Yorkshire Terrier

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Species group:

Other name(s): Yorkie

The basics:
The Yorkshire Terrier, like any terrier, was originally developed to pursue and hunt down vermin like rats. During the Victorian era, this tough customer was transformed into a high fashion pet with a ton of personality. Now officially a toy breed-- and one of America's top ten most popular purebred dogs-- a well-trained, well-bred Yorkie can steal your heart. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America (YTCA) sums them up with the phrase,"big dogs in little bodies." They may have some attitude, but they can be trained to make an easy-going, easy-to-carry pet for the owner who can offer loving guidance. They can be a bit yappy toward strangers, but this quality can also make them a good watchdog.

All Yorkies weigh less than seven pounds. If you're seeking an ethical breeder of purebred Yorkies, be aware that the YTCA states that reputable breeders don't breed "rare" colors nor do they advertise "miniature" or "teacup" sizes.

Appearance / health:
The Yorkie has a very long, fine and silky coat that parts along the spine and falls straight down on each side. The head is delicate, refined and flat; muzzle is of medium length; the teeth are regular and the nose small and black. Eyes are dark, luminous and animated, with dark rims; ears are triangular in shape, small and erect, with dark hair. The tail is docked to half of its original length, carried level with the back; limbs are straight, feet round, and nails black.

Yorkies require near constant grooming in order to prevent matting of their fine, silky hair. The hair on top of the head is quite profuse and is usually gathered and tied into a topknot. They are an extremely light shedder and are very frequently tolerated by individuals with allergies to dogs.

The Yorkshire Terrier is an active small dog requiring a daily walk if, for no other reason, to provide an outlet for any dog’s natural inclination (primal instinct) to walk. Otherwise, a good playtime, running through the apartment or house, will suffice for exercise for this busy little breed.

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Luxating patella
  • Eye irritations (cataracts, dry eye syndrome, distichia, Retinal Dysplasis)
  • Dental disease
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Portosystemic Shunt (“PSS”) a/k/a Liver shunt (abnormal flow of blood to the liver which results in behavioral and neurological issues
  • Open fontanels
  • Sensitive digestive systems
  • Low anesthesia tolerance
  • Spinal disc problems
  • Respiratory infections
  • Early tooth decay
  • Necrotizing encephalitis

The “teacup” Yorkie which is being heavily advertised by unethical breeders is not a legitimate variation of the Yorkshire Terrier breed, and is exceptionally prone to severe physical, neurological, mental, and behavioral problems. These tiny dogs most often have far shorter live-spans than the normal sized Yorkie. Buying one of these “teacup” Yorkies is quite often nothing more than buying yourself a lot of veterinary expense and heartache. Know your breeder.

Behavior / temperament:
The Yorkshire Terrier is one breed wherein the key word is “socialization.” Take care not to pamper this little breed as doing so most often results in a neurotic, aloof, demanding and nippy little dog. Early and frequent socialization during puppyhood will reward you with a happy little Yorkie that is pleasant upon meeting other people and animals. The emotionally balanced Yorkie can be described as a confident, spirited, affectionate, vivacious, brave and intelligent little dog. Though often viewed as a companion to pamper, don’t forget that the Yorkie is a terrier and has many terrier characteristics, including stubbornness, willfulness and an independent streak. Yorkies make excellent little watch dogs, alerting their owner to anything out of the ordinary.

The Yorkshire Terrier is rated high in learning and problem solving, but low in obedience. They are extremely intelligent and learn easily; however, failure to show them that you are the boss and/or spoiling them will result in a small tyrant training you.

Yorkies do enjoy barking and can become nuisance barkers if not properly trained when very young when it is and is not appropriate to bark.

Is a Yorkshire Terrier right for you?

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What owners are saying about Yorkshire Terrier health

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What owners are saying about Yorkshire Terrier behavior and training

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My Little Teddy Bear

This dog is my pride and joy. He is the sweetest thing to ever come into my life. He's so calm and cuddly and looks like a real life teddy bear. He rarely ever barks at strangers and is always so happy to meet new people. He loves walks and is so eager to go on them. His hair ...

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