Get to know the Yorkshire Terriers
All you need to know about the breed
Don’t be deceived by that dainty demeanour, mane of silky hair and cute bow. They may look like they’re always in the salon, but the Yorkshire Terrier is a hardy, resilient and clever little dog. Every bit the terrier, they are bold, fearless and tenacious, the latter being a left-over from their former hunting days.
Bred in the north of England during the Industrial Revolution (yes, despite that haughty stance, their roots really are working class), the job of the Yorkshire Terrier was originally to keep the mines and textile mills free of vermin. It wasn’t until late Victorian times that they became popular as a lapdog – and began, quite literally, living in the lap of luxury among the English upper classes.
Certainly, with their regal-like bearing, it’s as if the Yorkshire Terrier was always destined for greater things. But, in reality, they are a friendly, playful breed with an inquisitive nature that makes them lots of fun.
Among other Yorkshire Terrier characteristics, they are fond of attention and like to stay close to their owners. They can be quite protective of them if the need arises and, in some cases, have the potential to be a bit yappy. For this reason, as well as their small size, they are better suited to families with older children.
Famed, of course, for their show-stopping silky coats, this is often topped off with a hair accessory to keep their locks out of eyes or there are various fashionable haircut styles. Interestingly, the Yorkshire Terrier’s long, slinky coat is exceptionally fine and more like human or horse hair. It does require a bit of care to keep it as its glossy best, but, on the plus side, the Yorkie is a breed that doesn’t really shed, so no vacuuming the sofa required.
As one of the smallest breeds of dog, the Yorkshire Terrier’s compact size means they’ll also fit in well to most home set-ups. Great companions for those living alone, the Yorkie is one of the longer-living breeds, too, and can easily reach their late teens. No wonder then that the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular toy-dog breeds world-wide.
2 facts about Yorkshire Terriers
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Yorkshire Terrier
The little legs of the Yorkie need extra-special care
One of the most common complaints in the Yorkshire Terrier is a dislocated kneecap (luxating patella). Once known as ‘trick knee’ in humans, it occurs when the kneecap literally pops out of place. Symptoms can include obvious discomfort, limping or an odd ‘skipping’ walk – and it can also lead to arthritis in later life. As always, prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to keep your Yorkie away from anywhere they might try and jump. If, however, the condition does occur, there is plenty that can be done, ranging from muscle-building exercises and weight management to anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery has a good success rate.
It’s better to use a harness rather than a leash
Like many small breeds of dog, Yorkshire Terriers can be prone to a condition known as tracheal collapse, which is a narrowing or collapsing of the windpipe. This can cause an obstruction of the airways resulting in symptoms ranging from a honking cough to noisy breathing and gagging sounds. In severe cases, it can also cause fainting. Caused by a genetic weakness, the condition is often triggered if a Yorkshire Terrier lunges forward when wearing a collar and leash, or if the owner pulls back too hard. Therefore, it is highly recommended to opt for a harness, which also helps with better control.
It’s important to look after their teeth and gums
Another thing to watch out for with Yorkshire Terriers is dental health. Because of their smaller, more crowded mouths, they can be more prone to problems such as gingivitis (an inflammation of the gums) or periodontal disease (where the tooth’s entire support structure is affected).
In more serious cases, the resulting bacteria can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys, so it’s important to stay on top of this. The good news, though, is that daily brushing will help keep problems at bay. With teeth kept clean and healthy, the chance of infected gums is reduced in the first place. A good diet is vital, too, as are regular check-ups with a professional.
Caring for your Yorkshire Terrier
Grooming, training and exercise tips