Photo: Courtesy of the Biewer Terrier Club of America and AKC.

The Biewer Terrier (pronounced "beaver"), is an elegant, long-haired, tri-coloured toy terrier with a charming, whimsical attitude that they carry well into adulthood. The American Kennel Club (AKC), announced in early January 2021, that this little dog has received full recognition, and is eligible to compete in the Toy Group. 

Also known as Biewer à la Pom Pon, Biewer Yorkie, or Biewer Yorkshire, the animal was first imported into the United States in 2003. It navigated its way up the AKC ladder to full recognition in record time, gaining acceptance into the association's Foundation Stock Service in 2014, the Miscellaneous Class in July 2019, and now into the total limelight. 

Basic Characters

Despite their small stature, they are hearty and athletic animals, keeping up with the best of them on long walks and hikes.
Photo: Amalia33 | Pixabay

These dogs are friendly, playful, energetic, and are constant explorers. They come with a big personality and have no fear of standing up to dogs larger than themselves. It's their lighthearted attitude that will keep you constantly entertained. And, they make excellent companions as they love to cuddle and settle into their owners' laps. 

Though they can be pretty active, they fit well a wide range of households: From single and senior citizens to families with children. They are also highly adaptable to most living situations and do well in small apartments or large homes. 

Although not a constant barker, they will alert you to company at the door. Though these dogs are pretty intelligent, they can be stubborn at times, but they'll come around with proper training coupled with patience and routine. Introducing them early in their lives to other dogs and dog parks will make things easier for socialisation too.

Despite their small stature, they are hearty and athletic animals, keeping up with the best of them on long walks and hikes. This versatile character is also suited for Agility, Rally, Dock Diving, and Obedience competitions in addition to the Conformation ring.

Distinguishing Marks

The Biewer Terrier is relatively small, much like that of its forefather's breed, the Yorkshire Terrier. The Biewer looks a little longer than tall, making it an off-square. The tail is often set high and carried well arched over the body, covered with a long luxurious fur. 

Best described as: "A long-haired, tri-coloured dog with a soft-silky coat and its feathered tail curled over its back. Add to that a neat ponytail atop its head and a proud sassy walk," by  Myrna Torres, of Sierra Madre, California (one of the co-founders of the breed in the US, along with Gayle Pruett, of Jemison, Alabama). Torres is president and Pruett, vice president, of the parent Biewer Terrier Club of America.

Its piebald colourisation (irregular patches of colours) includes white or blueish-white patches over white fur on their chests, legs, and undersides. This colourisation is inherited as a recessive gene, meaning both parents need to carry it for the puppies to have the tricolour appearance.

The gene that causes the large white areas can also be found in breeds such as the Havanese and German Short-Haired Pointer. Their faces are generally of black and tan colouring.

While they are considered hypoallergenic and relatively easy to groom, their long coat requires daily or every-other-day brushing to keep it free of mats. However, with a short puppy cut, weekly brushing will suffice. It is one of few breeds that includes a strict grooming clause in the standard.  

Origins Story

They are considered hypoallergenic and relatively easy to groom.
Photo: Wikimedia

There has always been a debate on the origin of the breed. It is generally accepted that the breed took its name from the late Werner and Gertrud Biewer, Yorkshire Terrier breeders in Hunstruck, Germany. 

Back in the 1980s, the Biewers began producing tri-colour Yorkies after raising and breeding them for 20 years. They stumbled upon the Biewer Terrier breed after noticing the recessive piebald gene their Yorkshire inherited.
In 2007, Mars Veterinary geneticists studied the DNA of 10 Biewer Terriers. They determined that it was a bonafide breed with the Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, and Havanese/Bichon Frise's dominant traits. 

This made them the first breed in history to be recognised as a purebred due to a genetic study's results.

The couple also developed the original breed standard. It describes the desired body shape and pattern of colouration, including symmetrical face markings and white legs. However, due to ill health, they closed their breeding programme without fully establishing a Biewer Terrier studbook.

Maintenance & Care

Some of the more common health issues that have surfaced include a sensitive gastrointestinal system, which thankfully, can be controlled with a good diet. Others are bouts of diarrhoea, discoloured or soft stool and dental issues.

Their nails should be trimmed regularly avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly as these dogs may be more prone to dental problems.  

When it comes to food, the Biewer diet should be formulated for a small breed with high energy.  As the Biewer Terrier may have a sensitive GI system, the AKC recommends a low-protein, well-balanced diet for them. Kibble is recommended as canned food increases plaque buildup. If you notice your dog chewing on his feet and scratching a lot, change his food to a lamb or fish base. 

Their health issues are in line with other toy breeds and as with all dogs, it's best to have regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns. The Biewer has the typical long lifespan of toys breeds: from 10 to 16 years.

By Patricia E Tan

When it comes to food, look for a diet formulated for a small breed with high energy.  

Fast Facts

Personality: Intelligent, devoted, amusing
Engery Level: Calm, but playful
Good with Children: Better with supervision due to their small size
Good with Other Dogs: Yes
Shedding: Infrequent
Grooming: 2-3 times a week brushing
Trainability: Eager to please
Height: 17cm – 28cm
Weight: 1.8kg – 3.6 kg  
Life Expectancy: 16 years
Barking Level: Medium