Gilberts' K-9 Seminars News & Review
Copyright (c) 2004-2009 Gilbert K-9 Seminars
The above Article is Copyrighted (c) 2004-2009 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars.
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By Patricia H. Gilbert

While I am not a breeder of Yorkies, I do judge and study this terrific little breed. Yes, the Yorkie’s basic original purpose was as a tough ratter but he is now also a great companion and a fancy self important toy terrier. His hallmark is his glorious coat and color.

When judging I prefer to find the positives and then subtract from there if I must. If the Yorkie's coat is not correctly colored, then why look for another excuse to not award an animal? Should I ignore the current Standard as submitted by the Parent Club and approved by AKC and find something else to mark a dog down because once upon a time and by tradition that dog's color was acceptable? “Was” is the operative word. We all must judge by the current Standard or we do a breed a great disservice.  AKC approves a judge based on the assumption they will judge in accordance with the current Standard.

More than half of the AKC Yorkie Standard discusses coat and color.  The only paragraphs that don't discuss color in anyway are the two describing tail and weight. The only DQ is color! This breed's opening paragraph in the current Standard is "General Appearance: That of a long-haired toy terrier whose blue and tan coat is parted on the face and ..." AKC Standard, Oct. 1, 2007. So I have to understand that this breed holds great importance to coat and more importantly to color.

Breed Standards can be a Pandora's Box when opened to "clarify or eliminate" misunderstandings by people. There can be knee jerk reactions to trends. Those trends should be dealt with by better education for breeders, judges and owners, who have not taken the time to study or understand origin, purpose and history of a breed. The trends should not be dealt with by changing the Standard. It is so much better to leave an imperfect breed Standard alone. Just as the perfect breed specimen has never been bred, neither has the perfect Standard ever been written.

I wrote an article not too long ago that I believe still applies.

Sadly the color issue got way out of control in Yorkies and the breed Standard was changed. We as judges cannot second guess a possible mistake in a change to a breed Standard when the emphasis on color is so strong that it is the only DQ.

We the judges, as Mr. Usherwood pointed out in the article above, are left to take the heat when we correctly apply the words to the entry in front of us. Even those of us without a colorist degree or a spectrometer can figure out the unambiguous new wording to the Yorkie Standard. We take the heat because the new color words leave no wiggle room as was intended by the authors of those words. The authors are the members of the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, the Parent Club and keeper of the breed standard.

There is a wise old saying that should be considered by every parent club proposing changes to their breed standard. "Be careful what you wish for".