Everything You Need To Know about Yorkshire Terriers
When I set out to start researching Yorkshire Terriers, or “Yorkies”, I’m not going to lie, I struggled. Not because there was a lack of information out there but because that information was SO boring. That information is helpful if you are wanting to do a research report on what a Yorkshire Terrier is, but not if you are wanting to gather information on whether or not to adopt a Yorkshire Terrier. Fear not, that is where I come in!
I have taken all the boring material and pieced together information that is both information but will not put you to sleep while reading this. (Well at least I hope not). So I am going to break this down into six sections: History behind Yorkies, Appearance and Grooming, Typical Health, Personality Traits, and Fun Facts about the Yorkshire Terrier.
History Behind Yorkshire Terriers
Alright, I’m going to be a hypocrite and talk some boring stuff for a little bit. But only so you know the history behind your new potential dog. Yorkshire Terriers were developed in the 19th century, and there is some debate as to their true origin, but they have narrowed it down to two theories.
First were that they were brought from Scotland workers to Yorkshire, England. The other theory was that the breed came again to Yorkshire, England to be a working dog. They thought was that the Yorkshire Terrier was bred to ward off rats and rodents.
Regardless of their actual reasoning behind being brought to England, they were, and they got their naming from Yorkshire, England. Hence, the Yorkies were “born”. They did not come to America until about the 1870s. But since then their popularity has continued to grow. In fact, they were named the 6th most popular breed in 2012 and 2013.
The Physical Appearance of Yorkshire Terriers
Yes! Enough of the boring stuff! Let’s talk about the stuff you actually care about. What makes a Yorkshire terrier a Yorkshire terrier? If you are reading this then you hopefully know that Yorkshire Terriers are considered a small dog breed. They have a unique brown and black coat. Their ideal size is normally about 7 pounds but most pets are usually are 10-12
. Have you ever seen a puppy Yorkshire Terrier and then seen them a few years later? Do they look completely different? No, it is not a different dog. Yorkshire Terriers actually take about three years to grow in their mature coats. They normally start out with a darker brown, black fur coat and evolve into a lighter brown and gray color that is often referred to as a ‘blue’ coat.
One thing you have to think about when adopting a Yorkshire Terrier is deciding on how to keep their fur coat. Typically, Yorkies have a long coat that is parted down the middle. Some have elected to keep their Yorkies hair cut shorter similar to that as when they are puppies. The decision to go long or short is entirely up to each person but there are so positives and negatives to each style. Keeping the puppies hair long will resemble the breed most similarly, and allow you to style it in more ways than if their fur is cut short.
If having bows in your puppies hair and/or braids are important to you, having the longer coats is the way to go. However, with a longer coat also comes more grooming, because the hair is longer it is more susceptible to matting and knotting. Daily brushing and upkeep are required so they do not trip on there or have ‘dreadlocks’ that form. When it comes to grooming, you want to make sure you use the right brush to get the mats out without hurting them. For anyone with a Yorkie, I usually recommend a de-matting comb, like this one, to keep their coats smooth and silky. If that is not something you are wanting to do, then keeping their hair cut short is probably the smarter move if you still have your heart set on having a Yorkshire Terrier. Both are perfectly adorable and special in their own way, it all comes down to personal preference.
In terms of other grooming requirements for the Yorkshire Terriers, they are pretty much the same as any other dog. They require to be bathed weekly have their nails trimmed every week or another week, and brushing their teeth on a regular basis. This will help keep your puppy from having additional health problems such as ingrown hairs and gingivitis.
Health Information on Yorkshire Terriers
Speaking of health, it is important to address a lot of the health-related topics that come with Yorkshire Terriers. They are a normally healthy breed that has a life span of between 13 and 16 years. That’s pretty impressive for dogs. This breed is known for having a delicate digestive system, so be careful in choosing what to feed them. In new environments too, they can be likely to become ill and have diarrhea and/or throw up. Funny story, my family had a Yorkshire Terrier.
When we got him, he got so nervous that he had an accident right in his carrier. (Luckily, that was the only accident on the ride home). However, the next night, again because it was new food and a new environment, he started getting sick. My family was so worried and took him to the vet. That was actually where we learned that Yorkshire Terriers have extremely weak stomachs and we needed to be careful not to do anything too drastic like dramatically change his food.
In addition, because Yorkshire Terriers are so small, they are also at risk of having slipping kneecaps. This usually causes them to limp and require rest but nothing major else is needed in most scenarios. (Looking back at the memories with our dog, he had this as well, he would limp around and we would get so nervous and not let him run outside for a day or so, and then back to normal). So much of this information would have been SO stinking helpful when he got our puppy and when we had questions about it. But again, in order to get a lot of these, you have to go through a lot of boring terminologies. Or, if you are like my family, you will WebMb the issue and then get two options, rest and ice or your puppy is going to die. (Does anyone else do this too? Why do we do this to ourselves?!!).
Yorkshire Terriers are also known to be susceptible to liver disease and diabetes, both are usually hereditary and can be treated but not cured. In both these instances, they usually occur later on in the dog’s life and in most cases can live many years with the proper medicine. The last disease that Yorkshire Terriers are most likely to be exposed to Legg Calve Perthes Disease. What is that? According to the Mayo Clinic, it occurs when the blood supply to the ball part (femoral head) of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted and the bone begins to die. . This is usually treated by limiting the dog’s activity, doing stretches and in some cases surgery.
It’s is also important to point out that like any small dog breed, Yorkshire Terriers are vulnerable to injury because of their size. You want to watch and make sure your puppy does not jump from too high of a spot, or that a large dog doesn’t play too rough with him or her. All of these health-related problems are the same way as humans. Your dog could be completely healthy or have all of these and more (now that’s a bit extreme). Each dog is different and, like humans, you never really know what you are getting into health-wise with a person. So I actually would recommend if you are someone who is just thinking about getting a Yorkshire Terrier, don’t read too much into this section. Because every dog breed has known health problems, this is just to prevent the WebMD's from panicking at any slight problem with the pup.
Yorkshire Terrier Personalities
That last part was kind of boring, and I apologize. I’m ready to get back into the fun stuff with Yorkshire Terriers. Yorkies are fiesty and larger than life personalities. They are known to be active, over-protective, curious, and fond of attention. Because of this, Yorkshire Terriers require daily interaction in order to keep them happy and from being destructive. Their over-protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs of your home as they also tend to bark a lot.
The Yorkie breed is actually an easy dog to train because of their need for attention. So make sure you jump on that and train your dog, especially things like ‘No Barking’, ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’. This will become extremely helpful when their ‘watchdog’ behavior comes up during not ideal times.
This breed is naturally smart and quick to learn new moves. They are mostly food and/or praise motivated which means you can usually train them to do almost anything with enough treats and attention. Yorkies are usually great with children, though it is recommended that these children are usually age ten or older. The recommendation is only because the small dogs are more prone to injury than larger dogs, so babies and toddlers have a greater chance of hurting a Yorkshire Terrier than a large breed dog. At the end of the day, they are normally great with children so if you are willing to “protect” your puppy from your little ones, age really shouldn’t be a factor.
Finally, this breed is normally really good with other pets. Because they thrive on attention, having a family with another pet can usually help defer some of the attention time off the humans and onto the pets. They can run around together and play while you actually get a moment of peace. Their only qualm is, like other small dog breeds, they can sometimes have ‘little man syndrome’ which makes them bossy and scrappy towards larger dogs. Their bossy behaviors usually tend to occur less with smaller pets, or pets that are more relaxed and submissive to their bossy demeanor.
Fun Facts about Yorkshire Terriers
I figured I’d spice up the boring schematics of what a “typical” Yorkshire Terrier dog is like with some known fun facts about them. Here are six fun facts about Yorkshire Terriers that you may not already know.
1. Their coats are actually extremely similar to that of the human hair. That is part of the reason keep it long is so desired, as the look and feel reminds humans of their own hair.
2. This breed is actually considered to be a hypoallergenic breed. Their fur does not typically shed until it is being brushed and because it resembles human hair, it very rarely bothers humans with dog allergies. Though each person is different.
3. This breed closely resembles the silky terrier, so a lot of times people will mix the two up when identifying them.
4. The biggest behavioral problem that comes with Yorkshire Terriers is house-breaking. For a breed that is so quick and easy to train, for some reason they seem to struggle with this particular training. So if your puppy is taking longer than normal to housetrain, fear not, this, unfortunately, is very common for the breed.
5. Ever see someone carrying their Yorkie in their purse and never leaving them out of their sight? This is actually not great for the dog as the coddling leads them to become insecure and have separation anxiety with their owners.
6. Because of their size, these dogs make great apartment dogs. They are small enough that they can run around an apartment size home and get their ‘energy-release’ they need without having to do multiple trips to the park as well.
To contradict myself, as I always love to do. Each dog is different. All of this information above is what typically is found in the Yorkshire Terrier breed and is something to take into consideration when getting a puppy. This breed is so sweet, fun and can bring great joys to the lives of others. As an owner of a Yorkshire Terrier for nearly 16 years, I can say I do not regret choosing this breed. His personality brought so many laughs to the family, and the laughs outweighed any issues that we may have had with him.
So if you are leaning towards getting a puppy and have loved the idea of a Yorkshire Terrier, hopefully, this has helped make your decision a little easier. (And hopefully, it did not put you to sleep as so many other websites tried to do to me). Finally, if you are thinking about getting a puppy, make sure you are prepared by checking out my ‘Should I adopt a puppy’ post and grabbing my free checklist of everything you need before bringing your new friend home found below!