Yorkshire Terriers: The AKC Breed Standard

The Yorkshire Terrier belongs to the AKC Toy Group because of its size, but it has the heart and instincts of a true Terrier. Yorkshires are spunky little dogs with big personalities. To participate in AKC conformation shows, like those you see on TV, he'll have to measure up to the official breed standard.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a nonprofit organization that's devoted to the advancement of purebred dogs. The AKC maintains a record of all registered dogs; sponsors a variety of dog competitions, such as shows and agility competitions; and establishes the ideal standards for each recognized breed.

The ideal AKC Yorkie.
The ideal AKC Yorkie.

The standard specifies that the Yorkie should have a typical toy terrier build. He should be neat and compact. The Yorkshire Terrier should also carry his head in such a way to give the impression of confidence and self-importance. The breed standard places far more emphasis on exactly how specific parts of the Yorkshire Terrier body should appear.

  • Head: The Yorkie's head is small, slightly flat on top and not too round.

    Additionally,

    • The ears should be small, v-shaped, pointed, and erect

    • The eyes (hazel or brown) should be dark, sparkly, and intelligent.

    • The muzzle shouldn't be too long. It should have a black nose and good teeth with no overbite or underbite.

  • Body: The body should be well proportioned and very compact (ranging from 4 to 7 pounds), with a relatively short, level back (that is, a back that doesn't slope too much from the shoulders to the rump, or one that doesn't look humped back).

    Want to know about how much your Yorkie pup will weigh when he's full grown? Take his weight at three months and double it. If your 3-month-old Yorkie weighs 3 pounds, he'll weigh close to 6 pounds as an adult.

  • Legs and feet: The forelegs are straight; the hind legs are straight when seen from behind, but the stifles (the upper thighs) of the hind legs are slightly bent when seen from the side. Yorkies' feet are round and have black toenails.

  • Tail: The tail is docked and carried slightly higher than the level of the back.

    In the U.K., Yorkie tails don't have to be docked.

  • Coat: The Yorkie's hair needs to be kept long. The long, blue and tan coat should hang evenly down each side of their bodies. The silky and straight coat should have a single part that runs from base of the neck to the tip of the tail. The breed standard for Yorkies also gives the following styling tips:

    Additionally,

    • Keep the coat trimmed to floor length.

    • Tie back the fall with one bow in the center, or part the hair and tie it back in two bows.

    • Keep the muzzle hair long, but trim the hair around the tips of the ears.

Like human hair, Yorkie hair just keeps growing. If you plan to show your Yorkie's, you'll probably want to keep it's coat protected by applying show wraps. Without this protection, the hair will break.

  • Color: The ideal coat color for adult Yorkies is blue and tan; however, your Yorkie can also be: blue and gold, black and gold, and black and tan. Furthermore, the colors must appear in the right places:

    • On the body: Blue or black from the back of the neck to the tip of the tail.

    • On the head: Golden tan or gold on the fall, with a richer tan/gold on the ears and muzzle.

    • On the chest and legs: Tan or gold on the chest. On the legs, the tan/gold should go no higher than the elbow on the front legs and the stifle on the hind legs.

    Don't judge your puppy's colors too quickly. All Yorkie pups are born black and tan. As they get

Some deficiencies are no big deal in the show ring, while others are considered so serious that the dog can't be shown, such as

  • A coat that is solid in color or a combination of colors other than blue and tan.

  • Having any white markings other than a small white spot on the chest that is smaller than 1 inch.

If you plan on showing your Yorkie, check with the AKC for more information and to see if your Yorkie qualifies.

Remember that few Yorkshire Terriers meet all the standard's criteria for perfection. Still, disqualification from the conformation show ring certainly doesn't mean that the affected Yorkie won't be a wonderful, healthy pet or participant in other dog activities and competitions, such as agility.

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