How Can I Tell What Color My Yorkshire Terrier Is According to AKC Standard?

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Yorkshire Terriers are a unique dog breed with a distinct coat that doesn’t resemble a dog’s fur. Usually, their coat resembles human hair and changes color as the puppy grows. So, how can I tell what color my Yorkshire Terrier is according to AKC standard? 

How Can I Tell What Color My Yorkshire Terrier Is According to AKC Standard?

You can tell what color your Yorkshire Terrier is by relating its coat color to the four official Yorkshire Terrier color combinations recognized by the American Kennel Club.

These colors include blue and gold, blue and tan, black and gold, black and tan, and parti. Typically, parti consists of tan, white and black. 

Keep in mind that non-standard variations of Yorkshire Terriers might have a wide color variation depending on the dominant genes, making it challenging to identify them with the American Kennel Club Yorkie standards

Brown-black yorkie on the road

Some of these variations might include a red, white, and brown mix. Considering that Yorkie puppies tend to change their coat color as they grow, you can expect the following color combinations in different stages of Yorkies’ life.

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Color Combinations 

Regardless of the Yorkie puppies’ color combinations resulting from their parents’ genes, the color combination tends to change over time as they grow. Some of the American Kennel Club recognized color combinations in Yorkie puppies include: 

Black and Tan 

Most purebred Yorkshire Terrier puppies have a black and tan color combination at birth. However, the richness of these colors differs, and some people might describe them as black and brown. 

Also, the location and proportion of these colors vary widely across puppies, with many having tan colors on the legs, tail, ears, face, and chest, with the rest of the coat black.

Black and Gold

The black and gold color combination is more prominent in Yorkie puppies with a graying gene as it impacts the tan colors. The location and proportion of the colors resemble that of the black and tan puppies, only that the non-black regions appear to be much lighter. 

Adult Yorkshire Terrier Color Combinations

It is not uncommon for an adult Yorkie to have completely different color combinations from the puppy colors. However, the color-changing process is gradual, and it can be challenging for you to notice. Some of the color combinations recognized by the American Kennel Club include:

Blue and Gold 

In most cases, adult Yorkies with blue and gold coats have two graying genes. Keep in mind that the blue color doesn’t literally mean the blue shade, but a bluish shade with a black dilution, making it look like a blue sheen.  

Yorkshire Terrier playing with balls

Although there are many blue shades, adult Yorkshire Terriers only have a silver shade that appears shiny or a dark steel blue shade. Typically, this blue shade develops from the black color through the impact of a graying gene on melanin production. 

In most cases, the blue shade extends from the base of the tail to the neck. The legs have a golden color that doesn’t get past the elbows or the knees. In most cases, the dog’s head will have golden hair that doesn’t get past the neck.

Blue and Tan 

Unlike blue and gold Yorkies, which have two graying genes, blue and tan Yorkies have a single graying gene. In most cases, the Yorkie will have a darker tail with a shimmery, bright, and reflective coat. Usually, this is due to the darker hue expression of pheomelanin in the genes. 


The particolored Yorkshire Terriers have a blue and tan color combination, with some locations having chocolate or white colors. Both Yorkie parents need to have the piebald gene for them to produce a particolored puppy. In most cases, the white color is predominant.

Yorkie Colors Not Recognised by the American Kennel Club

Since the AKC has strict rules on the official Yorkie colors, it doesn’t recognize the following non-standard colors.

  • Red-legged Yorkies: A red coloring on the legs, underside, face, and chest of the dog 
  • Golden Yorkies: The Yorkie has a solid golden coat due to pheomelanin predominance 
  • Chocolate Yorkies: The Yorkie has a brown color all over due to the recessive allele gene that lightens the melanin pigment 
  • Blue Yorkies: The Yorkie puppy has a steel blue color. In most cases, these puppies lose their coats and look like leathery skin as they age.
Yorkie in nature photo

Related Questions

Can I Have an All Tan Yorkie?

Yes, it’s possible to get an all tan Yorkie, whether purebred or mixed. Although an all tan Yorkie may seem gorgeous, the American Kennel Club doesn’t recommend breeding it. 

Can a Purebred Yorkshire Terrier Have White Patches?

Yes, many Yorkie puppies are born with white patches and markings below the mouth, on the feet, and sometimes on the chest. However, the white patches fade and disappear as the puppy turns 1-year-old.

Final Thoughts

Although the American Kennel Club has official colors for Yorkies, it’s possible to have Yorkies with non-standard colors, such is the case for white and black Yorkies, depending on the pup’s dominant genes and age.

In most cases, the color combinations of puppies will change and gradually acquire the standard colors as they mature.