If you’re a passionate dog lover, you must have heard about the Yorkshire Terrier but have you ever heard of the White Yorkie? Just like the name, the unique White Yorkies are not officially registered as a breed by the American Kennel Club as it doesn’t meet the standards of a breed. Having said that, let’s have an overview of the White Yorkie—facts, myths, and more.
Being feisty of temperament and mighty of the heart are two of the many winning qualities that make people in love with the White Yorkies.
However, unfortunately, there are strict standards governed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) regarding the attributes of the Yorkshire Terrier family, which says that a standard Yorkie comes only in four colors, which are:
What Is the Reality of White Yorkie?
Although the American Kennel Club (AKC) approves only four colors mentioned above, White Yorkie is the showstopper, being fully covered with white fur, without a splash of any other color.
For many years now, Yorkies have been bred to be gold, tan, and blue or black. That is why White Yorkies are uncommon and rare.
Many breeders breed, create a new breed against the standards of the AKC, and try to sell them, saying they are purebred. But if they say that they are selling a purebred White Yorkie, be alert, as the dog may be a white Yorkie mix or a result of cross-breeding.
Is There a Possibility of a Purebred White Yorkie?
There is a greater chance for the answer to be negative. But if White Yorkies do not exist, the debate does not end here. Let’s dig more to find out.
The Yorkie’s Coat
Generally, the Yorkies are born with a tan and black coat, which may start transition around the age of six months, and may continue up to 18 months or sometimes even longer.
The percentage of the colors in the Yorkie’s coat may vary from puppy to puppy, and you will know the actual look of the coat only when the Yorkie reaches adulthood.
How Does the Genealogy Affect the Yorkie’s Coat?
Yorkshire Terriers inherit only two pigments from their parents—black or the eumelanin (the darker pigment which helps in protection against ultraviolet radiations) and red or the phaeomelanin (the cysteine derivative responsible for the red hair).
The genes’ interaction with eumelanin and phaeomelanin is the reason for the variety in coat colors. And the coat color may result even more dramatically when the same genes are inherited from both parents. The red color can turn into burnt red, tan, gold, or yellow when mixed with phaeomelanin.
Black color can turn into grey, pale brown, or brown if mixed with eumelanin. In adult age, the C-locus impacts on lightness or darkness of phaeomelanin, while G-locus is responsible for the transition of black pigment.
How Do Yorkies Get All White?
Like humans, Yorkies’ white hair is the representation of pigment absence. The situation occurs when the cells responsible for producing pigments do not function properly and refuse to produce any pigment.
The case of skin is different, where the absence of pigment makes the skin turn pink. T-locus, M-locus, S-locus, and H-locus are the genes responsible for making the white patches in Yorkies. When there is a complete absence of pigment, we call the situation “albinism.”
Of course, a Yorkie can be an albino (animals that lack pigment) by birth, but till today we are unable to find the history of albinism in Yorkies. So the truth is that purebred white Yorkies do not exist; rather, there is a possibility of Yorkies appearing white.
Most likely, you will find a cream-toned Yorkie. And if his haircut is shorter, you will find him even whiter than it is—this happens only when he has slightly darker gold points, with his cream-toned coat.
Sometimes, the tan or gold Yorkies may also seem to be white, but closer observation will make you see the darker spots.
A Parti Yorkie With White Fur
Instead of two tones, Parti Yorkies, the purebred Yorkies, have three color tones. They may be white, but with traces of tan and black. American Kennel Club (AKC) has approved them but with the limitation of not more than a one-inch patch on their chests.
For a Parti Yorkie, both parents are required to have parti genes. They are also called the nonstandard form of the Yorkshire Terrier. They are the result of repeated breeding of Yorkies who have the S-locus—the recessive ‘piebald gene,’ which causes white spotting. As both parents are required with the piebald gene to produce a Parti Yorkie, the chances are rare.
The Behavior of a Mostly White Yorkie
Like any other dog, a mostly White Yorkie inherits the behavioral traits from his parents, the training it receives, the socialization it goes through the developmental period. So for a White Yorkie’s behavioral attributes, you will need to have an account of his parents’ behavioral chart.
Breeders Ignore the General Health of White Yorkies
A breeder, whose priority is Yorkie’s health, will never choose faulty breeding stock because the results may make the puppy suffer. So always beware of the faulty breeds and go for the reputable breeders only. Always ask for Yorkie’s health documentation and suggestions from breeder’s past customers.
Common Health Problems in White Yorkies
The common health problems that occur due to faulty breeding may include coat and skin issues, blindness and abnormalities, deafness, and sometimes early death. One should also check for the influence of the Merle gene (M-locus) in the puppy because if the puppy inherited this gene from both parents, it might lead to fatal issues.
Lastly, color dilution alopecia is another health issue, which is a result of D-locus genes—causing hair loss in the infected area of the Yorkie. So, regardless of any specific color coat, the breeder should happily give the certification of health tests. Otherwise, there may be something fishy. You can also ask your vet to do an initial physical examination of your Yorkie before making a lifelong commitment.