Yorkshire Terriers, better known by the nickname “Yorkies,” have come a long way since their beginnings in the 19th century. Named for the English town where they were first developed, they initially found themselves in clothing mills chasing rats and other disgusting creatures. However, it didn’t take long for these dogs to move on up to the other side of town, where they became favorites of many families of European high society.
One of the most popular dog breeds today, they offer their owners a canine companion that packs a big personality into a little body. Very popular with affluent individuals, many Yorkies can be found living in New York City. In fact, the city has one of the largest concentrations of Yorkshire Terriers in the world.
Physical CharacteristicsYorkies are known for their small stature and beautiful coats. Weighing in at usually no more than seven pounds fully grown, they possess some of the most beautiful and refined coats of any breed. Sporting long, luxurious blue and tan coats, their hair is grown out very long and very straight, often parted down the middle of their backs. There is some variation in the coat textures and colors of some adult Yorkshire Terriers, with many having coats that are considered wooly or extra fine. Some may also have coats colored brown, black, cream or tan.
An interesting physical characteristic of this breed involves their teeth. Often in Yorkies, the baby teeth may fail to fall out as the permanent teeth begin to emerge. This can often lead to the permanent teeth growing in abnormal positions, often requiring surgery to correct.
TemperamentYorkshire Terriers are considered to be very energetic dogs that are brave, intelligent, investigative and determined to know what's going on. It's often said they don't realize how small they really are, and think of themselves as big dogs in little bodies. They adapt very easily to many different types of surroundings, and serve as great companions to owners who love to travel and take their dog with them. While they are considered great family pets, many breeders feel they do best with families that have children who are at least eight years old or more.
Considered to be one of the easiest breeds to train, Yorkies love to have lots of physical and mental stimulation each day. Long walks with their owners as well as running around playing in a fenced-in yard can make for hours of fun for these dogs, but they also love to curl up in their owner's lap after a hard day of play and relax. Like many smaller dogs, they have a tendency to bark quite a bit. This can be very helpful when they are acting as a watch dog, but many owners prefer to curb their barking with obedience training.
Care & GroomingBecause of their long coats, Yorkshire Terriers do require a bit more care and grooming than other breeds. These dogs can be considered extremely high maintenance, with those who have floor-length coats needing daily grooming to maintain their appearance. Some owners trim the fur short to make it easier to care for, but most keep the hair long for a stunning appearance. These dogs must have their hair brushed and trimmed daily, with hair on their feet and ears needing constant attention. Many dogs have special coat oil applied to them weekly to maintain their shine and softness, then are bathed to wash out the excess oil.
Due to their high energy levels, Yorkies are prone to several health issues. The most prevalent are digestive system problems such as diarrhea or vomiting, with cataracts, bronchitis and skin allergies also very common. Certain genetic defects can also appear in some dogs, with the most common ones being bladder stones, tracheal collapse and retinal dysplasia. Regular examinations by a veterinarian are recommended to stay on top of any potential health problems for Yorkshire Terriers.