While there is only one standard Yorkie coat, there are other coat colors — both in purebred Yorkies and mixed breeds that are marketed as purebreds — that can be quite rare to see. Most of these are unethically bred and involve inbreeding or other poor breeding practices.
Let’s talk about the breed standard for Yorkie coat colors, then dive into other Yorkie colors you might see or hear about, from rarest to most common.
The One Standard Yorkie Coat
Although the American Kennel Club (AKC) site lists four Yorkie colors, there is actually only one true Yorkie coat if you dive deeper into the breed standard.
Yorkshire Terrier puppies are born with a black and tan coat that is mostly black in color. As they age, their coat lightens and becomes tanner. It also changes in color, typically between the ages of six months to one to two years. Finally, the black in their coat fades to “blue,” which is a diluted, sometimes silvery black. The tan in their coat becomes more widespread and becomes golden. So, Yorkie puppies are black and tan, while adults are blue and gold.
So, where do the other two coat colors come in? During the transition!
While a Yorkie pup’s coat is changing, you might see an intermediary stage where it is blue and tan or black and gold.
Yorkies’ coats don’t change overnight. Instead, it’s a gradual process that can leave them with these more unique colorings for a short period of time.
Rare Yorkie Coat Colors: Do They Exist?
Rare coat colors do exist though you won’t see most of them in purebred, ethically bred litters. However, this is extremely uncommon as it usually takes a mixture of recessive genes inherited from the parents.
More typically, these dogs are mixed breeds or another breed altogether. Some unethical breeders may specifically breed these dogs for profit, which often involves inbreeding.
The following are some rare coat colors you might see in Yorkies, from rarest to most common.
Brindle Yorkies have striped coats. These dogs are typically crossbreeds marketed as purebred puppies.
Blue Yorkies are those who are born with blue in their coat, rather than black. If you spot a blue Yorkie, it’s a sign that you’re dealing with an incredibly unethical breeder.
This is because they rarely live for more than a few days. Even those who survive this stage are typically humanely euthanized due to the health issues they develop around the time standard Yorkies’ coats change color. This includes developing leathery skin that causes intense pain.
Albino Yorkies are also rarely born. These are differentiated from white Yorkies, as they lack pigment all over their bodies.
While white Yorkies have black noses and dark eyes, albino Yorkies have pink noses and blue eyes.
Seeking out an albino Yorkie isn’t recommended, as they typically have health problems due to their albinism. This includes light sensitivity, increased risk of skin cancer, eye problems, and blindness.
While albino Yorkies are just as good as other dogs, and make great rescues, they shouldn’t be bred or bought from breeders.
Merle Yorkies have dark patches in their fur and sometimes have two different eye colors. While these dogs are cute, they’re not well-bred and also not accepted under the breed standard.
Dogs with two merle genes, also known as double merle, have considerable health problems and are often born deaf.
Red-legged Yorkies are purebred, but inherit very old, recessive genes that are typically hidden in their ancestry for generations.
These dogs have black coats that don’t change to blue, and red on their face and legs, whereas most Yorkies are gold.
Their fur texture is also wiry rather than silky.
Sometimes, these Yorkies are used for breeding as their coloration is rich and can help to create puppies with more vivid coat colors as adults.
Sable Yorkies have black tips on the tan or gold parts of the coat. This is rare and sometimes hard to spot until you’re able to look at a grown dog up close.
Parti-Colored: Blue, White, and Tan
Some purebred Yorkies are blue, white, and tan. These and solid-colored Yorkies are the rarest, but they’re actually not accepted under American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards.
The breed standard specifically disqualifies white in the coat, stating: “Any white markings other than a small white spot on the forechest that does not exceed 1 inch at its longest dimension.”
There is another dog breed that looks similar to a Yorkie called the Biewer Terrier. These dogs are particolored as accepted by AKC breed standards. This is actually one of the key traits separating them from Yorkshire Terriers as a breed.
Solid-Colored: Golden, Tan, Black, Chocolate, or White Yorkies
The most popular solid-colored Yorkies are golden Yorkies and white Yorkies. As we discussed above, these dogs are typically purposefully bred for profit using unethical practices.
Golden Yorkies, for instance, can sell for up to $8,000. Breeders must either crossbreed their Yorkies with another breed or breed two golden Yorkies together to get a litter full of golden pups.
The easiest way to do this is through inbreeding. Though this is bad for the dogs, breeders like this don’t care so long as they’re making a profit. Breeders are also likely to skip key steps like genetic health testing in order to maximize profits.
This is likely why solid-colored Yorkies aren’t accepted under AKC breed standard, as it would further encourage these practices.
Summary of Yorkie Colors
Here’s a recap of the colors of Yorkies, including the rarest and most common types:
|1||Standard Yorkie Coat|
|8||Parti-Colored: Blue, White, and Tan|
|9||Solid-Colored: Golden, Tan, Black, Chocolate, or White Yorkies|
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