The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed of terrier type, developed in the 19th century in the county of Yorkshire, England, to catch rats in clothing mills, also used for rat-baiting. The defining features of the breed are its maximum size of 7 pounds (3.2 kg) and its gray, black, and tan coat. The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy Terrier section of the Terrier Group by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and in the Toy Group or Companion Group by other kennel clubs, although all agree that the breed is a terrier. A popular companion dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has also been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.
For adult Yorkshire Terriers, importance is placed on coat colour, quality, and texture. The hair must be glossy, fine, straight, and silky. Traditionally the coat is grown out long and is parted down the middle of the back, but 'must never impede movement.'
From the back of the neck to the base of the tail, the coat should be a dark gray to a black colour, and the hair on the tail should be a darker black. On the head, high chest, and legs, the hair should be a bright, rich tan, darker at the roots than in the middle, that shades into a lighter tan at the tips. Also, in adult dogs, there should be no dark hairs intermingled with any of the tan coloured fur.
Adult Yorkshire Terriers that have other coat colours than the above, or that have woolly or extra fine coats, are still Yorkshire Terriers. The only difference is that atypical Yorkshire Terriers should not intentionally be bred. In addition, care may be more difficult for 'woolly' or 'cottony' textured coats, or coats that are overly fine. One of the reasons given for not breeding 'off-coloured' Yorkies is that the colour could be a potential indicator of a genetic defect that may affect the dog's health, a careful health screening can clarify if any health risks exist. Coats may vary in color. For example, a grown yorkie may have a silver/blue with light brown while another might have a black and creamy color.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a tan dog with a blue saddle. Particolors exist, although they are not correct for the breed standard. The particolor coat is white with black/blue and tan. It is very rare to get a particolor, and if one is found, it tends to be very expensive. Some Yorkshire Terriers are liver or chocolate, a brown colour; they are unable to produce black pigment. The breed is defined by its colour, and such non-standard colours may indicate health problems or cross-breeding with other breeds of other colours. The AKC registration form for Yorkshire Terriers allows for four choices: blue and tan, blue and gold, black and tan, black and gold. Colour alone will not affect whether or not a dog is a good companion and pet. Even though off-coloured Yorkshire Terriers are advertised at premium prices, being of an unusual or untypical colour is neither new, desirable, nor exotic.
A three year old Yorkshire Terrier, displaying a black and tan coat.
Until recently, mismatched Yorkshire Terriers could be crossed with Biewer Terriers, a new breed originated in Germany (note that this breed is not eligible for registration in Germany, it's country of origin. Until it is, no official club, world-wide will recognize the Biewer as being purebred) from party coloured Yorkshire Terriers. Although the American Kennel Club will not deny registration of a Yorkshire Terrier on colour alone, the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America has a directive that 'any solid colour or combination of colours other than black and tan' for adult dogs is a disqualification, and 'dogs of solid colour, unusual combination of colours, and party colours should be disqualified.'
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorkshire_Terrier
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