Yorkshire Terriers are an incredibly popular breed of dog due to their small stature, loyalty and affection to their owners, and playful nature. Yet they can also be yappy, stubborn, and difficult to potty train. Owners should be aware of the characteristics and potential health issues of any breed before they bring a dog home.
The following will explore the Yorkshire Terrier breed and what you need to know about these loveable little pups before bringing one home.
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What Do I Need to Know About Yorkies Before Owning One?
Before getting a dog, you need to consider which kind of breed you have space and time for, and that you will be able to exercise. You should also consider what type of dog will fit in best with your family, especially if you have children or other pets.
Here we will explore the characteristics of Yorkies in more detail.
History of Yorkies
Yorkshire Terriers are a pure breed which has been around since the 1800s and were bred from other small terriers to hunt rats in the Yorkshire mills and mines. They were bred from Scottish dogs such as Skye Terriers, Clydesdale Terriers, and Paisley Terriers.
Yorkies are still an incredibly popular breed, especially in the UK, though are now mostly used as companion dogs and lapdogs. Yet they still have that terrier feistiness and make excellent watchdogs. The Yorkshire Terrier breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
Yorkies are a toy breed, and one of the smallest. They grow up to 7-8 inches in height, and around 7 pounds in weight. Yorkies have triangle shaped ears which stand up.
Yorkies are renowned for their coat. Yorkies have a single coat, and it is like human hair rather than fur. Their hair is long and silky and grows straight to the floor.
Yorkies come in a combination of 2 of 4 standard colors: blue, black, gold, and tan. The Yorkie blue color is something else the breed is known for.
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Yorkies are quite high maintenance in the grooming department and need regular brushing and bathing. The benefits of Yorkie hair is that they are hypoallergenic and they rarely shed, if at all.
Their long hair needs brushing every day to every 2 days, such as with human hair, to prevent any tangles or mats. The long hair needs to be trimmed every 4-6 weeks, but more often if the coat is not kept long.
They should be bathed every 1 – 2 weeks. Bathing too often can strip the hair of oil, but it depends on how dirty your yorkie is. Their nails should also be clipped every 2 weeks.
Yorkies are a healthy breed, with a life expectancy of up to 16 years. All breeds are susceptible to certain disease, and Yorkies are prone to those which affect smaller dogs.
- Yorkies six years and older are susceptible to tracheal collapse, where the windpipe flattens.
- Yorkies have small jaws which can lead to overcrowding of the teeth and a build up of bacteria. Yorkies need their teeth brushing each day to avoid periodontal disease. This is where the bacteria in the mouth travels to vital organs such as the heart and kidneys and causes more serious disease.
- Terriers are prone to dislocating eye lens.
- Small dogs and toy breeds are more likely to have health issues such as dislocating kneecap, urinary stones, and hypoglycaemia.
As Yorkies are such small dogs, people think they don’t need much exercise, but that’s not the case. Yorkies are vey energetic dogs who love to play. They need to be walked daily and have at least 30-40 minutes of exercise each day.
Yorkies are incredibly intelligent, especially as they were bred to be hunters and watchdogs. They can easily learn commands and tricks. They can be harder to train purely because they are stubborn, and not because of their smarts.
As stated above, Yorkies are extremely intelligent and can be easy to train. Yet they are also stubborn dogs and independent thinkers, so it can take patience and perseverance.
Yorkies can be difficult to potty train because they are such a small dog and cannot hold their bladder for as long. It can take up to six months to fully housetrain a Yorkie.
Use lots of positive reinforcement, praise, and treats while training your Yorkie.
- Loving: Yorkies are extremely loving pets and are very affectionate and loyal to their owners. They will enjoy nothing more than to spend lots of time with you, on your lap or in your arms.
- Active: Yorkies are energetic and playful, and you can have lots of fun with them.
- Stubborn: Yorkies are sassy and stubborn. They may not be the best choice if you have small children, as they will snap to defend themselves if they feel threatened when playing.
- Separation Anxiety: As Yorkies like to be around people so much, they are not good at being left alone and suffer from separation anxiety. If you need to leave the house for long periods of time, a Yorkie will not do well and might chew and destroy items in your home while you are gone.
- Excessive Barking: Yorkies are known as yappy dogs, and they bark a lot. This can be a positive as they can act as a watchdog and alert you to anyone coming. But if you live somewhere where lots of barking will be a problem, a Yorkie might not be the right fit.
Pros of Yorkies
- Their small stature makes them ideal for most living spaces, including apartments.
- They are healthy dogs with a long life expectancy.
- They are loving, affectionate, and make wonderful companions.
- They are hypoallergenic and rarely shed.
Cons of Yorkies
- They have separation anxiety and are not good with being left alone.
- They can bark excessively.
- They are not good with small children.
- They are high maintenance when grooming.