Yorkshire Terriers, also called Yorkies, are adorably small dogs that weigh seven pounds maximum. No wonder they rank 10th as the most popular dog breeds in America. They are known for having a long, silky coat that can turn any passerby’s eyes.
Yorkshire Terriers are cute, loving, and great companions. But, they have a feisty side too. As a matter of fact, some people regard them as a big dog trap in a small dog’s body. They are not afraid of anything, even if they’re up against a big dog or animal.
Yorkshire Terrier Statistics
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|Dog Breed Group||Toy Group|
Yorkshire Terrier Ratings
|Friendly with family|
|Friendly with strangers|
|Friendly with other dogs|
History Of The Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers were bred in England during the Industrial Revolution to catch rats in mines. It’s believed that this breed was crossbred from different types of terriers such as Clydesdale Terrier, Paisley Terrier, and Skye Terriers.
Yorkshire Terriers are impressive ratters. However, that’s not the only purpose they have during those times. As you know, Yorkshire Terriers are small enough to be carried by hunters in their pockets, plus their bravery was that of a big dog; they’re the most convenient choice for hunting. So, aside from being sent to the mills to exterminate rats, they were also sent to wild animals’ dens to hunt – wild animals such as foxes and badgers.
For a dog this small, it’s undeniably surprising how they can pull off such a courageous job.
During the Victorian Era, things have changed in favor of the Yorkies. From being exterminators in the mills, they became desirable pets for royalty and upper classes. It was during this time that small dogs were on-trend. With the Yorkies’ size and their long, lustrous hair, there was no other dog that looked like them, and they immediately became a symbol of wealth.
However, it was only in the year 1861 that Yorkshire Terriers were presented in a bench show. They were named Broken-haired Scotch Terrier at that time. In 1865, a dog named Huddersfield Ben, the father of the modern terriers, was introduced and became popular immediately. And by the year 1870, the breed was renamed Yorkshire Terrier as it is the place where they were developed.
Temperament Of The Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers are generally affectionate, energetic, and tomboyish. Notice how there’s a balance of bravery and sweetness in there? Well, that’s mainly because Yorkies have a unique personality brought by the combination of a terrier and a toy dog – adventurous and adorable.
With their terrier side, they can be aggressive towards other animals such as dogs and cats. They also need to be active at some time of the day; however, unlike bigger dogs, they don’t require a lot of it. You can set up a few tasks for them to do to give them that sense of purpose (especially that they were bred as working dogs).
As a toy dog, they can be very great companions, especially if you’re a traveler. With their small size, owners can easily carry them inside a bag. Other than that, they are also very confident and work great as therapy dogs for timid people and those with anxiety. They can also quickly adapt well in any type of surroundings, and home situations, may it be in an apartment, a condo, or a house.
Though they can be very friendly with adults, I cannot say the same with little children, especially babies. With their aggressive nature, a Yorkshire Terrier may think of the child as a dog, too, which can be dangerous. They are also not great companions for small companions such as guinea pigs and rabbits because of their hunter background.
However, if you want a Yorkie, the only way to get around this temperament is early socialization. Meaning, if you have a kid, then it would be best to get a young puppy that can grow together with your child. The same thing with cats, Yorkshire Terriers would usually tolerate the animal if they have lived together for some time.
In other words, if you want to own a Yorkshire Terrier, you need to be able to create a balance between his two temperaments. Socialize him with different people, animals, and sights. If properly raised, they can become amiable and well-rounded dogs.
Yorkshire Terrier Care Requirements
- Nutrition: Yorkshire Terriers, just like any other dog, needs a healthy and well-balanced meal. It also needs to be of high-quality to maintain their long and silky coat. With a weight of 3-7 pounds, Yorkies would need 150 calories of food daily if inactive. However, if they are active, 200 calories a day should suffice. Dry food is highly recommended so they can also maintain healthy teeth. At the same time, this wouldn’t get stuck on the long hair on their face. If you opt to prepare a meal for them, make sure that there’s a balance of protein, vegetables, fruits, and carbs, with protein as the primary ingredient. You can get this protein from chicken, fish, lamb, or turkey. For carbohydrates, you can opt for brown rice and sweet potatoes. They are excellent sources of fiber as well. Maintaining a well-balanced diet will help your Yorkie maintain their energy and keep their right weight.
- Grooming: Yorkshire Terriers’ hair doesn’t shed. However, it grows continuously up to two feet if not trimmed. Though this is not a problem since it’s one thing that makes Yorkies attractive, keeping the hair long would also mean daily brushing if you don’t want it to form knots. The hair on the upper part of her head needs regular trimming to avoid eye irritation. They would also need to have a bath at least once a week. Before bathing, make sure to brush the hair first and entangle any knots. You can run your fingers to your Yorkies coat. Don’t forget to check their ears and nails. The ears should be kept clean, and the nails should always be trimmed. Trimming the hair might also be needed if it becomes too long. However, it’s still best to have a professional do this. If you want to do it on your own, make sure to be very careful, or you can get yourself trained too to ensure your Yorkie’s safety.
- Exercise: Yorkshire Terriers may be small in size, but they do need some exercise too. You can take them for a walk at least once a day. Make sure the pace is steady and one that will not require him to take big breaths. Also, keep him in a leash as they enjoy wandering around. Other than the daily walks, you can also give them cardio exercise once or twice a week. There are different ways that you can do this: hide and seek, fetch, frisbee. Just make sure always to prepare a treat every after your Yorkie does an excellent job to keep his mood up.
- Health: Yorkshire Terriers generally have a longer lifespan; however, just like any other dog breed, they can be prone to some health problems. Most of these are brought about by genetic disorders. Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s), a malfunction in the adrenal glands which produces a lot of steroid hormones, is one genetic problem that affects Yorkshire Terriers the most. They can also develop eye problems, liver problems, heart diseases, and problems in bones and joints. Dental diseases, infections, obesity, allergies, and parasites are also common problems of dogs in general that you need to watch out for. Another thing that you need to remember that Yorkies are not great swimmers. So, always keep an eye on them if near any body of water.
- Lifespan: The life expectancy of Yorkshire Terriers is 11-15 years.
Famous Yorkshire Terriers
- Mr. Famous: Audrey Hepburn’s Yorkshire Terrier; starred in one of her movies, Funny Face
- Mignon: A famous Yorkie that starred on Green Acres which ran from 1965-1971
- Doogie: Whitney Houston’s Yorkie
- Moses: The family dog of the Fockers’ family in the movie Meet the Fockers
- Huddersfield Ben: champion show dog; foundation sire for the Yorkshire Terrier
- Cede Higgins: The first Yorkshire Terrier to win Popular Best Show Award at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1978
- Ozmilion Mystification: The first Yorkie to win Best Show at Crufts
- Sylvia: Owned by Arthur Marples; the smallest dog in recorded history
- Smokie: World War II hero; owned by William Wyne of Cleveland, Ohio
- Pashna: Owned by First Lady, Tricia Nixon
Fun Facts About Yorkshire Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers were initially rat hunters.
- They were originally called Broken-Haired Scotch Terriers for nearly a decade.
- Yorkshire Terriers’ hair can grow up to two feet long; their hair doesn’t shed.
- Yorkshire Terriers are prone to reverse sneezing, which creates funny noises.
- Yorkshire Terriers are one of the first registered dog breeds in AKC.
- Although known as the second smallest breed, Yorkshire Terriers aren’t afraid to stand up to larger dogs or animals in general.