Judging The Biewer Terrier

Unique Coloring and Breed-Specific Table Exam Protocol

biewer terrier illustrated standard

Written by: Nayef Homsi

This article is intended to clarify the color requirements stated in the American Kennel Club Breed Standard for the Biewer Terrier and to help implement a better breed-specific table exam protocol for judges.

The Standard for the Biewer Terrier lists both Blue or Black and Gold or Tan (with all the various shades of these colors) as being permissible. For ease of readability, I have opted to discuss the Biewer Terrier color by limiting the discussion to BLACK, TAN, and WHITE. To be clear: Black isn’t preferred over Blue, and neither is Tan over Gold! In some dogs, the Black changes to Blue, and the Tan turns into a light Gold. There is a wide array of Tan/Gold and Black/Blue. Therefore, the Standard makes allowances for either Black or Blue, and either Tan or Gold. Not all the Black will turn to Blue and some dogs retain very dark Tans. An exhibit may also have Blue and Black as well as White and Tan; it doesn’t mean the exhibit has four colors. Black and Blue are considered the same color. The same is true for Tan and Gold being a single color, and there are several shades of each.

The AKC Standard dedicates a full paragraph to Color.

It starts with: “The Biewer Terrier is a uniquely colored toy terrier.” Why is the Biewer Terrier so unique? Because it is a tri-colored dog, but unlike other tri-colored breeds, Biewer Terriers are tri-colored only because of the pres- ence of Tan on the head. The body color, in contrast, can only be Black and White and the Standard is very specific with regard to placement. Let’s investigate the color requirements for the Head and the Body per the Breed Standard through a series of illustrations by artist Fan Yu.

Head Color

“Head Coloring—Blue/Black, Gold/Tan and White in good symmetry. Any combina- tion of the following two colors, (Blue/Black and Gold/Tan); (Gold/Tan and White) in good symmetry is acceptable.”

gold and white biewer head
Gold and White Biewer Head
Gold, White and Black Biewer Head
Gold, White and Black Biewer Head
Black and Tan Biewer Head
Black and Tan Biewer Head
Disqualifying Head Colors: Black and White
Disqualifying Head Colors: Black and White

“The head can be Black, Tan and White. However, and this is where it gets more complicated, the head doesn’t necessarily have to have these three colors for the exhibit to be correct.


Biewer Terrier Body Color

“Body Coloring—Hair on back is Blue/Black and White. Amounts of each color are of personal preference with no dominating patterns. No amount of Tan hair may be found on the back, belly, chest, legs or feet. A small amount of Tan hair may be found around the anus. Chest, Stomach, Legs and tip of the Tail—White. The White from the chest should come up the neck to cover the chin. Legs are to be White from the elbows and stifles to the feet.”

To demonstrate a variety of correct body color patterns, please consider the photographs of Biewer Terrier puppies where the hair is short enough to see acceptable coat patterns clearly.

biewer terrier body color puppies

It is important to clarify two statements about body color.

The first statement: “Amounts of each color are of personal preference with no dominating patterns.” Please consider the photograph of the middle puppy: the body color is acceptable on this puppy only because there is Black on the topline at the base of its tail; without it, it would have a White topline (the Black spots on its body are on the sides and will be covered eventually by the White hair growing from the topline). An exhibit like the puppy on the right with a mostly Black saddle is acceptable. Some exhibits may even be darker still with less White. Others may be mostly White with a single Black mark, no matter how small that mark may be. It is acceptable to have mostly Black or mostly White bodies as long as both colors are present on the top line. Please note that exhibits with mostly White bodies are more susceptible to Black and Blue ticking. This ticking is acceptable. However, Tan ticking is not acceptable.

Please consider the color illustrations on this page, which demonstrate a random sample of acceptable patterns of body color.

The second statement: “Legs are to be White from the elbows and stifles to the feet.” Please be aware that the elbow joint is higher than the stifle joint. Therefore, the Standard makes allowance for Black on the rear legs to the stifle joint.

The Breed Standard lists the following disqualifications:

“Blue eye(s); Brown or liver pigmentation of the eye rims, nose, lips, and pads. Any other color or combination of colors other than those that are listed.”

With these in mind, let us discuss the appropriate breed-specific table exam.

Biewer Terrier Table Exam


The table exam is the opportunity for the judge to examine the exhibit thoroughly but also with brevity as to not disrupt the exhibit or the exhibitor unduly.

The judge may part the hair wherever necessary to check for correct coloring while the exhibit stands on the table. Some judges do this with their hands and fingers, other judges use the exhibitor’s brush.

Individual pads vary greatly, some will be all Black, others mostly Flesh colored.

But generally the pads will be a combination of Black and/or Flesh color.

Pad color may, at times, be subjective or altered by the environment. A dog may have stepped in drying powder, or the showgrounds may be muddy and discolor the pads. If there is any doubt, please remember that if the eye rims, nose, and lips have Black pigment, it follows that the pads will be properly colored.

To examine the pads, the judge may ask the exhibitor to lift the front foot on the show side to view its pad coloring.

Alternatively, but less ideally, the judge may ask the exhibitor to lift the exhibit briefly to check the pad color of all four feet at once.

Please note that lifting the dog is only for checking pad color and not an oppor- tunity to examine coat color while the exhibit is in mid-air. It is very stressful for some exhibits and can be stressful for the exhibitor as well if, for example, the judge is very tall and the exhibitor comparatively shorter and vice versa.

The table exam is also not intended for judges to count rubber bands: there is no mention anywhere in the Standard of how many rubber bands exhibitors are allowed to use in order to make a single ponytail.

Therefore: the parent club recommendation is that judges keep the exam very brief if they request the exhibitor to lift their exhibit in the air. Please remember the Biewer Terrier will not have Liver or Brown pads if the nose, eye rims, and lips are Black and the coat has Black color instead of Brown or Chocolate.

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