What Is the Difference Between a Parti Yorkie & a Regular Yorkie?

Look at a massive, drooling mastiff that weighs over 100 pounds and you might have a hard time reconciling the fact that it is the exact same species as a tiny, trembling Yorkshire terrier that weighs only 5 pounds. As it turns out, dogs are the most diverse species on earth, according to National Geographic. These differences affect more than the dog's size —dogs also come in a surprising range of colors. Even among the same breed, there can be great differences in colors, such as the black Lab, chocolate Lab, and yellow Lab. A parti Yorkshire terrier is similar in that it is simply a different color variation from the traditional Yorkie.

Cute Yorkshire terrier
What Is the Difference Between a Parti Yorkie & a Regular Yorkie?
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What is a parti Yorkie?

Pruitt Yorkies explains that when dogs have unusual colorings despite being a purebred, they are called a parti dog. Given that traditional Yorkshire terriers have a coat that is either tan and a deep gray known as blue or a black and tan coat, parti Yorkies are purebred Yorkies with different coloration. Parti Yorkies most often have tan, black, and white fur, but they also can have chocolate or golden coloring, according to YorkieMag.com.

All of these colorings come from recessive genes, so both Yorkie parents must carry the gene for one of these colorations in order to have a parti puppy in their litter. Even when both parents carry the gene for a parti color, some of the puppies in the litter may have traditional coloring while others may have the parti coloring.

Parti Yorkie controversy

Some conservative Yorkshire terrier breeders believe that parti Yorkies are not true Yorkies. According to Yorkie Life, Yorkies were once mated with Maltese dogs in order to improve the texture and length of the Yorkshire terrier's coat. They were also bred with other breeds for similar reasons, and critics seem to believe that the coloration is something left over from non-Yorkie stock.

Regardless, parti Yorkies come from purebred Yorkshire terriers and are therefore still considered purebred themselves. The American Kennel Club even changed the breed standard recently to include parti coloration, which has been documented as appearing in litters since at least the 1800s.

Despite negative attitudes toward the parti Yorkies by certain breeders, dog buyers are very interested in the coloration, and the parti Yorkie is so popular that these pups are now registered with the AKC more frequently than traditionally colored Yorkies. Some breeders are now actively working to produce parti Yorkies with even more variance in colors.

Differences from Biewer terriers

A Biewer terrier (sometimes called either a Biewer Yorkie or German terrier) is a distinct breed that was created from Yorkshire terriers. The AKC says the breed was developed by a German couple, Mr. and Mrs. Biewer, who had bred Yorkshire terriers since the 1970s. In 1984, the couple started breeding Yorkshire terrier puppies that were black, white, and tan.

Because white coloring in Yorkies is particularly rare, it took a lot of selective breeding to bring out this recessive coloration consistently in puppies. Technically, the original puppies would have been parti Yorkies, but the Biewers continued to breed these dogs until they became their own distinctive breed that all have tri-coloring, including white markings.

Because the Biewers were in Germany where tail docking is illegal, the breed standard for Biewer terriers does not include docked tails like Yorkshire terriers. The dogs have two accepted colorings: black, white, and tan, or blue, white, and tan. There is no set pattern for the colors, so some Biewer terriers will have a white face with a black body and a tan chest, while others will have a tan face, black leg, and white body. As long as the dog is from the Biewer breeding stock and has the accepted coloring and an undocked tail, it should meet the breed standard.