The Yorkshire terrier is a longhaired breed that doesn’t have an undercoat like many of the other dogs.
This means that the level of shedding is very low to almost missing.
The lack of undercoat makes the hair of Yorkies very similar to the humans. It rarely falls out (only when combed or damaged) and it constantly grows.
Due to the structure of their coat, Yorkshire terriers are considered as a hypoallergenic breed that does not cause people allergies at all or very rarely.
The Standard Colors of the Yorkshire terrier
The color of Yorkies is something special and a very important characteristic of the breed.
According to the standards of the breed, the proper coat structure should be perfectly straight (not wavy), shiny with fine silky texture and not fluffy.
Five official categories of colors are accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Those are the only colors which could be found in the official form for registering a Yorkshire terrier.
The colors are:
- Black and gold
- Black and tan
- Blue and tan
- Blue and gold
- Parti Yorkies (black, white and tan colors). They are eligible for registration since the year of 2000.
The Yorkie colors in details
The hair on the head is long and golden and it gets even more intense on the sides of the head, at the base of the ears and on the muzzle where it is the longest.
The golden color of the head should not extend to the neck and also should not have any admixture of grey or black hair.
The blue color extends from the neck to the base of the tail. No tan should be visible at this part of the body.
The hair on the breast and belly should be intense bright golden color.
All the golden hair is actually darker at the roots than in the middle and towards the ends, it becomes much lighter.
The legs should also be golden. The golden color should not be above the elbows and knees.
The ears are with a very rich golden coloring, too.
The tail and especially towards the end is covered with a solid blue color which is visibly darker than the shade of the body.
The color of the coat of many Yorkies does not meet the accepted standards. The golden color of the coat may range from very light to very dark and the hair on the body can be from almost black to a silver or silver – grey shades.
The specialists notice a connection between the color and the structure of the coat of the Yorkshire terriers.
Too dark dogs rarely have the right silky coat, usually, it is wavy and, as they say, “puffy”.
Lighter dogs have a correct texture, but their coat is possible to change to brownish with time.
The Breeders About the Yorkie Colors
Many people agree that it is really difficult to produce a saturated blue color. It is considered that this color, in particular, will have the perfect – structured coat and will perfectly meet the standards.
Nowadays breeders pay much more attention to produce dogs with proper coat rather than the right colors.
In that way, they manage to have Yorkies with a quality structure of the hair and at the same time close to the standards colors.
Coat qualities that are not well accepted
Some puppies change their color at a very early age. It is possible that sometimes they become lighter at the age of six months.
In this case, by the 12 months, they acquire the color of silver with whiteish shade which is very undesirable for the breeders.
This type of coat is easy to distinguish. Imagine a combed cotton wool. Such a hair in most of the cases is dark without the typical shining.
It would look kind of pale with a thin structure. People with no experience will perceive this color as dark blue but in fact, it is dark grey.
This type of coat is wrong and should be avoided if possible.
This coat is not so easy to identify in a puppy, but by the age of 6 months, it has become rare and uneven, as if damaged.
It is much easier to be recognized in mature Yorkshire terriers because their hair never grows to the desired length.
When touched, the feeling is not soft and silky as it should be but rather a bit rough. Usually, puppies will not change their color and remain with a black color as adults.
Black and dull hair
We left that type of coat to be explained last on purpose. You can ask any breeder what he thinks about black faded hair on his Yorkies and you will see his awkward reaction.
This may be “the worst” kind of a coat that a Yorkshire terrier might have. Some experts even suggest that we should avoid buying puppies with such hair.
Their coat is always very thick and grows much faster than it should be. When the puppies are small, it is very difficult to differentiate this coat from the proper one and that is why many people even specialist are deceived.
The only way to recognize it is by touching. It is very similar to touching a sheep’s wool and looks somehow wavy at the ends.
When the Yorkies get older, a typical shine of the hair will be missing.
Most of the dogs with that type of coat will look like they have a very short neck but at the same time, they will be with a cute face which makes a pleasant impression.
We’ve seen such Yorkshire terriers who really pleased the judges during dog shows, especially when they perform the required tasks well.
The dog must not have brownish or yellowish hues on the body. The definition of the word “tan” used in the breed standards was often misunderstood and introduced some uncertainty.
The color should be similar to the gold of the wedding ring of 22 carats.
The proper golden color should be darker at the roots and change to lighter at the ends.
There is another type of coat that grows very slowly. The color is very dark blue with golden and reddish tints. Such wool will most probably become silky, but will never grow long enough to achieve high marks at the exhibitions.
The golden color in such cases is not intense enough and the hairs break easily.
Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Colors
Yorkshire terrier puppies are born black with a few tan spots. The tan spots we can see on the muzzle, under the tail, on the outer parts of the hind and front legs and above the eyes.
Also, on the inner side of the front paws from the armpits and the chest to the hind paws.
The lower part of the body, the chin, and the throat are bronzed.
The spots can be of different shades – from golden-yellow to dark golden-bronze, with different sizes. It is also possible to have baby hair with mixed coloring. Over time, coat begins to lighten up.
The change of colors usually begins with the head. The black or black – brownish color is replaced by a golden – bronze. It shouldn’t be any black spots left.
The chest and paws coloring also change. The shades become much brighter and clear and the areas with mixed coloring disappear.
The typical silver – steel color begins to appear on the neck, shoulder, back, and waist. When viewed from above you can clearly see the difference between the lighter roots and dark tips.
Not all puppies acquire the correct colors. Very often the colors of the doggies in the same litter might be different.
Puppies who usually cannot acquire the right colors are born entirely black, bronze, bronze with black spots or gray.
These Yorkies most probably would not be used for breeding and also cannot compete in AKC sponsored events.
But of course, this doesn’t prevent them from being loving pets who deserve someone to love them, too.
Breeders are also not happy with puppies which coat is bronze mixed with black. The reason is that when the color changes, the coat structure changes as well.
The color change usually begins at the age of 4 months. The dogs get their final coloring by the age of 2 to 3 years old (in rare cases a bit later).
The change of color in Yorkshire terrier puppies
To meet the standards, puppies should “remove” all black or black-brown hair from the head.
Black hairs on the muzzle, around the eyes and on the sides of the head, behind the ears, too, gradually become bright golden-bronze in the roots.
With the gradual fading of the black color, the hair acquires golden brown hue.
The chest and the legs follow up the same timing as the head and all previously bronze shades become brighter bronze.
In a case when the puppies have very pale creamy nuances, there would be no visible difference between the puppy creamy shades and the hair as an adult.
The blue color begins its transition from black to the roots of the hair to the tips slowly and gradually.
After some time there will be no need for digging into the hair in order to see the actual color change. It is clearly visible when looking at the Yorkie from above.
Together with the change in the color of the coat, the pigmentation of the skin changes, too.
Breeders know that the biggest challenge to developing the perfect Yorkie’s color is the structure of the hair.
In a newborn puppy, the coat is smooth and only with the growth of hair can one feel their structure.
It can be woolly, fluffy, hard or silky at the same time.
Rigid hair can develop a visually correct color, but it can never grow long. Most Yorkshires with tough hair begins to change its structure at the age of about 1 year.
In the roots, it becomes lighter and starts to grow thinner and thus the coat becomes silkier.
Puppies with fluffy cotton or woolly hair will never achieve visually correct color of the hair even though it grows quickly.
The coat can grow fast enough to the floor, but being with an irregular structure, too thick, heavy and soft, prevents the rays of light from reflecting and such puppies will never be shiny.
Wavy fur is visible in puppies at a very early age and usually ends in pale silver hair in an adult dog.
Two puppies will never have exactly the same recoloring but still, there are some general facts:
3 – 4 Weeks Old Puppies
If you move the black hair on the vertex, you can see the golden bases. This means that when this puppy grows, its head will be pure golden brown. If the hair is also silky in the body, then it will also be the right color.
Puppies 4 to 5 Months Old
The structure of the hair is rigid with a very bright red-bronze color on the muzzle and paws.
The body is also rigid and absolutely black. There are two options.
If by 9 months the puppy does not begin to change the black color of the coat on the body into silver – steel, then most likely it will remain rough, short and almost black for life.
If by 8-9 months, there is a noticeable color change on the neck and shoulders from black to steel, the structure will become softer, the coat can grow long and the dark-steel color will remain very long on the body.
The reddish color on the muzzle and paws will be noticeably intense.
Puppies About 9 Months
The hair is long and heavy, a lot of it is without any signs of recoloring. The legs are painted in a pale cream color, the head with dark brown and black hair.
On the temple, there could be seen black stripes and behind the ears a lot of black hair, too.
At the time, such puppies will most probably reduce the blackness and brownness on their head but will never have a pure golden-red color on the head and a shiny steel on the body.
Hair structure will remain fluffy or woolly, there it will never be shiny.
Conclusion from all the above
In order to get a properly colored adult Yorkshire terrier, it is necessary to select a puppy with a silky, straight hair that has an obvious blossom on the head in about 3 to 4 months.
The hair on the paws and muzzle should shine and be a reddish tone. At the base of the hair, it should be more intense red tint than in the middle.
How to determine the mature coloring when the puppy is still 2 – 3 months old
All the puppies at that age are similarly black.
On the pictures below there are three options of color shades.
View of the puppy’s head from above.
The hair on the top of the head is white-yellow color. When adult, such a puppy will have very bright color.
The hair on the top of the head is with silver – steel shade. Such a puppy in the adult state will have a classic steel color with a bright reddish muzzle.
The hair on the top of the head is black with gray – reddish shades. Becoming an adult, such a puppy will have a very dark – steel tone with a bronze hue on the face.
Different Yorkie colors
Nowadays, there are a variety of colors that you can tell a Yorkshire terrier apart from the standards.
Parti Yorkies, Chocolate Yorkies or Black Yorkies could all be seen today but they are still considered as rare or exotic and that is why their prices are usually higher than the traditional.
Their unique coloring is a result of the recessive genes their parents are caring.
The first time Parti Yorkies are mentioned in the old books is around the year of 1800.
What is interesting about them is that back in those times reputable breeders and experts were considering them as “trashy”.
That is the reason for Parti Yorkies being killed or secretly given away the back door to people that will keep the secret where they got them.
None of the breeders wanted to be known that their purebred Yorkshire terriers produced dogs with “off-standard” colors.
Things are different now and since the year of 2000 Parti Yorkies can be officially registered with the AKC.
The AKC have conducted DNA test and an in-depth history research of our favorite breed prior to the final decision making the tri-colored Yorkshire terriers registerable.
So what they concluded is that Parti Yorkshire terriers are purebred Yorkies with the only difference of their coat colors.
Black, white and tan are the colors of the typical Party Yorkies.
To read the entire story behind those real beauties, read our article “What is a Parti Yorkie? Everything you need to know!”
Instead of born almost black like the traditional Yorkshire terrier, the Chocolate puppies will not have any other color than brown.
Still, a relevant information of how they started is missing. Some say it is due to a double recessive Chocolate gene their parents are carrying.
Others say that they are the result of crossing the Yorkshire terrier with other breeds.
Furthermore, some breeders agree that if a dog carries one recessive Chocolate gene, it will look like a traditional Yorkie. But if it carries 2 recessive Chocolate genes, the black in his coat and skin are diluted to a brown or liver color.
What we know for sure is that there are registerable with the AKC as Chocolate/ Tan or Liver/ Tan.
In some places, you can read that they are separate breed but it is not true. They are Yorkshire terriers only with a different color.
Due to the new rules of the YTCA, they are not allowed to participate in AKC sponsored events.
No other health issues or different temperament from those of the traditional are known.
Many people are misled by the information about Black Yorkies.
Yes, it is true that we do not have any sufficient facts and data about them.
What we can say is that it is almost impossible to get an entirely solid black Yorkshire terrier.
In order to produce such, someone will need to breed the Yorkie with another breed that has a solid black color.
Different Yorkie Colors Conclusion
Yorkies with “off – standard” colors are still rare to find. One reason for that is the regulations of the AKC and YTCA.
The guidelines do not allow participation of different colored Yorkshire terriers to the sponsored events and that is why most people think “off – standard” Yorkies are not purebred.
Due to this perception, many breeders are still very reserved in breeding them. No breeder wants to be known for producing Yorkshire terriers that are not meeting the standards of the AKC.
Looking from a different angle, this might be better. What would happen if all the breeders start producing Yorkies with different colors?
After years of breeding, we will end up with a completely different look of our favorite Yorkshires due to all the mixing of the various color genes.
Last update on 2018-08-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API