How Colorful Yorkies Came to Be ...
by Sue White of Pine Haven Farm
Many skeptical Yorkie owners and breeders, absolutely refuse to believe that the parti, chocolate and golden colored yorkie is anything other than a recent "behind the kennel bred" mutt. They say: "The only color that yorkies come in is blue and tan" or "There is NO record of any Yorkie ever breeding to a white, parti, chocolate or golden colored dog." This article will try to educate you about color genetics, recessive genes and how these unique colors remained hidden in the Yorkshire terrier breed for years.
We know from our yorkie history, that early records were not kept on the foundation breeding stock. I seriously doubt, that back in the days where spaying and neutering was not done, that the farmers and working class families didn't have the "occasional" unplanned pregnancy in their canines. If anything, it happened more then, than it does today.
It's documented in some of the earliest records that the foundation stock of our breed, were cross-bred dogs and dogs without pedigrees (who's heritage is unknown). Even if these dogs didn't look parti, chocolate or golden colored they could very well have harbored the recessive genes in their DNA makeup. Whether their mother/father, grandmother/grandfather or great grandmother/great grandfather was parti, chocolate or golden colored, no one would really know, since record keeping at that time in history, was little to none.
The parti, chocolate and gold gene can only be expressed if a dog who carries one copy of that particular recessive gene (known as a carrier) is bred to another dog who also carries that same recessive gene. A carrier will look like a traditional colored Yorkie; parti carriers may have some white markings on their chest and feet but otherwise, the carriers will look like a black and tan yorkie puppy. When a carrier is bred to another carrier, 25% of the offspring will be traditional yorkies (not carrying the gene), 50% will be traditional colored yorkies who do carry the recessive gene and 25% of the offspring will be actual parti, chocolate or golden colored yorkies - these dogs carry 2 recessive genes, one from their mother and one from their father. It's only been approximately 5 years since AKC has allowed these beautiful colored yorkies to be eligible for registration. Prior to that time, parti, chocolate and golden colored offspring were normally kept quiet, given away without papers or destroyed (yes, destroyed).
In this day of scam artists and people looking to make a fast buck, my suggestion is to buy from reputable breeders who have their dogs DNA'd or their dogs come from known color producing lines. So do your research, get references and have an open mind. These genes have been in some of our Yorkie bloodlines for years and years and years ... and if you think it's not possible, don't be surprised if one day your own purebred Yorkie produces a pup of a different color!
These are just a FEW of my Colored Babies I have produced over the years. Here are a couple more Links you may find interesting about the COLORS.
Brindle Yorkshire Terrier
The Brindle Yorkshire Terrier is a very young color of the Yorkshire Terrier.
The brindle is a very interesting symmetrical coat pattern that is only available in...
occurs in a few mammal species. The stripes on a brindle dog follow the so-called Blaschko lines. The brindle stripes only appear visually in areas where the dog
(according to its genotype at the A locus) can also express pheomelanin. In addition to the brindle factor, the dog must also have the genotype for dominant yellow, wild color or black and tan. The brindle cannot develop on a recessive yellow dog genotype e/e, nor on a dominant black or recessive black dog. Black and tan combined with brindle creates the distinctive pattern of the black dog with brindle markings. A dog can be dark brindle or light brindle: the brindle can be very dense, so that the dog appears almost solid black - this is called dark brindle or "reverse brindle".
History of the Merle Yorkshire Terrier:Merle is a pattern in a dog‘s coat, though is commonly incorrectly referred to as a colour. The merle gene creates mottled patches of color in a solid or piebald coat, blue or odd-colored eyes, and can affect skin pigment as well. Health issues are more typical and more severe when two merles are bred together, so it is recommended that a merle be bred to a dog with a solid coat color only.
Merle can affect all coat colors. The merle forms of brown and black are usually called “red” (though this is not correct; red and merle are genetically different) and “blue” (again, this is not correct, since “blue” refers to the dilution of black) respectively. Dogs who are recessive red can still be affected by merle, but the patches are either hardly seen or if the dog is a clear recessive red, are not visible at all.
In addition to altering base coat color, merle also modifies eye color and coloring on the nose and paw pads. The merle gene modifies the dark pigment in the eyes, occasionally changing dark eyes to blue, or part of the eye to be colored blue. Since merle causes random modifications, however, both dark-eyed, blue-eyed, and odd-colored eyes are possible. Color on paw pads and nose may be mottled pink and black.
Merle is actually a heterozygote of an incompletely dominant gene.If two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will be “double merles”, which is the common term for dogs homozygous for merle.
In January 2006 scientists at Texas A&M University announced the discovery of a mobile genetic unit called a retrotransposon, responsible for the merle mutation in dogs.
A phantom merle or cryptic merle is one with such small patches of merle—or none at all—that it appears to be a non-merle. This is commonly seen in dogs who are recessive red, clear recessive reds in particular, though patches can still be seen in certain red dogs. In America, a dog with the phantom merle coloring is described as being “cryptic for merle.” Source
Top Coat:The entire body will be Blue, Chocolate, Red, or Gold whiles the legs, chest and abdomen will be Gold or Tan.
Eyes:The eyes are dark in colour but can be green or blue.
Nose:Chocolate Merle will have Brown nose whiles other Merles will have Black nose.