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    Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)- Facts, History and Health Problems

    Yorkshire Terrier dogs are one of the most loved by canine enthusiasts around the world. They possess all the common terrier personality traits, are full of energy, and are above all, loyal.

    While Yorkies might be officially classified in the toy group of breeds, their personality is certainly bigger than their stature, making them both excellent companions and guard dogs.

    Quick Facts About Yorkshire Terrier Dogs

    Yorkshire Terrier owners are always quick to point out just how versatile their dogs are, which is what makes the Yorkshire Terrier dog breed such a pleasure to have as part of the family. 

    Small, but with a big personality. Soft and snuggly with their people, but suspicious and defensive with strangers. A Yorkie Terrier is a bundle of contradictions but in all the best ways. Before exploring where to get your new dog, below is some initial information on Yorkies.

    Quick Facts:

    • Yorkshire Terrier coats are straight, long, and silky. They come in a variety of color combinations including black and tan, blue and gold, black and gold, blue and tan.
    • Healthy, full-grown Yorkie Terriers can expect a relatively long dog life expectancy of between 13-16 years.
    • Yorkies are very playful and energetic, with a high level of daily exercise needs.
    • Yorkshire Terriers are known to have a sensitive digestive system and may be picky eaters.

    History

    While the name suggests a story originating in the northern English county of Yorkshire, Yorkie history starts in Scotland. 

    Scottish miners and weavers, driven by the economic benefits of the industrial revolution of the mid-1800s, migrated to Yorkshire and brought their Clydesdale Terrier and Waterside Terrier dogs with them. Once settled in Yorkshire, they started mixing with other local terrier breeds, resulting in the conception of the Yorkie dog breed.

    Official breed recognition was awarded by the American Kennel Club in 1885. There are also records that by the end of the 19th century, a Yorkshire Terrier was entered into US dog shows in the terrier class.

    Common Health Issues

    While generally a relatively healthy dog breed, Yorkshire Terriers do carry some common health traits that owners should be familiar with. When taking out a dog health insurance policy to cover any veterinary costs, the following known issues will be considered:

    • Collapsed Trachea - This may need surgical intervention if your dog is showing signs of a chronic cough that is dry and hoarse. 
    • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS) - A flaw in the system that regulates the flow of blood between the liver to the rest of the body. Symptoms include loss of appetite, stunted growth, low blood sugar, and issues with the urinary tract. Diet therapy and surgery can help resolve such issues.
    • Patellar Luxation - A common issue with smaller dog breeds, this presents itself as loose kneecaps that can potentially dislocate. Yorkies with this issue will have an abnormal gait and trouble walking and running. Severe cases will need corrective surgery.
    • Reverse Sneezing - A common health issue in dogs, this is generally harmless and passes in a couple of minutes.

    Food & Nutrition

    Yorkshire Terriers should receive two meals a day, comprising ½-¾ of a cup of dry dog food.

    It is important to ensure you do not overfeed your dog and allow him/her to get fat. Obesity in dogs can cause a number of health issues, especially in smaller dogs. Their joints are not designed to carry excess weight.

    If you do wish to give your dog treats or small snacks, you should always make sure they are high quality and nutrient-rich while avoiding additives and seasonings that dogs are allergic to.

    Yorkie Dog Care

    Yorkshire Terriers are generally very active throughout the day, even while in the house. This means that they may not need long walks outside to keep them exercised. However, it is still important to walk your dog at least two or three times a day to keep them happy and healthy.

    This breed is considered relatively easy to train, enjoying the attention and activity of tricks and games. However, they tend to be a little more difficult to housetrain. Even if their little accidents are easy to clean up, owners must not let toilet discipline slide. Make sure to show these dogs where to go and reward them afterward.

    Yorkie hair can grow long, especially around their faces, which is why many owners choose to give their dogs a cute top knot. For such an active dog, it is important to keep your dog well groomed and not to let their hair grow too long. Regardless of their hair length, Yorkshire Terriers do not tolerate extreme heat or cold well, which is why they are only to be considered a house dwelling breed.

    Remember, these are not low energy dogs and should have access to toys and games that will keep them entertained. Owners should provide toys that dogs can enjoy by themselves as well as games that can be played together to ensure bonding and trust.

    Personality

    Yorkshire Terrier personality traits include:

    • Confident
    • Energetic
    • Affectionate
    • Adventurous 
    • Mischievous
    • Loyal
    • Protective
    • Playful
    • Medium barking tendency
    • Average intelligence
    • Trainable
    • Moderately child friendly
    • Tolerates other pets

    Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    • Loyal and loving
    • Small but full of personality
    • Easy to groom and feed

    Cons:

    • Demand a lot of attention
    • Snappy with visitors
    • Hard to housebreak