Thinking about getting a toy breed dog? If the Yorkshire Terrier is on your list, you’re probably curious, what does a Yorkie look like? Yorkshire Terriers are distinctive dogs due to their long hair, not fur, tiny size, and huge personalities.
Here’s a guide that goes over what does a Yorkie look like with the popular puppy or pet cut, the elegant and long-haired show cut, and how the Yorkie’s appearance changes as it gets older.
What Does a Yorkshire Terrier Look Like?
Yorkies are one of the most distinctive dog breeds thanks to their small size and the fact that they grow long hair instead of fur. At birth, Yorkies usually weigh just 2.5 ounces and have a soft, short coat that mixes tan and brown hair. Some Yorkies appear almost black when they’re born with just tiny tan strands or patches. Others have a 50-50 mix of tan and brown.
By the age of one to two, the Yorkie will have matured with dramatic changes in its color. Yorkies tend to lighten as they mature. The black hair will transform to blue thanks to a gene unique to Yorkies. This blue can be silver-blue or a dark steel-blue. The tan will change to a bright gold color.
Yorkies have another unique trait when it comes to their color and appearance: they tend to get lighter when they get older. Hormonal changes can also affect a Yorkie’s color as females get noticeably lighter when in heat and then darken again.
What does a teacup Yorkie look like?
Teacup Yorkies are just Yorkshire Terriers that are smaller than the breed specification. This can happen by chance as some dogs are just born very small. It can also happen through intentional breeding for a small size. A teacup Yorkie looks just like a regular Yorkshire Terrier except it’s 4 pounds or less.
Unfortunately, teacup Yorkies are known for their health problems like hypoglycemia. They’re very fragile due to their incredibly small size. They usually do not live as long as their standard-sized counterparts. Find quick tips on how to ensure your teacup Yorkie lives as long as possible on this article.
How big will my Yorkie be?
In general, Yorkies are 8-9″ tall at the shoulder. The ideal weight for a Yorkshire Terrier is 4-6 pounds. This is just a guideline, though. Some Yorkies are less than 4 pounds fully grown and others reach up to 15 pounds in rare cases.
While many people are drawn to the Yorkie and other toy breeds love a tiny dog, be careful about “teacup Yorkies.” Yorkshire Terriers that are smaller than the standard size may be prone to health problems and genetic disorders.
The AKC Standard for the Yorkshire Terrier
A breed standard describes a breed’s perfect body type and external characteristics as well as the breed’s temperament and gait. Every recognized dog breed has a standard created by the American Kennel Club (AKC). You can think of the standard as the blueprint for a breeder and it’s used to evaluate a dog in a show. Some standards even have a point scale and these standards can be fairly short in description or very long. Many standards even include a list of imperfections that automatically disqualify a dog. With the Great Dane, for example, a dog would be automatically disqualified for falling under the minimum height.
Most dogs do not meet the breed standard. So, what does a Yorkie dog look like when it meets the AKC Yorkie standard? Here’s the rundown on what a Yorkshire Terrier would need to look like to fully conform to the AKC standard.
- Very compact, well-proportioned body with a short back and a shoulder at the same height as the rump.
- Small head with a skull that isn’t too prominent and a bite that isn’t over- or undershot.
- Ears should be small, erect, V-shaped, and not too far apart.
- Straight forelegs with hind legs that are straight when viewed from behind.
- Tail should be docked to a medium length. The tail should be just a bit higher than the back.
- Moderately long coat that’s silky and fine. The coat should be completely straight without waves. The coat can be trimmed to floor length. On the head, the coat should be long and tied with a bow in the center of the head or parted in the middle and tied. The hair should be very long on the muzzle but trimmed on the feet and tips of the ears.
- Weight cannot exceed 7 pounds.
Color is very important to the Yorkshire Terrier standard and it comes with automatic disqualification for the smallest flaw. The breed standard puppy is black and tan. Once the Yorkie is an adult, the legs and head should be a rich tan or gold. The body should be a dark steel blue, not silver blue, and the blue can’t mingle with the tan or gold anywhere on the body. All tan hair should be darkest at the roots and shade to light tan at the tips. The Yorkie should have blue extended over the body from the back of its neck to the end of the tail. The hair on the tail should be a darker blue. The chest and legs should be bright tan that doesn’t go past the elbow on the forelegs or the stifle on the Yorkie’s hind legs. The head should be a rich gold or tan with the darkest color at the sides of the head, the muzzle, and the bottoms of the ears. The tan shouldn’t go past the back of the neck.
As you can see, that’s very specific, especially when it comes to the Yorkie’s colors and coat.
How do you know if a Yorkie is full breed?
You can recognize a full breed Yorkie puppy because it’s typically born black and tan. Yorkie puppies are usually dark until they mature with tan and black that’s mixed together. A purebred Yorkie has a gene that causes its black hair to turn blue when it gets older. It’s perfectly normal for a purebred Yorkie to fall out of the AKC standard, however. 5 Yorkie colors are recognized for full breed Yorkies: black and tan, black and gold, blue and tan, blue and gold, and parti which is a combination of white, tan, and black.
If a Yorkie is all black or all chocolate, it’s very likely not a full Yorkie. Could potentially be a Parti or Biewer Yorkie
Pet vs Show Looks for the Yorkshire Terrier
One of the most important things to keep in mind is Yorkies don’t need to conform to the very specific AKC breed standard explained above. In fact, most Yorkies don’t. Yorkshire Terriers come in a range of sizes and colors and all of them are perfectly fine.
When you ask what does a Yorkie look like, there’s a big distinction to understand: the difference between a pet Yorkie and a show quality Yorkie.
Breeders typically look for Yorkie puppies that look like they will closely match the AKC breed standard. These Yorkies will be classified as “show quality” which means the dog may qualify to compete in AKC conformation events. A litter never produces all show quality dogs.
When a dog doesn’t fit the AKC standard, it’s sold as a pet quality Yorkie. This can happen if the Yorkie is too large, it’s hair is wavy, or it has an imperfection in its color like a streak of gold in the body or black and tan hair mingled on the chest.
Unless you are planning to enter the world of showing a dog in competitions, it doesn’t matter if a Yorkshire Terrier is show quality and you don’t need to spend more to adopt the pup.
Long Hair vs Puppy Cut: What Does a Yorkshire Terrier Look Like?
Outside of breed standards, there are two basic looks for a Yorkie: the classic long hair or “show cut” and the short “puppy cut” or “pet cut.” Most Yorkie owners want to cut back on time-consuming Yorkie grooming and choose to trim their Yorkie’s hair very short except on the top of the head, which is usually still pulled back from the eyes in a top knot with a bow. Other owners are willing to put in a lot of time to keep their Yorkie’s long hair silky and free of tangles or mats. In this case, the Yorkshire Terrier can have a long, flowing coat that touches the floor.