Harlequin Pinscher vs German Coolie - Breed Comparison

Harlequin Pinscher is originated from Germany but German Coolie is originated from Australia. Harlequin Pinscher may grow 27 cm / 10 inches shorter than German Coolie. Harlequin Pinscher may weigh 19 kg / 41 pounds lesser than German Coolie. Harlequin Pinscher may live 3 years less than German Coolie. Both Harlequin Pinscher and German Coolie has same litter size. Both Harlequin Pinscher and German Coolie requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Terrier dog
Herding dogs
Height Male:
25 - 33 cm
9 - 13 inches
40 - 60 cm
15 - 24 inches
Height Female:
25 - 23 cm
9 - 10 inches
38 - 58 cm
14 - 23 inches
Weight Male:
3 - 5 kg
6 - 12 pounds
15 - 24 kg
33 - 53 pounds
Weight Female:
3 - 5 kg
6 - 12 pounds
13 - 22 kg
28 - 49 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 15 Years
16 - 18 Years
Litter Size:
2 - 6
4 - 6
Toy dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Spotted Pinscher, Merle Pinscher, Harlequin Miniature Pinscher, Harlequin Min Pin
Australian Koolie - German Koolie - Coulie - German Collie
Colors Available:
brown, Black, brindle or piebald, fawn patterns of merle, red
Black, Red, merle
Short and smooth
smooth and comes in short or medium lengths
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Sweet, Territorial
Alert, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Social
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


This toy-sized dog is a type of Miniature Pinscher originating in Germany. The dog was developed by crossing traditional Miniature Pinschers with other toy-sized short-haired terriers. He falls into the Terrier category.

The dog was used to kill rats, but has always been a devoted pet at the same time. They nearly became extinct after World War II, but the breed was once again restored. Today it is an established breed, but it isn’t recognized by any of the major kennel clubs.

In fact, The Harlequin Pinscher Association is the only breed club that recognizes the Harlequin Pinscher. It can be registered with the Harlequins Pinschers Association or with the American Canine Association.

The German Coolie is misnamed as it is an Australian bred dog and often called the Australian Koolie or Coolie. This Australian breed is more often just called a Coolie. The breed is a typical herding breed and a working dog that needs a job all the time. They have been a favorite of Australians since the late 1800’s when local dogs were bred with British working dogs.

Although all Coolie’s are not the same. Within the breed there is a lot of variation. This is because the Coolie was bred individually for different regions in Australia. In a very different writing the Koolie Club of Australia does not define the Coolie breed on confirmation as all other purebred dogs are defined. Instead the Coolie is defined by ability to work. In light of this most Coolie breeders state that the Coolie is a breed and the variations you see among regions are types within the breed.

As a herding dog, the Coolie brought a lot of skill to the Australian farmers and sheep herders. The Coolie will round up the sheep and bring them back to their enclosure at the shepherd’s command. They are upright, silent, working dogs. Not only do they herd sheep they are important at sheering to “cut out” the sheep or assist in the close quarters of lambing.

In Queensland North and New South Wales, the Coolie is medium boned, tall and agile ready to herd cattle over a long stretch of miles. In the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales and the Hunter Valley Region, the Coolie is shorter and thicker in order to be able to get cattle that are lying low out from the gullies and dense bush. The Coolies found in Victoria are the smallest of all.

No matter where they live and work, the Coolie is bred to help the workers there, the farmers, the stockman, and the grazier. All Coolies are adaptable and very agile. They all have a strong willfulness to accomplish what they are asked to do. The ancestors of these various Coolie was the British Collie – a smooth coated, blue merle. This Collie was crossed with the Black and Tan Collie from the Scottish Highlands. It is believed that these are the same Collie breeds that came to Australia to create the Heeler.

The name may come from the German immigrants working in South Australia and unable to pronounce Collie incorrectly they called the dogs German Coolies. There is also a fraction of German breeders who believe that the German Tiger dog was brought to Australia in the 18th century and then when the Collies came they were bred together. Many Coolie breeders have records showing that the breed has been in Australia for at least 160 years. It is also believed that the Border Collie and Kelpie (Blue Heeler) were mixed into the breed at sometime as well.

No bench standard exists for the German Coolie even though there is the Koolie Club of Australia. The mission of the club is to protect, preserve and promote the breed. The Australian Sporting Register was recognizing the Coolies in 2004. They are eligible to participate in the Australian National Kennel Council sanctioned sporting trials. They participate in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria through the individual states sporting register. Here they participate in herding, jumping, obedience, agility and tracking.

Several other recognitions as a herding breed soon followed. The Australian Shepherd Club of America, the American Herding Breed Association, were followed by recognition from others as well. They are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).


This is a small compact dog standing at 25 – 33cm in height and weighing about 3kg to 4 or 5kg. He has dark eyes and ears which are set high and which are erect with just the top of them folding forwards.

The legs are straight and thin with small cat-like shaped paws. The tail is traditionally cropped, but these days the tail is left longer. He has a short coat which is available in a range of colors – black, brown, red, fawn patterns of merle, brindle or piebald. The Harlequin Pinscher is like a Bambi or a small deer, especially when they're a bit long in the leg.


Alert and inquisitive, the Harlequin Pinscher is a feisty, devoted little dog, brave and loyal and he has a lot of energy. He is intelligent too and with training and socialization, he becomes such a pleasure to have around, obedient and responding well to instructions.

He is known to be good with other pets as well as with children, so long as the children have been taught to respect animals. As always, a dog pretty much turns out the way the owners are, and with training and firmness while being patient and fair, you don’t have to worry about your Harlequin turning into a ‘small dog syndrome’ animal – whining, snappy and disagreeable. He is actually described as a big dog in a tiny dog's body.

The Harlequin Pinscher is a social dog and wants to be with you wherever you go.

With their strong ancestry among the family of collies and herders, the German Coolie shares the look of collies and shepherds. Even though they differ from region to region and there is no actual standard, they are medium sized dogs with blue or brown eyes or even one of each. The ears are folded over on top when relaxed but they are rigid and straight when he is more alert. The nose is either chocolate or red depending on the color of their coat.

They can have either a long, medium or short coat but most owners want the short coat that is smooth as well. The coat can be one color – red/chocolate or black; Bi – red/white or black/white; Tri – solid black or red with white and brown; Tri merle -merle with white and brown; Merle – red merles and blue merles. Regardless of color, the German Coolie has the look of a collie or German Shepherd.

Health Problems

Harlequin Pinschers, just like other dog breeds, have health issues that they are prone to such as epilepsy, dental issues, obesity and Patellar Luxation.

Epilepsy or Seizures:

Some seizures in dogs are genetic or related to illness. A dog could have ingested something poisonous while a head injury can also cause seizures in dogs. If your pet has a seizure you may notice foaming at the mouth, drooling or twitching of the legs.

After a seizure you could see your dog walking in circles and bumping into things. It is important to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

This is a relatively healthy breed without many genetic disorders found in purebreds due to the 160 years they have spent fairly isolated and allowing natural selection to take its course.


In Merle dogs there can be deafness and/or blindness. If you breed a solid to a merle you can eliminate that.

Joint Issues

These are not inherited but rather acquired due to the immense amount of jumping and running.

  1. Allergies
  2. Minor skin allergies are possible in some.
  3. Seizures

Rare but it does occur and can be fatal if not treated

Caring The Pet


The short, smooth coat of the Harlequin Pinscher is easy to maintain, shedding little. With such a small, nimble dog, you can even take a damp cloth and wipe him down. You can brush him down once or twice a week to keep his coat healthy and shiny.

Dogs can develop dental problems such as tartar and plaque build-up. and this can lead to canine dental problems which can turn life-threatening as bad teeth affect the heart, kidneys and the liver.

You need to brush your pet's teeth 2 or 3 times a week making use of canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use regular human toothpaste for your dog as it can be poison to him. It is why dry kibble is better than soft food as the soft food sticks to the dogs teeth.


Your Harlequin Pinscher is also a member of the toy breed group and he has high energy levels. Always choose a high quality kibble for a small dog breed and also which is in keeping with his age and activity levels. He will do well on a high quality dry commercial food, some raw meat or home-cooked food such as chicken, brown rice, pasta and vegetables. If your dog is an energetic dog, he will benefit from a diet rich in protein.

It will be tempting to feed your little pet tasty treats such as chocolate, nuts, coffee and milk but be careful as these can cause severe digestive problems with your dog.

Feeding the puppy

Break meals into 3 a day feeding a high quality dry puppy food designed for dogs of his size. 11/2 to 2 cups per day.

Feeding the adult

Break meals into 2 a day feeding a high quality dry adult food designed for dogs of his size.

Points for Good Health

Traditionally good health. Great energy, intensity and devotion to work and owner.

Games and Exercises

This is an energetic dog that loves to work and needs to work. Regular routine exercise is needed daily. He needs to be stimulated mentally and physically. Find him a job. Make sure he knows what you want him to do. They work well with a human partner in games such as agility, tracking, flyball and herding. They need a large yard and a lot of play time. They are not couch potatoes and would be unhappy if they were stuck in a house or apartment


The Harlequin Pinscher may have once been good at catching rats but these days they are much more sought after for their ability to be a splendid companion and pet.

He is such an entertaining, social little dog, wanting to spend as much time with you as possible. He is fearless, energetic, playful, confident, loving and intelligent and those who have owned them say they are courageous way beyond their size.

He is strong willed, stubborn and confident and this larger-than-life dog is just waiting to show you what a wonderful friend he can be to you too.

Children friendliness

Yes, they can be very friendly with children is they are socialized and supervised.

Special talents

They have enough stamina to work for 14 hours a day.


They are very adaptable. They can be calm and steady when working a mother and baby lamb and then be able to forcefully move steers, bull, rams or weathers.

Learning ability

The breed is highly intelligent, and their learning ability is excellent because they want to please you.

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