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It seems that someone forgot to mention to the Yorkshire Terrier that it is a small toy dog! Given the chance, this dog will rule the roost and like all terriers needs firm leadership and well defined boundaries. As the name clearly suggests, this dog originates from the largest county in England - Yorkshire. Originally bred as a ratter in the clothing and cotton mills and mines which sprung up around the area during the industrial revolution, this is a dog that is credited as being bred 'by the people'.
Created by the working class men of the tough north of England, the Yorkshire Terrier or 'Yorkie' as it is simply known, was an effort to create a breed of dog small and tough enough to catch the rats and mice which plagued the mines and mills which, in turn, bought great health issues to the populous.
The exact origins are unclear, but it is likely that men from Scotland who came to work in this industrial heartland bough with them terrier types from home, including the Skye and Dandie Dinmont Terriers and crossed them with the larger Leeds Terrier. The original dogs crossed from these would have been larger than the Yorkies we see today, but over a number of years they were selectively bred from the smallest animals and became popular as ladies dogs which were easily carried. Some breeders also believe that the Maltese Terrier may have been used to give the Yorkshire Terrier its characteristic long and silky coat.
Average height to withers: Males and females both between 6-7 inches.
Average weight: Both males and females around 3-3.5 kg.
The coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is simply beautiful - glossy, fine, straight and long with a traditional 'centre' parting down the length of the back. From the neck to the tail, the coat should be a dark gray/steel-blue colour, and the hair on the tail should be a darker colour again. On the head, chest, and legs, the hair should be a rich tan or chesnut which in turn shades into a lighter tan at the tips. Other colours also occur, however, to maintain breed standards the above is the norm. The coat is also listed as being hypoallergenic and therefore a good choice for people with allergies.
This is a fine boned breed with a small, flat shaped head. The eyes are very dark with dark rims and they have erect, V shaped ears.
An adventurous dog for its small size, the Yorkie is a true terrier being clever, full of energy and loyal. Also true to its terrier personality, the Yorkie can be a 'yappy' dog if it is allowed to get away with it. In addition to this, the Yorkshire Terrier can be domineering in a household and quite bossy. These are, of course, not very desirable traits, especially if there are children present in the household. Because of this, care should be taken when the dog is young to present a firm and consistent training routine - just because this is a cute dog does not mean not should be allowed to wrap you around their little paw! When the pack leader steps up to this responsibility, Yorkies will make kind and loving pets who are good with children and other animals. As a small dog, they do have a relatively large amount of energy and so will benefit from a good exercise routine and daily walk/ play in the garden. This is a breed who will display pent up energy if it has not received enough, twirling and shooting around the house - an indication it is time for walkies again!
Yorkshire Terriers can live up to the age of 16 years old and sometimes much longer! Some Yorkies are prone to eye infections and tooth decay. This is because, as they have a small jaw, their mouth can often become overcrowded with teeth and plaque can build up easily. Because of this you need to be sure to feed some dry food or dental treats to make sure they are cleaned.
They also often have a poor tolerance of anaesthetic. Any falls or knocks can cause fractures of fragile and delicate bones so care must be taken and careful observation if this occurs.
Females often have trouble delivering puppies and sometimes need to have a caesarean, especially when on the smaller size of average.
Many Yorkie owners are fond of the typical topknot seen on a regular basis and as part of a daily grooming routine this is useful as the long hair around the face of this breed can easily become messed with food and other detritus. As mentioned above, the teeth of the Yorkshire Terrier are particularly prone to decay so along with a good diet, oral hygiene and regular teeth brushing is a good idea.