The Biewer Terrier was first imported to the United States in 2003 by Donna Hall. Donna Hall was largely responsible for convincing the rare breeds venues to open classes for the breed to be shown here in ARBA and IABCA. The breed picked up in popularity almost immediately and more people began importing dogs from Germany. Gayle Pruett imported several dozen Biewers from Germany for resale to other breeders around the country and she was the first large-scale importer of Biewers that sparked early interests in the breed. Most of the Biewers that she imported were very closely related and in fact, were sired by only 3 different related males. Some American breeders had the foresight to breed their Biewers back to Yorkshire Terriers and some rumors circulate that some even bred out to Chihuahuas and Maltese though such claims are as yet unsubstantiated. American breeders stopped breeding out to the Yorkie around 2008 even while the rest of the world considered the Biewer just a Parti-Colored Yorkshire Terrier, so breeding to the Yorkie was not considered cross-breeding. Some American Biewer breeders started promoting the slogan “Breeding only Biewer to Biewer” and so it began that the breed started to be kept separate from the Yorkshire Terrier in the United States.
It was around this time that the first Biewer clubs were founded with the Biewer Breed Club of America (BBCA) in 2006 and the Biewer Terrier Club of America (BTCA) in 2007. Each club established its own private breed registry with distinct rules apart from one another both with the goal of protecting and promoting a purebred Biewer. Each club applied to the AKC for breed recognition at different times and both clubs were denied in their initial application for the same reason- The AKC will not recognize any breed which is simply a color variant of another already recognized breed. The BBCA accepted this decision and has kept mostly to themselves while continuing with their “Biewer to Biewer” program as the BBCA stands firmly on the premise that the Biewer breed has always been derived from the Yorkshire Terrier. The BTCA however, did not take the AKC’s ruling sitting down and instead launched a renewed effort in the following few years.
In 2008 the BTCA contacted Mars Veterinary and initiated the study which would forever change how the breed was managed. Mars was able to formulate a prototype DNA breed detection test specifically for this new Biewer Terrier breed. After the initial DNA samples of 37 individual dogs, the BTCA started requiring all new Biewers to be Mars tested as a part of the registration process in 2010. Mars published the results of their official study into the DNA of the Biewer Terrier breed in 2012 with a statement concluding that the Biewer Terrier was only significantly different from the Yorkshire Terrier because of the Piebald color.
With the results of the Mars study and some selected individual Mars results, the BTCA applied to the AKC again. The BTCA revised its own breed history to reflect the club’s new position that the breed was created through mixed breeding of the Yorkshire Terrier to other breeds. AKC accepted the newly revised history with the BTCA’s submitted Mars results and began to record the Biewer Terrier breed into the Foundation Stock Service in 2014. The BTCA was named the AKC Parent Club in 2017 and was responsible for establishing registration policies through the corresponding registry, the Biewer Terrier Registry of America (BTRA). In order to record your Biewer Terrier with the AKC/FSS, any Biewer Terrier that was not born from AKC/FSS recorded parents had to first register with BTRA. One of the registration requirements set by BTCA and BTRA is the DNA breed detection test called the Mars Wisdom Panel. This continued until 2019 when the AKC opened the breed’s FSS to imported dogs with acceptable FCI export pedigrees. The Biewer Terrier moved very quickly through the AKC recognition process to the Toy Group in 2021 due in no small part because of the dedicated hard work and the number of dogs bred by a relatively small number of breeders.
Read here to learn more about the beginnings of the Biewer Terrier in Germany.