Harlequin Pinscher

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9-13 lbs
10-13"
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
Companion
Date of Origin
2007
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 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.

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
Blue
hazel Harlequin Pinscher eyes
Hazel
brown Harlequin Pinscher eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
blue Harlequin Pinscher nose
Blue
black Harlequin Pinscher nose
Black
brown Harlequin Pinscher nose
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Harlequin Pinscher coat
Pied
fawn Harlequin Pinscher coat
Fawn
blue Harlequin Pinscher coat
Blue
brown Harlequin Pinscher coat
Brown
black Harlequin Pinscher coat
Black
brindle Harlequin Pinscher coat
Brindle
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
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. 

Brushes for Harlequin Pinscher
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
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 Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
6 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Harlequin Pinscher Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
Daily Cost
$0.8 - $1
Monthly Cost
$20 - $30

Harlequin Pinscher Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at six months
Height: 8 inches Weight: 8 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at six months
Height: 8 inches Weight: 8 lbs
12 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 12 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 11 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 12 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 11 lbs
18 Months
Male Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 18 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 11 lbs
Female Harlequin Pinscher size stats at 18 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 11 lbs

Harlequin Pinscher Owner Experiences

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