The Yorkshire Terrier is sassy, zesty, and a fluffy little bundle of "spit-fire." This adorable breed will have no issues running the household if allowed. So, bring on the "sas," and find out if a Yorkshire Terrier is the right fit for your family!
Yorkshire, England is the origin of this pint-sized-yet-full-of-punch purebred, but their native land wasn't always included in their name! Originally called the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, the breed was renamed in the late 18th century. The Yorkie is a descendant of the Waterside Terrier, Old English Black and Tan Terrier, Paisley Terrier, and the Clydesdale Terrier. (There is also some debate that the Maltese is one of their descendants.) Best known as the "Yorkie," the Yorkshire Terrier was the number 3 most popular dog breed of 2011!
The Yorkie was originally bred to catch rats in Yorkshire clothing mills, but quickly became a little companion dog.
Now That's Zesty!
Yorkie's have a zest for life! They are scrappy, courageous, and extremely assertive - which is great fun, but unfortunately also means that they are sometimes difficult to train. They are extremely spirited and will gladly take the lead role in guarding their territory - which, again, is fine, but without training, this means they can become very yappy. Even though you may manage the trait, they will always be a "barker," so think twice before getting a Yorkie if you'd prefer not to have a dog that barks a lot.
This is a fun, energetic, spunky little dog that will get a lot of attention on the street! They are an adventurous breed, making them a great traveling buddy. They'll be happy to join in your travels in a moment’s notice.
Train, Train, Train
I have had the pleasure of working with many Yorkie's and they ARE every bit as adorable in person! Sadly, I've had some heartbreaking and all-too-common experiences with this breed. Parents with small children get a Yorkie, but never properly teach them how to handle and behave around their new Yorkie puppy. Keep in mind the size of these dogs - they're tiny and delicate. As a result, these Yorkies who were dropped or grew up being handled too roughly learn to fear small children and will growl and nip to keep them away. Therefore, training is a must with this little breed which can quickly develop the Small Dog Syndrome. Though they can be truly wonderful, loyal, and loving little dogs, as a trainer, I highly recommend only bringing home this little pocket-sized breed if your children are of ages 11 and older.
Some have been known to take up to 2 - 5 years to potty train, so if you live in a colder climate area, it will be in your best interest to get your Yorkie pup in the spring time to get started with potty training as early as possible. Training early on will help you and your Yorkie to understand the importance of hierarchy in your family dynamics.
Their distinctive coat is long, silky, and glossy, and it hangs to the floor with a part down the middle. Typically, though, they are groomed with a "Puppy Cut" which makes it more manageable. Shedding is virtually non-existent in the breed, which leads some to consider them a "hypoallergenic dog," although no dog is COMPLETELY hypoallergenic. As for color, they are born black with tan points, which gradually change over the course of their first 2 to 4 years to a blue/tan or silver/cream color. Also, they have adorable little erect ears that are V-shaped.
The Yorkie's height can range from 7 to 9", and their weight varies roughly between 3 and 7 lbs. They are a very small and sometimes fragile breed if mishandled by young children.
The Yorkie is a dog with a moderate activity level, which makes them the perfect partners for daily 30-minute walks. It's important to have playtime and daily walks scheduled to keep them physically and and mentally happy!
This breed is known to have dental issues (yearly dental cleanings will be a MUST for this fur kid), hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar), Legg-Perthes Disease (Top of the femur - thigh bone - degenerates), liver shunts, tracheal collapse (weakening of the tracheal walls), and luxating patellas. Yorkies typically live long and healthy lives; their average lifespan ranges from roughly 13 to 16 years.
Consider looking for a Yorkshire Terrier through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Training a Yorkie requires a lot of determination and patience, but it's all worth it in the end!
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005