The Yorkie colors are really interesting and unique for this breed.
It could be easy for a person to identify if the Yorkshire Terrier is a purebred, due to this distinct color.
This dog is different from other breeds that are famous for having any color or just one solid color.
It is also interesting that the color of the little puppy will be much different from the color of the adult dog.
Due to this reason, it will be easy for a person to identify quickly if the dog is a puppy or an adult dog.
What colors are Yorkies?
Only four colors are met for this breed:
blue, black, gold and tan.
The colors of the little puppies are black and tan, and the adult dogs are colored in blue and gold.
This coloring is so typical for the breed that when in 1984 a little puppy was born with 3 distinct colors, it actually started a different breed, which is known under the name Biewer Terrier.
So the typical coloring of the Yorkie is blue and gold, and the blue should start from the neck and end up to the tail.
But sometimes the Yorkshire Terrier will have different color-fall.
Why is the Yorkshire Terrier Coloring so Different?
The unique things are the genes that the Yorkshire Terrier carries if the puppy is a purebred.
They are responsible for the changeover of the puppy’s coat from black color into blue color when the dog grows as an adult.
And there is also a gene that is responsible for the silky coat which is also so typical for the breed.
Yorkie puppy colors
The little puppies are born with the two distinct colors – black and tan.
And from pup to pup the percentage of tan and black on the puppies will vary.
It is interesting that the puppies have few tan spots which can be seen under their tails, on the muzzles, on the front legs, above the eyes, and on the hind’s outer parts.
Plus, they might be also seen on the front paws’ inner side from the pet’s armpits and on the chest to the Yorkie’s hind paws.
The throat, chin, and the body’s lower part are bronzed.
There might be different shades of spots – dark golden-bronze, golden-yellow, etc. – and they are of different sizes.
The baby hair might be with mixed coloring and start to lighten up with time.
The color usually starts to change from the head and will turn from black to golden-bronze. No black spots should be left when the dog is full-grown.
The color of the paws and chest will also change – the mixed coloring shall disappear and the shades will be much clear and brighter.
On the waist, shoulder, back and neck will start to appear the typical silver-steel coloring. If you look from above, you’ll be able to differentiate the dark tips and the lighter roots.
Not all puppies have the same coat colors.
Very often the colors of the little puppies in the same litter might be different.
Usually, the puppies who are born bronze, entirely black, gray, or bronze with black spots usually won’t acquire the right coloring.
They cannot participate in the events sponsored by the AKC and probably won’t be used in the breeding.
Still, this doesn’t mean that these dogs won’t be loving pets – they will be and they definitely deserve an owner who’ll love them.
The breeders don’t like it if their puppies have coat which is bronze with black because the coat structure will change along with the color.
Do Yorkies change colors?
The short answer is:
YES, they do!
As we already said at the beginning the puppies are born in black and tan and when they are adult their colors are blue and gold.
At What Age Do Yorkies Change their Colors?
It is a bit individual for every dog, but usually the color will start to change when the puppy reaches about 6 months and it does not happen for one night.
The final coloring will be achieved by 2-3 years old.
For some dogs the process may continue even after the third year or they might develop some silver hairs.
More about the process of changing the colors of Yorkies
The change in the coloring of the Yorkshire terrier is not a drastic one, but it is an official change, so it is expected to happen when the dog turns into an adult.
The adult dogs appear to be with lighter coats in comparison to the puppies because the tan or gold coloring is much more than the black color. And with time the black color turns into blue color.
But you should know that the blue color in the dog’s world is not the actual typical blue that we know.
It can be described more as a diluted black color.
For the different breeds, there can be different shades of blue color.
When this color defines the terrier, it is described as dark steel blue or shiny silver.
Because of this dark shade, it could easily be mistaken for black, but when it is seen in bright sunlight, you can see that there is a difference from the usual black.
And while the black will change to blue, the tan will also change with time to gold. This hair is darker at the roots and is getting lighter at the ends.
While the terrier is changing its color, it is interesting that all four colors could present on the dog’s coat at the same time.
The individual hairs do not change their color, but new hair grows out.
The process of changing the color of its coat is slow and it happens gradually.
The hair grows, rests and falls.
That is why the dog’s coat looks as thick as it was while the dog was a little puppy.
The coat of the Yorkshire terrier is much like the human hair, it is in a constant state of renewal.
You will not notice whole chumps of hair, while the dog is changing its color, but only a few hairs while you are grooming your dog.
What is the change in the Yorkshire terrier puppy colors?
The head should not have any black or black-brown color in order to meet the standards.
On the head’s sides, around the eyes and on the muzzle, the color will start to change from black to bright golden-bronze.
The black will gradually start to fade and be replaced with golden brown hue.
At the same time when the head color changes, the legs and chest will change too and will turn to brighter bronze.
If the puppy has pale creamy nuances, between the puppy color and their adult hair there wouldn’t be a visible difference.
The color will slowly turn from black to blue from the roots gradually to the tips.
After a while, you will be able to clearly see the color change from above, without having to dig into the hair.
The skin pigmentation will change along with the coat color.
The biggest challenge to the Yorkie developing the perfect color, as the breeders know, is the hair structure.
When the puppy is still a newborn, its coat is very smooth.
You can feel its structure only when the hair grows. It can be not only hard or woolly but also silky or fluffy at the same time.
If the hair is rigid, it can turn visually to a correct color but won’t grow long.
If the Yorkie’s hair is tough, its structure usually starts to change at 1 year age. Its roots will become lighter. At the same time, the coat will begin to grow thinner and silkier.
The coat of the puppies who have woolly or fluffy cotton hair will grow quickly but its color will never turn to the correct one.
It will grow really fast but since the structure is irregular – heavy, soft and thick – the rays of light won’t be able to reflect and these puppies won’t achieve a shiny look.
If the fur is wavy, you can easily see that even at a very young age. This type of fur, when the dog matures, will usually be in pale silver color.
Yorkie puppy colors by months
There are no two Yorkie puppies with exactly the same colors, but here are some quick facts:
3 – 4 Weeks Old Yorkies
The golden bases can be seen if the back hair is moved on the vertex. This means that the head of the puppy will be pure golden brown when it grows older.
Should the body hair be silky, then the color will be the correct one.
Puppies 4 to 5 Months Old
They have rigid hair structure and the paws and muzzle have bright red-bronze coloring. The body is totally black and rigid.
There are two different options:
- If the body coat doesn’t start to change from black to silver-steel by the 9th month, then the puppy will probably has a short, rough and almost black coat until the rest of its life.
- If the color on the shoulders and neck start to noticeable change from black to steel by the 8th to the 9th month, the structure of the coat will become softer,
the dark-steel color on the body will remain for a very long time and the coat will be able to grow long.
You’ll be able to see the intense reddish color on the Yorkie’s paws and muzzle.
Puppies About 9 Months
A big part of the hair doesn’t show signs of changing color. The hair itself is heavy, long, and black, while the head will be dark brown and the legs – pale cream.
Black stripes might be visible on the temple and black hair might be seen behind the ears.
Such puppies will probably reduce their head’s brown or black color but won’t achieve the pure golden-red coloring on their head, neither the body’s shiny steel color.
The structure of the hair will be woolly or fluffy and the dog won’t have a shiny look.
In Conclusion from all the above we can say that:
If you want a properly colored mature Yorkie, you must choose a puppy whose hair is straight, silky and whose hair has obvious blossom at the age of 3 to 4 months.
The muzzle and paws should have reddish and shiny hair.
The red tint at the hair’s base should be more intense than it is in the middle.
The Adult Yorkie Colors
If the dog participates in dog show events, then the full adult hair of the Yorkshire Terrier will be of great importance, as it is according to the requirements of AKC.
The guidelines of the association claim that it is most important that the Yorkshire terrier has a distinct color of black/blue and tan/gold coloring, which is without intermingling.
But there are many terriers of this breed that do not meet exactly these guidelines.
How to determine the full-grown Yorkshire terrier coloring when the puppy is only 2 – 3 months old?
The puppies at 2-3 months are all similarly black.
There are three color shades options you should know:
View of the head of the Yorkie from above:
1) White-yellow colored hair on the head’s top. Such puppies do have very bright coloring as adults.
2) Silver-steel shade of the hair on the head’s top. When they mature, such puppies will be with classic steel coloring of the coat and the muzzle will be bright reddish.
3) Gray-reddish shades on the hair of the head’s top. If this is the case, the puppy will have dark-steel coloring when an adult while its face will have a bronze hue.
Teacup Yorkie colors
Teacup Yorkies are not a separate breed, as many people are confused. These dogs are just smaller than the standard size Yorkies, usually under 4 lbs.
As they are not different from the standard Yorkshire terriers except the size, their colors are the same as the standard Yorkie terrier colors.
We have a special article about these miniature Yorkies.
Different Yorkie Colors
It is rare, but sometimes the Yorkies can have a little black or blue on their coat.
There are Yorkshire Terriers that the majority of their coat is fully cram, tan or gold.
Although these dogs are really gorgeous, it is not recommended to breed them, because after starting breeding such dogs, it would eliminate after some time the standard coloring of the Yorkshire Terrier.
Is it possible to have a Yorkie which is all tan or all black?
Actually, it is not possible. Even though you may think that the little puppy is all black, after closer inspection, some kind of tan coloring should be seen on its body.
It could be just a few strands or a really small patch, but it presents on the dog’s coat. Usually, both colors should be well seen on the coat of the little Yorkie puppies.
Rare Yorkie colors
The Yorkies nowadays might be in a wide range of colors different from the standard ones.
Parti, Black, or Chocolate Yorkies are with higher prices than the traditional Yorkshire Terriers for they are considered to be much more exotic and rare.
The parents of such puppies are caring certain recessive genes which lead to the puppies having such unique colors.
In books from the 1800s we can see the first mentioning of the Parti Yorkies.
They were once considered to be “low-quality” by the experts and the reputable breeders.
This is why they were executed or discretely given away to people who will never tell where they got them from.
The breeders back then didn’t want the people to know that their Yorkshire Terriers had puppies with colors that are “off-standard”.
But things have changed!
After 2000, the AKC officially registers the Parti Yorkies.
Before deciding to start registering the tri-colored Yorkies, the AKC researched their history thoroughly and conducted DNA tests.
After all of this testing and research, the AKC concluded that the Parti Yorkies are indeed purebred Yorkshire Terriers which differ only by their coat color.
Typically, the Parti Yorkies have a tan, white and black colors. For more information, you can see our article: What is a Parti Yorkie
The Golden Yorkies are simply Yorkshire Terriers who don’t have a black or dark blue color.
When puppies, these might have a solid golden color or golden color with white markings.
The Golden Yorkshire Terriers might be with different variations of the gold color – from blond to deeply rich.
While the traditional Yorkies are born with almost black color, the Chocolate Yorkies are with only brown color.
We don’t have relevant data about how they developed. Some people think that their color is because of their parents carrying the double recessive Chocolate gene.
But some people support the theory that the Chocolate Yorkies occurred as a result of the crossing other breeds with the Yorkshire Terrier.
There are some breeders which state that if the dog has only one recessive Chocolate gene, then this dog will look like the traditional Yorkies,
but if it has two recessive Chocolate genes, then its skin and coat will be not black but with liver or brown color.
Actually, we have a different article where we explain everything about the Chocolate Yorkie, so you can have a look if you would like to know more about them.
They can be registered with the AKC as Liver/Tan or Chocolate/Tan.
You might see the Chocolate Yorkies being mentioned as a separate breed – this is definitely not true. They are indeed Yorkshire terriers but simply with a different color.
The YTCA rules state that the Chocolate Yorkies cannot participate in the events of the AKC.
Red Legged Yorkies
Another rare coloring is so-called Red-Legged Yorkie.
In order to be born puppy with such colors, both of the parents must carry a specific recessive gene.
The black color remains black instead of turning to blue when the puppy is growing and the tan color becomes red.
Their coat is not so silky and usually will not grow as long as the coat of the standard Yorkshire terriers.
These puppies are purebred Yorkshire terriers and can be registered.
But they are not allowed to participate in shows, because they don’t meet the breed standard.
The information about this type of Yorkies has misled many people because we don’t have sufficient data about the Black Yorkies.
Developing entirely Black Yorkie is almost impossible – it can be achieved by breeding the Yorkie with another breed with solid black coloring.
Standard Yorkie Color Variations
Many of the Yorkies have coats the color of which doesn’t meet the standards accepted.
The coat’s golden color might be in many variations – very light to very dark – while the body’s hair might be in silver-gray shades, silver or almost black.
The specialists have discovered that there is a connection between the structure and the color of the Yorkies’ coats.
- If the dogs are too dark, they are rarely with a silky coat but more usually with a wavy coat.
- If the dog’s color is lighter, then its coat is with the correct texture but will possibly turn to brownish color over time.
A lot of people have made the agreement that the saturated blue color is very difficult to produce.
It is thought that this particular color will meet the standards perfectly and these dogs will be with a perfectly structured coat.
The breeders these days don’t focus that much on the right colors but rather on the proper coat.
Doing this, they breed Yorkies which are close to having the standard colors but are with quality hair structure at the same time.
Yorkshire terrier Coat qualities that are avoided at exhibitions
Some of the puppies, when they are very young, will change the color of their coat. When they are six months, it is very likely that they might get lighter.
If this is the case, by the time they reach 12 months, their coat color will turn to silver with white shade.
The breeders really don’t want their puppies to have this color.
It is very easy to distinguish the cotton type of coat – it is pretty much like combed cotton look. Usually, that coat doesn’t have the typical shining and is dark.
It has a thin structure and looks pale – if you don’t have experience, you might think that this color is dark blue but it actually is dark gray.
If possible, the cotton type of coat should be avoided for it is the wrong one.
It is not easy to tell if the puppy has rigid hair. By the time the puppy has reached 6 months, if it has rigid hair, it will become uneven and rare, like it is damaged.
It is easier to tell if a mature Yorkie has rigid hair for if it does, the hair will never grow to the desired length.
When you touch it, it won’t feel like it should – silky and soft – but rather will feel rough. The puppies usually remain with the same black color when they mature.
Black and dull hair
This is probably the worst coat type for a Yorkie and the breeders will totally agree about this. There are experts who even suggest avoiding purchasing a puppy if it has such hair.
That type of coat grows faster than it should and is pretty thick. It is hard to tell that the dogs have this type of coat and not a proper one. Thus, it can deceive many people, even if they are specialists.
You can recognize it only by touching for it looks wavy at the ends and is similar to the sheep’s wool when you touch it.
It won’t have the typical shine when your Yorkie gets older.
Most of the Yorkies which are with black and dull coats have cute faces and, thus, look cute but at the same time they look like their neck is very short.
But thanks to their cute expression, such dogs have pleased the dog shows’ judges, especially if they do well with the required tasks.
The Yorkie mustn’t be with yellowish or brownish hues on its body. The breed standards use a certain definition of the word “tan” that often had been misunderstood.
The coat color should be like the one of 22 carats golden wedding ring. The roots of the hair of a Yorkie with proper golden color should be darker, while the ends should be lighter.
Another coat type also grows slowly and this is the dark blue with reddish and golden tints.
If the dog has this type of coat, it won’t grow very long, thus, probably won’t get high marks at exhibitions but it will probably turn to silky.
In such cases, the hairs easily break and the golden color isn’t as intense as it has to be.
It is a rare occasion to find Yorkie with “off-standard” coloring.
This is partially due to the YTCA and AKC regulations for their guidelines prohibit different colored Yorkie from participating in the sponsored events.
Because of this, many people consider the Yorkshire Terriers with different coloring to not be purebred.
This leads to plenty of reservations when it comes to breeding Yorkies with different colors.
Some of the breeders don’t want to be famous for breeding Yorkies which cannot meet the AKC standards.
But this might be actually better because if every breeder start breeding different colored Yorkies,
with time the Yorkshire Terriers will have a completely different look because of all the different color genes being combined.
Rare-colored Yorkie Parent?
If you have a Yorkie with different from the standard coloring feel free to let us know in the comments below.