Yorkshire Terriers, Yorkies - In Depth


Known as the Yorkie to all who love them, this lovable member of the toy group is very
intelligent, loving, and loyal. The Yorkie has no real desire to be the alpha dog in the pack, so
he is an ideal dog to add to a family which already has other pets. His small size makes him
ideal for apartment living. They are described as confident, vigorous, and self-important in the
breed standard, and most Yorkies fully live up to this description. Although they may be a bit
skittish around younger children, they bond quickly and deeply with older children and adults.

Appearance of the Yorkie

The Yorkshire Terrier is a very small dog of no more than seven pounds, usually standing 8 to
9 inches tall. The breed standard doesn’t distinguish between different sizes of Yorkies,
meaning there is no separate standard for so-called Teacup Yorkies.

They have long hair in a single layer that continuously grows and rarely falls out. Shedding is
minimal and is normally seen only when the dog is brushed. In addition, Yorkies carry less
dander on their coats than some other dogs, making them one of the dogs recommended for
dog-lovers who have allergies.

At birth, Yorkies have a puffy black and tan coat, which matures into glossy, fine, silky hair.
From the back of the neck to the base of the tail, the adult coat is a dark steel blue, while hair
on the tail is a darker blue. Tan hair covers the head, chest and legs, and is darker at the roots
than at the tips.

In a show-quality dog, great emphasis is placed on the coat’s texture and coloration. Straight,
silky hair is a must, and the colors should show a definite demarcation between the tan and
blue portions. The coat is kept long, parted down the middle of the back for show, but may be
cut to floor length or in a general puppy cut in pet Yorkies, depending on how much time you
have available for grooming.

Grooming a Yorkie

If you plan on showing your dog, you must also plan on spending hours each day brushing his
long hair to prevent tangles. Between shows, the coat is often oiled and wrapped in rice paper
or tissue paper to keep it healthy. The wraps must be re-done quite often to prevent them from
breaking the hair, and the oil must be washed out and replaced weekly.

The good news is that if you are not showing your Yorkie, maintenance is much easier. Some
Yorkies go to the groomer every six weeks or so for a clipping, keeping the hair short all over
in a style known as a puppy cut. Others carry floor-length hair that is maintained with regular
trimming either at home or by a groomer. The hair on the feet and around the tips of the ears is
also trimmed to make daily grooming easier. To keep the coat in good shape, the Yorkie should
be brushed daily and bathed at least once a month.

Training a Yorkshire Terrier

As with most dogs, Yorkies benefit greatly from early socialization. This early conditioning will
help assure that your Yorkie maintains his natural outgoing, bold, and friendly attitude. Without
early training, some Yorkies become aloof, timid, or nervous. The best way to encourage your
Yorkie to like people is to make sure he is around a variety of people at every opportunity.

To the extent possible, take him with you everywhere you go for the first several months after
he joins your family. Obviously, you can’t leave him in the car alone, but you can take your
spouse, a friend, or one of your children with you when you run errands and leave the puppy
with that person outside the store while you run in to complete your shopping.

If you are going to your kids’ ballgames, bring the dog along. Find some shade and make sure
you provide plenty of water, but let the kids come and play (gently!) with the puppy to get him
used to being around children. Walk him daily, both to get him used to the leash and to let him
become accustomed to the people in your neighborhood.

Housebreaking and obedience training for the Yorkie is also similar to that for other dogs.
Consistency is the name of the game. Remember that you are the alpha dog in your family, and
simply insist that your puppy learn and obey your rules every time. Most puppies benefit from
an obedience class, even if you have already attended with previous dogs and know how to
train the dog. Taking your puppy to class provides another socialization opportunity for him.

History of the Yorkie

Yorkshire Terriers originated in Yorkshire, a county of northern England, at the peak of the
industrial revolution in the mid-19th century. Miners and mill workers from Scotland came to
England in search of work, bringing with them several small long-coated terriers to hunt
vermin. Although the exact ancestry of the breed isn’t known, it is thought that the Yorkie’s
small stature, long hair and blue color are from the Clydesdale, Paisley, and Skye terriers of
Scotland, while his color patterning is likely from the English Black and Tan Terrier.

Very rarely in the annals of dog breed ancestry is there agreement on the beginnings of a
breed. However, for the Yorkie, it is universally accepted that the modern breed sprang from
the loins of Huddersfield Ben, a dog born in 1865 in the town of Huddersfield, county of
Yorkshire. Although he died at the age of 6, he won 70 prizes at dog shows and was an
exceptional ratter. He single-handedly brought the breed to popularity in England.

The Yorkie was brought to the United States in 1872 and was one of the first breeds approved
for registration by the American Kennel Club. The dog was popular with those in America who
followed the customs of Victorian England, but his popularity fell in the 1940’s. During World
War II, a famous war dog named Smoky saved the breed from obscurity.

Designer Dogs

Yorkies are often bred with other small dogs, in hopes of creating a cross-breed that will be
hypoallergenic. Sometimes this works, but often it doesn’t. Breeding a Yorkshire Terrier with a
Poodle, creating what is known as a Yorkie-Poo, is a fairly reliable way to get a dog that doesn’
t shed, as neither of the parent breeds is a heavy shedder. Varying levels of success have
been found by mating the Yorkie to the Maltese (creating a Morkie) or by mating the Yorkie to
the Miniature Pinscher (making a Yorkie Pin).

It should be noted, however, that the shed fur is not what most commonly causes allergic
reactions to dogs. Rather it is a reaction to the dog’s saliva and dander. Dander, composed
primarily of dead skin cells, falls off of the dog regardless of whether or not the dog is losing
hair.

Famous Yorkies

Due to their small size and sleek good looks, the Yorkie has been featured in many films from
Funny Face to A Fish Called Wanda to the High School Musical series. The breed has also
appeared on TV in such series as Green Acres, Lou Grant, and The George Carlin Show.

Yorkshire Terriers have enriched the lives of countless celebrities, including Tricia Nixon,
Britney Spears, Audrey Hepburn, Joan Rivers, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis, Brett Favre, and
Raven-Symone.

If you are looking for a small, beautiful dog with minimal shedding, the Yorkie may just be the
breed for you. However, make sure you are committed to the time the breed requires for
grooming before you make a commitment to this dog. He may live as long as 15 years, so you
need to be sure you are willing to provide excellent care for him over the long haul.
Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent, spirited and
alert. Patient training and early socialization will
reduce the Yorkshire Terrier's tendencies
towards timidity and nipping. One of the world's
smallest dogs, this affectionate breed is always
willing to please.
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