Yorkshire Terrier: The Ultimate Breed Guide (2020)
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Are you planning to add a small dog to your household and wondering what breed to choose? Are you looking for a cute, and playful companion? Maybe you are interested in buying or adopting a Yorkshire Terrier. Is a Yorkshire Terrier the right breed for you? Worry no more because we have come up with a comprehensive guide that details everything you need to know before you get one of this incredible breed. This guide explains the characteristics, vital stats, fun facts, history, average size, personality, and general health of a Yorkshire Terrier.
So let’s dive right in.
The Yorkshire terrier is a small dog known for its silky, long, and straight coat and it is named after the place of origin Yorkshire in England. His coat is a combination of tan and blue hair that can really grow long. They don’t shed like other dogs because they have a little undercoat, but still, you have to brush them regularly, especially around the head. They are energetic dogs that require daily playtime and walk in order to stay happy and healthy.
The Yorkshire Terriers, commonly known as Yorkies, are small dogs with tenacious personalities. They seem unaware of their small size and are very eager for adventures. Technically and apparently they are categorized as toy breeds, but these little ones take on many old-time terrier traits as well. Yorkshire Terrier dog is highly energetic, brave, loyal, and clever.
Being an affectionate dog breed, Yorkie is a wonderful companion! Consistent and structured training is a must for your little Yorkie. This breed cannot get along well with kids unless properly trained and socialized.
We have listed below Yorkshire Terrier dog breed characteristics. This list is meant to be a general guideline for Yorkshire Terrier’s characteristics. Let’s have a look at them:
Yorkshire Terriers are not that good at adapting to some environments. They have an average of 3 out of 5 stars adaptability level. Nevertheless, this should not scare you since they can adapt to any situation if trained early.
This factors contributing to moderate adaptability score are:
Yorkie is small in size but big in personality. They are playful and have the ability to form solid-bonds and prove to be good companions. They have 3 out of 5 stars all around friendliness.
The reasons for their moderate all-around friendliness are:
Yorkshire Terriers are known to be generally healthy dogs but they are prone to certain hereditary diseases. Yorkies require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition. They are rated at 2 stars out 5 for health and grooming needs.
The reasons that contribute to this score are:
Yorkies should be trained gently, but with determination. They have moderate training experience of 3 out of 5 stars.
Let's have a look at the factors for their trainability score:
The Yorkshire Terrier is a playful and high energy dog and has high physical needs of 5 out of 5 stars.
The reasons for high physical needs are discussed below:
After having a look at the breed characteristics, Yorkies sound like a great choice to buy or adopt.
Yorkshire Terriers are tiny dogs that have earned themselves a mixed reputation. They are small creatures with big personalities. Although they are considered one of the cutest and most lovable breeds of dogs, they have a reputation for being yappy and snappy. Being an interesting toy dog breed, Yorkies have gained huge popularity around the world.
Let’s have a look at some fun facts about Yorkshire Terriers:
The origin of the Yorkshire Terrier dog breed can be traced back to the migration of weavers from Scotland to Yorkshire, England, in the mid-19th century. During the Industrial Revolution in England, Scottish workers came to Yorkshire to work in the coal mines, textile mills, and factories. Along with them, they brought their terriers with them to York, Manchester, and Leeds.
These Scottish workers crossbred their little terriers with local dogs, creating the small but feisty, loving, and curious breed that we know today as Yorkies. The ancestors of Yorkshire Terriers include Clydesdale Terrier and the Black-and-Tan Terriers. The Waterside Terrier, a small dog with a long blue-gray coat, may also have contributed to the development of the Yorkshire Terrier.
Yorkshire Terriers were used to control rodents and proved to be fine ratters in the English woolen mills, a skill they retain to this day. They became quite fashionable during Victorian times and their popularity is still notable today. They became more famous as companion dogs. From fine ratters to domestic sidekicks for fashionable ladies, and these dogs began appearing at dog shows as “fancy terriers.”
In 1861, a Yorkshire Terrier was shown in a bench show as a "broken-haired Scotch Terrier." A dog named Huddersfield Ben became a popular show dog and is considered to be the father of the modern Yorkshire Terrier.
A noble Yorkie named Smoky was found by an American soldier in the jungles of Papua New Guinea in World War II. She provided a heroic service by dragging communications cable through a 60-foot long culvert that was only 8 inches wide. Smoky’s story is mentioned in a book, “Yorkie Doodle Dandy”.
The trendiness of this breed is still notable today, as Yorkies have become one of the most popular breeds since coming to the United States in the 1870s. These little dogs were first known as the Broken Haired Scotch Terrier and then as the Toy Terrier. The breed acquired their official name, Yorkshire Terrier, in 1870 because that's where most of its development had taken place. Yorkshire Terriers were first registered in the British Kennel Club in 1874. The first Yorkshire Terrier breed club in England was formed in 1898. The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recorded a Yorkie in 1885.
Actor Johnny Depp and his former wife Amber Heard were forced to apologize for failing to declare their two Yorkshire Terriers properly when entering Australia in 2015. They are categorized as “toy breeds” by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). The Yorkshire Terrier has also contributed to the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small, toy-sized dog with a well-proportioned body. This is a long-coated and compact breed. Yorkies have a small head that is flat on the top, with a medium-sized muzzle and small, erect, and V-shaped ears. The coat is long and silky without any waves. The hair must be glossy, fine, and straight. The coat is sometimes clipped short for easy maintenance.
Let’s have a look at Yorkie’s average height and weight.
There is another variation called “Teacup Yorkies". They are smaller than the standard breed specifications and are at a higher health risk and prone to genetic disorders. Yorkies tend to get lighter when they get older which is a unique trait when it comes to their color and appearance.
If you are planning to buy or adopt a Yorkshire Terrier, keep it in mind that this breed is not suitable for families with small kids.
Yorkshire Terrier is an intelligent and alert breed and is known for his big personality. They are energetic and incredibly independent but need to be trained or can become snappy. They are brave, curious, and very affectionate companions who interact well with family members.
No matter what home they live in, they will get along with other resident dogs and cats as long as they are raised with them. But they can be snappy toward other children if not treated respectfully or gently. They tend to be protective if they feel like you need to be defended, and therefore, they can bark at strangers who step in their premises.
With high barking potential, Yorkshire terriers make excellent watchdogs. You have to train them to stop the tendency of excessive barking before it becomes an established habit. Smart and self-assured, the Yorkshire Terriers need a lot of attention. They don't like being left alone. Some of the Yorkies are mischievous, outgoing, and into everything. They can also be stubborn about housebreaking.
Like all dogs, Yorkies need early socialization and exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences during puppyhood. Socialization helps ensure that your Yorkie will be a friendly and well-rounded dog. Many behavioral problems have a root in a dog’s early upbringing. Set limits from the start and your Yorkie will be a wonderful companion.
The Yorkshire Terrier is an overall healthy dog and has an average rating of 4 stars out 5 for being a healthy dog. There are some conditions and genetic diseases that may affect this breed. These health concerns include Patellar luxation, Collapsing trachea, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Portosystemic shunts (PSS), and Intervertebral disc disease. Responsible breeders screen their dogs and puppies for health conditions such as luxating patella, and eye diseases.
If you own or are planning to buy a Yorkshire Terrier, you need to be aware of its health concerns. Let’s have a look into these health problems:
Patellar luxation is the looseness of the kneecap that can result in dislocation. This happens when the muscles and the tendons that hold the kneecap in place are too weak. This condition is also known as slipped stifles and is a common problem in toy breeds. When the kneecap slips, it causes acute pain and your dog will probably yell or bark. This causes a lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait in the dog.
It is a disease that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. Patellar luxation is diagnosed by an X-Ray and an ultrasound from the vet. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis. This disease can be treated with a variety of surgical and non-surgical options. While the knee will often pop back into place, surgery may be required in severe conditions. Ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s knees regularly, especially if you notice him limping or hopping while running.
Collapsing trachea is a common health problem in small breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier. It can also be due to genetic conditions. This painful health problem happens when the trachea becomes narrow due to the softening of the cartilage that holds the windpipe. The trachea, which carries air to the lungs, tends to collapse easily. The trachea can also collapse when the Yorkie is wearing a tight collar that gets tugged too hard and causes injury to the trachea.
The common symptom is that your Yorkie will probably develop an unusually dry, harsh, and honking cough. They will have difficulty breathing, especially after walking or physical activity. Your dog may display a chronic cough. Yorkshire Terriers that are prone to this condition can get worse with age. The collapsed trachea can be treated medically or surgically. Surgery works better for young dogs.
Portosystemic Shunt is a defect in the blood flow between the liver and the body. It is a genetic disorder of the portal vein which is responsible for bringing the blood to the liver to be filtered. When a Yorkshire Terrier has this problem, the blood remains unfiltered as the portal vein is unable to take the blood to the liver. The liver is responsible for detoxifying the body and metabolizing nutrients. Unfiltered blood then runs through the body. It affects the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs.
The symptoms range from behavioral changes to loss of appetite. Diarrhea and vomiting are also common symptoms of PSS. It is usually detected before 2 years of age. A blood test to check for high serum bile acids or blood ammonia levels will confirm the diagnosis. Signs usually appear before two years of age. Surgery can be helpful in long-term management, as can a special diet. If surgery is not an option, the best way to manage the condition is through antibiotics and careful diet control to reduce excess ammonia production.
Hypoglycemia in Yorkshire Terrier refers to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels which affects your puppy’s energy levels and brain function. This condition in dogs can be caused by several factors including stress, small size, and a lack of proper nutrition. This is one of the most common diseases to affect Yorkshire Terriers. A Yorkie that is experiencing a drop in the blood sugar levels may display signs of fatigue and inactiveness. Because it affects brain function as well, your Yorkie may seem confused and lost. There can be a drop in body temperature as well. Your Yorkie may even display sleepiness, fainting, and tremors.
Usually, Hypoglycemia affects puppies that are newly born to the age of 4 months. Sometimes it is also observed in adult Yorkshire Terriers. The presence of sepsis and liver disease can also give rise to hypoglycemia. To diagnose hypoglycemia, your vet will take blood tests. If your Yorkshire Terrier shows signs of hypoglycemia, you can rub honey or corn syrup on his gums to provide sugar. The underlying condition needs to be treated or managed through proper diet and weight management. Your vet may recommend a high-protein diet and supplements of corn syrup or honey as needed.
It is a genetic condition in which deterioration occurs in the health of the retina. It can eventually cause blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. The first sign of this disease is night blindness and affected Yorkshire Terriers tend to be nervous at night. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is detectable years before the Yorkie shows any signs of blindness. Dogs that develop PRA should not be used for breeding.
Yorkshire Terriers are more than just the world’s smallest dog but also of the most popular and well-appreciated dog breed. This breed can actually be quite vocal and stubborn at times. There are many reasons why a dog may develop bad habits and bark excessively. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons:
Being an active dog, they need regular exercise. Early training and socialization with people and other dogs are very important for your Yorkshire Terrier and will keep their temperament from getting out-of-control. This breed is receptive to training, especially if it brings them attention. A well-trained Yorkie makes it easier to handle at places like parks and the veterinarian. Be sure to monitor your dog's behavior regularly.
Yorkshire Terriers are well suited to apartment living due to their small size. They show separation anxiety and become stubborn when left alone for longer period of time. They do best when kept near owner or a family member.
Daily walks should keep the average Yorkie happy and healthy, though many Yorkies need to run and play in addition to strolling with their owners. Be sure to monitor your dog's behavior on or off-leash as Yorkies like to chase things and pick fights with dogs large and small. They are often difficult to housebreak, so owners need to stay patient until they have success. When you make effort and show patience, you can end up with a well trained Yorkshire Terrier.
Despite the small size, Yorkshire Terriers are quite active dogs. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation to protect their heart, reduce health problems, stimulate their appetite, and prevent excessive weight gain. This also helps to avoid boredom leading to behavior issues. Exercising your Yorkie should not be a burden for you or your dog. You can meet their exercise requirements by:
This is an intelligent breed and can fairly understand your commands and learn by positive reinforcement techniques. You can praise them or give treats as a reward. Yorkshire Terrier is a sensitive breed, so punishments and harsh words will make them stubborn and angry.
Yorkies have different feeding needs than larger dogs. If you want your dog to be in a good physical condition and full of energy, it is essential to feed him properly. Yorkshire Terriers are picky eaters which may be because of their sensitive teeth, small mouths, and small stomachs. Yorkshires should not be given any food that is hard to chew or digest such as onions, garlic, nuts, broccoli, fruit seeds, and bones.
Feeding guide for Yorkshire Terriers is given below:
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, gender, build, metabolism, and activity level.
Free-feeding or giving your dog bites from your plate is not recommended or you could end up with an overweight dog. Be consistent in refusing to share your food with your dog. Yorkies are known to experience digestive upsets such as vomiting and diarrhea when they have such treats. You can give your Yorkie puppy a variety of fruits and veggies as a healthy snack. Most Yorkies enjoy healthy treats like:
Your dog’s diet should be healthy and include all nutrients. If your Yorkshire Terrier is on commercial dog food, it must be safe, affordable, and made with high-quality ingredients. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for this active breed. Most commercial dog food products also provide detailed feeding guides on the food's packaging.
Yorkshire Terrier food should meet these requirements:
To keep your Yorkies healthy and active, you should give them only dog foods tailored to meet their needs. Adult dogs require a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. So your Yorkie’s food must contain all-natural ingredients with lamb, chicken, or fish as the primary ingredient.
Never feed your Yorkshire Terrier any dog food that does not meet international standards. You must know the best dry dog food for your Yorkie should be elaborated on the recommendations of veterinary dieticians.
Consider feeding your Yorkshire Terriers with the following dog food:
The Yorkshire Terrier's coat is long, silky, and straight without any waves. They have a single coat and shed very little. The Yorkshire Terrier is a very distinctive breed when it comes to coat color. The standard four colors pairs for the Yorkshire Terrier dog breed are:
Yorkshire Terrier colors change with age, and other variations also exist. All standard Yorkie puppies are born black, with the blue and tan coat developing gradually, usually after they are a year old.
Grooming a long-haired Yorkshire Terrier can be a challenge, especially if he has a soft coat that tangles easily instead of a silky one. They hold 2 out of 5 stars for ease of grooming. Let’s have a look at Yorkshire Terrier’s grooming needs:
Your regular grooming and careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards.
The idea of grooming a Yorkshire Terrier at home may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. Arming yourself with the right grooming tools will help you keep your Yorkie looking great. When it comes to finding tools that can be used for grooming your dog, here is a list that can help:
Yorkshire Terriers do best in families with older children or no kids at all. The problems come both with children's rough handling and by the Yorkie's reaction to nip when provoked. These dogs are of small size and young children can mistakenly drop them, step on them, or hold them too tightly. You should always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children since dogs can feel offended and bite them.
If you already have another pet dog, the Yorkshire Terrier can be a great choice. This is a dog-friendly breed that can live peacefully with other dogs and cats when they are brought up with them from puppyhood. If you want your Yorkie to get along with other pets you must start early and reward them for appropriate behavior. Because of their big personalities, Yorkies are often fearless when challenging larger dogs. This can sometimes put them in danger.
Choosing a breeder should be as important as the puppy. If you are in Australia and would want to adopt a Yorkshire Terrier dog breed, get in touch with any of the following breed organizations.
Below are some of the rescue groups around Australia that you can contact.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a wonderful and spunky little dog with a true Terrier temperament. Yorkies can make good pets if they match your lifestyle. It is important to understand that as a dog owner you are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your pet.
Yorkies are one of those breeds that you just fall in love with at first sight. They are cute yet friendly and loving little creatures. Grab your Yorkshire Terrier today and fill your home with happiness caused by this affectionate and cute dog breed.