The Yorkshire Terrier is a small terrier type dog developed in the 19th century in the county of Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills. The defining features of the breed are its size, 3 pounds (1.4 kg) to 7 pounds (3.2 kg), and its silky blue and tan coat. The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy section by the kennel clubs, although all agree that the breed is a terrier. A popular companion dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has also been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.
Yorkies seem oblivious of their small size. They are very eager for adventure. They are highly energetic, brave, loyal and clever. With owners who take the time to understand how to treat a small dog, the Yorkie is a wonderful companion! Affectionate with their master, but if humans are not this dog’s pack leader, they can become suspicious and aggressive to strangers both animal and human. They can also become yappy, as the dog does their best to tell you what THEY want YOU to do. They have a true terrier heritage and need someone who understands how to be their leader, otherise thet can develop Small Dog Syndrome. Yorkies who become demanding and dependant appearing to need a lot of human attention and/or developing jealous behaviours, snapping if surprised, frightened or over-teased or eve ndon’t get heir own way over food or sleeping places. Owners who do not instinctually meet the dogs needs can also find them to become over-protective, and even neurotic. The basic message is to remember that although small, a Yorkie is a dog, not a toy and needs the discipline that all dogs do in order to be a happy and contented member of your household.
Yorkies are easy to train, although they can sometimes be stubborn if owners do not give the dog proper boundaries. They can be difficult to housebreak. The Yorkie is an excellent watchdog. When owners display adequate pack leadership, Yorkies are very sweet and loving and can be trusted with children. The problems only arise when owners, because of the dogs cute little size, allow them to take over the house.
Coat and grooming
For adult ‘show’ Yorkshire Terriers, importance is placed on coat colour, quality, and texture. The hair must be glossy, fine, straight, and silky. Traditionally the coat is grown-out long and is parted down the middle of the back, but ‘must never impede movement’.
From the back of the neck to the base of the tail, the coat should be a dark gray to a steel-blue, and the hair on the tail should be a darker blue. On the head, high chest, and legs, the hair should be a bright, rich tan, darker at the roots than in the middle, shading into a lighter tan at the tips. Adult dogs have no dark hairs intermingled with any of the tan colour.
Adult Yorkshire Terriers that have other coat colours than the above, or that have woolly or extra fine coats, are still Yorkshire Terriers, although not acceptable for the show ring. These coat types may be more difficult to care for.
A newborn Yorkie is born black with tan points on the muzzle, above the eyes, around the legs and feet and toes, the inside of the ears, and the underside of the tail. Occasionally Yorkies are born with a white “star” on the chest or on one or more toes. It is also common to find white patch on one or more nails. These markings fade with age, and are usually gone within a few months. It may take three years or more for the coat to reach its final colour. The final colour is usually a blue/gray
The typical fine, straight, and silky Yorkshire Terrier coat is often considered hypoallergenic. In comparison with many other breeds perhaps because Yorkies do not shed to the same degree, only losing small amounts when bathed or brushed. However most allergy experts agree that there are differences in protein production between individual dogs and particular dog breeds, so dogs that do not make one patient react, may cause a dramatic reaction in another.
Many owners trim the fur short for easier care. For show dogs, the coat is left long, and may be trimmed to floor length to give ease of movement and a neater appearance. Hair on the feet and the tips of ears can also be trimmed. To prevent breakage, the coat may be wrapped in rice paper, tissue paper, or plastic, after a light oiling with a coat oil. The oil has to be washed out once a month and the wraps must be fixed periodically during the week to prevent them from sliding down and breaking the hair. Elaborate coat care dates from the earliest days of the breed. In 1878, John Walsh described similar preparations: the coat is “well greased” with coconut oil, the dog is bathed weekly, and the dog’s feet are “carefully kept in stockings.”
As the name suggests these little dogs originated in Yorkshire (and the adjoining Lancashire). In the mid-19th century, workers from Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and brought with them several different varieties of small terriers. Breeding of the Yorkshire Terrier was “principally accomplished by the people—mostly operatives in cotton and woollen mills—in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire.”Details are however, scarce. Mrs. A. Foster is quoted as saying in 1886, “If we consider that the mill operatives who originated the breed…were nearly all ignorant men, unaccustomed to imparting information for public use, we may see some reason why reliable facts have not been easily attained.”
What is known is that the breed sprang from three different dogs, a male named Old Crab and a female named Kitty, and another female whose name is not known. The Paisley Terrier, a smaller version of the Skye terrier that was bred for a beautiful long silky coat, also figured into the early dogs. Some authorities believed that the Maltese was used as well.
In the early days of the breed, “almost anything in the shape of a Terrier having a long coat with blue on the body and fawn or silver coloured head and legs, with tail docked and ears trimmed, was received and admired as a Yorkshire Terrier”. But in the late 1860s, a popular Paisley type Yorkshire Terrier show dog named ‘Huddersfield Ben’, defined the breed type for the Yorkshire Terrier.
The Yorkshire Terrier was introduced in North America in 1872and the first Yorkshire Terrier was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885.During the Victorian era, the Yorkshire Terrier was a popular pet and show dog in England, and as Americans embraced Victorian customs, so too did they embrace the Yorkshire Terrier.
Health issues seen in the Yorkshire Terrier include bronchitis, lymphangiectasi ( dilation of the lymph vessel which can cause chronic diarrhoea), portosystemic (liver) shunt, cataracts, and keratitis sicca ( dry eye syndrome). Other Genetic disorder have been found in Yorkshire Terriers, including distichiasis (eyelashes forming on an inappropriate part of thr eyelid) hydrocephalus (swelling of the brian) hypoplasia of dens (spinal problem) Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome( degeneration of hip joint) luxating patella (slipping kneecap), retinal dysplasia, tracheal collapse, and bladder stones.
Additionally, Yorkies often have a delicate digestive system, with vomiting or diarrhoea resulting from consumption of foods outside of a regular diet. They can also suffer from low blood sugar, in puppies this is potentially life threatening.The relatively small size of the Yorkshire Terrier means that it usually has a poor tolerance for anaesthesia. Additionally, a toy dog such as the Yorkie is more likely to be injured by falls, other dogs and owner clumsiness. Injection reactions (inflammation or hair loss at the site of an injection) can occur. In addition they may have skin allergies.
The life span of a healthy Yorkie is 12-15 years. Under-sized Yorkies (3 pounds or less) generally have a shorter life span, as they are especially prone to health problems such as chronic diarrhoea and vomiting; are even more sensitive to anaesthesia; and are more easily injured.
Yorkies and other small dog breeds may have problems if the deciduous or baby teeth do not fall out as the permanent or adult teeth grow. Retained teeth can cause tooth decay because food can be easily caught in between the deciduous and permanent teeth. Sometimes the new teeth are forced to grow into an abnormal position and further cause a bad bite. The retained teeth may stay or fall weeks after the new teeth have developed. When necessary, the retained deciduous or baby teeth need to be removed surgically. Like other small breeds, Yorkies are also prone to severe dental disease. Because they have a small jaw, their teeth can become crowded and may not fall out naturally. This can cause food and plaque to build up, and bacteria can eventually develop on the surface of the teeth, leading to periodontal disease. In addition, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body and cause heart and kidney problems. The best prevention is regular brushing of the teeth with a toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian may also be required to prevent the development of dental problems.