The Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie, has consistently been named one of the American Kennel Club's "most favorite" breeds. And as all Yorkie owners know, this breed is beautiful, fearless, feisty and loyal. But don't be surprised when this little dog does change over time in one way: coat color.
Puppies Come in One Color Combo
Don't try to select a Yorkie puppy based on its coat color because all puppies are born black and tan -- called "points," usually found above the eyes and under the ear flaps or tail -- in varying degrees. Over the next two years, the coat will likely change. Ideally, the black will turn to the desired steel-blue that the standard requires, but it is often hard to guess what the dog's final colors will be.
The Maturing Pup
Although dogs vary as to when their hair begins to change, the typical age is 6 months, and you can expect a gradual transformation. A black-and-tan puppy could turn to blue-and-tan, but you'll have to trust the breeder's knowledge of the parents when guessing what the final colors might be. The hair will also begin to soften and grow into the typical "silky" coat for which Yorkies are so well-known and esteemed.
Adult Yorkie, Mature Coat
A Yorkie's coat gradually changes for up to two years, and it may stabilize only to change again -- perhaps even into the third year. An adult's hair color can vary from a dark, steel blue to a light, silvery blue. Typically, the black turns blue (a diluted black coloring), yielding a dark steel blue or a shiny silver. Generally, an adult will have more tan and gold coloring, making its coat much lighter than a puppy's.
If you're interested in showing your Yorkie, you'll want to check out the American Kennel Club's standards for the breed. While judges use many criteria to find a champion dog, they look carefully at a Yorkie's head and legs, where the black/blue and tan/gold colorings must be distinct, with no intermingling. Also, quality, texture and quantity of coat are important; furthermore, the coat should be glossy, fine and silky, moderately long and perfectly straight.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.