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Get to Know the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) - Intelligent Dogs with BIG Personalities!

Updated on February 10, 2010

Originating in Yorkshire, England, the Yorkshire Terrier was originally bred to control rat populations in cotton mills and mines. During the Victorian age, these little dogs became fashionable accessories and were quite popular among the working class. Today, they are lovable and loyal lap dogs that simply love to be part of the family! The Yorkshire Terrier is a very small yet well balanced canine. They are eight to nine inches in height, weigh approximately seven pounds and live 14 to 16 years (that is a long time!). Standard Yorkies are dark, steel blue in color with a golden head, chest, and legs.


Grooming Needs

Though small in size, the Yorkshire Terrier is a spunky dog that must be kept busy in order to thrive. In other words…mental stimulation is VERY important.  If you are looking for a dog that requires little grooming…then the Yorkie is NOT the dog for you! Their fine, silky coats require daily brushing and combing in order to prevent tangles and mats. It is also important that the hair above their eyes be trimmed or pulled back (to prevent eye problems). Yorkshire Terriers are highly adaptable and can live happily in the city or country (they make great apartment pets!). As for exercise, this small pup requires at least two walks per day in order to be happy and healthy. They also enjoy plenty of off-leash running in an enclosed area (such as a dog park).

Though very intelligent, the Yorkshire Terrier can be extremely stubborn when it comes to training. Yes, they can be trained, however, training sessions should be short, fun, firm and reward based. If bored, the Yorkie will quickly lose interest and possibly become a bit mischievous. The Yorkshire Terrier is full of energy, therefore, if trained properly, they can become mini agility stars!


Possible Health Issues

Generally speaking, the Yorkshire Terrier is a healthy breed. However, there are certain medical issues that this particular breed is prone to. Unfortunately, cataracts are common among Yorkie's, therefore, it is very important that you have your dog's eyes checked each time he goes in for a routine veterinary check-up. Other possible medical problems include heart murmurs, epilepsy, malformation of the spine and dislocation of the elbows and kneecaps. As previously mentioned, most Yorkshire Terriers live a very long time (14 to 16 years), therefore you should make sure that you are ready to make a LONG commitment BEFORE acquiring this breed.

What Type of Family is Best?

The Yorkshire Terrier is a wonderful companion animal as they are loyal and loving. They do well in homes that have OLDER children. Young children need to be taught how to handle and play with this breed properly as they are quite vulnerable due to their small size. Yorkshire Terrier's have been known to "nip" if teased and taunted. So again, I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching a young child how to handle and behave around this breed (or any small dog for that matter). As for other pets that may be in your household…well, you have nothing to worry about! Yorkies get along well with other animals as long as they have been trained and socialized early. Socializing this breed is very important and should begin during puppyhood. It would be wise to keep very small pets (such as gerbils and hamsters) away from this breed as their hunting instinct may kick in! Remember, Yorkies were originally bred to chase and kill rodents….so never trust a Yorkie when a hamster is present!

If you want a small dog with big personality, then the Yorkshire Terrier may be the breed for you. If you buy a Yorkie from a breeder…PLEASE do your homework and make sure that the breeder is REPUTABLE! The last thing you want to do is buy a dog from a person that runs a puppy mill! Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent, lively, alert, affectionate and playful dogs! Be warned that this breed does require REGULAR grooming  and can be "yappy" if not trained and socialized early. Though small in size, the Yorkie is loaded with personality and energy! If you are planning on adding a Yorkie to your family, please consider adoption! After all, adoption is the BEST option!

Please visit Bunny Roo Beagle, a fun dog website inspired by my rescue Beagle, Bunny Roo!

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