The most noticeable feature of Yorkshire Terriers is their shiny colorful coats. Their coat resembles human hair and it changes colors from puppyhood to adulthood. These lapdogs are cute and you can easily identify purebred Yorkshire Terrier Puppies with their colors.
Yorkshire Terriers’ most common colors are tan, blue, black, and gold. The colors change as the puppy ages. Still, Yorkshire terriers can have others colors but rarely.
In this article, we discuss the Yorkshire Terrier colors i.e. the genetics of Yorkie color, officially recognized colors, rare Yorkie colors, and more.
The Genetics of Yorkshire Terrier Colors
The genetics of a Yorkie will greatly impact his coat color. Every dog has a pair of 39 chromosomes which are inherited from the dog parent.
The eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red) pigments are responsible for the colors that appear in a Yorkie. In Yorkshire puppies the black pigment is dominant.
The number of graying genes affects the color of a Yorkie, they make the color turn from black to blue, gold, or tan.
The color of a Yorkie can be white which is contributed by a recessive piebald gene but it’s rare.
At what age do a Yorkie change colors?
Yorkshire Terrier puppies have a black and tan coat at birth. The ratio of black and tan color will depend on an individual dog.
The Yorkie colors will start to change at the age of six months. It is hard to determine the colors that will dominate in your Yorkie at birth.
The color continues to change until the age of two to three years when the actual colors of the Yorkshire Terrier will be identified.
5 Standard Yorkie Colors Recognized by AKC
The America Kennel Club recognizes 5 standard Yorkie colors namely:
Black and Tan Yorkie
These Yorkies maintain their color to adulthood. This is made possible by the lack of greying genes in the Yorkie.
Blue and Tan Yorkie
These Yorkies have one greying gene which dominates the black color to blue. This color combination is one the most beautiful color pattern in Yorkies. The blue color shines in the light giving it an attractive look.
Black and Gold Yorkie
This color is a result of the presence of one greying gene that makes the tan color change to a lighter shade.
Blue and Gold Yorkie
These Yorkies have two greying genes which affect the black color to blue and brown to blue. Mostly their colors are different at the roots meaning the haircut you give your Yorkie will determine his color.
Parti Yorkie (black white and tan)
In the year 2000, the Parti Yorkie was recognized by the American Kennel Club as purebred. They are colors black, white and tan. Even though they are purely bred, Parti Yorkies are not allowed to participate in show rings because of their colors.
Related: How Big Do Terrier Mixes Get?
Rare Yorkshire Terrier Colors
There is no purebred black Yorkie, there are as a result of crossbreeding. Yorkies carry greying genes which makes it impossible for purebred Yorkies to have a true black color.
As a result of interbreeding, the black Yorkies have a rigid and dull coat. A purebred Yorkie might appear to be black but upon close inspection, slight brown marking can be seen.
Chocolate or Brown Yorkies
This color is a result of a b allele gene which is recessive. They are registered by the AKC but are not allowed in shown rings.
These colors are rare and are achieved by crossbreeding a Yorkie and another breed.
Red Yorkshire Terriers or Red-Legged Yorkie
These breeds are a result of inheriting a recessive gene from their ancestors. The red marks are mostly on the legs, chest, and face.
Red Yorkshire Terriers are used by some breeders to improve the coat texture and color of blue and gold Yorkies.
Golden Yorkie (Blonde Yorkies or Sable Yorkies)
These Yorkies are blonde all over. This is caused by the phaeomelanin gene being predominant. Golden Yorkies are rare and are achieved through crossbreeding.
Blue Born Yorkies
These Yorkies are steel blue at birth. These gene combinations are fatal and the puppies barely live for more than one year.
The blue-born Yorkies that survive are affected by many diseases like skin problems and allergies.
Do Yorkie Adult Coats Change as they get old?
An adult Yorkie will change color as he gets to the senior age. The original color gets lighter e.g. a chocolate coat will turn to gold.
Color Of Eyes Of Yorkies
The Yorkies have a standard eye color of black and brown. Once in a while a Yorkie can have blue eyes, the gene responsible is recessive.
Yorkshire Terriers’ most common colors are tan, blue, black, and white. The rare colors are red, chocolate, and blonde. These colors are rare because the breeders do not like to breed them because they do not meet the breed standards.
It is hard to determine the colors that will dominate when the puppy matures. The rare colors are achieved through interbreeding Yorkies and other puppies they still make great companions.