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Chocolate Yorkie – All You Need to Know About Brown Yorkies

Standard Yorkshire terriers have only four specific colors – black and tan, and blue and gold.

However, there are Yorkies that are different from the AKC standard.

and the Chocolate Yorkie is one of them.

More and more people are interested in these dogs, but there is no official information about their origin and history.

That is why everyone can believe in different theories. 

To be as helpful as we can, in this article we will provide a few different opinions from different people and will present you with opposing arguments as well.

But before that, let’s see what exactly is a Chocolate Yorkshire terrier and how it is different from the standard.

What is a Chocolate Yorkie

Chocolate Yorkie - picture

The Chocolate Yorkie (also known as Red Yorkie or Brown Yorkie) is a Yorkshire Terrier which is carrying a double recessive gene for a brown or red coat.

The result from that is a Yorkie which is different from the traditional ones when you compare their coat color.

The best of the gene can lead to liver or brown pigmentation of the nose, eye rims, and the paw pads.

As puppies, the traditional Yorkshire terriers usually appear with a black coat, but the ones that carry the double recessive gene for the brown coat have a lighter color even at birth.

So the chocolate Yorkshire terriers are fully brown from their first second.

The brown color may vary from brown to tan and depending on the exact shades there are Yorkshire terriers known as red-legged Yorkies, Liver and Tan Yorkies or entirely Tan Yorkies

Many breeders and people think that some Yorkshire terriers carry a recessive gene for a brown coat as a result of a crossbreeding with some other breeds like the Dachshund for example.

If you have an interest in the Chocolate colored Yorkshire terriers you can read more about them and make an educated decision if they are the right dogs for you.

The Genes Behind the Chocolate Yorkies (Brown Yorkies)

Even though there are so many different coat coloring in dogs, there are only two pigments that determine what the coat color will be.

These pigments are eumelanin which is responsible for the dark color and phaeomelanin which determine the red color of the coat.

Only these two pigments (both are forms of melanin) are responsible for the huge variety of coat colors in all the different dog breeds.

Withing the hair follicles there are cells called Melanocytes. As the hair grows these cells add melanin to the hair and that’s how the basic coat coloring is determined.

In this process more melanin added means darker color.

But the production of melanin may not always be in a constant rate. That’s why in some cases the tip of the dog’s hair may be darker color than the rest of the coat.

But how some Yorkies are born brown?

Each of these two pigments has a “default color”. For example the eumelanin is black pigment by default. But there are other genes that modify eumelanin and that’s how other colors like liver brown, blue and gray are created.

These other genes dilute the pigment which leads to these different colors.

The gene TYRP1, (tyrosinase-related protein 1) is responsible of the eumelanin creation. This gene is dominant in Yorkshire terriers puppies and as a result they appear black.

This dominant form of the TYRP1 gene is called B-Locus.

However, in Chocolate Yorkies there is a recessive mutation in TYRP1, that causes the eumelanin to dilute into a brown color. This mutated gene is called “b” allele.

When both of the parents carry this mutated “b” allele gene a brown Yorkie might be born. Only if the puppy has two copies of this “b” allele gene will appear brown.

In combination with the lighter form phaeomelanin, there is a possibility for a lighter color to appear like pale brown or tan.

Are Chocolate Yorkies purebred?

This is one of the most common questions that people ask when they see entirely brown Yorkshire terrier.

Generally speaking, Yes they are purebred.

As we already explained above, a chocolate color Yorkie may be born if both parents carry specific recessive genes. In these cases we can say that these Yorkie puppies are purebred.

But are all of the brown Yorkies on the market purebred?

Of course not!

Unfortunately, there are untrustworthy breeders, who cross breed Yorkshire terriers with another breed, only to produce brown Yorkies and earn more money. Of course these breeders are saying that their puppies are purebred, which is not true.

That’s why if you are looking buy a chocolate Yorkie, you should do your research carefully!

What breeders and other people think?

There is a strict standard for the Yorkshire terriers and it states that these dogs have only four colors (black and tan, and blue and gold) and entirely brown colored Yorkie is not in this standard.

That’s why there are lots of different opinions about the origin of these dogs.

Some people think that the Chocolate colored Yorkshire terrier is a mutation, others say that they are just a lack of pigment and everyone who advertises them as rare is dishonest.

Third group of people says that this color results from a genetic defect which can cause different health problems.

Now let’s discuss these statements in more detail.

The Chocolate Yorkie is a mutation

The Chocolate Yorkie is just an overload of red gold and is a mutation for the breed.

Unexpected color in the offspring can occur in a couple of ways:

1.) DNA sequence change within a chromosome or gene of the organism which can result in the creation of a new trait or character that is not found in the parents.

Either of the words mutation or evolution can be used for the change to be described.

2.) There was a gene responsible for the unexpected color change in one or both the parents or their ancestors.

We already said that in this case, only if both parents carry the recessive “b” allele of the TYRP1 gene brown Yorkie puppy could be born.

Actually, there is no medical documentation that is indicating that the Chocolate Yorkies are a result of a change in the DNA sequence within a chromosome or a gene.

There is some information about the so-called “chocolate” gene which had been brought into the breed by using the tan and black Terrier mostly known nowadays as the Manchester Terrier.

That way was utilized the Skye – black and tan Terriers crosses then crossed with Waterside Terriers.

The black and tan were referred to as a crossbreed Terrier with dark brown color.

But again, all this is just an assumption!

The Chocolate Yorkie is a result of the lack of pigment

The people that are advertising the Chocolate Yorkie’s color as rare are dishonest and they are trying to get more money for the dogs in spite of the lack of pigment,

which can lead to genetic problems to the breed afterward.

If there is a complete loss of pigment it should result in an albino Yorkie, which is not the case (there is a brown pigment).

The Chocolate color might be a result of a genetic defect that can affect the health of the dog

One of the issues regarding the breeding “off-colored” Yorkies is that the same off-color might be a result of a genetic defect that can even affect the well-being of the dog.

Some health issues can occur for example skin problems, complete hair loss, allergic reactions, and even long-term sickness and death.

The good and responsible breeders should not intentionally breed Chocolate Yorkies.

The only Yorkie colors that meet the AKC standards are black-tan and blue-gold.

Any other color such as chocolate or chocolate-tan can be considered as “off-color”.

When it comes to the physical appearance of the Yorkies like their size, weight and color – the show breeders and the general public might have different visions.

Something that is highly undesirable for one group of people might be highly desirable for another.

So we should respect the opinion of every group even when it is different than ours.

Do Chocolate Yorkies have health problems because of their coloring?

There is no documentation that supports the statement that these dogs might have health problems because of their pigmentation.

Even some breeders with a lot of experience confirm that they have not heard anything about that.

There are lots of chocolate Yorkies, who live long and happy life. The only difference with the standard Yorkshire terrier is the coloring.

Of course, like any other dog, they are living creatures and might experience different health conditions.

For more information, you can check our article about Yorkshire terrier health.


as we said earlier there might be a breeder who put the money first and don’t care about the pedigree and health of the puppies.

His main goal is to produce Chocolate Yorkies, because he will earn more money from them.

In this cases, there might be different health problems, but it doesn’t depend on the color, but the breeder.

After all, the breeders must consider every health issue as an undesirable trait.

Teacup Chocolate Yorkies

Teacup Yorkie is a term that describes smaller than the standard Yorkshire terriers.

Teacup chocolate Yorkie is a chocolate colored Yorkie, which is less than 4 lbs when it is fully grown.

If you are looking for a tiny micro dog please read our Teacup Yorkie article here.

Here is a video with Tinker Bell – She is a Teacup Chocolate Yorkie and her weight is about 1 pound 3 oz. only.

Can Chocolate Yorkshire terrier be AKC registered?

Usually, people think that these dogs cannot be AKC registered because this color is not considered a breed standard,

but the truth is that Chocolate Yorkshire terriers can be registered as Liver Yorkshire terrier, but they are not allowed to participate in shows and competitions.

Are Chocolate Yorkies Rare?

The definition of rare is something uncommon, something that is not occurring very often.

Many show breeders, at least in their early years of Yorkie breeding, would neuter or spray or even dispose of the puppies which are born in different colors than the standard.

This practice is making the gene pool even smaller for the chocolate color dogs, which can result in the Chocolate Yorkies to be even more rarer and uncommon.

The fact is that Chocolate color puppies are not born very often and should be indeed considered as rare.

Chocolate Yorkie Prices

Chocolate Yorkshire terriers are not very common, but at the same time, more and more people are interested in buying them.

This makes the price higher than the standard Yorkie price.

Prices vary a lot and you can find puppies from $1500 to $6500.

Chocolate Yorkies for sale

If you are looking to buy such a dog, you should make your own research and find a reputable breeder.

Please note that (I will say it again) there are people and “breeders” who will try to sell you a crossbred dog for a lot of money, by telling you that it is a purebred chocolate Yorkie.

Stay away from breeders who are only breeding for the color and not care about the health and the pedigree.

Do not buy in a hurry and do your research!  Always ask a lot of questions!

If the breeder doesn’t answer directly to your questions or you receive canned responses, or he is too pushy just run away.

Finding an honest and responsible breeder is really important for you and for your future pet!

In Conclusion

There might be a lot of things people say for the Chocolate Yorkies, however very few of them are factual and most of them are just opinions.

So what we can say for sure is that the Chocolate Yorkies do exist and are considered rare and they do not meet the breed standards of the AKC.

There are other Yorkie colors that are different from the standard and if you are interested you can check our article about the Parti Yorkie.

Pictuture of a chocolate color Yorkie

Do you have a Chocolate Yorkie?

Feel free to let us know in the comments below and if you would like to send us photos just contact us.

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