Yorkshire Terrier Coloring: When & Why do Yorkies change their colors?

Yorkshire Terrier Coloring: When & Why do Yorkies change their colors?

The colors of a Yorkshire Terrier change with age. Generally, the colors of a Yorkie are blue, black, tan, and gold. 

There are dog breeds that are mostly of just one color, while some dog breeds can be of any color, The colors of Yorkshire Terriers are unique and one of the most important traits to identify a purebred Yorkie.

The color of a Yorkie puppy is Black and Tan, which is different from adult Yorkies who are usually Blue and Gold.

All purebred Yorkies carry unique traits and genes which causes a change in their coat color. While in some Yorkies, the black color changes gradually to blue, while in others that Tan color changes to Gold. This depends on the Hereditary genes of that particular Yorkie.

This complete guide to Yorkshire Terrier coloring will help you understand Why and When do Yorkies Change color and also answer other Frequently Asked Questions related to Coloring in Yorkies.

Yorkie Color Chart 

Yorkie Color Chart

How many colors are there in Yorkshire Terriers? 

Officially, AKC has recognized four combinations of colors in Yorkies:

  • Black and Gold
  • Black and Tan
  • Blue and Gold
  • Blue and Tan

However, Unofficially, there are Yorkies with other colors such as red, white, chocolate as well. It all really depends on the genes that he or she carried down from his parents and older generations.

I have broken down the colors that a Yorkie may possess in different phases in his life.

Colors in a Yorkie Puppy 

Every Yorkie puppy carries genes from his parent which decides the kind of coat that the puppy will possess and how will he or she change his coat color in the future.

Read More: Yorkshire Terrier Growth Chart 

Black and Tan color 

Black and Tan color Yorkie puppy

As I said earlier, generally all the purebred Yorkie puppies possess a Black and Tan color coat. The proportion/magnitude and the location of colors change in every Yorkie.

During the whole of the first year, your Yorkie will have a Black color coat with Tan markings on the tips and undersides of ears, around the chest, above the eyes, and sometimes on the tail. 

Black and Gold color

Shade and the Magnitude of the color change from puppy to puppy and due to this reason, we can also get a Black and Gold Yorkie puppy. Most of the time, this color is witnessed when a Yorkie puppy is in the process of changing its color.


Read More: How to Take care of your Yorkie’s Hair?


Colors in an Adult Yorkie 

As Yorkies grow up to around the six-month mark, their black coat color gradually starts to change to blue color. Some Yorkies may start changing color before this time as well, depending on their genes.

Blue and Gold color 

blue and gold color Yorkie

The majority of Yorkies will change their coat color to Blue and Gold. The black fur of a Yorkie, which it is born with, gradually starts to change its color to a light grayish-blue color after the puppy is around 6 months old.

Initially, it is a little difficult to notice this change. But if you pay close attention to the broad sunlight outside, the color change will be much more visible.

The tan markings on his body will also start to lighten and his tail start to turn into light gold color. By the time your Yorkie turns 3 years old, his or her head and chest will turn gold in color with a grayish-blue back.

Blue and tan color

Blue and tan colors are officially in AKC’s registry for Yorkies. Though, Yorkie puppies possessing blue color and tan markings are quite less.

The blue color is due to the phaeomelanin in a Yorkie’s genes.


Read More: How much do Yorkies Shed?


Other Colors in Yorkies 

The four-color combinations I mentioned above are Official colors in Yorkies. However, there are some other colors that are rare. These other rare colors are present in Yorkies due to cross-breeding or breeders intentionally mating two Yorkies with recessive genes and hereditary.

There can be health implications in these Yorkies, as they are bred for the sake of color and not for the sake of their Health. Please do your own complete research before you buy a Yorkie with an unofficial color.

Parti Yorkie 

Parti yorkie color

Any Yorkshire Terrier with white patches on his coat or a coat of white color combined with any other color is a Parti Yorkie. The other colors are mostly black, golden, and chocolate.

Does that mean that Parti Yorkies are nothing but Yorkshire Terriers with a different color? Yes, Exactly.

Traditional Yorkies have blue and tan colored hair, whereas Parti Yorkies have white and black colored hair. There are other Parti Yorkie color combinations as well like a black and white Yorkie, white Yorkie, blonde Yorkies, etc.

Are Parti Yorkies Purebred Yorkies? That’s a controversial question and many believe that at some point, the Yorkies were bred with Maltese to produce the white hair.

AKC now recognizes Parti Yorkies as a member of the Yorkshire Terrier dog breed. Here’s a Complete Detailed Guide about Parti Yorkies.

Golden Yorkie 

Golden Yorkies are Yorkies that are Golden from head to toe. Can a Purebred Yorkie change their colors to be a Golden Yorkie? No, It cannot.

A high proportion of golden color comes from the dominance of the phaeomelanin gene in a Yorkie.

Chocolate Yorkie 

Chocolate Yorkies are produced by breeding Parti Yorkies with standard Yorkies or with other Parties. They are completely brown in color.


Read More: How to Potty train a Yorkie

What’s the Genetics of Yorkie Colors? 

Yorkies are born with black and tan color which gradually changes to blue as they get mature and adult. The gene that is responsible for the change in color is the G locus.

G locus affects the production of eumelanin, the pigment responsible for black color in hair and skin. However, the G locus cannot change the color of the eyes and nose.

In a dog’s DNA, genes come in pairs. This is why Yorkies can have two copies of the same color. That is, Yorkies can have Black and Tan color or Black and Gold color.

Why do Yorkies change colors? 

During mating, one of the parents has a dominant gene while the other parent has a recessive gene. The color of the Yorkie will be decided by the dominating gene. If by chance, both the parents have a dominant or recessive gene, you will get a Yorkie with rare color, i.e Golden, Chocolate, or Red.

Each cell in your dog’s body contains 39 pairs of chromosomes and in each of these pairs, one is derived from dad and the other from mom. There are thousands of genes in each of these chromosomes. These genes contain all the unique information in each Yorkie.

When it comes to colors in Yorkies, the melanin gene is responsible. Eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red) are two basic pigments that mix in varying degrees to provide a color to your Yorkie.

When do Yorkies change their Color? 

Generally, the color in a Yorkie puppy will start to change once he is around 6 months old. You will not wake up one day and the color gets changed. The process of color change is gradual.

A Yorkie will change his color completely from black and tan to blue and gold/tan after he or she is around 1 year old. Some Yorkies can take longer up to 18 to 24 months as well.

Frequently Asked Questions on Yorkie Coloring 

Can a Yorkie puppy be all black or all tan? 

No, purebred Yorkies can never be all black or all tan. When a Yorkie is a newborn, you can mistake him or her to be all black but if you notice carefully, he will definitely have some tan markings. It can be a case that these tan markings are very small or only a few strands of hair are there. In the majority of Yorkies, both black and tan colors will be clearly visible.

What can I do if my Yorkie is gradually changing his color? 

You, as his parent, need to make sure that get gets a proper diet, nutrition, exercise, and grooming. Also, take proper care of his hair and coat.

Make sure that you feed your Yorkie as much homemade food as possible. Also, ensure that your Yorkie gets sound and proper sleep during the night.

Can Yorkies suffer from Color Dilution alopecia (CDA)? 

Color Dilution Alopecia in Yorkies is a genetic recessive inherited condition that causes hair loss in patches and may also cause itchy or irritation in the skin. This condition is mostly seen in dog breeds with a ‘dilute’ color like blue.

The symptoms of CDA can be observed once a Yorkie puppy reaches the age of 6 months.

If you sense that your Yorkie might be suffering from Color dilution alopecia, you should visit your nearest Veterinary asap.

What are the colors of Teacup Yorkies? 

Teacup Yorkies are not another breed or even recognized member of Yorkshire Terrier. They are just miniature versions of standard Yorkies which weigh around 4 pounds.

Therefore, they also come in the standard 4 colors that standard Yorkies have. I would not recommend you to get a Teacup Yorkie due to their breeding pattern and common health problems.

Here are some other differences between Teacup and Standard Yorkies.


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