Yorkshire Terriers are small dogs that boast long, fine and silky coats. They may be small in stature and classed as a toy breed, but Yorkies are always ready to take on the world. They are outgoing by nature and were originally bred here in the UK not that very long ago. Over the years these little, feisty dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people not only here, but elsewhere in the world too, thanks to their charming looks and fun-loving personalities.
Native to the UK, the Yorkshire Terrier first appeared on the scene when Scottish Weavers crossed Halifax Terriers they bought with them during their move to Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1850s with other terrier-types. It is thought that Yorkies have an illustrious lineage with the Manchester, Skye, Paisley terriers as well as the Dandie Dinmont and Maltese having been used to create these charming, small dogs.
They were originally exhibited as Scotch Terriers back in 1861, but later they were renamed Yorkshire Terriers with the breed being finally recognised by The Kennel Club in 1886. These little dogs soon found their way over to the States and were recognised as a unique breed by the American Kennel Club soon afterwards. For a long time Yorkies were the preferred dogs of the "working classes" thanks to their expert ratting abilities, but today, these little terriers are still as popular with people as family pets and companion dogs both here in the UK and abroad thanks to their charming looks and feisty personalities.
Height at the withers: Males 20 cm, Females 20 cm
Average weight: Males 3.2 kg, Females 3.2 kg
Yorkshire Terriers are compact, neat little dogs that hold themselves well always conveying an air of importance about them which is just one of the breed’s well-known traits. They are well proportioned and nicely balanced boasting a luxurious, silky long coat which is another familiar physical trait. Their heads are quite small and petite with dogs boasting a nice black nose at the tip of a short and finely boned muzzle. Their eyes are medium in size, dark in colour and they always have a sparkle in them. Yorkies are known to have a quick intelligent look about their eyes.
Their ears are V-shaped, a deep rich tan colour and small that dogs carry upright and which are covered in short hair. They have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long boasting a nice reach, falling down to their well laid back shoulders. Yorkies have nice straight legs that are well covered with a rich golden tan hair which is lighter at the ends than it is at the roots.
They have compact bodies with a moderate spring in their ribs and nice level backs. Their back legs are moderately straight and covered in rich golden tan hair which again is lighter at the tips than it is at the roots. Their feet are neat and round with black nails. Tails are covered in lots of hair and a darker colour than the rest of the body. Yorkies carry their tails higher than the level of their backs which adds to their balanced look.
When it comes to their coat, a Yorkie boasts moderately long and very straight hair that's fine in texture and glossy. The hair on their head is a rich golden tan but deeper on each side, around their ears and on their muzzle where it is a lot longer too. Accepted colour is as follows:
The Yorkshire Terrier is the perfect choice for first time owners because they are extremely intelligent and always eager and willing to please which in short, means these active little dogs are easy to train. They may have a bit of an attitude at times, but in the right hands and with the correct amount of socialisation, the Yorkie is just at home living in an apartment as they are living in a large country house. They form strong bonds with one person in a household which sees them become very protective of them.
With this said, Yorkies are terriers and were bred to control vermin, a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche which is something owners need to bear in mind when a Yorkie is around small or larger animals. They can be extremely territorial and will defend what is theirs without any hesitation whatsoever. They also have a tendency to bark if they are not corrected at a young age and even then, Yorkies are known to like the sound of their own voices and will always let an owner know if there are any strangers about.
They are very affectionate, but not that good around children unless they have grown up together. With this said, because Yorkies are so small they are more at risk of breaking bones if playtime gets too rough which younger children might not fully understand.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a highly intelligent little dog and they are always eager to please which means training them is easy. However, their education has to begin early when dogs are still very young for them to grow up to be well-rounded, obedient characters. Their training also has to be consistent and always fair so a Yorkie understands their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household. Some owners have found it hard to housetrain their Yorkies, but with patience and the right sort of guidance, a Yorkshire Terrier can quickly learn to do their business outside.
It's essential for Yorkie puppies to be well socialised from a young age which has to involve them being introduced to as many new situations, people and other animals as soon as they have been fully vaccinated. This is the best way to instill good behaviour and manners in these feisty little dogs.
Although Yorkshire Terriers are affectionate little dogs, they are not particularly good around very young children and toddlers. With this said, if a puppy has grown up with the kids, there usually isn't a problem. However, any interaction between a Yorkie and children has to be supervised by an adult to make sure play time does not get too rough which could end up with a child getting nipped or a dog being injured.
Yorkies will tolerate living with cats as long as they have grown up together, but they should not be trusted around smaller pets and animals because their strong instinct to hunt might kick in with disastrous results.
The average life expectancy of a Yorkshire Terrier is between 13 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Yorkie is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
For more information on the health of the Yorshire terrier, please read this article.
As with any other breed, a Yorkie needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Yorkies have long, silky and flowing coats which are made up of hair rather than fur like other dogs and as such they do not shed in the same way as other breeds. Their hair grows continuously throughout the year rather than in short bursts after having shed their coats. As such, they are high maintenance when it comes to keeping things tidy. Their coats need to be brushed every day to prevent any tangles and matts from forming.
Their top-knots need to be brushed every day too before being tied back up. It's also important to keep an eye on their back-ends and to make sure they are clean. Because the Yorkie is prone to suffer dental issues, it's essential for their teeth to be checked and cleaned every day so that if there is a dental problem it can be dealt with sooner rather than later.
They also need to be professional groomed on a regularly basis and if a dog is not being shown, their coats can be clipped which makes it a lot easier to keep things tidy and looking good. Unlike other breeds, as previously mentioned Yorkies do not shed their coats in the same way as other dogs because their hair grows throughout the year.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.As with any other breed, a Yorkie needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Only tiny in stature, the Yorkshire Terrier is an energetic little dog and they need to be given the correct amount of daily exercise to be happy, healthy and well-rounded dogs. A good 30-minutes exercise is ideal, but being terriers, Yorkies love running around a back garden as often as possible to really let off steam bearing in mind that the fencing has to be extremely good to keep these little dogs in. The other thing to bear in mind is that Yorkies do feel the cold and would need to wear a coat when outside during the colder winter months whether they are out on a walk or running around a back garden.
They are highly intelligent and as such Yorkies have to be given a lot of mental stimulation to be truly happy. If these little dogs are not given enough "to do", they will find their own ways of amusing themselves which can include being destructive around the home, excessive barking and they are prone to suffer from separation anxiety too.
With this said, young Yorkie puppies should not be given too much exercise and this includes being allowed to jump up or down from furniture, running up and down stairs because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives.
If you get a Yorkie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Yorkie, you would need to pay anything from £450 to over £700 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Yorkshire Terrier in northern England would be £16.85 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £38.33 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Yorkshire Terrier and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Yorkshire Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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