Similar to many other tiny canine breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier flaunts a personality that is big and bold. Known affectionately as the Yorkie, this breed often forgets its small size when embracing its larger-than-life persona.
Yorkies are renowned for being fiercely loyal and defensive of those it trusts. However, when a Yorkshire Terrier sets its mind on something, it can be determined to the point of being obstinate and headstrong. However, many entrust these canines with the task of watchdog because of their strong personality and innate cleverness.
These pups crave the affection of their family members, often going to great lengths to please them. As one might expect, Yorkies dislike being alone for extended periods of time. Although their flowing appearance gives them a graceful, sophisticated look, the Yorkie’s feisty nature can pack a punch.
The Yorkshire Terrier’s daring yet devoted mindset keeps it always at the ready to go on whatever adventure may come its way.
Yorkshire Terrier Physical Features
As a miniature canine breed, the Yorkshire Terrier has a body that is both well-proportioned and compactly petite. A Yorkie’s head is significantly higher than its body, which gives it a self-assured appearance. Its ears are pointed and may stick straight up or be bent forward. These compact terriers have small, round dark eyes and a small black nose to go along with it. Its tail is usually docked to appear shorter.
Above all, Yorkies are most admired for their dark, steely blue coat. Their coat is often floor-length, silky, and stick straight. Although the combination of blue and tan are the most common colors seen in this breed, it may also be tan with black or a goldish-brown with black.
Due to their overflowing human-like hair, many people trim the hair away from their face. Others opt to pull it into a topknot that sits on top of its head. To give this canine a primmer and more proper look, some owners part its hair down the middle, from head to tail.
Styling a Yorkie’s hair can be a fun way to style and bond with these adorable canines. Simply search for “Yorkie haircuts” to find styles that include everything from layers to wild styles that would make any rock star proud. Many owners also like to accessorize their Yorkie with bows.
Height and Weight
The average Yorkshire Terrier stands between 6 and 9 inches high. As for weight, this breed usually never exceeds 7 pounds.
History of the Yorkie
Hailing from the highlands of Scotland, this miniature breed was later exported not far south to Yorkshire, England. Over many years, this canine’s genetics were intermixed with many different types of dog breeds, such as the Waterside Terrier and Skye Terrier. Some sources even suggest it was bred with the Maltese.
Originally bred to closely surveil wool mills and coal mines for unwelcome rodents, Yorkies are able to fit into the smallest of spaces to capture prey. As the years progressed, this breed traded the toiling work of rodent chaser for a seat in the lap of luxury as a trendy British lapdog. Ladies in high society would tote this purse-sized breed as a symbol of their upper-class status.
After its explosion of popularity among the British elites, its fame traveled to the New World. In 1885, the Yorkie was officially accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Yorkshire Terrier Facts
Here are some facts about these cutely compact canines.
- According to the American Kennel Club, this spunky breed is ranked 10th out of the most popular dog breeds.
- In spite of its Scottish roots, this dog is known by its current name due to its rampant popularity in Yorkshire.
- The first of its breed to be recorded by the AKC was a Yorkie by the name of Belle.
- Similar to the fate of most canine breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier’s popularity plummeted as World War II began. Fortunately, a courageous little Yorkie by the name of Smoky braved the war as a soldier’s trusted companion. Smoky’s valor and pluck brought the breed nationwide fame.
Proper Care for a Yorkie
A major appeal of the Yorkshire Terrier is its hypoallergenic coat. Although no dog’s coat is completely free of allergens, hypoallergenic breeds are a much safer option for those that struggle with pet-related allergies. In addition, the Yorkie’s lustrous coat produces minimal shedding, which is even better news for allergy sufferers.
The Yorkshire Terrier’s hair is quite human-like, so it will need to be handled as such. Yorkies with short hair cuts may need brushing a few times per week, while those with long hair need to be brushed every day. If brushing is put off, nasty tangles and knots are common. Many owners resort to professional grooming for this breed.
Yorkshire Terriers should be bathed every week to keep its coat healthy and free of oil build-up. Regularly checking its ears for parasites or dirt that may have accumulated is advised. This will help prevent ear mites and infections.
Yorkies should get ample exercise throughout the day, whether it be through short walks or training exercises. Because this breed is particularly intelligent, Yorkshire Terriers will greatly benefit from activities that exercise its body and its brain.
It is also recommended that these canines go through socialization and obedience training. This will help curb the Yorkshire Terrier’s tendency to be stubborn and territorial, especially around strangers.
Yorkie Health Problems
Yorkshire Terriers are a notably healthy breed overall, boasting a long lifespan ranging between 11 and 16 years. In spite of this, there are some medical problems that Yorkies have a tendency to face during its lifetime, including:
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Luxating patella (unhinged kneecap)
- Collapsed trachea (limits the airway)
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (deterioration of the hip bone)
- Liver problems
Yorkie owners should get patella and ophthalmologist evaluations for their canines when they are still puppies. This may prevent severe problems down the road. Besides this, make sure the pup has regular check-ups at the vet. A board-certified vet will be able to identify any unforeseen issues that may have gone unnoticed by the owner. It is also important to give Yorkies preventive medications for heartworm, fleas, and ticks.
As far as the best food for Yorkies, talk to a vet for recommendations. However, dog food made for small breeds are recommended because the smaller kibble size. Royal Canin makes a dry dog food specially formulated for Yorkies called Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Adult Dry Dog Food. The company also makes wet dog food and food formulated specifically for Yorkie puppies.
Yorkshire Terriers are fantastic companions to those willing to put in the time and effort to properly train it. Providing these adorable dogs with lots of affection and attention will make for a very happy Yorkie.