The Yorkshire Terrier’s were quite different from the fashionable, glamorous breed that they are today. They are a composite of so called terrier breeds that have evolved from various terrier breeds. Most terrier breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland, used early on as wiry, fearless little dogs used to control rats, rabbits, and foxes both over and under the ground. It is believed that the Yorkshire Terrier was a breed that resulted from the cross breeding of the Waterside Terrier, Paisley Terrier, and Manchester Terrier. Most terrier breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland, used early on to control rats, rabbits, and foxes both over and under the ground. It got this name from this cross breeding origins having taken place in Yorkshire, England.
In 1873, the kennel Club of England was formed, of which the Yorkshire Terrier joined the 40 selected
Late in the19th century, the Yorkie’s popularity extended into the United States and has since remained one of the nation’s most desired breeds.
The Yorkie’s long, glossy coat to grow can extend all the way to the ground. Whether allowed to get this long or not, Yorkies shed little and the resultant long hair needs to be brushed regularly. The hair on the top of the head is often tied up or parted down the middle all the way to the tail flowing straight and evenly on both sides. Yorkies tend to have a steel blue color on the body and tail but tan everywhere else. There is sometimes a gold color around the face. The head is small, the muzzle is medium in proportion to the head, and the nose is black. Eyes are medium sized in proportion to the head and are typically dark brown or chestnut in color. The ears can be small, medium, or large, V-shaped and carried erect in most Yorkies. The mouth is either a scissor or level bite. The neck has significant reach, while the body is compact with a level back. The tail is customarily docked to short length . The legs are straight and well covered in hair of varying shades of gold, tending to be slightly lighter at the roots. The hair on the body is moderately long, and straight with no waves and a glossy,text silky texture. The hair on head and muzzle grow long to meet the length of the body, but some owners keep the head trimmed if not showing their Yorkie and only kept as a pet. The non-shedding characteristic of the hair coat make the Yorkie as good candidate for allergic pet owners.
Regarding grooming, although Yorkie puppies do not need much grooming at first, it is a good idea to start brushing young so they can become accustomed to it. It may take up to 6 months for Yorkie puppies to grow long hair and as it is groomed, becomes increasingly silkier, straighter hair. It can take a lot of time to brush and groom this breed. The hair coat of a show Yorkie must be kept long, but if a Yorkie is not intended for showing there are various pet trims an owner may choose from that are lower maintenance and quite aesthetically pleasing.
Yorkies need to be brushed daily to keep an optimal smooth and soft texture to the hair coat. If showing a Yorkshire Terriers it is sometimes helpful to keep the coat oiled, which keeps the hair moisturized and protected, while also preventing matting. Groomers are often instrumental in suggesting what might work best on your individual dog.
The primary concern for maintaining a Yorkie’s coat is keeping it from getting matted. When bathing, it is important to use a conditioner or at least a moisturizing shampoo designed specifically for dogs. Bathing should be performed once every 2-3 weeks, with daily brushing in between bathing.
Yorkies are adventurous little dogs, that definitely enjoy outdoor time and play. However, they do not require a lot of exercise and enjoy cuddling with their owner inside, while getting geared up and excited for occasional walks. Yorkies also enjoy play in a restricted space, especially when toys that allow interaction with the owner are involved.
Although the Yorkshire Terrier is a small toy breed best known for its cuteness, playfulness, and cuddliness, there are a lot of other traits that make this breed so popular. The Yorkie is a fearless watchdog with an acute sense of hearing and can usually hear someone approaching long before they get to the door. The Yorkshire seems unaware of his small size, often showing little hesitation to go after a strange person or dog regardless of its size. They are busy, inquisitive, and bold, often resisting anything situation they make up their mind not to engage in. They can be aggressive towards other animals so it is always a good idea to introduce with caution. Because of their small size they might need more supervision with smaller children, both because the children could accidentally injure the little dog, and because Yorkies may be less tolerant with children and nip. While a toy, and at various times a very pampered one, the Yorkshire Terrier is a highly spirited dog much in tune with its tough terrier roots.
Yorkshire Terriers are very intelligent, but they can also be stubborn. Keeping the training rewarding, uplifting, and fun go a long way to getting through to Yorkies. As such, treats and a lot of praise tend to be very effective. It also helps to have a good sense of humor because they will try to “outsmart” you. If beginning with a Yorkie puppy, a Puppy Kindergarten program is ideal, as this not only teaches obedience, but creates socialization with other dogs that may prevent fearfulness or aggression toward other dogs later in life.
Possible health concerns include might be portosystemic shunt, collapsing trachea, legg perthes disease, patellar luxation, and progressive retinal atrophy. If in the market for a new Yorkie puppy, prospective owners should ask breeders for documentation of health screening of the sire and bitch prior to purchase.
It is important to feed dry food and encourage chewing dental treats, since Yorkies are known for the development of dental disease. For this reason, if recommend by your vet, teeth cleanings are a very important aspect of providing optimal health for a Yorkie.
Jumping from high places should be avoided, since this type of activity commonly leads to fractures of the forearms.
By: Roger L. Welton, DVM
President Maybeck Animal Hospital
Author Canine and Feline 101