One of the most popular of the small breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier, more affectionately known as the Yorkie, is a big dog in a tiny body. As any true terrier the Yorkie, even though rather sophisticated and elegant in appearance, is a great dog for active households where the family wants a dog that is more than just a lap warmer, but don’t misunderstand, when the day settles down he’ll find a lap to snooze on. Originally bred in England to catch rats and mice, they are a highly adaptable pet that are chock full of personality and charm.
The Yorkie typically weighs less than 7 pounds and measures between six to seven inches to the top of the shoulder. They have a long, flowing silky single coat that is blue over the body and down the tail. The face, ears, ruff, legs and the belly area are all tan in color. The hair on the body parts straight down the spine and, if not clipped, can actually get long enough to touch the floor.
Although the coat is long the breed actually sheds remarkably little. To avoid daily grooming many owners choose to clip their Yorkie and leave the little pooch with a sporty looking cut. This is an excellent idea if your dog enjoys a romp through the long grass or spends a lot of time outdoors.
Temperament and Behavior
Yorkies are extremely smart, but they can be a challenge to housebreak simply because they are so tiny as puppies. They are prone to slipping behind the furniture to do their business, often without the owner even realizing what is going on.
As with any breed a Yorkie needs to have time to socialize with other people, dogs and animals to prevent them from becoming timid or aggressive. They do have a moderately high prey drive and may not be a good companion dog in homes with rodent types of pets. “High Prey Drive” is a nice way of saying that they might eat the hamster, please be aware. Incidents like that happen commonly and are not fun.
Yorkies are very happy with a couple of longer, brisk walks per day as well as some play time with the family. They will self-exercise indoors and stay relatively active when the family is busy at work and school.
Training the Yorkie is often a breeze as these dogs seem to understand what their owners want. They are adept at obedience and truly willing to please for a small food reward and some well deserved attention. However, the Yorkie doesn’t like to repeat tricks over and over and they can become bored with the same old training routine. They do bark when strangers approach and make excellent watchdogs. I do make a distinction between a watchdog and a guard dog. A watchdog will sound a warning but is usually not big enough to effectively guard. In many situations a warning is sufficient to warn off robbers, who are by definition cowards.
A well bred Yorkie is generally a very healthy dog. As with any of the toy breeds they are more prone to dental health issues and working with your vet to learn how to brush the dog’s teeth is vital. Their small size also poses a risk for spinal injury or broke bones if handled roughly so children, especially smaller kids, need to learn how to correctly pick up these pint sized pets.
If you are looking for a fun, loyal and moderately active little dog that needs to be part of the family then the Yorkie is certainly a good match.