aggressiveness? And what could i look for with mental issues?

Hello I would try to work with a trainer to help with the aggression. Exposing your puppy to different people and animals will help. If your dog has mental issues the aggressive behaviors will continue and you may even see other neurological issues such as seizures
2 years, 9 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd