An Extremely Intelligent Dog, The Yorkshire Terrier
by Randy Taylor
The Yorkshire Terrier, (nicknamed Yorkie), is a breed of small dog in the toy category. The long-haired terrier is known for its playful demeanor and distinctive blue and tan coat. Yorkies can be very small, usually weighing not more than 7 pounds. The American Kennel Club does not specify the minimum weight accepted nor does it specify a height. Based on registrations of the American Kennel Club, Yorkshire Terriers became the second most popular dog breed in the United States in 2006, following the Labrador Retriever.
Yorkies originated in Yorkshire and Lancaster, England in the nineteenth century. The Yorkie was bred as a ratter, used to kill mice and rats in small places. They may have been used for hunting as well. Terriers specialize in hunting animals (usually vermin) that live in dens or burrows. Animals that are cornered and defending their young will fight ferociously. Any dog that would willingly pursue them must have a great degree of courage; terriers are bred for that quality.
The Yorkie being a toy breed does not necessarily mean fragile. Yorkies have an athletic build and are very playful. As a working dog a Yorkies intelligence makes them wonderful for agility and obedience. Yorkies are generally easy to house train. But sometimes because of their independence they can be hard to housebreak. For their own safety it is better to crate train them and to leave them in a crate when they are left alone, e.g. during the night or if their owners are out of the home. Always leave them some toys and fresh water, and be sure they have a cosy bed inside the crate. Remember that as they do enjoy human company they will not appreciate being left alone for long periods.
They have long hair with no undercoat which means less shedding. Their coat is alot like human hair which only falls out when broken or brushed. Yorkies have little dander, good for allergy sufferers. The coat is silky, glossy, fine, and should be straight. The traditional coat is extremely high maintenance and needs several hours of brushing daily. For pets the coat is usually kept in a shorter pet clip. Anyone obtaining a pet Yorkie must remember that there will be additional grooming expenses to take into consideration. A Yorkies ears stand erect and it's tail should be docked medium length. The hair should be plucked from inside the ears, and checked regularly for excessive wax and for mites. The hair should also be kept out of their eyes. Also the tarter from the teeth needs to be removed regularly, especially because the Yorkie is a Toy breed. Even though there is an extra expense for grooming, Yorkies eat very little, thus the owner saves money.
Yorkies are often very susceptible to hypoglycemia especially in puppies, but often carrying over into adulthood. Because of their small size they also are sometimes intolerant to anesthesia. The lifespan of a Yorkie is generally 12 to 15 years but can be shorter in the smaller ones (three pounds or less).
The temperament of a Yorkie varies greatly depending on how it's been socialized by its owner. Some are timid and shy, while others are bold and confident. But most are intelligent, inquisitive, and self assertive. Alot of Yorkies have a big dog attitude not realizing their small size, which can get them in serious trouble and danger. This fact not always making them suitable pets for younger children.
Before buying a Yorkie, find a reputable breeder. Learn all you can about the breed. And make sure your reputable breeder or yourself has the Yorkie vet checked to make sure it is healthy. Also, Do not buy any puppy unless it has had a bile acids test run before and after eating and you have seen the results of the test. Liver Shunt is running rampant in many breeds of dogs right now and especially in Yorkshire Terriers. Any responsible breeder will be more than happy to have their veterinarian run this very simple blood test on their puppies. Breeders please start testing your puppies before you sell them. Even with the extra expense of grooming and the extra care they need the Yorkie can make a wonderful pet and companion.
Randy and Penny Taylor - Expert Breeders and Owners
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