What Is a Biewer Yorkie?

By Jo Chester

The Biewer (bee-vair) Yorkie has its foundations in the Yorkshire terrier (See References 1). Although it has evolved into a new breed, the Biewer originated as a parti-colored Yorkshire terrier. Once a Biewer breeding program was established, crosses to solid-colored Yorkshire terriers ceased. Some questions have been raised about the purity of the Yorkshire terrier lines used to establish the Biewer Yorkies; however, the breed's founders have claimed that DNA markers, identified in 2009 by MARS Veterinary, prove the purebred nature of the breed (See References 1, 2, 3).

Official Biewer History

The first Biewer Yorkshire terrier, Schneeflocken von Friedheck, was born in Germany on Jan. 20, 1984, in a litter owned by Werner and Gertrud Biewer (See References 1, 3). After five years of selective breeding, a breed standard was established and the breed registered with the Allgemeiner Club der Hundefreunde Deutschland e.V as the “Biewer Yorkshire Terrier a la Pom Pon" (See references 4). The Biewers continued to breed Biewer terriers until 1997, when Werner died and Gertrud discontinued breeding her dogs (See References 3, 4).

The first Biewer terriers were brought to the United States in 2003. In June of that year, the breed made its conformation show debut with the International All-Breed Canine Association. The breed continued to compete under the original German standard, which has been adopted by the Biewer Breed Club of America (See References 4). The standard calls for a dog similar in all ways to the Yorkshire terrier other than color. The Biewer standard also states that the dogs’ tails not be docked, unlike the Yorkshire terrier from which it springs (See References 5).

Breed Recognition

The Biewer terrier has been accepted to the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Services since April 2014 (See References 1). Once it has been fully recognized as an established breed, it will compete in the AKC’s Toy Group. It has been accepted by the United Kennel Club since March 2015. The Allgemeiner Club der Hundefreunde Deutschland e.V. was the first breed club to recognize the Biewer terrier in their country of origin, Germany (See References 4).

Breed Controversy

Some evidence points to the Biewer Yorkie being produced by outcrossing Yorkshire terriers to other dogs with the parti-colored gene. According to the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, “no white dogs or dogs with white markings were involved in the process of developing the breed,” (See References 2), which would preclude the gene being present -- even as an underlying recessive gene -- to appear in the Biewer progenitor. The question of how the white spotting gene appeared in the Biewers’ Yorkshire terrier is also raised, without answer, in the Biewer Terrier Club of America account of Biewer terrier history. This article questions why puppies are not shown in the presence of their dams more than one time and appears to indicate that the original Biewer terrier litters were unusually large, possibly implying that the puppies belonged to other dogs and not with the dams and litters with which they were depicted (See References 4, 6). The dogs that produced Schneeflocken were a blue and tan pair, both produced at Steamglen kennel (See References 4). Some question also exists as to how Schneeflocken appears in a number of the pedigrees of dogs belonging to the Biewers when she was sold at the tender age of 5 months (See References 3).

Parti-colored Yorkie vs. Biewer Yorkie

Any Yorkshire terrier marked with white is automatically disqualified from competing in the show ring.The Yorkshire terrier has always been a breed with a gold or a tan coat marked with a blue (adult) or black (puppy) saddle. On rare occasions, a dog with markings that do not conform to the breed standard are born. These mismarked dogs may have patches of white on their chest, some of which might be substantial in size. When these markings cover a large portion of the dog’s body, rather than being confined to the chest, the dog can be termed a parti-colored Yorkshire terrier. A Biewer terrier is always a parti-colored dog; the piebald markings are a requirement of the standard and the dogs are selectively bred to have these markings (See References 5).