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Old 11-24-2015, 06:20 AM   #1
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Default Let's talk about coat baby!

I was at a show last weekend and I was speaking to a long time breeder of over 40 years. She is a very smart lady, an absolute expert on breeding and on Yorkies. We were talking and she told me "You know, Yorkies are the hardest dog to breed". She continued "You can have great structure, temperament and of course health, but it is so hard to get that coat perfect. The blue of the coat should look like the inside of a rifle". We talked and she felt if anything in the breed needed improvement it was getting more "blue" coats into the ring. Overall she felt the breed was doing well and that there were in her opinion many excellent breeders. She was not alarmist about it, just an honest assessment by a master at her craft.

So I pose the question to our incredibly knowledgeable YT breeders. What can breeders do to get that coat perfect. Obviously if you breed two dogs with a blue coat then in theory you should get more blue coats. But it's not that simple. What are some things that you have tried either successfully or unsuccessfully?
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:23 AM   #2
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Hi swan!

Genetically we don't know the genes involved to produce this elusive color. There are some anecdotal theories concerning the graying gene, but still we don't know for sure.
Even if we did, there are very few people who really know the basics of genetics.

Furthermore we need honesty.
The majority out there enhance the true color of their dogs. And this is not something new. It is recorded through early history. It was and still is a common practice.

According to this theory and to answer your question, it is not that simple.
Breeding together 2 blue dogs the resulting pups may have the correct texture but they will probably lack in uniform shading. Some will be darker in color and some lighter in color.
To solve this throwback many employee a woolly or cottony or a mix textured black dog.
Of course this is wrong, because you introduce the wrong texture into the gene pool.
Old timers used the so called "red legged" yorkies to fix color in their lines.
I really don't know if these dogs had wrong texture or they just had an abundance production of melanin.

Some very interesting articles:

Color and texture, by Joan Gordon
Color & Texture by Joan Gordon

Genetics of blue/tan coat color, by Cher Hildebrand
Goldenray Genetics of Blue Tan Coat Color Yorkies Coat Color

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Old 11-27-2015, 11:47 AM   #3
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One more thing to consider is that in Europe there is a misconception that the darker the color the better, despite the reflections and the color. Basically they just ignore the 2 last words of the blue description in our standard: steel blue.
They just breed for the dark.
This unfortunately leads many (including judges) to perceive the ideal color as ... dark, no matter if this is gray or plain black. But certainly not BLUE.
In addition even if you show a true BLUE yorkie, you cannot compete neither the enhanced dark ones, nor black or gray ones.
It will look too light for the inexperienced.
One thing is for sure: a TRUE dark steel blue is so hard to find, and even if you do, it has to be accompanied with a sound body and temperament. This is why our breed is one of the hardest to breed.

Last edited by Mike1975; 11-27-2015 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-27-2015, 12:25 PM   #4
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One last thing... I promise
There is no doubt that its all in the eye of the beholder.
But, if we know and understand the history involved for each and every trait, it would be easier to visualize more subjectively what we want.

For example, in 1894 the color was "Bright steel blue" but in 1903 the color changed to "Dark steel blue".
What happened?


In Herbert Compton's book "The twentieth Century dog" published in 1904, there is a standard given by Mr F. Randal, the first secretary of the Yorkshire Terrier Club.

This was not the same standard as was written in Mr Drury's book "British dogs, their points, selection, and show preparation" written one year earlier (1903). It had slight changes - although the color described as "dark steel blue".

Mr Compton shared the opinions of Mr F. Randal and Mr Fred Poole for this change.
Fred Poole represented the Northerners and the "Halifax and District Yorkshire Terrier Club", while Mr F Randal, represented the Southerners and the "Yorkshire Terrier Club".

It seems that there was a debate about color and the saturation point of blue.

Both gentlemen were satisfied with yorkies shown in THEIR district, but not with yorkies shown elsewhere.

Mr Randal stated that:
" In my opinion the type of Yorkshire Terrier shown in London and the South cannot be improved. I consider the dark, steel-blue (not silver) a great improvement on the pale-coloured dogs, which seem to generally preferred in the North, and are easier to breed than the darker ones."

On the other hand Mr Poole stated :
" I am quite satisfied with type, as I think a good specimen of today is as near perfection as it is possible to get. My club, the Halifax and District Yorkshire Terrier Club, is the oldest society in existence of its kind and going very strong, with plenty of members. All the champion dogs of the past and present owe their origin to Halifax, such as Halifax Marvel, the sire of these three noted dogs : Ch. Ted, Ch Merry Mascot and Ch. Ashton Queen."


It seems that Mr Randal's view prevailed.

Joan Gordon wrote in her book "The new Complete Yorkshire terrier" :

"Silver was never a desired color as can be demonstrated by the early write-ups of winning dogs. When bright steel blue was replaced by dark steel blue, one of the breed's original rules established by the originators of the breed was violated. A course was laid that would lead to black yorkies with tans intermingled with sooty, gray or black hairs. For the use of "dark" was to define the depth of color desired. The point remains that "bright" more lucidly illustrates what was originally desired.

Bright gives illumination to steel blue showing that it should reflect light. It would seem likely that the General Meeting of the Yorkshire Terrier Club in London, January 5, 1911, was a very lively encounter.When the last of the old guard fell before a hail of words from the new recruits to the breed, a new standard was drawn up.
The pet dog of the North, became the Toy dog of the South..."


The standard that was laid down by the Yorkshire Terrier Club that was represented by Mr. F. Randall, was also written in Leslie William's book "A manual of toy dogs". This book has 3 editions. The first edition was written in 1904, the second in 1910 and the third - which I provide - was written in 1919. According to the Yorkshire Terrier Club history, Mr F. Randall was the first secretary of the Club from 1898 - 1904. Then again from 1907 - 1910.


From my research and according to books that I've found, there are references for bright steel blue, until 1922.

At least 2 authors provided us with the "bright steel blue" color in the standard after 1904.

Mr Watson in his book "The dog Book" written in 1905 and Mr Leighton in 3 of his books written from 1907 to 1922.
"The new book of the dog" - 1907
"Dogs and all about them" - 1910
"The complete book of the dog" - 1922


Mr. Leighton, in all 3 of his books, provided us with almost the same standard as given by Mr Coombs back in 1891.

I say "almost" because in the standard provided by Mr. Coombs, there is no reference for "All tan should be darker at the roots than at the middle of the hairs, shading off to a still lighter tan at the tips.".

On the other hand all these "bright steel blue" standards, make reference to the hair under the chin :
" Under the chin, long hair, about the same colour as on the crown of the head, which should be a bright, golden tan, and not on any account intermingled with dark or sooty hairs."
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Old 11-29-2015, 08:01 PM   #5
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WOW..... thanks for the info.......😖
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:24 AM   #6
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Mike you are incredible dude! I can't imagine a more thorough thoughtful answer to my question. You bring up a great point about judges not being completely aware of the standard and then because the dog is winning in the ring it is perpetuated in other breedings.

I really found the article about the correlation between the rich dark tan coat and the "blue" coloration fascinating. That is something I will be evaluating in future breedings. I think we have the same problem in the US where the judges ignore or forget that the blue is in the standard and put up darker dogs. I have seen some lighter colored dogs do really well too, my boy is on the lighter side and has done alright. It may sound like "splitting hairs" (pun intended) but I think it's important if the goal is perfection. The biggest enemy of being great is being "pretty good". Your historical research and big picture thinking is invaluable. You, my friend, are brilliant. Thank you.

It's really interesting, in my conversations with breeders at the shows, there really seems to be a consensus that Europeans are excellent breeders. In fact, many friends of mine feel that overall there are more good breeders in Europe than in the US. The American perspective is that Europe is older and therefore has more families that have bred dogs for generations and it shows in their breedings. In the US that is less common. This may be a total tangent but I'm curious what the perception of American breeders and dogs are in Europe? I know Americans are not always beloved overseas for a variety of reasons. But i'm curious about the perception of our dogs.

Yet again, this thread shows how incredibly difficult it is to breed Yorkies, you really have to study the breed relentlessly and have the curiousity to ask questions when there is something you don't know. I ask a lot of questions.
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:31 PM   #7
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First of all, thank you for your kind words

Great breeders can be found everywhere.
Breeders with passion and love for our breed.

As for American yorkies and their breeders, well, you have some great dogs with excellent sound bodies and of course there is temperament and showmanship.
On the other hand though, there is a rumor that while "chasing" a good structure and showmanship, in many cases color was sacrificed. Of course this is just a rumor. Nothing more nothing less.
But...
Here we are now, keeping the fate of our beloved yorkies in our hands, having the obligation to pass it on to the next generation even better than it was entrusted to us!
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:41 PM   #8
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Here is a great article, written by Hugo Ibanez in YCM #10 on August 2008
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:48 PM   #9
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Here is another one, written by Edith Stirk, of Stirkean kennel.
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Old 01-03-2016, 02:24 AM   #10
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Mike!

Greetings from up north MI.
Seems like you have a wealth of knowledge, can you spare some and offer some contacts for a good yorkie breeder, breeding for the standard.

I have been in search and am not finding anyone yet. I live in norther MI, but am willing to travel.

Thanks!

Zach
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:59 AM   #11
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Default My two cents worth

That coat is a beech to get right. But it also seems we have some different outlooks - and categorically I dislike when I see a black coat winning in the ring given how important coat is. And to be fair a very light silver. IMO u need to get that light reflection coupled with right color and texture. My Razz even when dirty his coat gleams - reflects the light.

Now I humbly point out we have some very other important issues. Solve the bite and teeth health problem!!! Maybe more of an issue in North America than Europe IJDK
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Old 06-10-2017, 01:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemy View Post
That coat is a beech to get right. But it also seems we have some different outlooks - and categorically I dislike when I see a black coat winning in the ring given how important coat is. And to be fair a very light silver. IMO u need to get that light reflection coupled with right color and texture. My Razz even when dirty his coat gleams - reflects the light.

Now I humbly point out we have some very other important issues. Solve the bite and teeth health problem!!! Maybe more of an issue in North America than Europe IJDK
I find it really interesting to read this. I was recently at a dog show and it was my first time competing, it was quite an experience. Of course I was asking lots and taking a good look at the yorkies. The yorkie who the judge picked had a completely black coat. And i found out this was an adult dog who was more than old enough that you'd expect to have their coat lightened up to a blue colour. The texture though was silky. You could see that just by looking at the dog. But just completely black. This was a yorkie from Europe. It was an outdoor show on a sunny day, and the coat didn't have the shiny reflective property that you'd expect from a silky coat. It seemed to more just kinda absorb the sunlight rather than reflect it. I was quite surprised that the judge picked that yorkie. Of course the dog had lots of really good traits but the coat was just completely black and had no shine. I thought I was maybe mistaken and that maybe it's just a really dark blue. So I got right up to the dog and chatted with the lady who was showing him. I wasn't mistaken. The coat was 100% black as black could be. I had no idea whatsoever that a silk coat could be completely black like that.

Besides that I also saw another yorkie whose muzzle was so short that it completely changed the look of the face. It was like the super flat face that you might expect to see on a shih tzu or some other breed. It just kinda threw me for a loop. I was so surprised.

I'm not normally one to pick apart dogs and analyze them but at the same time I'm trying to learn about the breed and develop an eye for a yorkie. I have to say though that I agree with you about disliking seeing a black coat winning. It's just something that seems to completely miss the mark of the breed standard. I so much love to see a shiny reflective silky blue coat.
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Old 06-11-2017, 01:44 PM   #13
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Tikanis Mike...WOW ...you all know soooo much about Yorkies....
I just know that I have 3 yorkies (two are rescues)......
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