- Group – Toy
- Height – 8-9 inches at the shoulder
- Weight – 2-3 KG
- Life Span – 12-15 years
The Yorkshire Terrier is a tiny dog, but this should not be confused with delicacy. They have a strong sense of self and prefer to be treated with respect and no pampering.
The Yorkshire Terrier’s original function was to hunt and kill rats and other rodents in the mines and cotton mills in county Yorkshire in northern England. It is thought to trace back to a small, fairly long-coated, bluish-gray dog that typically weighed about 10 pounds, called the Waterside Terrier. The Waterside Terrier was common in the Yorkshire region and was popular with miners in the West Riding area. In the middle of the 19th century, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, Scottish weavers and other laborers migrated south to England in search of work. They brought with them their small Scottish terriers of non-descript heritage. In Yorkshire, these dogs were crossed with local terriers to create the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, which became well-known as a superb ratter in local textile factories and coal mines. Over time, other crosses undoubtedly occurred. Although experts cannot agree on the Yorkie’s precise ancestors, the following breeds have been suggested: the Maltese Terrier, the Skye Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the Waterside Terrier, the old rough-coated Black-and-Tan English Terrier, the Manchester Terrier, the Paisley Terrier, the now-extinct long-haired Leeds Terrier and the Clydesdale Terrier. The end result of whatever crosses took place eventually was called the Yorkshire Terrier. It was larger than today’s Yorkie and was tenacious enough to tackle even the largest and fiercest of rodents.
The Yorkie first appeared at a benched dog show in England in 1861, entered as a “Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier.” In 1865, a dog named Huddersfeld Ben was born and eventually became known as the foundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier breed, which The Kennel Club (Kennel Club (England) recognized in 1886. In 1870, after the Westmoreland show, the breed officially became known as the Yorkshire Terrier, based on the following comment in an article written by Angus Sutherland, a reporter for The Field: “They ought no longer to be called Scotch Terriers, but Yorkshire Terriers for having been so improved there.” For a time, the breed was shown as the Scotch Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier, without distinction.
Yorkies quickly became prized as fashionable companion dogs, particularly for high society ladies, as they were pretty, playful, personable and portable. Yorkies were selectively bred down in size, but their coat apparently did not shrink with their bodies. The result was the Yorkie we know today: a diminutive companion dog with a dramatic and abnormally long, metallic blue and rich golden coat. In the show ring, the Yorkie’s coat usually flows (drags) along the ground and must be tied up in a number of “pony tails” to keep it tidy while waiting to enter the ring.
Yorkshire Terriers were in the United States by at least 1872, when the first Yorkie litter reportedly was born in this country. The American Kennel Club recognized the Yorkshire Terrier as a member of its Toy Group in 1885. Yorkies have been shown in America since 1878. Early classes were divided by weight: under and over five pounds. Eventually, one class for dogs 3 to 7 pounds became part of the breed standard. Puppies are born black with tan markings, but mature to a dark, almost metallic steel-blue from the top of the head to the base of the tail, with rich golden tan on the face, topknot, chest and lower legs. Tails typically are docked to a medium length.
Today’s Yorkshire Terrier retains its terrier feistiness and can participate in virtually all of the activities enjoyed by larger terriers. Yorkies are bright, bold, brave and beautiful. While they are highly competitive in the conformation ring, their most common role is as a tiny, affectionate, frisky and enormously pampered pet.
Personality and Temperament
Yorkshire Terriers become very attached to their families. Known for their intelligence, they bark readily when they sense danger.
This breed is good with children, but they do not like strangers. They cannot suppress the urge to chase anything that moves quickly, so they are should be monitored around the family cat.
Hair, Care and Grooming
Hair is long and silky, which should be fine, glossy and perfectly straight. The fall on the head is long and may head is long, and hair on muzzle is very long. The Yorkshire Terrier requires intensive brushing and combing on a daily basis or else the coat should be trimmed professionally. Keep the hair out of the eyes with a bow and check the ears often for loose hairs.
Common health concerns revolve around the Yorkshire Terrier’s size as a result from falls and jumps. This breed may also suffer from Portosystemic shunt, collapsing tracheas, Legg Perth’s disease, patellar luxation and progressive retinal atrophy.
Training and Activity
A smart little cookie, the Yorkshire Terrier has a mind of its own… which will make training interesting. To properly train a Yorkshire Terrier, keep it fun – these dogs should have a good time so it feels like it’s not being trained at all (pretty sneaky!).
Be sure to teach your Yorkie a few tricks – it’s something the breed excels at. Used treats as a reward, as you’ll find the Yorkie will pick the tricks up quickly this way.
But be wary – since the Yorkshire Terrier has a mind of its own, it may try to outsmart you. Sometimes a firm hand will be needed in order to train successfully.
The Yorkshire Terrier can adjust to the activity level of your family, but does enjoy getting out and romping from time to time.
Since the Yorkshire Terrier is so small, it doesn’t need a large amount to food for its daily substance. Since the Yorkie is so cute, you may be tempted to feed it scraps or treats – but fight the urge! Over feeding can lead to a variety of health problems, including an overweight dog. Try a premium dry dog food, but stay away from soft food as it tends to rot its teeth. Feed your Yorkshire Terrier two or three times a day if possible – since this dog is so small, it won’t eat much at one time. This will also your Yorkie to regulate digestion.