A Simple Talk On the Yorkshire Terrier Standard

Yorkshire Terrier


A Simple Talk On the Yorkshire Terrier Standard – As a Breeder for the past 54 years, and a Judge for the past 39 years. I hope I can enlighten those who are new Judges to this very controversial dog.

The outstanding Breed CHARACTERISTICS of the Yorkshire Terrier are COAT, COLOR and TEXTURE. However, for many exhibitors and Judges this seems to be a problem.

The general appearance for a Yorkie is that of a long haired TOY TERRIER who has a STEEL BLUE and TAN coat that is parted from the base of the skull to the end of tail, and hangs evenly and very straight down each side of the body. Each strand appears to be individual.

The coat is distinctively long, silky, glowing and reflects light. The clear metallic color, the single coat and the texture are of the utmost importance in evaluating this breed. The ideal texture of the coat is SILK; Yorkie’s do NOT HAVE FUR. The coat can be compared to human hair. A clue to this is that on a 100 degree day the coat will still feel SILKY and COOL to the touch.

Puppies are born black and will start to show markings of gold on the ears and legs first with intermingling black hairs in the tan until they reach maturity. The change from a puppy coat takes quite a long time. Judging the puppies you can see the changing by checking the part line and shoulder line. It can take from twelve to eighteen months for a complete adult coat. Yorkie’s do not shed, it is a continuously growing coat. Often times you will see a young dog with a full coat and proper color and the dark puppy hair still showing at the bottom of the coat.

The correct color of Steel Blue and correct coat texture in our breed are very difficult to achieve. It demands two very different and distinct genes in the DNA to make the LUSTROUS STEEL BLUE and SILKY TEXTURE. THE BLACK BODY COAT: never does and never can break to STEEL BLUE in the adult dog. It is a recessive problem. This is caused by the presence of the gene “gg” instead of the proper gene “GG”. This means both parents of a BLACK DOG must carry the recessive gene “g” even if the parents appear to have a Steel Blue coat. It also means that a Black Dog carries no gene for STEEL BLUE. Judges should never favor a black dog.

You will never find an entry of Yorkie’s that are all the same color. Some will be too light and some far too dark, nearly black. Look for the Bright Steel Blue with a very silky texture, without any approach to BLACKNESS. Texture can tell you a great deal because some coats will look steel blue however when you touch them the will feel wooly or cottony. This is called a Clerical Grey coat.

In Europe, the Judges table always has a bristle brush to use. When you brush a really clean silky coat it falls straight in place. Without a brush you can run your hands down the coat, pick it up and if it has the right texture and quality of the coat it will fall right in place. QUALITY, TEXTURE AND QUANITITY OF COAT ARE OF PRIME IMPORTANCE.


Yorkshire Terrier Standard – THE HEAD

The head is one of the Yorkie’s most distinctive features. It is balanced, without being fragile or course. The skull is flat on top, not too prominent or round, definitely not a Chihuahua head. Muzzle not too long, in balance with size of the head. The distance from the stop over the crown to the back of the skull and the measurement from the outside set of ear to ear should be approximately the same length. A “pussycat” or “doll face” will have too short a muzzle and too deep a stop to have correct proportions.


Yorkshire Terrier Standard – THE EYES

The eyes are expressive, full of sparkle and intelligence, with dark eye rims. Oval eyes are preferred. They should not have small, beady, large round or protruding eyes.


Yorkshire Terrier Standard – THE HEAD FALL

The head fall should be a rich golden tan, deeper in color at the sides of the head, at the ear roots and the muzzle. The ears are a deep rich tan. Color should not extend down the back of the neck. SHADING is the key word here and a solid RED COLOR OR A SOLID GOLD COLOR HEAD WITH OUT SHADING IS NOT CORRECT. IT MUST BE COMPLETELY FREE OF ANY REMAINING BLACK OR SOOTY GRAY HAIRS LEFT FROM PUPPYHOOD.

The Yorkie gives the appearance of self-importance and vigor. They should not be exaggerated in any part. Standing about eight inches at the withers, it should be the same length from withers to tail as they are from withers to ground. A Yorkie who is low on leg or too high station gives an incorrect overall appearance. The Yorkie is well proportioned and very compact. The back is level, with the height at the shoulders the same as at the rump. YORKIES are a sturdy, well-knit dogs with no extremes. In relationship to the body, the neck should not be too long or too short. The lack of Spring of Rib, or a long loin is a serious fault. Ribs should be oval, gradually rounded at the base and reaching to the elbows, with ample fore chest. The back should be level from the withers to set on of the tail. There should be NO DIP BEHIND THE SHOULDERS. Sway back, camel back and low tail sets are serious faults.

Forelegs are straight, hindquarters are well muscled and straight when viewed from behind. Stifles are moderately bent and not over angulated like a German Shepard. The Yorkie moves with a free, confident gait in a parallel motion. Crossing, weaving, and moving close or single tracking are all incorrect.

WHEN A YORKIE HAS A CORRECT COAT YOU CAN SEE THE OUTLINE OF THE DOG UNDERNEATH a fluffy or cotton coat will obscure the outline, making it more difficult to evaluate gait or structure.


Yorkshire Terrier Standard – THE TAIL

The tail is docked to a medium length and carried slightly higher than the level of the topline. Many Yorkie’s carry their tails in a higher position when they are moving, however when the tail is carried only slightly higher than the topline it should not
be penalized.

With regards to the undocked tail carriage, in my opinion, such a tail should meet the same requirements as that of the docked tail. Neither a long, gay tail nor a long, squirrel tail are acceptable. The point being, the length of the tail should not alter the correct tail carriage.

Running gold is when the tan exceeds the desired marking pattern. The golds should not extend above the elbow on the fore legs or above the stifles on the hind legs.

Yorkshire Terriers are Toy dogs. The ideal weight should not exceed seven pounds with the size and balance remaining proportionate.



Any solid color or combination of colors other than blue and tan as described above. Any white markings other than a small white spot on the fore chest that does not exceed one inch as its longest dimension.

In closing, just remember under that glamorous coat and red bow is a little dog whose roots go back to being a farm dog for the purpose of killing rats and he should be sound no matter how pretty he looks.

A Simple Talk On the Yorkshire Terrier Standard
Photo courtesy by the American Kennel Club.
From the September 2018 Issue of ShowSight.
By Kathleen B. Kolbert, Judge, Turyanne Yorkshire Terriers AKC Reg.