Updated on April 10, 2019
You’ve almost certainly heard of a Yorkshire Terrier given the breed remains one of the most popular in the world.
However, we would hazard a guess that it’s unlikely you’ve encountered a white Yorkie given these dogs are pretty rare to find.
They’re unique little dogs but going by the American Kennel Club, a white Yorkie doesn’t meet the breed’s standard.
These small dogs are sable or all-white makes them look like a West Highland Terrier or a Maltese rather than a Yorkshire Terrier.
Traditionally, Yorkies have a dark blue and tan coat, although some of these little dogs can have fur that is more black than brown.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the Yorkshire Terrier before examining the rare white Yorkie.
So let’s start with the history of the Yorkie.
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Where do Yorkshire Terrier come from?
These workers brought small Scotch dogs with them to Yorkshire and the Terriers hunted rodents in the factories and mills.
Yorkies were thought to have originated from breeding between different breeds, reportedly including Paisley Terrier, the Skye Terrier and the Maltese.
The Skye Terrier tends to be gray, light gray or white in color, while the Matlese is a little white dog that is thought to have its origins in the Mediterranean.
While Yorkies started life in the factories and mills in Yorkshire, the breed found their way onto the laps of Victorian ladies towards the end of the 19th century.
Their small size made them ideal companion dogs, which is a role they’ve earned international acclaim over the past couple of centuries.
The first Yorkies arrived in the United States in 1870 before the Yorkshire Terrier was registered with the American Kennel Club for the first time in 1885.
Fast forward over 130 years, the Yorkie is now the ninth most popular dog in the United States.
What does Yorkshire Terrier look like?
Before looking at the white Yorkie in closer detail, we need to learn more about the Yorkshire Terrier’s breed standard.
The AKC has strict guidelines that need to followed and met for a Yorkshire Terrier to fulfill the requirements of the breed in the organisation’s eyes.
They outline that the color of Yorkie puppies should be black and tan, with the coat darker rather than light at a young age.
However, as the Yorkshire Terrier matures, their coat develops into a dark blue and tan in color rather than black and tan.
AKC write on their website: “Color of hair on body and richness of tan on head and legs are of prime importance in adult dogs.”
They go on emphasie that the blue colour should be a dark steel blue rather than a silver blue color. It shouldn’t be mingled with fawn, bronze or black hairs.
With regards to the tan hair, it should be darker at the roots than in the middle, while a lighter tan color at the tip.
The organisation go on to stress that there should be no sooty or black hair intermingled with any of the tan fur.
Moving along the Yorkshire Terrier’s body, the dark blue color should extend over the body from back of neck to root of tail. They add that the hair on tail should be a dark blue, especially at the end.
As you can see, the AKC doesn’t allow for much variation when it comes to a Yorkie’s coat color. There’s no mention of a white-coated Yorkie.
What is a white Yorkie?
If you think you’ve found a white Yorkie, it’s likely that you’re looking at a Yorkshire Terrier cross or a different breed.
As we’ve discussed above, the AKC have outlined a strict breed standard for the color of these adorable little dogs.
An all white Yorkie doesn’t fall within that standard, although some Yorkshire Terriers can be cream or golden in color.
If you believe you’ve unearthed a white Yorkie, it’s more likely that it’s a Parti Yorkshire Terrier, Biewer Yorkshire Terrier or a Yorkie crossed with another breed.
Why is my Yorkie white?
Parti Yorkshire Terrier
If a Yorkshire Terrier has unusual colorings that don’t meet the breed standard dark blue and tan, they’re given the name Parti Yorkies.
Most Parti Yorkies will sport a coat that has a tan, black, or white color.
This unique coloring occurs due to the presence of a recessive gene and both parents must carry it.
Given that Parti Yorkies are bred using two Yorkshire Terriers, they’re still considered a purebred.
Therefore, they can be registered with the AKC despite varying from the breed’s traditional coat colors.
Biewer Yorkshire Terriers
These terriers were created using Yorkies, which explains why there are some similarities in terms of appearance.
Aptly, the breed was started by Mr and Mrs Biewer, who decided to breed these dogs rather than have children.
They bred Yorkshire Terriers throughout the 1970s and in the early 1980s. The first white and black dog was born in 1984.
The AKC write on their website: “These puppies were unique and rare, as they possessed the recessive piebald gene, a gene not usually found in Yorkies.”
Encouraged to name these dogs after Mrs Biewer, the Biewer Yorkshire Terrier received a lot of interest around the world given their unique color.
The breed were established as a purebred separate to the Yorkshire Terrier before the AKC granted these dogs status in 2014.
Considering the similarities between the two breeds, there’s a good chance a white-looking Yorkie is in fact a Biewer Yorkshire Terrier.
The advent of designer breeds has seen may purebred mixed to create a hybrid.
One such cross breed that has become increasingly popular over the past decade is the Morkie, which is a cross between a Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier.
These little dogs can come in three different colors: black, black and tan (from the Yorkshire Terrier), brown, tan and solid white (from the Maltese).
Given two breeds are being crossed to create the Morkie, it isn’t possible to determine with any certainty the color of a Morkie.
If you get a tan and white Morkie, it could display some of the physical characteristics of a Yorkie, giving rise to the white Yorkie.
White Yorkie puppies
There aren’t many white Yorkie breeders given these dogs are pretty rare.
If you’re looking to purchase one of these dog, you should ask a breeder about the puppy’s parents.
It’s also a good idea to request genetic proof that your pup is related to a Yorkshire Terrier or Biewer Yorkshire Terrier.
Of course, you could just visit your local shelter to see if they’ve got any Yorkies that need to be rehomed.
Alternatively, there are plenty of Terrier Rescue organisations throughout the world.