Meet the Newest Recognized Dog Breed: the Biewer Terrier
This year saw the addition of a new dog breed to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Biewer terrier is not only new to the kennel club, but it's also a fairly new dog breed in general.
Established in the 1980s, this adorable terrier is definitely a rare breed, but its fun-loving personality is sure to find its way into the hearts of many before long. Check out these 50 facts about the Biewer terrier to find out if it's the right dog for you.
Biewer Terriers Are No. 197
This newest dog breed recognized by the AKC happens to be the 197th dog breed on the kennel club’s list.
The Biewer Terrier Originated in Germany
The first Biewer terrier was born in Germany on Jan. 20, 1984.
Although the breed was developed in Germany, it is not made up of German breeds.
The Biewer Terrier Is Essentially a Yorkie
The first two Biewer terriers were born to two purebred Yorkshire terrier parents.
But they became their own breed shortly after.
The Breed Is Named After the Biewers
For a new breed, it’s had quite a few names already. It started with German Yorkshire terrier. Then, it was suggested they be named after the wife of the couple who bred them: Gertrud Biewer Yorkshire terrier.
Luckily, they settled on Biewer terrier.
The First Biewer Terrier Had Quite the Name
For a small dog, the first Biewer had a long name: Schneeflockchen von Friedheck, who was a female. The word “schneeflockchen” means “snowflake” in German.
The next puppy born three months later was named “Schneeman,” which means “snowman.”
It Was Their Color That Set Them Apart
Yorkies are recognizable for their uniform coat color of tan and blue.
These puppies, born to a purebred Yorkshire, had a rare piebald recessive gene, that gave them spots of colors.
They Almost Had an Even Longer Name
While the Biewers were adding their name to the new breed, Eskens also wanted to add to the name and suggested they should be called Biewer Terrier La Pom Pon.
The “La Pom Pon” was later dropped.
They Are a Non-Sporting Terrier
Although they are a terrier, AKC classified them in the toy group in April 2014, similar to the Yorkshire terrier.
Their Name Is Pronounced Like Another Animal
The name Biewer is German, giving the “w” an English “v” sound. So, their name is pronounced the same as “beaver,” the woodland animal.
Incidentally, beavers are very large compared to the Biewer terrier, topping out at 70 pounds when fully grown.
Biewer Terriers Weigh About the Same as Yorkies
If you are looking for a tiny dog, this may be a good breed for you! The Biewer tops out at just 8 pounds, with some as small as just 4 pounds.
They Are Very Short
Not only are they lightweight, but they also stay under 12 inches, with the AKC standard being 7- to 11-inches tall.
They Live a Long Life
Biewer terriers are a pretty healthy breed. They have a fairly long life expectancy of up to 16 years.
So, if you are looking for a best friend that will be around for a while, this is a great breed choice.
Families Love Having These Dogs as Pets
Biewers are known for their friendly personality and make good family dogs.
Like all small dogs, children should be watched so they don’t accidentally step on them or handle them too roughly.
Biewer Terriers Are Athletic
Although AKC puts them in the toy group, they definitely enjoy sport!
They are quick and agile and do well in performance events.
They Are a Healthy Breed
The Biewer terrier is a fairly healthy breed without a lot of the congenital defects that others have.
However, they are prone to tummy issues due to sensitive gastrointestinal (GI) tracts.
The Biewer Terrier Was Created Using Science Instead of Pedigree
While most breeds are developed and recognized through long decades of breeding, the Biewer terrier is the first breed, according to the AKC, that was recognized using science (DNA) rather than pedigree.
You Can Test a Biewer’s DNA
Mars Veterinary (now called Wisdom Health) created the Biewer terrier breed signature on Oct. 5, 2009.
They have more than 250 breeds, types and varieties in their database. That means you can figure out a Biewer's ancestry and screen it for genetic diseases.
The Biewer Terrier Joined the FSS in 2014
Part of the road to becoming an AKC recognized dog breed, a breed must be recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS).
Dogs registered with the FSS cannot be registered with the AKC but can compete in AKC companion events.
The Breed Was Added to the Miscellaneous Class in 2019
The next step in becoming an AKC-recognized dog breed is being added to the miscellaneous class. These dogs are still part of the FSS and are not fully recognized.
The Biewer terrier was added on July 3, 2019.
Biewer Terriers Come in 3 Color Combos
Unlike the Yorkie, the Biewer terrier comes in a piebald or spotted pattern. They can be black/tan/white, blue/tan/white or chocolate/tan/white.
However, the AKC does not recognize the chocolate/tan/white as a standard color.
They Require Grooming
The Biewer terrier has the same long, silky coat as the Yorkshire. The long coat will easily sweep the ground if not cut and needs to be brushed daily to prevent tangles.
Of course, non-show dogs can be clipped to make care easier.
The Biewer Terrier Needs a Special Diet
Due to their GI sensitivities, Biewer terriers do best on a low-protein diet.
Avoid feeding too many treats or human “snacks” to prevent an upset stomach.
They Should Have Brown Eyes
Biewer terriers typically have brown eyes, but on rare occasions, they can have blue ones.
However, blue eyes are not allowed in the show ring and shouldn’t be present in breeding dogs.
Biewer Terriers Should Have Black Skin Pigmentation
Having brown or liver pigmentation of visible skin, including nose, paw pads, lips and around the eyes, is also considered a fault in Biewer terriers.
The Biewer Terrier Saw a Dip in Popularity in Their Country of Origin
According to the Biewer Terrier Club of America, the breed’s popularity in Germany dropped in the 2000s.
This was about the same time it was being introduced in the U.S.
The Biewer Terrier Came to America Just a Few Decades Ago
While it was losing popularity in Germany, the Biewer terrier was introduced to the U.S. where it quickly gained fans.
Americans loved the colorful little dog and quickly began to work on breed standards and a registry.
They Are Good for Those With Allergies
The silky coat type of the Biewer terrier does not shed and creates less dander, so it may be a good breed choice for those with allergies.
Some claim it’s “hypoallergenic” like the poodle.
The Biewer Terrier May Have Cropped Ears
While this practice is dwindling in some places (and outlawed in specific countries), some Biewer terriers may still have ears cropped by their breeders.
Cropping ears involves cutting part of the ear to create a certain shape and/or to have the ear stand in a certain way, depending on the breed standard.
The Biewer Terrier Can Be Protective
Like many terriers, the Biewer is very protective of their family.
This means proper socialization is needed to make sure they are fine with strangers coming over or when in public.
Biewers Are Prone to Luxating Patellas
Biewers, like many small dogs, are prone to patellar luxation, when the kneecap is loose over the joint.
Dogs with this affliction often “skip,” holding up a hind leg as they walk or run.
Biewers Should Have a ‘Flag’ Tail
Their breed standard calls for a natural tail carriage that is held high, draping up and over the body like a flag.
Their lofty tail is part of the overall look that gives these terriers their happy expression.
Biewers Have a Compact Body Type
The Biewer terrier breed standard says they can have a square body — when their height is the same (or close to) their body length.
While they can have a slightly longer body than height, it should not be overly so.
Splitters Are Not Registrable
Biewer terriers that have one Yorkie parent are called splitters.
They cannot be registered with the Biewer Terrier Registry of America.
They Are Also Recognized in The Bahamas
Another country that has fully recognized the Biewer terrier is The Bahamas.
The Biewer Terrier Received AKC Recognition Quickly
The Biewer terrier is one of the quickest breeds to go from FSS to full AKC recognition. It took just 1.5 years after being moved to the miscellaneous group.
And it did this while not being recognized by its country of origin, another rarity.
The Biewer Terrier Can Be Expensive
You think this cute little dog would fit in your family well. Just be aware the average cost is $1,500 for a puppy.
A well-bred, show-quality puppy can cost up to $7,000.
The Parent Club in the U.S. Is the Biewer Terrier Registry of America
The Biewer Terrier Registry of America (BTRA) was selected as the “parent club” for the breed, which is part of the AKC recognition process.
The BTRA is the only breed registry for Biewers in the U.S.
Gertrud Biewer Set the Standard
With her name attached to the breed, Gertrud Biewer took the breed’s development throughout the world very seriously.
She helped establish the standards of the breed in America for the BTRA.
Biewers Must Be DNA Profiled to Be Registered With BTRA
In order to be registered in the U.S. by the BTRA, dogs must be paneled by Wisdom Health.
There are some who do not think this should be a requirement, and they even have a petition to get it changed.
The Recessive Piebald Color Is a Clue That They Are Not Just Yorkies
While the first pups were born to purebred Yorkie puppies, the DNA on file at Wisdom Health showed that the Biewer terrier may also have Maltese, Havanese and/or Bichon in them as well.
Biewer Terriers Are Highly Adaptable
This happy-go-lucky little dog is adaptable to most lifestyles.
They are fine in a house or an apartment.
The Biewer Isn't a Terrier at Heart
Although they bear the name, Biewer terriers tend to not have terrier traits, such as a high-prey drive or digging tendencies.
This can make them a better companion for city life.
They Can Have Dental Issues
Like a lot of small breeds, Biewers can have dental issues.
Dogs with bad bites should not be bred, and all Biewers should have regular dental cleanings to watch for problems.
Biewers Do Best With Exercise
While this small dog does fine with apartment life, they are high energy. Biewers do best with daily exercise of some kind.
Take them for a walk, fetch in the backyard or agility, they are open to it all.
You May Find One at a Rescue Shelter
If you think the Biewer terrier sounds like the dog for you but would rather adopt, check out the Biewer United Rescue Inc.
They are rare, so you may have to wait a bit.
They're Not Allowed to Be Shown as Yorkshire Terriers
You may be wondering why, if the first two puppies were born of purebred dogs, they weren’t just shown as Yorkies and the breed never created.
Well, that colorful coat disqualified them from being shown as a Yorkshire terrier.
The Biewer Terrier Studbook Has More Than 1,000 Dogs
The AKC has specific requirements for a breed to move from FSS to the Miscellaneous class and then to finally be recognized.
According to Samantha Seymour, public relations manager for AKC: “The first step towards full AKC recognition is the FSS class. To move from here to Miscellaneous, a breed must have a minimum of 150 dogs with three-generation pedigrees in its studbook, a viable breed standard and one club that will represent the breed as its ‘parent club’ in the United States.”