Yorkshire Terrier Colours

 

 

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The AKC Recognized Colours

Although Yorkie pups are born black and tan, their colour changes as they mature. The ideal coat colour for adult Yorkies is blue (actually a deep, steel gray; no silver, black, or bronze mixed in) and tan. The AKC also recognizes black instead of blue and gold instead of tan. Bottom line? Your Yorkie can be any of these colour combinations: blue and gold, blue and tan, black and gold, and black and tan.

Not only are these colours the only accepted colors, but they also must appear in the accepted places:

  • On the body: Blue or black from the back of the neck to the tip of the tail.
  • On the head: Golden tan or gold on the fall, with a richer tan/gold on the ears and muzzle.
  • On the chest and legs: Tan or gold on the chest. On the legs, the tan/gold should go no higher than the elbow on the front legs and the stifle on the hind legs.

How Colourful Yorkies Came to Be ...


Many skeptical Yorkie owners and breeders, absolutely refuse to believe that the parti, chocolate and golden colored yorkie is anything other than a recent "behind the kennel bred" mutt. They say: "The only color that yorkies come in is blue and tan" or "There is NO record of any Yorkie ever breeding to a white, parti, chocolate or golden colored dog."  This article will try to educate you about color genetics, recessive genes and how these unique colors remained hidden in the Yorkshire terrier breed for years.

We know from our yorkie history, that early records were not kept on the foundation breeding stock. I seriously doubt, that back in the days where spaying and neutering was not done, that the farmers and working class families didn't have the "occasional" unplanned pregnancy in their canines. If anything, it happened more then, than it does today.  

It's documented in some of the earliest records that the foundation stock of our breed, were cross-bred dogs and dogs without pedigrees (who's heritage is unknown). Even if these dogs didn't look parti, chocolate or golden colored they could very well have harbored the recessive genes in their DNA makeup. Whether their mother/father, grandmother/grandfather or great grandmother/great grandfather was parti, chocolate or golden colored, no one would really know, since record keeping at that time in history, was little to none.

The parti, chocolate and gold gene can only be expressed if a dog who carries one copy of that particular recessive gene (known as a carrier) is bred to another dog who also carries that same recessive gene. A carrier will look like a traditional colored Yorkie; parti carriers may have some white markings on their chest and feet but otherwise, the carriers will look like a black and tan yorkie puppy.  When a carrier is bred to another carrier, 25% of the offspring will be traditional yorkies (not carrying the gene), 50% will be traditional colored yorkies who do carry the recessive gene and 25% of the offspring will be actual parti, chocolate or golden colored yorkies - these dogs carry 2 recessive genes, one from their mother and one from their father.  It's only been approximately 5 years since AKC has allowed these beautiful colored yorkies to be eligible for registration. Prior to that time, parti, chocolate and golden colored offspring were normally kept quiet, given away without papers or destroyed (yes, destroyed). 


In this day of scam artists and people looking to make a fast buck, my suggestion is to buy from reputable breeders who have their dogs DNA'd or their dogs come from known color producing lines.  So do your research, get references and have an open mind. These genes have been in some of our Yorkie bloodlines for years and years and years ... and if you think it's not possible, don't be surprised if one day your own purebred Yorkie produces a pup of a different color!

 

 


 
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Liver Yorkshire Terriers

 
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The Liver Yorkshire Terrier (also referred to as Chocolate or Red Yorkshire Terrier) is a Yorkshire Terrier carrying a double recessive gene for a red or brown coat.   The result is a Yorkshire Terrier whose color and coat do not conform to the breed standard.  The gene will also often result in brown or liver pigmentation of the eye rims, nose and paw pads, another flaw in a Yorkie.  Yorkie puppies should be born with a black coat, but Yorkies having the double recessive gene for a brown coat are a lighter color at birth.

The American Kennel Club has many colors on the list as acceptable for a Yorkie, which means that some off-color Yorkies may sometimes be registered. However, the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America (YTCA) opposes the breeding of these dogs:

"Blue born puppies and red/chocolate born puppies are not acceptable colors of the Yorkshire Terrier. The Yorkshire Terrier should only be born black/tan and later turn to a dark steel blue. The blue born puppies and red/chocolate born puppies are recessive colors being passed to the progeny and a repeat breeding should never occur. Puppies of these colors should not be sold as "rare colors." Yes hopefully it is very rare to get them, but these are totally unacceptable colors and it’s not so much that they are rare, as that they are not true representatives of the breed. . . A breeder should not knowingly breed a dog that is producing such a known defect. The breed could shortly become other than what it is. . . The standard laid down by the YTCA is very specific about the Yorkshire Terrier. It states the puppy should be born black/tan and change color to a blue/tan dog later in life."

The Liver color is a mutation to the Yorkshire Terrier breed and not in line with the breed standard.