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Teddy Bear Yorkies

Teddy Bear Yorkies

There are several different reasons why one would refer to a Yorkshire Terrier as a Teddy Bear Yorkshire Terrier.

We would like to first point out that there is only one standard for this breed that is recognized by the AKC and other reputable kennel clubs with no official offshoots that vary in appearance. 

Some breeds do have variations, this is most often due to size…The Beagle for example.  

The Yorkshire Terrier has only 1 accepted standard of appearance. This covers everything from weight, length of tail, the size and coloring of the eyes, even the shape of the paws.  

So, due to the above facts, A Teddy Bear Yorkie is not an official type of dog. The term is used as a description. The words themselves are adjectives. As you know, an adjective modifies a noun by describing or identifying it.

With this said, the term is used in many different ways. One of the reasons why it is used in such a broad sense is that it is a fairly new term. It is actually thought to be borrowed from references to the Pomeranian breed.

Over the past few decades, more and more breeders began to refer to some puppies as “Teddy Bear Poms” and the term became so popular that it was carried over to the Yorkshire Terrier breed. 

Since it really had no official meaning, breeders and others would use it…but there was no agreement to what it meant…no consensus as to exactly what the term was to imply.
Teddy bear Yorkshire Terrier
Therefore, at this point, it has 5 main meanings:

1. Size - This is a bit perplexing to us why anyone would feel the need to create a terminology in regard to size, because per AKC standards, this breed does not have a set lower weight. Any dog under 7 pounds fits the standard. Therefore, there is no reason to put any dogs of any small stature into an unofficial subcategory. However, some breeders do…And will refer to those of smaller than expected size as Teddy Bear Yorkies.

2. Face Shape – This is borrowed from the Pomeranian breed, as talked about above. The Pom, by standard, has a fox-type face, but there are those who purposefully breed for dogs with flatter faces and while not officially recognized, refer to them as Teddy Bear or Baby Doll Poms. So, this has indeed carried over to the Yorkshire Terrier. When used in this way, it describes a Teddy Bear face Yorkie, who will have a shorter than normal snout, larger eyes and often a more rounded head.
Yorkie shoo mixed breed Teddy bear
This is a so-called Shorkie Poo, a 50% Shihtzu, 25% Yorkshire Terrier, and a 25% Poodle mix. It has a 'Teddy bear' appearance but is not a recognized breed. image by Nils Fretwurst (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
To produce puppies like this, there are different breeding methods. In most cases it will be due to a mixing of breeds. Therefore, when the shape of the face is so far-removed from the standard that it that it actually causes the pup to look completely different, enough to dub it a Teddy, it is most often due to a Yorkshire Terrier being paired with:
  • A Shih Tzu
  • A Maltese
  • A Pekingnese
And of course, a person can cross any 2 purebreds to create any sort of mix (we are not advocating this, we actually find it detrimental to the integrity of the purebreds)…

And they can dub the puppies with any term that they wish…Although, one would not be able to have AKC registration with a mix….And buyers should ask for paper which will let them know the bloodlines of the dog and if he or she is indeed a purebred. 
3. Color - Another way in which this term is used is to refer to the coloring of the dog. Some refer to black and tans as what a Teddy Bear Yorkie is. Now, there are 2 elements to this. The first is that all purebreds are born black and tan…starting at the age of 4 months to 9 months, there will be a gradual changeover to adult coat and that is when the steel blue comes in, intermingling with the other colors. During this phase, the tan becomes a darker, deeper gold.

There are some stay tan and black…although they will not fit the AKC guidelines. They do often make for great canine companions but would not be able to enter into conformation shows. Since most puppies are sold by the age of 8 weeks old, ALL Yorkies will be black and tan at that time…Therefore, we feel it is very misleading to use the term in this way, to describe a set of coloring, when there is a good chance of it changing in the near future.

4. Coat Texture - One disturbing answer to what is a Teddy Bear Yorkie is that sometimes a breeder will use this phrase to speak of puppies that do not have the typical and expected silky coat. With improper breeding practices, puppies can be produced that have more of a wooly coat….it will never be able to grow long.
Yorkie with a Teddy Bear hair cut
5. Hair Cuts - One reason to use this term is to describe a Yorkie Teddy Bear haircut. From what you have read so far, this obviously is the best use of the terminology, as it does not involve alternating the appearance of the dog, crossing him with another breed or producing puppies who do not meet the AKC guidelines.  

This breed can have many different hairstyles. One of the most popular ones is called the “puppy cut”, which refers to a close trim that keeps the hairs short and close to the body. It eliminates most of the issues with tangles that will occur with long show coat styles and it makes things easier on the owner in regard to grooming. 

Some people, both owners and breeders, are now referring to the “puppy cut” as the “Teddy Bear” and in this case, both expressions are accurate…the short coat does make a Yorkie look like a puppy…and it also reminds one of a Teddy.
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