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Yorkshire Terriers are known for their glossy, hair-like coats that change colors as the dogs age. The AKC upholds strict standards for appropriate Yorkie colors: black, tan, blue, and gold. But the truth is, Yorkshire Terriers may come in a variety of nonstandard colors.
One of those variations is the Chocolate Yorkie. You’ll learn all about it in this guide.
In this guide:
- What is a Chocolate Yorkie?
- Are Chocolate Yorkies purebred?
- Do Chocolate Yorkies have health issues?
- Does the AKC recognize Chocolate Yorkshire Terriers?
- How much do Chocolate Yorkies cost?
What is a Chocolate Yorkie?
As the name implies, Chocolate Yorkshire Terriers are Yorkies with an entirely brown coat. The coat’s coloring can vary from deep bronze to tan, and depending on the exact shading, these brown Yorkies may also be known as Red Yorkies, Red-Legged Yorkies, or Liver-and-Tan Yorkies.
Pinto the Chocolate Yorkie, courtesy of Monica Torres
Apart from the difference in coloring, a Chocolate Yorkie should look and act like any other Yorkshire Terrier.
>> Read more: Purebred vs Mutt: Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier?
Are Chocolate Yorkies purebred?
Generally, yes. Purebred Chocolate Yorkie puppies may be born when the right recessive genes are present in both parents.
However, it’s possible you could come across an untrustworthy breeder who may cross-breed a Yorkie with another dog breed to produce a brown Yorkie puppy, so you should always do your homework.
Some people believe that somewhere in their ancestry, Yorkshire Terriers were crossbred with Manchester Terriers to develop the brown color, but this has not been confirmed.
Regardless, Chocolate Yorkies can be recognized as purebred by the AKC—with some qualifications (more on that later).
>> Read more: Yorkie Growth Chart: How Big Will My Yorkie Get?
The genetic makeup of Chocolate Yorkies
All dog coloring comes from two basic pigments: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red).1 A gene called TYRP1 darkens the eumelanin, which is already dominant in Yorkie puppies, causing it to appear black. This is known as B-Locus.
However, a recessive mutation of the TYRP1 gene in Chocolate Yorkies causes the eumelanin to lighten to a brown color. This is known as the b allele.
If both parents of a Yorkie puppy have the recessive b allele gene, a brown or Chocolate Yorkie may be born.2 And when combined with the lighter phaeomelanin pigment, the Chocolate Yorkie puppy’s fur may have sections of hair that appear light brown as well.
>> Read more: White Yorkie: Is a Purebred Albino Pup Possible?
Do Chocolate Yorkies have health issues?
Just because your Chocolate Yorkie may carry recessive genes, this doesn’t mean it will necessarily experience unusual health issues. Many Chocolate Yorkies go on to live long, happy lives. However, you should be wary of Chocolate Yorkie breeders who put color above pedigree. They may be out to make a buck rather than produce a healthy litter.
The same goes for Chocolate Teacup Yorkies. As with breeders who breed for color, breeders who put puppy size above health may have misguided motives.
If you see Chocolate Yorkies for sale, make sure to ask the breeder lots of questions. Ask to see where the puppy was born and weaned. Ask to see the parents and their registration and veterinary paperwork. And finally, ask for references from past customers.
Finally, once you take your dog home, you should educate yourself on common Yorkie health issues. Your pup could face any of these ailments, Chocolate coat or not.
Does the AKC recognize Chocolate Yorkshire Terriers?
Yes, the American Kennel Club recognizes Chocolate Yorkies. You can register your pup as a Liver or possibly Liver-and-Tan Yorkshire Terrier. However, the AKC considers this coloring nonstandard, so your pup will not be able to show in competitions.
If this is important to you, you should look for a purebred Yorkie puppy with a black-and-tan coat. But if you’re just looking for a scruffy, pint-sized friend, don’t worry about it. Your Chocolate Yorkie puppy won’t need any ribbons to know it is loved.
>> Read more: Yorkie Names: Good Names for Females, Males & Puppies
How much do Chocolate Yorkies cost?
Chocolate Yorkies often cost between $2,000 and $6,500. Many breeders price Chocolate Yorkie puppies slightly higher than standard Yorkie pups because the coat is considered rare. However, as we stated above, you should be wary of breeders who actively try to breed Chocolate Yorkies to make more money.
You’re likely to find a better deal and a healthier dog from a respectable breeder of standard Yorkshire Terriers who finds themselves with a surprise Chocolate pup from one of their recent litters. To learn more, read our guide on Yorkshire Terrier prices. Or you can help save a life buy adopting instead. Learn more about the difference between adopting vs buying a dog.
>> Keep reading: Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic?
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- Buzhardt, L. “Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs” https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/genetics-basics-coat-color-genetics-in-dogs
- Animal Genetics. “B-Locus (Brown, Liver, Chocolate)” https://www.animalgenetics.us/Canine/Canine-color/BLocus.asp