Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harlekinpinscher/Harlequin Pinscher

Der Harlekinpinscher war an sich eine attraktive Hunderasse mit einem angenehmen Temperament. Seine Fellfarbe war eine Folge des Merle Faktors, was aber auch eine Reihe von gesundheitlichen Problemen, wie Taubheit, Blindheit oder frühe Welpensterblickeit verursachte. Deshalb beschloss der Pinscherklub in den 1930ern die Zucht einzustellen. Es gab wohl vereinzelte Versuche die Rasse wieder aufleben zu lassen. Und ich habe auch bei meiner Suche nach Bildmaterial Seiten aus Russland und den USA gefunden, wo mit der Zucht von Harlekinpinschern geworben wird. Aber aufgrund der gesundheitlichen Risiken, die mit der Zucht verbunden sind, bin ich demgegenüber sehr skeptisch.


The Harlequin Pinscher for itself was a very attractive dog with a nice attitude. But its coloring was caused by the merle gen. Which was also the reason for many health problems within the breed. The dogs could get deaf, blind or there was a high moraltiy rate among the pup litters. That is the reason why the pinscher kennel decided not to breed the harlequin pinscher anymore. That was in the 1930s. There were few attempts to revive the breed. And during my research for old pictures from harlequin pinschers, I found some websites from Russia and the USA, who made advertisment for a new breeding of the harlequin pinscher. This is an idea, I am highly skeptc about, because of the health risks in the breed.


  1. The health risk is not any greater than any other breed which includes the merle gene and even less of a health risk for those breed with breathing, breeding and birthing issues that run rapid in the breed. If you avoid breeding merle to merle then the risk of health issues with the merle gene is nonexistent. I wish folks would do their homework and learn what they are talking about prior to posting things.

    1. Hi, and thank you for Your comment. I did research on the reasons for the extinction of the Harlequin pinscher, and even on pinscher breeding sites, the problems with the merle factor were cited as one of the reasons that it was decided to let the breed die out.

      As the last Harlequin pinscher lived in the 1930s, there were no possibilities to determine if you bread a heterozygous dog to a homozygous one, which is indeed relatively unproblematic, or two homozygous dogs, which causes several of above mentioned health problems. To add to the problems the breed had a small genetic diversity, so breeding was always sort of poker with a risk of accidentally breeding two homozygous dogs.

      There are now attempts in recreating the Harlequin pinscher. But I am sceptic, as you work with a relative small genetic base. And because of the merle factor, you can not breed two Harlequin pinscher. So you'll have to mix in a pinscher of another colour, for a wider genetic variety. And on the other hand I ask myself, why should you need a dog because of its fancy coat but a risky genetic disposition? Even black and tan or brown pinscher are not that frequent. Why shrinking the genetic diversity even further?

      This is my own personal opinion, I formed during my research about the Harlequin Pinscher and about dog breeds in general. And it is still a fact that the Harlequin pinscher is considered an extinct dog breed, which is the whole purpose of my series about the extinct animals. Even if You do not like the likely reason for its demise.



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