Terrier Coat and Color Stages
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Coat and Color Stages
From Puppy to Maturity
The transition from
newly-born puppy to adult Yorkshire Terrier is a very confusing
attempt by a novice to come to grips with this period by reading
opinions of Yorkie breeders can
only add perplexity to confusion. No one agrees. This fact alone
offers the greatest hope to any
breeder. The answer lies in the fact that a bloodline generally
follows a course, but it never holds
entirely true for all members of the bloodline.
Each Yorkie puppy commences
its transition from the newly-born black-and-tan to the adult
blue-and-tan by its own inherited and constructed glandular system.
The combination of its inherited
genes from its' sire and dam at conception, and the development
of the fetus into a thriving new
born puppy, determines the health and makeup of the glandular
system that supplies the pigment
for the hair, skin, eyes, eye rims, nose, and toenails.
The black tan-pointed,
newly-born puppy must change into an adult with a pure clear
and a pure even dark, steel-blue. Not all puppies achieve this
goal. Some fall because their coat
texture is unable to provide a means for light rays to be
refracted and reflected to the human eye.
Others fail because their systems fail to provide the necessary
amount of pigment particles to the
cause, the result is that the Yorkie is unable to visually match
the standard in desired colors at specific areas.
To correctly match the
standard the Yorkie puppy must remove all black or
from its golden tan. This is first noticed on the skull which
may go from black to tan at the hair
roots, with any outgrowth of hairs being tan. Or the hair on the
skull may go from black to
the black intermingled hairs diminish the roots and new
outgrowth will gradually assume a richer
black on the muzzle, sides of head, front ear-base and around
the eyes generally achieves a
richer golden tan at the roots and new outgrowth as the black
intermingled hairs diminish. These
areas are always a darker shade of golden tan.
The chest and legs follow
the same program as the skull. All early tan marks are always a
case of a very light pale golden tan (creamy colored) there is
usually no distinction between
these early tan marks and the newly grown tan hairs.
The rear of the ear leathers
are the last to surrender from the black's hold. They should be
rich tan minus any blackish hue. Failure of the ear to achieve a
dark golden tan from the puppy
black is very indicative of a Yorkie who will never clear its
blue or clear its tan of black-hued hairs.
The newly-born to adult's
skin pigment is identical in color transition as the outgrowing
block to a Yorkies complete assumption of the desired colors is
the failure of the coat
texture. The newly-born puppies have flat, smooth, short-coated
hairs. Only as the hair grows can
texture be felt. It may be wiry, woolly, cottony, or silky.
A wiry coat can develop the
visually correct colors, but it will not attain great length.
coated yorkies do change coat texture prior to one year. The
hair at the roots commences to grow
out a finer grade and thus becomes silky.
The puppies with woolly and
cottony coats, although growing great length and heaviness fast,
never attain the correct visual colors. Their qualities-thick
heavy, downy, and sort-deter or dull
any light rays from proper play on the hairs.
Wavy coats are visible in
Yorkie puppies at a very early age and in general portend a
adult. A slight waviness on the upper hindquarters is not
unusual in may Yorkies, but should be
As no two Yorkies ever seem
to follow an exact transition pattern, or "breaking" as it has
be termed, we have included the most general facts of this
A puppy tha is about 3 to 4
weeks of age that shows gold hairs on the top of its head when
black hairs are parted, will as an adult have a clear golden
tan. If the coat texture is silky, the blue
will have no intermingled colors.
A puppy that has a wiry coat
texture, with a tan that is a very bright red gold by four to
months, will as an adult do one or two things: First, if the
puppy as it approaches five or six
months, or at least by nine months, shows the transition from
black to blue, the coat texture will
retain the wiry coat which will never attain any great length.
A puppy that has a bright
orange-red tan by four or five months, will as an adult have a
steel-blue, which may have areas of lighter or darker blue. This
coloring shows the greatest
tendency to have the tan placements run into the allotted areas
for the blue. The texture will be
A puppy whose coat appears
sparse of thin will, as an adult, have a thick, long coat of the
fine silky, glossy texture. This coat's growth is like a human's
hair, in that it is born with very little
but by adulthood has an abundance of hair, the quantity having
doubled and redoubled all during
puppy-hood (or childhood). Both colors will be totally clear.
A puppy of around four
months, that has changed the color on its head from black to
gray to a
very pale sooty color, will as an adult enrich all the tan areas
to a clear golden tan. The blue will
follow the correct manner of transition from black to blue
starting to do so around six months. The
coat texture will be the correct silky type
A puppy whose tan has been
cleared of all the intermingled black or sooty hairs by four
of age, and whose texture is fine and silky, will as an adult
have correct colors. The tan of this puppy
will probably enrich to a darker shade as an adult.
A puppy approaching
adulthood with a thick heavy coat that has pale cream colored
head colors, with intermingle black hairs in tan at sides of
head, on the ear and ear fringes, may
as an adult diminish some of these black and sooty hairs. Its
desired blue area may eventually
achieve a transition from black to grey but it will never have a
clear golden tan, or a dark steel-blue. The coat texture is either a wooly or cottony.
A puppy approaching
adulthood that has a black stripe in the center of its head,
the whiskers, sides of head and up into the top-knot, with ears
that are more visibly black than
rich dark golden tan, will as an adult have a tan that is never
totally cleared. As the year pass
some of the black and sooty hairs will diminish, but a check of
the pigment under these
intermingled areas will show that it is a dark gray which will
never lighten. The black on this dog
will show a few hairs that will some hears hence go from black
to gray, especially at the lower hips
and lower shoulders, when the hair is parted down through the
upper layers. The coat texture will
be woolly or cottony.
A puppy approaching
adulthood that has intermingled sooty or black hairs at the
sides of its head
running up into the top-knot, with sooty area between the eyes,
and who's ears are sooty tan,
will have a gray body coat by around three years. The gray will
be lacking a blue hue. the tan will
always have some intermingled sooty hairs especially at sides of
head, ear fringes and between
the eyes. There my be some black or sooty hair on top of the
muzzle but not in the foreface
furnishings. The coat texture is cottony.
A puppy of three to four
months that has a very pale gold tan and whose black has gone to
silver-blue, will as an adult be a light silver-blue. A check of
this puppy's pigment will show that it
is incorrect, as it will be light-gray flesh color. The texture
will be silky.
A puppy that shows coarse
white hairs intermingled in the blue will usually shed most of
these as it
A puppy approaching
adulthood, (or over a year) that has an inch wide stripe from
the hair root
out, then blue, with the tip and last inch or two still showing
its transition from black to blue, will
with age lose the blackish tips on the end as they are worn off
or cut off as the coat achieves floor
length. The dark stripe will remain although it may be lessen in
width. It shows that the
pigmentation of the hair is extremely dense at its beginning and
does not diminish until it reaches
this point. The tan will be clear, and the coat texture silky.
A puppy that at some stage
in its puppy hood shows a brownish cast to its blue or black
is passing through a stage in which there is a hormone
imbalance. this condition will normally
right itself, as it is purely a growth stage.
Excerpts from "The complete
Yorkshire Terrier" by Joan Gorden