Yorkshire Terriers are feisty little dogs, extremely popular worldwide. They have beautiful coats that start one color and change as they get into maturity. As with all dog breeds, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has strict standards regarding all dogs’ coat colors and types, not just the Yorkie. But for the Yorkie, they want to see blue, gold, tan, and black.
But there can be variations in coat colors with Yorkies, and the AKC will accept them having registration; I’m thinking about the parti-white Yorkie. Of course, the owners cannot show any Yorkie that doesn’t conform to the standards. Another variation of the Yorkie coat is a Chocolate Yorkie; that’s what this article will discuss.
What Are Chocolate Yorkies?
The Chocolate Yorkie’s coat is entirely brown but can also be a dark shade of bronze to a lighter tan, and they may also be known as Red Yorkies, Red-legged Yorkies, or Brown Yorkies. These are Yorkies carrying the double recessive gene for brown and red coats. Yorkie puppies always start life with a black coat; however, if they happen to have the recessive gene, their coat will be a much lighter shade even when they are newborns.
A Chocolate Yorkie begins life as a Chocolate Yorkie; it’s not something they will inherit later down the line. But as we just mentioned, they might have variations of the brown color. The suggestion might be that the recessive gene is something Yorkies inherited years ago from breeding them with dogs that have primarily brown coats.
Is It Possible For Chocolate Yorkies To Be Purebred?
If both parents carry the recessive gene and they are purebred Yorkies, then the answer is yes. There are purebred Chocolate Yorkies. Similar to the Parti-white Yorkie, they are recognized by the AKC, with some conditions.
What prospective owners need to be wary of is unscrupulous breeders. They will convince unsuspecting and gullible people into believing they are purchasing a Chocolate Yorkie when in fact, they are getting a mixed breed puppy. The mating has been between a Yorkie and another brown coated breed; puppies may appear to be Chocolate Yorkies.
You must perform your due diligence before purchasing a puppy like this. The breeders will charge a premium for the puppy because they claim they are a more rare type of Yorkie.
The Chocolate Yorkie-Genetic Makeup
There are so many different dog coat colorings that it’s surprising only two pigments determine the color of all dog coats. The two pigments are phaeomelanin (red) and eumelanin (black color).
Both pigments are a type of melanin and, as incredible as it may seem, are the reason why there is such a wide variety of coat colors. The hair follicles have cells called melanocytes, and as the dog’s hair grows, these cells add melanin to the hair; the more melanin, the darker the hair.
Of course, nothing works to perfection. This is the same with melanin. Sometimes because of uneven distribution, the tip of the dog’s hair might receive more melanin than the rest of the hair, resulting in the end of the dog’s hair being much darker.
How Are Yorkies Born Brown?
As we mentioned, eumelanin and phaeomelanin determine black and red, but there are other genes at play. One gene, TYRP1, increases black eumelanin production against brown pigments, and in Yorkshire Terriers, this gene is dominant, so they have black hair when born.
Yorkies are brown because of a recessive mutation in the TYRP1 gene that reduces the effects, and instead of black, you get brown; this is the ‘b’ allele gene.
Should both Yorkie parents possess the ‘b’ allele gene, then there could be a brown puppy in their litter. But both parents need to have the gene. A combination of the ‘b’ allele gene and the phaeomelanin gene can also produce paler colors, such as tan or light brown.
Are Chocolate Yorkies Prone To Health Issues?
A Yorkie with the recessive gene will not suffer from any unusual health issues any more than a typical Yorkie without the gene. Chocolate Yorkies live the same lifespan as the average Yorkie.
Unless, of course, you find a breeder who actively is attempting to breed chocolate Yorkies and has no concern for the puppies’ health and well-being. Breeders such as this care only for the extra money they make by selling Chocolate Yorkies. The breeder’s mentality might make chocolate Yorkies appear to be more susceptible to health issues when the reality is the breeder is at fault.
The breeder’s responsibility should be to ensure there are no undesirable health traits in the litters he breeds.
Teacup Chocolate Yorkies
A Teacup Yorkie is bred deliberately to be smaller than the standard Yorkie size, usually under 4lbs.
Here is another situation where you, as a potential buyer, must ensure that everything is as it should be, and you research the breeders you are talking to very carefully.
Will Your Chocolate Yorkie Be Registered With The AKC?
Breed standards for the AKC always include a reference to acceptable coat types and colors. Therefore most people assume that because a Chocolate Yorkie doesn’t conform to those conditions, he will not gain entry into the AKC.
Fortunately, this is not true. You can register your Chocolate Yorkie as a Liver Yorkshire Terrier. There are one or two provisos; both parents must be registered with the AKC, and Liver Yorkshire Terriers cannot enter shows or competitions.
If this is something you are contemplating, then a Chocolate Yorkie isn’t going to be what you need, but if the Yorkie puppy is only going to be a family pet, then there’s no issue.
Chocolate Yorkie Prices
As with all things, when demand outstrips supply, the price goes up. Because Chocolate Yorkies are not particularly common and interest in them increases, you will pay a premium to own one. So think in terms of up to $6,000 would be a guideline figure.
I can’t reiterate too many times, though, double and triple-check everything about the breeders you are in conversation with about a Chocolate Yorkie; don’t take anything at face value.
There is a lot of information about Chocolate Yorkies, some accurate and much that isn’t. There are also a great many opinions that may or may not factual. It’s up to you to sort out what’s correct and what isn’t, especially when the Chocolate Yorkie will be a member of your family for many years.