All You Need To Know About The Yorkshire Terrier
Not many toy dogs can match the Yorkshire Terrier.
With their unique combination of elegance and feistiness, the "Yorkie" has captivated dog lovers everywhere, making it one of the top 10 most popular breeds in the United States.
Even if you think you know all there is to know about Yorkies, you can't deny they're full of surprises, as shown by what you're about to read below.
A Basic Overview of the Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers are easily recognizable by their small size, erect ears and long, fluffy coats. These coats (which are famous for being hypoallergenic) come in color combos that can range from black-and-tan to silver-and-light brown.
Aside from their fur, Yorkies are known for having personalities bigger than their bodies. Yorkies aren't the type to back down, whether they're squaring off with a much larger dog, or chasing after what they think is a well-deserved treat. Needless to say, Yorkie owners need to take care to keep their furry pals out of trouble.
Because they're so small, Yorkies make great pets for people who live in small spaces like apartments. They can be difficult to housebreak, so prepare to put in time to train them, or find someone else to do the same.
For the most part, Yorkies are intelligent, independent dogs that make perfect pets for owners who don't mind spunky pooches. When it comes to class and sass, Yorkies don't disappoint.
What is the Personality of the Yorkshire Terrier?
As the old saying goes, "Never judge a book by its cover" — and that's definitely true of the Yorkshire Terrier.
Despite being only 15 pounds at most, Yorkies can be just as energetic and lively as their larger counterparts, if not more so. Like all terriers, Yorkies like to follow wherever their nose takes them, so you'll want to keep an eye on them lest they wander off.
Yorkies are highly affectionate, jumping into your lap or snuggling into your pillows when you least expect them. They don't miss a chance to get attention, and will appreciate you scratching behind their ears every now and then.
Also, Yorkies have voices as big as their personalities. They can become possessive of their owners, and will bark the ears off any stranger unlucky enough to wander near them. If you want your Yorkie to stay on good terms with the neighbors, better train him when to bark, and when not to bark.
It's important that Yorkies be socialized with other dogs as soon as possible. Otherwise, they won't hesitate to get into fights with dogs bigger than they are. Yes, they're that scrappy!
When they're not being scrappy however, Yorkies live up to their classy, dignified looks. They can be docile for as long as they need to — or, at least, until they find something shiny to chase after.
History and Background of the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier got its name from a northern county in England, where Scottish workers settled around the mid-19th century. These workers, who brought their dogs with them, weren't the sort to care about "breeds," so any dog that was in Yorkshire and was remotely terrier-shaped was known as a Yorkshire terrier.
As you can imagine, those 19th century Yorkies didn't look anything like the ones we know today. Today's Yorkies came from a whole bunch of different dogs, including the now-extinct Paisley terrier, the Scotch terrier, and possibly the Maltese. It wasn't until the late 1860s, when a woman showed up with a Paisley-type terrier named Huddersfield Ben, that today's Yorkies were born.
Inevitably, the breed showed up in North America in 1872. The Yorkie almost lost its popularity in the 1940s, only to gain it back post-World War II thanks to a courageously cute critter named Smoky. Today, the Yorkie is one of the United States' most popular dog breeds, and it's likely that it'll stay that way for years to come.
Are Yorkshire Terriers Playful and Fun?
The Yorkie may be a dignified dog, but that doesn't mean he's above causing mischief and mayhem.
He'll run around the house, sniff anything that can be sniffed, and sneak into spaces you'd rather they not (like on your bed, for example). Being a terrier, the Yorkie is naturally inquisitive, so you'll want to be careful about indulging his curiosity too much.
Then again, if you have kids who don't mind having a hyperactive fluffball jumping all over the place, the Yorkie is sure to provide hours of good, clean fun (not to mention belly-busting laughter). Just look at the video above, or search for YouTube clips of Yorkies having the time of their lives, and you'll see exactly what we mean.
How Much Exercise Does A Yorkshire Terrier Need?
By now, you might've guessed that the Yorkshire Terrier is no slouch when it comes to being energetic. At the minimum, your Yorkie should have moderate exercise once a day, and a cardio workout once a week.
For the moderate exercise, take your pooch out for a walk. Do it early in the morning, late in the afternoon or both, for 15 to 20 minutes per session. Make sure you're both walking at a brisk pace, but not to the point that your Yorkie will end up visibly panting. As energetic as Yorkies are, they're not exactly Olympic champions.
As for the "cardio workout," that's simply a fancy way of saying "fetch." Get a small, soft object (like an old baseball), throw it as far as you can, and have your Yorkie chase after it. Playing catch is always a great way for dogs to let off some steam — not to mention have fun with their beloved masters. Don't forget to check if your surroundings are safe enough for a dog to run around without getting lost!
What are the Grooming Needs of the Yorkshire Terrier?
Like all beauties, the Yorkie needs a lot of grooming not only to look good, but also feel good.
To keep his fur supple, you need to brush a Yorkie regularly. Use a high-quality grooming brush to gently straighten his fur until it lies flat on his body. Watch out for any tangled or matted hairs, and carefully untangle these with your fingers.
You'll also want to give your Yorkie a nice, warm bath. Depending on the length of your Yorkie's hair, you can bathe him once a week or more. Generally, the longer your Yorkie's hair, the more likely he's going to get dirty, and the more frequently you should bathe him.
When bathing your Yorkie, make sure you use a shampoo and conditioner appropriate for him. Otherwise, anything that doesn't match his natural pH levels will irritate his skin.
Also, don't forget to check his ears, eyes and paws for any signs of infection. If you see anything strange — redness, flaking, smelly discharge — take your pooch to the vet as soon as possible.
Other grooming essentials for the Yorkie include:
Trim his nails. If you hear them clacking on the floor, that's your cue to take out the clippers.
Make a "top knot" to keep your Yorkie's fur away from his eyes.
Trim your Yorkie's hair. If you're not sure how to do this, hire a pro to help you.
Are Yorkshire Terriers Easy to Train?
As cute as they are, Yorkshire Terriers are not for first-time dog owners. If the idea of training a dog to poop in the right place sounds bothersome, you might be better off with another breed.
Otherwise, the best way to train a Yorkie is to start early. Pay close attention to your puppy. The moment you see him squat a certain way, gently take him to the place where you want him to "do the deed." Your puppy may feel scared about this at first, but you can alleviate his feelings by reassuring him that you're with him, that he'll be fine, and that he's doing great.
The same goes for training him to do other things, like staying in a crate when you have to leave him for long periods of time. Be patient (don't lose your temper when your Yorkie doesn't act the way you want him to), use positive reinforcement (teach him what to do, rather than scold him for doing something wrong) and give him a treat for a job well done.
How Much Does a Yorkshire Terrier Cost?
If you've ever looked at a Yorkie and thought "That must be one pricey pooch," you'd be right on the money (no pun intended).
At the very least, you'll be forking out around $800 for a pup from a reputable breeder. And if you're only looking for the best of the best, expect to pay as much as $10,000 for a single Yorkie pup. On average, a breeder licensed by the AKC will charge anywhere between $1,200 and $1,500 for one Yorkie.
The reason Yorkies are so expensive is that (1) as mentioned earlier, they're one of the most popular and in-demand breeds in the U.S.; (2) they're small dogs that produce small litters; and (3) they cost a lot to breed and maintain. If you're set on a Yorkie as a friend for life, prepare to invest in him for life too.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a lively, lovely breed that should definitely not be judged by its cover. Whether you like big personalities in small packages, or you just need a tiny bundle of joy to keep you company, the Yorkie may be just the pooch for you.