The Biewer Terrier (Beaver) is a new and rare breed. It is known by several other names, including Biewer Terrier, Biewer Yorkshire à la Pom Pon, Biewer Yorkie, Biewer Yorkshire, Biewer Yorkie Terrier, and Biewer Yorkshire Terrier. It evolved in Germany in the early 1980s in the Friedheck Yorkshire Terrier Kennel of Werner and Gertrud Biewer. They chose UK Yorkshire Terriers as the foundation stock of the von Friedheck Yorkshire terrier. The heart of the breeding program (for the Biewer) most likely began with the arrival of Streamglen Richard, one of many UK Yorkshire terriers imported from Streamglen Kennels in the United Kingdom.
Streamglen Richard is present on both sides of the Master Parents, two outstanding blue and tan Yorkshire Terriers, Darling von Friedheck and Fru Fru von Friedheck, introduced to the kennel in 1980 (see pedigree below). A recessive white spotting (piebald) gene appeared among the Friedheck line with the birth in 1984 of a blue, white and gold female puppy named Schneeflöckchen von Friedheck. Whether this was due to a mutation that had been latent in Yorkshire Terriers for some time, a spontaneous mutation or an introgression from another similar breed of small dogs has long been a source of debate (since the Biewer’s arrival in the US). Herr and Frau Biewer claimed that white spotting was not the result of an outcross with a similar breed (which would have carried the piebald mutation). If this is true the most logical conclusion is that the parents of Schneeflöckchen carried the recessive piebald mutation in a latent manner, which is known to occur in Yorkshire terriers.
Margot Eskens, (a famous German singer) undoubtedly helped to bring this unique phenotype to the public’s eye by posing for pictures with Schneeflöckchen and Schneemann which were used in an advertisement/flyer. Margot was also a proud owner of one of the first Biewer Yorkshire Terriers produced in the von Friedheck kennels. Herr and Frau Biewer directed their subsequent breeding efforts to develop dogs of Schneeflöckchen’s bearing and appearance. This was done purportedly within their kennels without outside introductions for five years. The breedings resulted in a line of distinctive “Yorkshire terriers” with white patches of varying size, on the underside and muzzle, including four white legs starting with the paws and extending up the leg. The Biewer’s were highly discerning in the dogs they bred. The demand for their dogs was great and breeding was very selective. The last of the championed von Friedheck Yorkshire terriers were placed in pet homes when Herr Biewer became ill in 1992.
The uniqueness of the Biewer Yorkshire Terriers led their breeders to seek recognition as a distinct “variety” to be called Biewer Yorkshire Terriers. The Biewer Yorkshire Terriers were ultimately recognized as a distinct breed in 1989 by the Allgemeiner Club der Hundefreunde Deutschland (ACH) as Biewer Yorkshire a la Pom Pon. This long and cumbersome name was ultimately shortened by many in different ways but always preceded by the name “Biewer.” Because of the many names for this breed currently in use by various breeders and breed clubs, the varieties of Biewer tested in this study will be referred to simply as “Biewer” or “Biewers” for purposes of uniformity and simplicity.
In the early 2000’s, there were only a handful of breeders in America. Controversy soon surrounded the breed as it took off in popularity in America in the mid-2000’s. To keep up with demand for Biewers, German breeders continued to introduce German Yorkshire terriers into their breeding programs. They accepted this practice since Herr Biewer used traditional Yorkies to produce his tricolor dogs. Some American breeders also engaged in the practice of breeding to German Yorkshire terriers. Biewers imported into the US were frequently bundled with a German Yorkshire terrier to start breeding programs. The Biewer Terrier Club of American (BTCA) accepted the practice of breeding with Yorkshire terriers until Dec 2007 when the club stated,
Biewers are accepted by the Biewer Breeders International Registry (BBIR), although some US breeders still use German registries. Biewer Terriers are also accepted by the Biewer Terrier Registry of America (BTRA) based having their “purity” confirmed by the MARS wisdom test, version 3.0, which evaluates a panel of DNA markers against dogs of accepted Biewer ancestry.
The Biewer Terrier was provisionally accepted by the AKC as a new breed in 2014, but they are only recorded by the Foundation Stock Service (FSS). FSS breeds are not eligible for AKC registration but are allowed in “Companion and Performance Events.” They are considered a breed in development.
Several other clubs such as the Biewer Breed Club of America (BBCA) have also been active in trying to get the breed accepted by the AKC. All of these individuals, clubs, and registries insist on only dogs that can trace themselves directly to the Biewer’s original kennel with no introgressions from other Yorkshire Terriers or phenotypically similar small breeds.