- Breed Name: Yorkshire Terrier
- Country of Origin: England Time of Origin: late 19th century
- Weight: 1.7-3.2 kg Height (at withers): 15-20 cm
- Lifespan: 12-15 years Litter Size: 3-4 puppies
- Other Names: York
Yorkshire Terrier – this is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world due to its attractive appearance, friendly nature, and small size. These little dogs have a long history that began in England in the 19th century, where they were used for hunting rodents and became beloved pets. Currently, Yorkshire Terriers are extremely popular worldwide, and you can find them in many families as beloved pets.
History of the Breed
The Yorkshire Terrier is a dog breed originating from the county of Yorkshire in Great Britain.
This breed was developed in the 19th century for hunting rodents like rats and foxes. Yorkshire Terriers were used as small and intelligent dogs to enter burrows and catch prey.
Previously, before Yorkshire Terriers came into existence, the Skye Terrier breed was a popular choice for rodent hunting. However, Skye Terriers were too large to work in small burrows. Therefore, they were crossbred with other small dog breeds, including the Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, and West Highland White Terrier.
After several decades of selective breeding, which involved choosing only the highest-quality small and agile dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier breed emerged. The first Yorkies were registered in Great Britain in the 1860s. They became popular among English aristocrats and quickly became favorites at dog shows across Europe and America.
Yorkshire Terriers were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1886. Since then, they have become one of the most popular breeds in the world, thanks to their small size, attractive appearance, and friendly nature.
Head and Muzzle
The head of a Yorkshire Terrier is small, round, and compact, adding to its charming appearance. It features a moderately pronounced stop, creating a smooth transition from the forehead to the snout. The muzzle of a Yorkie is short and moderately wide, tapering slightly towards the black button-like nose. Their eyes are round, bright, and set apart, giving them an intelligent and lively expression. With small, erect, and triangular-shaped ears, the Yorkshire Terrier’s head exhibits a delightful balance and proportion, making it one of the most endearing features of this beloved breed.
The nose of a Yorkshire Terrier is small, black, and button-like, proportionate to the size of its head. It is set on the short and moderately wide muzzle, creating a cute and endearing look. In some cases, if the dog has a lighter coat color, the nose may be more pink or beige. The nose leather fits tightly and smoothly on the nose, adding to the overall charm of this delightful breed. A well-pigmented and neatly shaped nose is a characteristic feature of the Yorkshire Terrier, contributing to its distinctive and attractive appearance.
The eyes of a Yorkshire Terrier are one of its most captivating features. They are round, bright, and have a lively expression. Set far apart on the small head, the dark-colored eyes enhance the dog’s adorable look. With their intelligent and alert gaze, Yorkies can communicate a wide range of emotions, from curiosity to affection. The eyes are an essential aspect of the breed standard, and their dark color adds depth and charm to the overall appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier. Combined with their silky coat and petite size, the expressive eyes of a Yorkie play a significant role in winning the hearts of dog lovers around the world.
Mouth and jaws
The mouth and jaws of a Yorkshire Terrier are characterized by their strength and proportionality. With short and strong jaws, Yorkies have a well-developed bite, usually meeting in a scissors bite, where the upper incisors slightly overlap the lower ones. This type of bite allows for efficient chewing and tearing of food.
The lips of a Yorkie are short and neither too thick nor too thin. They fit tightly on the teeth without being overly tight, allowing the dog to pick up and carry objects with ease.
A proper bite in Yorkshire Terriers is when the teeth are aligned perpendicularly, ensuring a correct distribution of chewing forces. This bite configuration is crucial for maintaining good dental health and preventing dental problems.
Overall, the mouth and jaws of a Yorkshire Terrier are well-designed for their size, enabling them to eat, chew, and interact with the world around them comfortably and efficiently.
The body of a Yorkshire Terrier is compact, well-proportioned, and full of grace. Despite their small size, they have a sturdy and well-balanced build. The back is level and straight, leading to a well-set tail that is usually docked to a medium length.
Yorkies have a deep chest that provides ample room for the lungs, enabling them to be active and agile little dogs. Their ribs are well-sprung, allowing for efficient movement and flexibility.
The shoulders of a Yorkie are well laid-back, promoting smooth and graceful movement. Their legs are straight and fine-boned, with neat and well-arched feet.
Overall, the body of a Yorkshire Terrier exemplifies elegance and athleticism. Their balanced proportions and graceful movements make them a joy to watch and a delightful companion to have. Despite their small stature, Yorkies possess a confident and spirited demeanor, showcasing their terrier heritage and charming personalities.
Coat and color
The coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is one of its most distinguishing features. It is long, silky, and straight, flowing down the sides of their body. Yorkies do not have an undercoat, which sets them apart from many other breeds.
The color of a Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is a combination of rich, glossy, and vibrant blue and tan. The blue color is predominantly found on the body, while the tan color appears on the head, chest, and legs. The tan color should be a bright, golden hue.
As puppies, Yorkies are born with a black and tan coat, but as they mature, the black color on their body turns into a beautiful blue. The transformation from black to blue often occurs within the first year of life.
Grooming the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is essential to maintain its silky and flowing appearance. Regular brushing and trimming are necessary to prevent matting and tangling. Their stunning coat is one of the reasons why Yorkshire Terriers are such popular and eye-catching companions.
The tail of a Yorkshire Terrier is typically docked to a medium length, which means it is shortened to a certain extent. Historically, docking was done for practical reasons, as it helped prevent tail injuries during the dog’s working activities, especially when used for vermin hunting. However, tail docking is now a controversial practice, and in many countries, it is becoming less common and may be considered illegal.
Yorkshire Terriers have straight and fine-boned legs, which contribute to their agile and graceful movements. Their legs are of moderate length, proportionate to the size of their body. The paws are small, neat, and well-arched, giving them a dainty appearance. These sturdy limbs allow Yorkies to be active and energetic little dogs, capable of swift movements and maneuvering through various terrains.
It’s important to note that the practice of tail docking and other cosmetic alterations may vary depending on local regulations and breed standards. Always consult with a veterinarian and adhere to local laws and guidelines to ensure the well-being of your Yorkshire Terrier.
Yorkshire Terriers, like all dog breeds, may be susceptible to certain health conditions. While not all Yorkies will experience these diseases, it’s essential for potential owners to be aware of them to provide proper care and early detection. Here are some common health issues that Yorkshire Terriers may be prone to:
- Luxating Patella: This condition involves the kneecap slipping out of its normal position, causing discomfort and lameness. It can range from mild to severe and may require surgery to correct.
- Tracheal Collapse: Due to their small size, Yorkies can develop a weak or collapsed trachea, leading to respiratory difficulties, coughing, and wheezing.
- Portosystemic Shunt: This is a liver condition where blood bypasses the liver, affecting its detoxification function. Symptoms include stunted growth, neurological issues, and gastrointestinal problems.
- Hypoglycemia: Yorkies are susceptible to low blood sugar levels, especially as puppies. This can cause weakness, seizures, and even coma if left untreated.
- Dental Issues: Small breeds like Yorkshire Terriers often suffer from dental problems, such as dental plaque, tartar buildup, and tooth decay.
- Patellar Luxation: Similar to the luxating patella, this condition involves the kneecap moving out of place, leading to pain and limping.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a genetic eye disorder that causes gradual vision loss and can lead to blindness.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This condition affects the hip joint, leading to degeneration and pain, and often requires surgical intervention.
- Collapsed Trachea: The weakened tracheal rings can collapse, causing coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
- Yorkshire Terrier Hypoplasia: A genetic condition that affects bone development, leading to dwarfism and stunted growth.
To mitigate the risk of these health issues, responsible breeding practices, regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and dental care are crucial. If you decide to bring a Yorkshire Terrier into your life, be prepared to provide the necessary attention and medical care to ensure a happy and healthy companion.
Training a Yorkshire Terrier is essential to ensure they become well-behaved and well-adjusted members of the family. Despite their small size, Yorkies are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. Here are some key training aspects for Yorkshire Terriers:
- Basic Obedience: Start with basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel.” Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, work best for Yorkies as they respond well to rewards.
- House Training: Consistency and patience are vital when house training a Yorkie. Establish a regular potty schedule, reward them for going outside, and clean up accidents with enzymatic cleaners to prevent repeat incidents.
- Socialization: Early socialization is crucial to expose Yorkies to different people, animals, and environments. This helps them become more confident and well-adjusted in various situations.
- Leash Training: Yorkies can be strong-willed, so leash training is essential for proper walks. Teach them to walk calmly on a leash without pulling.
- Barking Control: Yorkies have a tendency to bark, but it’s essential to teach them when to stop. Reward quiet behavior and use commands like “quiet” to discourage excessive barking.
- Crate Training: Introduce crate training to provide a safe and comfortable space for your Yorkie when you’re away or for sleeping at night.
- Trick Training: Yorkies love to learn new tricks, and it’s a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged.
- Avoid Harsh Punishment: Yorkies respond best to positive reinforcement and gentle corrections. Harsh punishment can lead to fear and anxiety.
Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successful training with Yorkshire Terriers. Keep training sessions short and fun to maintain their interest and enthusiasm. With time and effort, your Yorkie will become a well-mannered and happy companion that brings joy to your life.
Tips for choosing a puppy
Choosing a puppy is an exciting but important decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some tips to help you choose the right puppy for your lifestyle and family:
- Research Breeds: Take the time to research different dog breeds and their characteristics. Consider factors like size, energy level, grooming needs, and temperament to find a breed that matches your lifestyle and preferences.
- Meet the Parents: If possible, meet the puppy’s parents or at least one of them. The behavior and temperament of the parents can give you an idea of how the puppy may turn out as an adult.
- Observe the Litter: Spend time observing the entire litter of puppies. Look for puppies that are curious, playful, and social. Avoid puppies that seem overly timid or aggressive.
- Health Check: Ensure the puppy is healthy by checking for clear eyes, clean ears, and a shiny coat. Ask the breeder for health records and information about any vaccinations or deworming treatments.
- Socialization: Choose a puppy that has been well-socialized. A puppy that has been exposed to different people, environments, and experiences during its early weeks is more likely to grow up to be a well-adjusted and confident dog.
- Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the breeder or shelter staff questions about the puppy’s behavior, temperament, and background. A reputable breeder or shelter will be happy to provide you with information.
- Consider Your Lifestyle: Consider your daily schedule, activity level, and living situation when choosing a puppy. Some breeds may require more exercise and training than others, so make sure you can meet their needs.
- Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose the puppy that you feel a connection with. The bond between you and your puppy is essential for a successful and fulfilling relationship.
Remember that bringing a puppy into your home is a long-term commitment, so take your time and choose wisely. A well-chosen puppy will become a beloved companion and enrich your life for many years to come.