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The Yorkshire terrier is one of the most enduringly popular dog breeds in the UK overall, and they’re currently ranked as the 16th most commonly owned dog breed in the UK. So popular in fact is this native favourite that for many years, they were the most commonly owned breed of all, based on the number of new puppies registered with the Kennel Club each year.
Whilst the Yorkshire terrier was knocked off the top spot a couple of decades ago by the Labrador retriever (which was in turn overtaken in 2018 by the French bulldog) the Yorkshire terrier remains in great demand with puppy buyers all over the UK.
Every year, thousands of prospective owners consider buying a Yorkshire terrier to join their families, and this is one of the most versatile small dog breeds of all when it comes to the types of homes and owners that they are a good fit for.
However, before you go ahead and buy a Yorkshire terrier, you first need to ensure that you understand the breed and how to care for them, and have a clear idea of what you’re getting into.
In this article we will share ten things all prospective owners need to know about the Yorkshire terrier – before going ahead with a purchase. Read on to learn more.
Most dogs of terrier breeds are included within the Kennel Club’s terrier breed group, with the Yorkshire terrier being a notable exception. The Yorkshire terrier falls within the toy dog group, representing dogs that are lapdogs and companions rather than those with working skills, but the Yorkshire terrier is still a terrier at heart, and displays many common terrier traits.
They are quick witted, can be stubborn and often like to dig and chew, and they tend to keep their owners on their toes – although they are not as challenging as a lot of other terrier breeds in this respect.
One of the breed’s main potential downsides is that Yorkshire terriers tend to like the sounds of their own voices, and they are often thought of as a particularly yappy breed.
Yorkshire terriers are quick to make a fuss if someone approaches the home and they often bark for attention, and particularly if you own two or more dogs of the breed, they will tend to wind each other up and generate a huge clamour when one of the pack starts barking!
Appropriate training from a young age can help to counteract this, but be prepared for your new dog to be quite talkative!
Yorkshire terriers are also quite a highly strung and excitable breed, but they tend to expend their energy in short bursts of high energy play, and are otherwise usually calm and well-mannered within the home.
However, if your Yorkshire terrier doesn’t receive sufficient walks, exercise and entertainment, they can become very hard to manage in short order.
The Yorkshire terrier is of course a very small dog breed, but there can be quite a lot of variance within the breed as a whole in terms of the accepted sizes and heights of individual dogs, although none of them are large!
Some Yorkshire terrier breeders advertise so-called “teacup dogs,” which are Yorkshire terriers that are deliberately bred for a particularly small size, and often involves the breeding of runts. Very small Yorkshire terriers are more likely to suffer from health problems and keeping the dog safe is more of a challenge too, and so-called teacup Yorkshire terriers should be avoided as a result. Learn more here.
Yorkshire terriers can have various different lengths and types of coats, and some dogs of the breed have very long, straight and silky fur that is very beautiful to look at and touch.
However, grooming a Yorkshire terrier, and particularly a longhaired one, can take a lot of time and commitment, and is necessary to keep the coat in good condition. On the plus side, the breed as a whole doesn’t shed very much fur as a rule.
Yorkshire terriers thrive on human company, and they are very intolerant of being left alone. Training a Yorkie to spend time alone when they are young can help with this, but this is not a breed to pick if you regularly need to leave your dog for long periods of time to go out to work.
The Yorkshire terrier is quite a smart dog breed, being ranked 34th out of almost 140 different breeds in the Coren list of canine intelligence by breed.
They’re certainly one of the smarter toy dog breeds, which means that Yorkies can often learn a large vocabulary of commands, and may even be able to do tricks!
As a small dog breed, the Yorkshire terrier doesn’t need hugely long walks to work off their excess energy levels but they are very feisty dogs that are often very energetic and enthusiastic about exercise.
They require interesting, lively and varied walks, which may incorporate games or training sessions to keep the dog on their toes.
As a dog with terrier origins, Yorkshire terriers tend to have a strong prey drive despite their small size, and they may pursue wildlife when out on walks. Train your dog for reliable recall, or keep them on a lead if they cannot be trusted to respond under pressure!
The Yorkshire terrier is an interesting dog breed with a lot of depth to it, and is fairly unique for a toy breed in terms of its intelligence and terrier traits. The breed is widely considered to be one of the better breed choices for a first time dog owner, but the potential downsides of the breed – like their tendency to bark, and coat care requirements – need to be considered carefully before you make a final decision on a purchase.
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