The typical Yorkie colors are very distinct and a significant feature of the breed, making it easy to identify a purebred. Yorkshire Terrier pups are born black and tan, but they turn blue and gold when they grow older. Other Yorkie colors, though uncommon, are also possible.
Do all Yorkies turn gray? All Yorkies eventually change colors as they get old, but not all Yorkies turn gray. Senior Yorkie dogs, in particular, may develop extra silver hairs, but they will never have a solid gray coat.
As you go further, you will learn more about the color markings and genetics of the Yorkshire Terrier.
History Of The Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkie was created about 130 years ago in Yorkshire, England. In mines and factories, they were bred to capture rodents. The exact breeds that contributed to the development of the Yorkshire Terrier are unknown.
There was a slight change in them during the transition of them being working dogs to household pets. Certain genes caused the coat to change from black to blue in all purebred Yorkies. These genes are only found in Yorkshire Terriers. There is also a gene that causes this breed’s silky hair.
The Standard Colors Of The Yorkshire terrier
Yorkies are known for their unique color, which is a significant aspect of the breed. According to breed standards, the coat should be perfectly straight, shiny with a fine silky texture, and not fluffy.
The American Kennel Club recognizes five official color groups (AKC). In the official form for registering a Yorkshire terrier, those were the only colors available.
The colors are:
- Yorkie colors
- Black and gold
- Black and tan
- Blue and tan
- Blue and gold
- Parti Yorkies (black, white, and tan colors).
The Genetics Of Yorkie Colorings
In a nutshell, genetics is complex, but here’s how it works:
Every cell in your dog’s body has two sets of chromosomes, one from their father and the other from their mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes.
These genes contain all of the information that distinguishes your dog, including sex, height, color, personality, and other characteristics.
If one parent provides a dominant gene and the other a recessive gene, the dog will inherit the dominant gene. You will get rarer, unpredictable outcomes if both genes are dominant or recessive. It is why each Yorkie is unique in appearance, behavior, and personality.
It all comes down to eumelanin when it comes to Yorkie colors and how they shift. Despite the wide range of coat colors, canines only have two basic pigments: Pheomelanin (red) and eumelanin (black). All of the colors you see in a dog are produced by combining these two pigments to varying degrees.
Yorkies’ purple, sable eumelanin predominates as puppies. Yorkies’ genetic makeup instructs some of the eumelanin to lighten as they mature, resulting in blue or silver Yorkie fur. In other parts of the body, eumelanin disappears entirely, and the body now releases pheomelanin.
The genes passed down from parents decide how light or dark a Yorkie’s coat will be. Purebred Yorkies, on the other hand, can have one of a limited number of color variations.
Yorkie Puppy Coloring
The genes passed down from parent to puppy in the Yorkshire Terrier breed produce a distinctive coat. The color of the coat can be a variety of colors and improves as the puppy grows older.
Black And Gold Yorkie
Every puppy’s color and proportions will vary, as will the rate at which its hair changes colors. As a result, a black and gold Yorkie will likely appear.
Black And Tan Yorkie
Some may identify the colors as black and brown. However, all ordinary purebred Yorkie puppies are born with black and tan coats.
Each dog’s proportions and placement of each color will vary. But a puppy’s coat will usually be mostly black with tan points on the following parts:
- The tips and undersides of the ears
- Above the eyes
- Around the mouth
- Down the face
- Sometimes on the feet and tail.
It will last for the first year of the dog’s life.
Adult Yorkie Coloring
This varies from dog to dog, but on average, it will begin to change color about the age of six months. You wouldn’t wake up one day to find a new puppy! It is a slow and steady process.
Adult coloring can be in place by the age of one or two years. The phase can take up to three years for certain people. A senior may grow extra silver hairs, but he or she will never have a completely gray coat.
Blue And Tan Yorkie
You can have a Blue and Tan adult Yorkie just as you can have a black and gold Yorkie. The pheomelanin in a Yorkie’s genes expresses itself in a darker shade, which causes this.
Of course, deciding whether a color is tan or gold is a matter of opinion. Blue and tan, on the other hand, is a separate color type in the AKC’s Yorkshire Terrier registry.
Blue And Gold Yorkie
The majority of adult Yorkies will develop a blue and gold coat. It could also be referred to as basic coat lighting.
The black fur from the puppy’s formative years will begin to lighten into a grayish steel blue color about six months of age. It might be difficult to detect at first, particularly without direct sunlight, but the difference should become apparent over time.
In a similar vein, the puppy’s tan points should begin to lighten. It will depend entirely on your dog and the length of the Yorkie haircut you’ve chosen for your dog. However, it is normal for the dog’s roots to be a darker bronzy color and then a light gold color at their ends.
Your once black Yorkie puppy should have a perfectly golden head and chest at two or three years old. It can also develop into a gray-blue back adult.
While most dog breeds get their looks from their parents, some may have physical characteristics that date back five generations. It is particularly true of the red-legged Yorkie.
A throwback gene is a term used to describe this genetic change. Puppies with red legs are born when both parents have two copies of a recessive gene.
The red-legged Yorkie does not follow the AKC breed standard and cannot be seen. However, it is a 100% purebred Yorkie that can be registered.
The black on a puppy does not turn blue. The tan color does, and the tan color changes to a rich shiny red. The coat is wiry and not as silky as that of typical Yorkies. The facial hair develops longer than the rest of the body.
Rare Yorkie Colors
The standard blue and gold colors are used in 99.9% of Yorkshire Terriers. Other Yorkie shades, on the other hand, are sometimes used.
1. The Parti Yorkie
The parti Yorkie is a one-of-a-kind color combination of standard blue and white with tan accents. A rare recessive gene causes it. There are many hypotheses on how the gene got into the Yorkie community.
According to one hypothesis, the white Maltese was crossed with the Yorkie to enhance the coat texture. Yorkies with the white recessive gene were likely developed as a result of this cross-breeding.
There’s even a blonde parti-color and a chocolate parti-color. This tri-colored Yorkie has grown in popularity in recent years.
However, many breeders refuse to recognize it as purebred due to the white coloring. But after conducting studies, the AKC approved registrations for the parti Yorkie in 2000.
The particolors, contrary to popular opinion, are not new. They’ve been around since the 1800s, but the general public was unaware of their existence.
To save the breeder’s name, these dogs were either destroyed or secretly given away. The parti gene can be passed down for several generations and is only expressed when two carriers are bred together.
As a result:
- Traditional Yorkie colors will be seen in 25% of the offspring, but they will not be carriers of the recessive gene.
- 50% of the puppies will be standard Yorkie colors, but they will be recessive carriers of the recessive gene.
- 25% will be parti
Parti Yorkies aren’t mutts, and they’re certainly not unhealthy. Only the color distinguishes them from the standard Yorkshire Terrier.
2. Black Yorkie
A purebred black Yorkie is almost difficult to come by. If you ever see one, it is almost always the product of cross-breeding with other black-coated breeds. A dominant gene for blackness is present in a solid black dog.
When Yorkies bear this gene, one of two things happens:
- Rigid Hair – The hair is coarse and does not grow to the appropriate length for a Yorkie.
- Black with dull hair – Yorkies with black, dull fur have a thick coat that grows faster than they should. It isn’t exciting. It gives the impression that the dog has a short neck.
After years of breeding, our favorite Yorkshire would have a different appearance. Several breeders are combining color genes to produce more stable color patterns, which I believe is unlikely.
Many breeders are also hesitant to use them in their breeding programs. No breeder wants to be associated with breeding Yorkshire terriers that do not meet the AKC’s criteria.