History & Breed Standard

by Nancy Anderson

(*founder of the breed & owner of Run-N-Ridge kennel)

Intellectual Copyright protected by law

If any of the below information is being used by a Non-HPA breeder then it is being

used illegally without permission which should tell you all you need to know about their character, ethics and morals.

ANY Content taken from this website in whole or part is plagiarism and is subject to penalty of law.  Plagiarism is presenting work or ideas from another source as your own, with or without consent of the original author, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement.  Plagiarism can be a felony and punishable up to $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.

Be cautious of anyone trying to change the HISTORY of the Harlequin Pinscher breed as this

is the TRUE and ACCURATE History as written by the Developer of the breed.  

~ ~ ~ Harlequin Pincher Breed History ~ ~ ~

by:  Nancy Anderson

Intellectual Copyright Protected

   Nancy Anderson of Run-N-Ridge Kennel is the founding breeder of the resurrected breed of Harlequin Pinscher.  

   The Harlequin (*most likely it was Merle and not Harlequin) pattern 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 Merle Miniature Pinscher later becoming the Harlequin Pinscher.

   Lets Start at the beginning however and work our way to Present Day so you will get a complete history of the Harlequin Pinscher, its life, diversity, conflicts, downfalls and its long awaited revival.  Of course the Harlequin Pinscher History will run hand in hand with that of the Miniature Pinscher in it's early years.

   The "Original" Harlequin Pinscher of yesteryears native land and origin is Germany.  The first documentation for the Miniature Pinscher was established in 1880.  The first breed standard was established in 1895 by the German Pinscher Klub and later changed to Pinscher-Schnazer 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 markings at the eyes, muzzle and legs.  Of one color, blond, or dirty gray-white or white with black spots.  In my personal opinion of the standard I see this as being:  Brown/Tan being the Red/Yellow with markings as Reds do not have markings.   Gray-yellow would be Fawn/Tan .  Black is self explanatory.  Gray like iron or Silver Gray woul most likely be the Blue version.  The Blond would be Red, Dirty Gray-White would most likely be Merle/Harlequin and my guess is that the white with black spots was the double merle version of the Harlequin or it could be possible that there was actually Piebald in the breed as well.

   The Harlequin Pinscher was the merle, merle/piebald, piebald variety of the Miniature Pinscher that first appeared during the late 1800s.  It's true origin is unknown as at that time the merle pattern did not occur in any terrier breeds thus making the Merle 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.  The true origin however is unknown, as I have previously stated, as little to no documentation was kept on the development of the breed and will assuredly remain that way despite many suspecting the Dachshund as an Ancestor.   Just as the merle pattern was a variation from the normal Miniature Pinscher so was their temperament as they were more laid back and were not as suitable for Ratters as were the other variety of Miniature Pinscher.  The resurrection of the Harlequin Pinscher however using the Rat Terrier to resurrect the breed has changed the lack of Ratting skills and they know match their Ancestors, the Miniature Pinscher in prey drive.

   In the 1920's the Harlequin version of the Miniature Pinscher became part of a controversial subject in the German Miniature Pinscher Breed Klub 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 thus confirming the suspicion of Herding ancestory.  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-lethal status of the Merle gene.  Over a period of years the dogs became decreasing in numbers due to hereditary defects related to the merle gene.  

   The American Kennel Club allowed the first registration of a Miniature Pinscher on March 31, 1925 which was an imported Miniature Pinscher from Germany and was listed as being "black, red, brown".  

​   The Miniature Pinscher Club of America, Inc was formed in 1929 and became the AKC Breed Club for the Miniature Pinscher.  Prior to the formation of the MPCA the Miniature Pinscher was shown in the Miscellaneous class but later changed to the Toy Class.  

   The Harlequin description as far as I can find was ALWAYS a breed pattern FAULT in the AKC Breed Standard and then changed to a disqualification in later years.  Prior to them being a Disqualification they wre allowed to be shown, only faulted in points.  This in no way meant however that AKC would still not recognize them and register them as both "Harlequin and Merle Patterned" Miniature Pinschers.

   The August 1935 AKC Breed Standard allowed Blue, Brown, Yellow, Red and Black and that standard was still in effect up to 1950.  The Size was 11.5 inches being 6-10 pounds in weight.  Light color or white, very dark or sooty spots, - listed markings were considered faults.  The tail was to be 1-2 inches in length cropped.

A foursome of Harlequin Pinschers were shown at Crufts in 1938.

These 4 as seen in photos were more hound like than Terrier like in appearance.

  One breeder in the United States was known to of bred Harlequin Reh Pinschers in the "Black & White" variety as late as 1940's.   It has been rumored Breeders were still breeding Harlequin or spotted variety and possibly some Brindles in or around Karlsbad, Austria, Hannover North Germany and in Wurttemberg, in South Germany as late as the 1950's.  

​   The Blue and Fawns became a MPCA FAULT of the breed stadard for AKC on February 11, 1950 as they were said to be of poor coat quality and with health issues when the AKC approved the breed standard revision submitted by the MPCA.  This in no way meant however that AKC would reject for registration Miniature Pinschers of dilute coat nor were they banned from being shown in AKC events.  It simply meant they were no longer allowed the privilege of being able to be shown in the sanctioned AKC Conformation dog shows without being given Fault Reduction in points.  in 1950 the breed standard called for them to be 10-12.5 inches tall being 6-10 pounds in size.  The tail standard was to be docked 1/2-1 inch in length docked.

   The AKC approved a revised Breed Standard on May 13, 1958 for the Miniature Pinscher which allowed only Black, Red and Brown as approved colors by the standard.  Other colors at that time were still listed as FAULTS.  The weight requirments in that revision were removed and it again became only 10-12.5 inches in height with no weight qualifications even though as of 2023 AKC still showed on their website under the Miniature Pinscher Breed Description as being 8-10#.   The tail was to be 1/2-1 inch in length docked.

   The last known Miniature Pinscher registered with the AKC with the Merle type pattern is ????.

   The July 8, 1980 revised Breed Standard for AKC made ALL other colors other than Solid clear Red, Stag Red, Black/Rust-red and Chocolate/Rust-Red disqualifications meaning they could no longer show in AKC Conformation Events.   Keep in mind this still did not stop AKC from accepting them for registration and breeding.  The tail was to be docked in proportion to the body.  Height was 10-12.5 inches with no weight classification.  

   American Canine Registry accepted into its 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 Patterned Rat Terrier of superior quality and health and the Patterned offspring from that cross was to be used for breeding to continue the development by being bred only to purebred Miniature Pinschers for the next 6 generations and upon the 7th generation they would be accepted as purebred Patterned Miniature Pinschers with documented lineage.  

   Nancy Anderson was fortunate enough in the development of the breed to find a trio of elderly ladies who had documented crosses of purebred Miniature Pinschers x Rat Terriers prior to 2004 which allowed the cross-bred Foundation Status (*F1-F2) to be documented on 3 of the Foundation Dogs and for Nancy Anderson to more readily achieve the F7 Status on those 3 dogs lines.   Those 3 lines unfortunately are no longer in existance today and the TRUE Purebred Harlequin Pinscher  lines being used today are from the many Lines developed through selective breeding by Nancy Anderson and the Run-N-Ridge Kennel.

     It's a gross understatement to simply state the introduction of the Merle Min Pin to the Min Pin fancy world was rejoiced by a few and to this day shunned by many:  Thus the next step to make it a breed of it's own  was crucial.

   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.
ACR was Contracted for the HPA Registrations with HPA being the Harlequin Pinscher Breed Club for ACR. 
​ ACR will be responsible for the distribution of Registration papers.

A Merle x Merle (*visible merle) breeding is considered to be not in the best interest of the breed.
Litters from Merle x Merle (*visibe merle)  breeding are not eligible for HPA registration.

~ ~ ~ Harlequin Pinscher Breed Standard ~ ~ ~
"ACR &  HPA"

Harlequin Pinscher Breed Standard for the American Canine Registry (*USA)
& for the HPA - Harlequin Pinscher Association (*USA)
Approved 11/4/2007  -  Revised 2009 - updated 2017 - updated 2023

Other Names: Merle Miniature Pinscher
Merle/Piebald Miniature Pinscher
Piebald Miniature Pinscher
Brindle Miniature Pinscher
Fancy Min-Pin  


Toy variety - 6-12 in.   Miniature Variety - 13-18 in.     Standard Variety - 19-24 in. 
Group: Terrier 
Weight: Toy  4-12 pounds          Miniature 13-18 pounds          Standard 19-26 pounds 
Coat: Short, Flat, Smooth, And Tight To The Body 
Colors:  Black, Brown, Blue or Fawn:  all with Tan points (*ie Black/Tan)
Red, Blue-Fawn or Tan (*solid no points)
Patterns:  Solid, Bi, Tri, Tuxedo, MERLE, Merle/Piebald & Piebald pattern.

Brindle pattern (*added in 2009)

Brindle pattern includes Merle/Brindle, Brindle/Piebald & Merle/Brindle/Piebald.
All Combination patterns acceptable.
Additional Tweed pattern possible in association with Merle pattern.

Appearance:  Deer like in appearance being smooth-coated, alert, spirited and structurally well balanced, company and square bodied to slightly leggy.
Movement:  Quick, yet well balanced & graceful.

Temperament:  Loyal, and willing to please.  Happy.  Ready to defend family if necessary but eager to make friends.

Uses:  Companion - Ratting & Hunting


Skull:  Elongated, and broad.  Appears flat and tapers forward toward the muzzle. 
Eyes:  Dark, Blue or Green/Gold, bi is acceptable. 
Ears: Cropped, Not cropped, tipped or natural erect.  If cropped must be cropped in proportion to head at 12-16 weeks of age.   

(*Cropping under 12 weeks of age is an unacceptable practice.)
Muzzle: Medium and tapering to an unexaggerated point. 
Nose: Black on Black and Red base coated dogs.  Red dogs may also have self colored brown nose.  Brown on Brown,  Fawn and Tan (*Tan added 2009).  Blue on Blue and Blue/Fawn. 
Bite: Scissor 
Teeth:  Clean, of correct number, shape and position. 
Neck: Broad at shoulders, slightly arched. 

Topline: Level or slightly slopping toward the hind quarters. 
Chest: Very deep, slightly barrel shaped, well formed with no exaggeration. 
Body: Well muscled, square in form measuring within 1 inch of height from ground to point of wither as from bend of neck to bend of tail.. 
Legs: Perfectly straight forelegs.  Length being justifiable to length of body to give a square to slightly leggy visual appearance.   

Toy:  4-12 inches from ground to point of wither. 
Miniature:  13-18 inches from ground to point of wither. 
Standard:  19-26 inches from ground to point of wither. 

Hind legs are angulated. 

Feet: Compact, arched toes, dewclaws removed on both front and back feet. 

Tail: Docked to be 1 to 2 inches long at maturity, set high.   Undocked tails are acceptable but not preferred and will be placed below same quality dog with properly docked tail in class.  Natural Bobtail is acceptable.  

Proportional Appearance: 
Body: Perfect being 1 pound of body weight per inch of dog in height. 
Ears cut in proportion to head. 
Skull width and nose length in correct proportion for an overall gathered appearance. 
Gait: Deer like.

High stepping forward motion.
Any deviation from the breed standard such as but not limited to height/weight ratio, tail length, dewclaws, improper chest formation, unsocial, overly shy, timid.  Dirty teeth heavily penalized.

Exaggerated difference in height/weight ratio. 
Coat being anything other than short, flat, smooth and tight to body. 
Any color, pattern or markings not listed in breed standard. 
Ears not of same set.  Ears that are not cut in proportion to head - Too short or too long. 
Any over-exaggeration of conformation as stated by breed standard. 
Dewclaws on any legs. 
Bad Teeth, improperly aligned teeth. 
Tail docked to short.
Bad Temperament, Aggression, Inability to be controlled by owner/handler.  Dogs deemed by Judge or Show Personnel to have such temperaments MUST be removed immediately from the premises. 
Late to or missing pre-inspection, late to or missing registration, late to or missing call of any kind without PRIOR authorization by the Show Director. 


Judges decisions are final and will not be discussed.   A copy of Your score cards will be available to you and can be requested from ACR via email a week after the show.
Judge has the sole discretion to drop placement if he feels there is not an adequate representative of the breed(s) in the class to justify award placement.

Dogs will be judged in a class group and individually.  Scores are accumulated from both for final scoring.  Class Groups may be broken down to Breed Group if deemed necessary by the number of entries present.

Class Group top scorers of 1, 2 and 3 are awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes.  1st place dog in each class goes on to the Superior Dog Class for "Show Awards".  

All dogs are awarded their accumulated scores toward championship title points if the scores are of acceptable total and afforded according to ACR Show Rules/Policies/Standards.  Dogs advancing to advanced classes on same show day will receive ALL of their accumulated points.

Any dog without PRIOR authorization by the Show Director missing or late to their pre-inspection, registration, class call, individual call or award ceremony will be disqualified. 


Only those dogs verified by a Judge, Show Personnel, HPA/ACR representative or licensed veterinarian will be given Size classification as Toy, Miniature or Standard.   All others will be registered as broad category of "Harlequin Pinscher".

Category:  Terrier - Harlequin Pinscher         Date: _________
Dogs Name: _____________________________________

Reg # __________________________________________

Microchip Number: ______________________   DNA: _____

Show: ____________________________________________

Judge(s): __________________________________________
Coat: (*Score 1-5) - Comment goes here if Judge so chooses:
Head/Teeth/Neck (1-10)
  Class Score

42.5 req'd to advance

Torso (1-10)
Legs/Feet (1-5)
Tail/Weight/Height (1-10)
Movement/Overall Appearance (1-7.5)
Temperament (1-2.5)
Total Points:  _________  Advanced: ______   Awarded: _____

42.5+ points in each class for a combined score of 85+ is required to advance points for accumulation toward titles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


All dogs are REQUIRED to be micro chipped PRIOR to submission for registration and microchip number submitted with application for registration. 
All dogs will be DNA swabed at every show for future identification if needed.  HPA may also request DNA swabs and any person refusing or ignoring request for submission will be denied future 
registration privileges and current dogs owned will be elevated to suspended registrations. 
ALL Males being used for showing are required to be DNA profiled.

Registration fees are $25.00 per dog.  $25.00 per litter. 
ALL dogs used must be  HPA registered.
Any Min-Pin dog submitted for dual registration MUST have a minimum complete 3 generation pedigree submitted with application for registration or it will be denied registration.  NO EXCEPTIONS!  Pedigrees MUST be from an established Pedigree Service/Registry recognized by HPA.  

HPA does not allow so-called HARLEQUIN PINSCHERS from other Registries

to dual register with HPA in order to accurately preserve the

'true' HPA (*Harlequin Pinscher) database.
There are NO Membership fees and there are no members of HPA.

Registars are granted registration privileges only.

The HPA is setting the standard for SUPER HIGHWAY BREEDERS.
​The HPA breeders are laying the dirt work for a Sound Foundation of Harlequin Pinschers.