Morkie dog laying in bed

Why do Morkies change color?

When you show a photo of your Morkie as a puppy to your friends, they may not think it was the same dog. The photo may be so different that they ask if you have another dog somewhere and point out the difference in the photo.  

It can be hard to believe how much your puppy changes as it grows older. 

Why is this? While it’s not a common trait for dogs in general, it is normal for your Morkie to change color as it grows older. It is not guaranteed the color will change, and there is no guarantee of what color their coat will change to.  

In fact, not only may your Morkie puppy change color, but its coat may also change in texture.   

Those early growing years for a Morkie are more than just behavioral changes as they’re trained to turn into the well-behaved and loved dogs we know and love.  

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening here and why your Morkie may change in color over the years.  


Why Do Morkies Change Color? 

Again, it’s important to note that your dog may not change color. There is no guarantee of what will happen with your puppy’s coat.  

The Morkie is not a purebred dog breed. They are a crossbreed from the Purebred Yorkie (also known as the Yorkshire Terrier) and a Maltese. The Morkie, a Maltese-Yorkie mix, gets its color changing ability from the Yorkie side of its heritage. If the Maltese is more dominant in your Morkie, its coat may stay the same. If the Yorkie side is more dominant, it’s more likely to change color.  

The color change may be slight. Your golden puppy may become more whitish as it grows older. Or, your black puppy may transition from black, to golden, to white. Or go from Black to a light tan.  

There is no guarantee that if your Morkie does change coat colors what color it will change to. There are observable patterns with some other people’s puppies, but again, there is no guarantee or how your Morkie will look as it grows.  

One guarantee though, is your Morkie’s coat will need to groomed and it’s a good idea to get that on a schedule sooner than later. Read my article on How often does a Morkie need to be groomed to learn more.

What we know about yorkie color changes 

The Yorkie is fairly unique in that it typically changes color as it grows older. As one of the parents of a Morkie, they sometimes pass this gene on. While what is typical for a Yorkshire Terrier won’t necessarily happen for a Morkie, this does offer some insight into the possibilities of what may happen as your puppy grows older.  

One of the most common observed scenarios with a Yorkshire terrier is that they are black as a puppy and appear more blue as they get older. There are four different color combinations you are most likely to see with a Yorkie, including tan, gold, blue, and black. Any of these colors may be combined in a Yorkie’s coat.  

There are exceptions to these basic colors. It’s common enough to see Yorkies with red legs. However, these main combinations are still what we mostly observe.  

The American Kennel Club recognizes five different combinations as official Purebread Yorkie coats. These combinations are black and gold; black and tan; blue and gold; blue and tan; and black, tan, and white.   

The most common combination as a puppy is a black and tan Yorkie and as an adult, it’s most common to see a blue and gold Yorkie.  


Common colors for a Morkie 

Your puppy may be many different colors, but you are likely seeing a brown, white, tan, or black shade in your young dog’s coat. These colors may be combined. It is very common to notice the coat becoming a great deal lighter. So your golden-colored Morkie may become nearly white, or a silver-gray. Sometimes they have been observed as having champagne or blonde colored adult coats.  

These transitions may be soft and gentle ones. For example, your golden Morkie may become more of a light blonde. The transition may be a lot greater than that, though. You may start off with a two month old puppy that has a mostly black coat with some tan, that transitions into a white dog by the time they are three years old. This transition may happen abruptly in one big change or your puppy may go through a few changes over the following three years.  

Their puppy coat may be distinct and coarse. It can sometimes be fluffy, like soft or pulled cotton. As they grow older, they may have a more cotton feeling coat. Or, they may have a more silky coat.   

For the Morkie’s parent, the Yorkie, the American Kennel Club only accepts pure breeds that have the distinct silky coat we often see on the Morkie puppy.  


The timeline for your Morkie’s coat to change color 

Many puppies begin to see their coats change around six months of age. This can continue on for the first couple years! It may be that their coat completes its change between the time of six months of age to one year, but it is common for it to change all the way up the time they are three years old.  

It may not start changing until they are somewhere in the one to three years range as well.   

Keep in mind that Morkies are still a fairly young breed. We’ve only had Morkies become popular in the United States approximately twenty years ago. This is why so many people choose to look at their Yorkshire Terrier heritage for more clues about what may happen with their puppy’s coat.

Not only do we have less data on the Maltese-Yorkie mix color change outcomes, but the results are also a lot more random. The Yorkie’s information can give us clues, but for the most part, you’ll have to know and accept when you adopt your puppy that, while they are always cute and adorable dogs, there is no guarantee on exactly how they will look or feel over the passing years.  

For many Morkie owners, this is just one more fun and surprising gift that comes with having one of these dogs! They are adorable, they are lively, they are obedient good friends, and they are full of little surprises like this.  


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