The Biewer terrier is an offshoot of the Yorkshire terrier dog, which was produced when two Yorkshire terriers that both possessed the recessive gene for piebald colouration were bred, which resulted in the creation of the first recorded piebald Yorkshire terrier puppy in 1984.
The Biewer’s name comes from the first breeders of the dog, Mr and Mrs Werner Biewer, who produced the first 1984 puppy in Germany. The appearance of the piebald puppy, while not conforming to the Yorkshire terrier breed standard itself, was considered to be attractive and desirable and so the Biewers continued to selectively breed to produce more dogs of the type over the coming years.
Initially known as the Yorkshire terrier a la Pom Pon, the breed became recognised by the American Canine Hybrid Club in 1989, when the set breed standard for the breed also became established. Mr. Biewer himself died in 1997, after which interest in the formative breed dropped off somewhat, but by 2003 the Biewer began being imported and bred in significant numbers in the USA, where interest in the type remains strong.
Because the colouration of the Biewer is caused by a recessive gene anomaly that can only be produced when two parent dogs who possess the gene are bred, there is some way to go towards establishing the Biewer as a breed in its own right. As a piebald colouration such as caused by the genetic anomaly is not one of the accepted coat colours for the Yorkshire terrier, there is some controversy over the concept of deliberately breeding the Biewer, and particularly, breeding the Biewer back to standard Yorkshire terriers, as doing so will dilute the true Yorkshire terrier breed lines.
Due to the small numbers of Biewer dogs worldwide, and particularly compared to the much more common Yorkshire terrier, the breed is recognised as and classed as a hybrid dog breed, as Yorkshire terrier input is still required in order to continue to produce Biewers and keep the Biewer viable.
In terms of the crossings and genetics required to produce a piebald, or Biewer puppy, the following table is used to ascertain the colour outcome for any breeding:
If a Yorkshire terrier without the piebald gene is bred to another Yorkie without the piebald gene, the puppies will have standard Yorkshire terrier colouration.
If a Yorkshire terrier without the piebald gene is bred to a Yorkie with the piebald gene, the puppies will have standard Yorkshire terrier colouration.
If a Yorkshire terrier with the piebald gene is bred to another Yorkie with the gene, or to a Biewer, the puppies will be a mixture of piebald and standard Yorkie colourways. The same is true if a Yorkie-coloured dog from a litter of mixed puppies is bred to a Biewer.
If two Biewers are bred, the puppies will be piebald.
The Biewer shares most of their physical traits with the Yorkshire terrier, as you might expect from a dog that is solely descended from the Yorkie. They can come in various sizes from teacup upwards, although the Biewer breed associations have worked hard to create a uniform standard for the Biewer, distinct from the Yorkshire terrier.
Ideally, the Biewer should be around 8” tall at the withers, and weigh around 3kg. The coat as a whole should be long and silky, and display a uniform piebald patterning, with an equal mixture of the black or blue and the white, and neither colour being obviously dominant. The ideal colour and pattern distribution for the Biewer should display white hair on the belly, legs and chest, and the head should be blue, gold and white, with a disruptive pattern of blue or black on the body and trunk.
They should not have an undercoat, and the fur itself should be silky and smooth to the touch, and not wiry or harsh.
Due to its relatively recent development and foundations, the Biewer terrier is not recognised as a breed in its own right by either the UK Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, or any of the other large national breed registries. The Biewer is generally considered to be a genetic anomaly of the Yorkshire terrier breed, but due to its increasing popularity, the Biewer may become recognised as a breed in its own right more widely in the future.
The breed is already recognised by the American Canine Hybrid Club, and the American Rare Breed Association. While the dog originated in Germany, they cans be found in the greatest numbers within the USA, where the strongest efforts to promote the breed and gain their formal recognition are being made. Within the UK, the Biewer is still widely unknown, but they are nevertheless considered to be desirable and attractive little dogs!