Renowned Sugarfoot Yorkshire Terrier breeder Vicki Edwards – Sugarfoot Yorkies in a lively discussion about breeding and showing the breed.
Where do you live and how far do you travel to shows? What do you do outside of dogs?
I live near Atlanta, Georgia. Primarily I show in the southeast but often travel to shows as far as New York, Texas, Missouri, Kansas etc.
Outside of dogs I enjoy reading, craft projects, and growing orchids.
How many years in Yorkies? Showing? Breeding?
I have been in Yorkies for 30+ years. But it doesn’t seem that long! And I started showing several years after I got my first Yorkie, a little bitch names Heidi. Sugarfoots High Expectations. She was not great quality but I did a line breeding with her and she produced our very first champion from our very first litter, Tori, Sugarfoots Miranda Warning. Tori went on to become Sugarfoots first Champion. So I’ve been showing, breeding and loving this great little breed for 30+ years!
What in your opinion is the secret to a successful breeding program?
Never become kennel blind. Line breeding has been successful for me. I like the prospective sire and dam to have similar qualities and what one is lacking the other needs to be strong in. When you have a litter on the ground in a perfect world, the puppies should be equal to or better than the parents. I will take the best of the best in this litter and show, finish and breed it to the best I have or can find to breed to outside of my house. I must be very critical of the quality of the puppies. Since there are no perfect dogs, if there is a particular bitch that I really like, but am not going to try to finish her, I will keep her to possibly breed in the future. But I want the male I choose to be very strong in the qualities that she might lack. So to sum it all up, don’t get too comfortable because Mother Nature tends to remind is just who is really in charge. Evaluate your puppies, and get a trusted knowledgeable friend to evaluate them as well. Don’t let the cute, adorable factor sway your decision. Stick with your guns and pick the best of the best. In the future you won’t regret it.
Being #9 out of 192 AKC breeds is a pretty large accomplishment for a Toy dog. To what do you attribute this popularity?
Being a Yorkie breeder and living with these little guys I can see many reasons! Yorkies are small and portable!
They are loving little companions. They love to please their person. They want to be where you are. They fit in well in apartments homes as well as large dwellings. Exercise is easy. The Yorkie’s coat is silk (or should be!) and very much like our own hair. Yorkies can be owned almost always with those people that have allergies.
Yorkies can be trimmed into adorable haircuts as well. It’s hard to only have one!
The only DQ in your standard is for color. How difficult is it to attain and keep correct coat and coloration?
Per our AKC standard:
Colors: Puppies are born black and tan and are normally darker in body color, showing intermingling of black hair in the tan until they are matured. Color of hair on body and richness are of prime importance in adult dogs, to which the following color
Blue—Is a dark steel—blue, not a silver blue and not mingled with fawn, bronze or black hairs. Tan—All tan hair is darker at the roots than in the middle, shading to a still lighter tan at the tips. There should be no sooty or black hair intermingled with any of the tan.
Color on Body—The blue extends over the body from back of the neck to root of the tail. Hair on tail is a darker blue, especially at the end of the tail.
Headfall: A rich golden tan, deeper in color at sides of head, at ear roots and on the muzzle, with ears a deep rich tan. Tan color should not extend down on back of neck.
Chest and Legs: A bright, rich tan, not extending above the elbow on the forelegs nor above the stifle on the hind legs.
Disqualifications: Any solid color or combination of colors other than blue and tan as described above. Any white markings other than a small white spot on the forechest that does not exceed one inch at its longest dimension.
This was approved July 7, 2007.
I don’t think I would be the first Yorkie breeder say they Yorkies are a hard breed to breed an well as judge.
There are a lot of variations of what dark steel blue for the body coat should actually be. I can tell you real quick and in a hurry silver and robin egg blue are not the new dark steel blue! While I never wish you to be looking down the barrel of a gun, that is exactly the color we are looking for to represent dark steel blue. The standard says dark. There is nothing dark about silver. Nor robin egg blue. But it is not black either. I’ve always said it takes an “eye” to truly see a correct color coat.
It’s easier in my opinion to get good silk with a silver coat. But then again. That’s not what the standard calls for.
True dark steel blue can be elusive. And almost non existent for an untrained eye thinking that black is it. Black is not it……
Another issue is coat texture. A true dark steel blue coat will be silk. It will have a shine and a blue hue when light strikes it. It will be cool to the touch and fall when pulled out from the body. A soft or modified coat is doesn’t feel cool and doesn’t fall easily when lifted and will not reflect light. At least not without a lot of shine making products to produce a shine of sorts. But it’s just not the same beautiful color nor texture.
I do think that over the past ten years color as a whole has improved.
Maintaining the coat color and texture is what makes the Yorkshire Terrier a little difficult to breed and get the correct results.
Is the Yorkie’s popularity an advantage in the Toy Group?
Maybe a small amount. I imagine that it boosts puppy sales more than anything. Just my opinion.
What is your favorite dog show memory?
Probably when my bitch GCh Sugarfoot’s Living Th’ Good Life—Paris, won her BISS under Judge Carl Yochum.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the breed?
Yorkies are great companion dog’s whether they are shown or just your bed buddy. You will definitely have a friend for life.