A Look At The Yorkshire Terrier: Positively Marvelous!

A Look At The Yorkshire Terrier: Positively Marvelous!

The Yorkshire Terrier dog breed (Yorkie for short) are known for their intelligence and spunk. If you are considering bringing a Yorkie into your home, here is everything you need to know to fall in love with the Yorkshire Terrier - your life will never be the same!

Where Did The Yorkie Come From?

Scottish Terrier

The ancestry of Yorkshire Terriers dates back to the early 1800's. During this time, there was a large migration of Scottish people into Yorkshire County in northern England to work in the textile factories and mines there. They brought with them "Scot terriers," so nicknamed because they were terriers from Scotland, not because they were the full breed dogs now recognized as the Scottish Terrier.

Originally, the Yorkshire Terriers were specifically bred for hunting prey that lived in dens and burrows. If a person tried to remove such an animal from a den, it would became very aggressive and the person would often be bitten. However, terriers of the time were quite adept at tracking down these animals and removing them from their dens!

Original Yorkshire Terriers

The original Yorkies, or "pre-Yorkies," also became quite good at locating rats and killing them, a highly prized skill in the industrial areas in which these hard-working Scottish families lived!

Yorkshire Terriers were brought to America for the first time in 1872 and given the name "Yorkshire Terrier" in 1874. It wasn't until 1878 that they first became recognized as a "full-bred" dog and were allowed to be registered with the American Kennel Association (AKA).

Smoky the War Dog

The Yorkshire Terrier's popularity had dipped considerably by the 1940's but there was a huge resurgence in popularity of Yorkies when a female Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky helped to save the day in World War II. She "served" in the South Pacific in the 5th Air Force and would signal troops by carrying wire through a seventy foot eight inch metal pipe!

She also inspired the troops and entertained them with her antics! The men made a custom parachute for her to jump from a thirty story building to safety. After the terrible war, Smoky went around visiting the wounded men in veterans' hospitals with a soldier named William Wynne, who is credited with originally finding her.

Yorkshire Terrier Personality Traits

Intelligent Yorkshire On Kitchen Counter

Feisty and Confident

They can inject a lot of entertainment into your life so be prepared!

Some people would describe Yorkie's as spunky and spirited in temperament, and most do have a side that can be described in this way.

However, they are also happy as a lark to cuddle with you on the couch or snuggle up in bed with you while you watch a good movie. In other words, they transition from a bouncing ball of animated fur to a quiet little contented couch potato in a matter of minutes!

Intelligent

Yorkie's are also highly intelligent, so much so in fact, they are the dog that can figure out how to open that forbidden door or get into almost any container if they are highly motivated to do so! Of course, it's always fun to watch that, right... well, most of the time!

They motivate us to play, be affectionate, seek adventure and be loyal! 

-Tom Hayden

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Sensitive

Yorkie's are also extra sensitive to your emotions so they make excellent companion pets. Expect them to be as curious as cats as they will be sure to explore every nook and cranny of every place you go. Also, every new object that enters their territory will need to be thoroughly sniffed, fully examined, and officially pass inspection or else... okay, it's not quite that bad but you get the gist, right?

Sociable 

Yorkie's are generally quite happy to meet new people but they can be a little snappy if a stranger rough houses with them so be sure to tell children to pet and play "soft" at first.

Also, remind kids that these dogs do have small bones so be gentle. Although there may be an exception somewhere,

Bold

Yorkie's tend to be bold so they will want to be right in the thick of any gathering you have and will likely seek attention from all your guests, unless you tell them not to, and maybe even if you do! They also tend to be compatible with most dogs but most can be aggressive towards cats unless they are otherwise trained.

Why Are Yorkie's So Popular?

Yorkshire Terrier With Lots of Personality Traits

According to the American Kennel Club (AKA), Yorkie's are consistently in the top ten most popular breeds of dogs in the United States, having risen as high as second place. Furthermore, they remain extremely popular across the United Kingdom where they originated.

  • Yorkie's bond very deeply with their human(s) and they easily express their emotion with their facial expressions and gentle gestures.
  • They are keenly intelligent and intuitive to the point that many people who have Yorkie's believe they can almost read their mind.
  • Yorkie's can adapt to almost any living situation.
  • They are very small and relatively easy to care for and carry around or transport.
  • If you rent, landlords usually prefer tiny dogs to large dogs like Yorkie's.

Loyal & Fierce 

Although they are small in size, Yorkies make excellent watchdogs as they are quite vigilant and will immediately alert you to any "invasion" in your territory, be it a potential burglar or a ferocious feline passing through!

Yorkshire Terrier Starring In Cat Like Fashion

They are also quite courageous if there is serious trouble they will defend their humans as ferociously as a big pit-bull!

Under these emergency circumstances, a Yorkie will consider herself just as fierce as her larger more powerful ancestors. This makes Yorkshire Terriers an excellent choice for people who live alone and for families with children who need extra protection and friendship.

Yorkies are also popular with people who live in small spaces like apartments. While you should provide some moderate exercise for your Yorkie each day, like a walk around the neighborhood or a romp in the park, Yorkie's do not require as much exercise as many other popular dog breeds.

They are also perfectly happy to lounge around on the couch with you or sit comfortably on your lap or desk as you work at the computer. They also have a tendency to just sit and stare at you in a cat-like fashion.

Yorkshire Terriers integrate well into the busy lives of working people because they do not mind being left alone while their humans are at work. This is not to say they won't be waiting at the door when you get home and more than ready for attention. However, they are generally not the type of dog that gets depressed when left alone, as long as they get good quality time with their favorite human(s).

Hypoallergenic 

Yorkie's are considered a hypoallergenic breed, i.e. they don't trigger allergies in people with allergies to dogs due to the shedding of dander (skin cells) and hair. However, it should be noted that Yorkie's do shed a little and they do shed a small amount of dander, just not as much as most other breeds of dogs.

Note: If you are not super sensitive to dogs, you will likely do fine. However, if you are super sensitive to dogs, Yorkie's may still trigger an allergic reaction, just to a lessor degree than other dogs.

Full-bred Yorkie's do tend to shed less dander and hair, so if this is a serious issue for you, you may want to invest in a AKA registered Yorkie and even investigate the lineage a bit to see if you can find out if the puppy you intend to buy has parents who shed very little.

Physical Traits Of The Yorkshire Terrier

Purebred Yorkshire Terrier

Size

Yorkshire Terriers are very small, in the toy terrier size range, with an average weight of four to seven pounds. However, some Yorkshire Terriers can grow to more than ten pounds, although these are usually mixed breeds.

Coat

The hair on a Yorkie is long, straight, and silky to the touch. Coat colors are black, tan, and blueish gray. Some have more blue than others and this is a very desirable trait in show dogs as it represents the "perfect" profile for a full-bred Yorkshire Terrier.

One of the most adorable traits of a Yorkshire Terrier is the extra long hair around her face.

Because this hair tends to fall over her eyes, some people, especially kids, fancy pinning it back with bows and ribbons. Luckily, Yorkies are quite tolerant of such adornment and even seem to like the extra attention they get.

Are Yorkie's Hard To Train?

Training My Yorkie

Yorkshire Terriers are a mixed bag when it comes to training. On one hand, their superior intelligence makes it easy for them to learn new things. They are also good at somehow understanding "English" or whatever human language you happen to speak.

However, Yorkie's are also notoriously independent and can have quite the stubborn streak. If you don't want them to do something that they want to do, you may have a battle on your hands.

Therefore, you may need to be very patient, and above all, very CONSISTENT with your message. You may also need to "pick your battles" with your Yorkie, i.e. give in and let her sit on the forbidden couch but never on the kitchen counters!

The good news is that the empathetic nature of Yorkies helps them more easily grasp when you are trying to teach them about danger and they will usually respond well if they sense that emotion in you!

House Training

According to dog behaviorists, Yorkies can be especially difficult to house train. Part of the issue is they do not like to go out in rainy, cold, and or windy weather! So, part of the solution may be to get them a nice fur lined raincoat.

Barking

Excessive barking can also be problematic with some Yorkies so you'll need to be firm and very consistent with your expectations on barking. You may also need to learn to live with some barking because this is their nature. It's their way of defending you, them, and their territory.

Do Yorkie's Have Health Issues?

Yorkshire Terrier At The Vet

The average lifespan of a Yorkshire Terrier is 12.6 years, according to Dr. Kelly M. Cassidy, a biologist at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. This is about average for a tiny breed and you can extend the lifespan of your Yorkie by feeding him or her a high quality diet, making sure he or she gets daily exercise, providing him or her a warm dry environment, and of course plenty of LOVE! As in other breeds, female Yorkie's tend to live a little longer on average than male Yorkie's.

Unfortunately, Yorkshire Terriers are prone to certain diseases.

These include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Weakened (collapsed) trachea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Knee issues
  • Dental problems

Hypoglycemia can be prevented by feeding smaller more frequent meals, i.e. spreading out the same amount of daily food into more feedings. If you have to leave your Yorkie at home while you work, you can buy an automated food dispenser.

Daily exercise helps prevent and minimize knee issues and helps make the respiratory system stronger.

Get a good dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste (people toothpaste can be very harmful to your dog!!) and get your Yorkie used to frequent cleanings.

PRO TIP: It is also important to take healthy snacks along if you take your Yorkie on long walks or runs as their blood sugar can drop quickly. Always look at the gums. If your Yorkie's gums look extra pale or white, he or she needs food right away because his or her blood sugar has dropped significantly.

Do Yorkshire Terriers Require Special Care?

Yorkshire Terrier Care & Maintenance

Shedding

One of the first questions many people ask is, "Do Yorkies shed?" You may be happy to learn that Yorkies are officially classified as non-shedding hypoallergenic dogs. However, they do shed a little hair and dander (skin cells) so they are not entirely hypoallergenic as mentioned above.

Grooming 

Yorkshire Terriers do require quite a bit of grooming to prevent their fine silky hair from knotting and tangling. You will need to brush and or comb at least their "trouble spots" almost daily and give them a bath and a thorough brushing about once a week. Some people prefer to take their Yorkie's to the pet groomer, but if you do the grooming yourself, it is a great bonding experience.

How Much Do Yorkshire Terrier Puppies Cost?

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy

Relatively speaking, Yorkshire Terriers are an expensive breed of dog, if you want to get a full-bred Yorkie. This assumes you want papers that prove the lineage and you want the puppy registered with the AKC.

This requires buying your Yorkie puppy from a reputable AKC licensed breeder and you can expect a cost of more than $1000, usually between $1200 to $1500.

You may have to pay more for so called teacup Yorkie's which are much smaller than average, but be careful as these Yorkie's are more prone to health issues and behavioral problems. Furthermore, tiny size can indicate a high degree of inbreeding which can lead to problems with the immune system and an abbreviated lifespan.

If you are looking for a show dog with an elite bloodline and impeccable Yorkshire Terrier traits, be prepared to pay many thousands of dollars, as high as $10,000 or more!

On the other hand, if you do not care about your dog being registered, you can always adopt a "Yorkie" from a shelter or pay a few hundred to a backyard breeder who doesn't provide registration papers. There are rescue centers specifically devoted to Yorkie's so you may want to check the internet to locate the nearest one.

It may be worth a road trip to adopt an adorable Yorkie!

VIDEO: Come on mom let's play!

Most rescue centers will be happy to provide you with photos and some background information before you make the trip.

In many ways, the higher price for AKA registered Yorkshire Terrier puppies makes perfect sense. Because Yorkshire Terriers are toy-sized to small-size, the mother Yorkies can only whelp one to four puppies at a time. They are also a very popular breed so demand is very high, and thus, it can often be a seller's market!

Final Thoughts

Yorkies are amazing dogs who bond very close to their human companions. They are highly adaptable and compatible to most living situations. However, there are some significant health issues you need to be aware of and be ready to deal with if you buy or adopt a Yorkshire Terrier. You also need to be prepared for a dog who can be feisty and active at times, a little stubborn to train in some ways, and may bark a little more than you want him or her to.

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