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 Harlequin Pinscher Association, founded that same year, specifies that only one parent may have merle markings or be first generation cross of a merle patterned dog and the other parent should be a purebred Miniature Pinscher of non-merle status, in order to avoid the genetic catastrophe that occurred the previous century. 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 Harlequin Pinschers Association, with the American Canine Association, or with the Dog Registry of America, Inc.