White Yorkies – Everything You Need to Know

A Yorkshire Terrier is a beautiful and well-established breed of dog, with the “White Yorkie” being a somewhat controversial variation on that breed. Usually, “Yorkies” only seldom have white in their coat – so what gives? In this article, we’re going to address everything you need to know about the “White Yorkie”, including its origins, temperament, and more!

Are White Yorkies’ Rare?

So firstly, it’s worth pointing out that the answer is yes. In fact, “White Yorkies” are not only very uncommon but almost unheard of. According to the breeding standards outlined in the American Kennel Club (ACK), pure white is not one of the typical colors for the coat of a Yorkshire terrier. 

The standard colors are usually a patchwork of brown, tan, black, and – yes, in some cases – patches of white.

However, almost-white Yorkies can come into existence as a result of breeding methods that are not clearly outlined. This means that the types of cross-breeding which have to occur for a Yorkshire Terrier to be born pure white are not well documented in the official breeder’s literature. 

This means that it’s very likely that if you come across one of these dogs, there’s a good chance that it’s simply a Yorkshire Terrier that’s been crossed with another similarly sized and shaped dog – such as a Maltese.

So do they actually exist then?

Well, yes and no. 

Of course, there are the aforementioned cross-breeds with Maltese, bichon-frise, etc., and then there are some Yorkshire Terriers, which through careful and selected breeding display coats with a significantly higher proportion of white than is found in others of a similar breed. 

If you come across a mixed Yorkie-Maltese, for example, there’s no shame in it! These breeds are very lovable and sweet and their white coat is no less brilliant for having been bred in a different way. But you should know that taxonomically, a “White-Yorkie” this ain’t.

You could say that an actually purely White Yorkie is an almost Mythological creature. Almost, since you can find very rare cases of albinism that renders the coat of the dog purely white. This, however, is not a generally heritable trait, therefore it’s not proper to refer to it as a distinct breed in and of itself.  

Are White Yorkies Smart?

This question is dependant on what kind of dog it ‘actually’ is, at the end of the day.

In general, Yorkshire Terriers are ranked as being above average intelligence for a dog and have a very loyal and decent temperament. While the smartest breeds of dog in the world can remember a command after just five repetitions of it, your average Yorkshire terrier will be able to do so after 15.

Behaviourally, a Yorkie will

Why are White Yorkies so expensive?

The simple answer is that it’s because they are so rare – that’s all there is to it! This is the same reason that many breeders may be chasing the goal of achieving the impossible. So be careful when you purchase! 

As I said before, there’s nothing wrong with a white dog that’s been crossbred with a Terrier, but don’t be fooled into paying a high price for a dog that may not actually be worth as much.

If I find a White Yorkie on offer from a respectable breeder, what should I know?

The argument for these dogs being called a distinct sub-breed of Terrier is that there isn’t any outside mix being introduced. Since this may cause many different recessive genes to be inherited, there is an unknown longer-term health risk associated with their genetic make-up.

 Since this is wholly dependant on the specific dog and breeder, there isn’t any solid advice that can be given in this regard, only that you trust the breeder. So be informed, ask whether or not they are albino. 

If you’re told that it’s been bred this way ask for more information, perhaps even for pedigree, especially if they insist that it isn’t a cross with another breed.

What kinds of health problems do White Yorkies have?

This depends again on how it’s bred. In general, though, there are only a few genes that will have been selected-for by a breeder to create a “White Yorkie”.

Potential issues caused by the double-inheritance of a gene could range from problems with their eyes and ears to melanoma. Again, very much dependant on whether or not you trust your source on this one. It’s best practice to take any new puppy, regardless of breed for a check-up with a good veterinarian.

Why Is My White Yorkie Turning Grey?

So if you actually do own a White Yorkie, you may be wondering why their coat is changing colors. Chances are, like all dogs, the coat is turning grey with age. This is most likely nothing to worry about.

As with any dog, if you suspect that your pet has any kind of issue causing discoloration of their coat or excessive shedding, you should take them to the vet immediately – google shouldn’t be your primary source for information about your own dog’s health! 

I’ve heard a lot about “Teddy Bear Yorkies” and “Black Yorkies” – do they exist?

In the world of animal breeding, sometimes less informed or scrupulous owners and breeders can come up with nicknames for dogs, that strictly speaking don’t exist as breeds.

For example, the “Teddy Bear Yorkie” is a very informal nickname given to Yorkies who  – you guessed it – resemble teddy bears. This is usually a combination of their coat, their age, and how they’ve been groomed, and it should be noted that this is not a recognized breed.

Likewise, the “Black Yorkie” is very similar to the story of the titular dog in this article – often crossbred, rarely if ever occurring through natural breeding. And although some exist, once again, this is not a recognized breed – so they should be viewed with the same skeptical eye as their white cousins.