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The Yorkshire Terrier, affectionately called Yorkie, is one of the tiniest dog breeds. Born and bred in Yorkshire, England, these adorable Terriers have been around since the 19th century, used to control rodents in textile mills.
The Yorkshire Terrier's reputation changed in 1886 when they received recognition from the Kennel Club of England. Since then, Yorkies have become fashionable and desirable companion animals, with breeders reducing their size, even more, making them into tiny lap dogs.
Their long, silky hair and affectionate nature are the breed's hallmarks, resulting in them often claiming a spot in the top 10 most popular dog breed lists.
Learn more about Yorkshire Terrier Breed
Meet the Yorkshire Terrier
This tiny terrier has a very delicate structure and will usually weigh no more than 7 pounds and as low as 4 pounds! However, the size of the puppies in one Yorkie litter will often be inconsistent, with some puppies staying small and others getting larger.
They will typically stand 8 to 9 inches tall and possess long, silky coats of hair that reach the floor. Yorkies may have long hair, but it is a single coat, meaning they do not shed much. Although they are not fully Hypoallergenic, this breed is more suitable for people with mild allergies than other dogs.
Most Yorkie puppies are born black; then, as they grow, they will lighten and develop their patterning, which can be black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, or blue and tan. However, it can take three to four years for Yorkies to get their final coats, and many do not start to lighten until after one year. As you can imagine, their long coats are high maintenance, requiring brushing every day and regular trimming.
If healthy, these small canines will live for 11 to 15 years. However, be sure to avoid breeders that offer "teacup" Yorkshire Terriers. These pups are smaller than the breed standard, so they are a much higher health risk and more prone to genetic disorders.
Along with their dainty bodies, Yorkies can have delicate digestive systems. As a result, many are picky eaters, only eating certain brands of types of dog food. Unfortunately, their small size also gives them a poor tolerance for anaesthesia and a higher risk of injury due to falls.
The temperament of a Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies are feisty but affectionate dogs. They are lively, playful, curious, and very protective of their owners. They may be tiny, but they do not see their size as an obstacle and fight anyone necessary to protect their home and humans. However, this does mean that they can pick fights with larger dogs, which of course, could hurt them. Therefore, training is essential for this breed to keep its feistiness under control.
Another reason it's essential to train a Yorkie is their tendency to yap. They are not quiet dogs by any means, but they may bark a lot when meeting strangers or when guests come to the house,
As Yorkies lack an undercoat, they do not like the cold and can quickly get chilly in the winter. Therefore, you should never leave this pup outdoors. However, they do not require much outdoor activity anyway, so it's best to keep them indoors 90% of the time.
Although these small canines can be stubborn, they are not difficult to train. They are pretty bright and respond very well to positive reinforcement. It's always best to start teaching your Yorkie puppy as soon you get them to eliminate any bad habits before they develop.
Yorkies are a breed that needs to stay with their owners often. They easily suffer from separation anxiety and need lots of attention and companionship. Getting two Yorkies together can help somewhat and take some pressure off you.
10 reasons to add a Yorkshire Terrier to your family
- They are glamorous - Their dainty structure and long, luscious locks make them one of the most alluring and elegant canines.
- You don't need a garden - These tiny Terriers can adapt to any home and have little desire to spend time outdoors.
- They don't need long walks - Not only do they not require hour-long strolls, but you can also easily switch their daily work to a play session in the living room.
- They are easy to transport around - These hand-bag sized dogs weigh as light as a feather and take up hardly any space. So, taking them to the vets or on adventures is never a problem.
- They are incredibly confident - It's awe-spiring to see just how bold these tiny canines can be. They have no fear of people or other dogs, no matter the size difference.
- They make excellent watchdogs - While they might not be able to harm intruders, their insistent, loud yapping may be enough to scare them away.
- They are loyal and protective - These affectionate pups crave physical contact and attention. Still, they will repay you with lifelong devotion and love.
- They are bright for a small dog - You may assume these tiny dogs aren't the smartest tool in the box, but that's not true at all. They have above-average intelligence and can learn commands very well.
- They don't shed - You won't find many long hairs around the house, and they produce less dander than other dogs, making them almost hypoallergenic.
- They make wonderful therapy dogs - Yorkies can determine when their owners are sad and will offer you extra affection whenever you need it.
Best homes for a Yorkshire Terrier
In some ways, Yorkies are very adaptable. They don't need to go outside much, so they do well in apartments and small homes. However, the most important thing to know before getting a Yorkie is their high social needs. If you work full time and there is no one else to stay home with them, your pup will suffer a lot. Thus, they do best with people who don't work or work from home.
Yorkies also thrive when they grow up in pairs or with another small dog. However, they don't typically take to other pets once they are adults. They are also not suitable for homes with young children as their delicate bodies are easily susceptible to injury. So, if a child accidentally mishandles them, your Yorkie could easily get hurt.