Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Health and History of the Yorkie Breed

Occasionally we do posts about dog breeds.  This is one of those posts, and about the breed of dog that Aspen is most fond of for obvious reasons, the Yorkshire Terrier.  

Following is an article about the breed, and at the end of the article, other articles that Aspen and I have written about Yorkies.  Aspen isn't like the vicious little beast that the writer describes at the beginning of the article, but this is the history of the breed

Enjoy this article about the Yorkshire Terrier by David Beart:

"In another land and time the Yorkshire Terrier was not a small long haired show dog and pet. Rather, he was a larger rat killing dynamo. Tracing back to the 1600's the breed was valued in textile mills, mines and farms where pest control was important. In the 1860s era the breed was quite popular in rat killing contests with the dog credited with being the foundation of the breed showing as well as winning many contests. Huddersfield Ben helped establish the Yorkshire Terrier.

It was 1872 before the breed was brought to the United States, and was recognized by the AKC just six years later. As late as the 1930's the Yorkshire terrier was said to look as they do today but were closer to 30 pounds, not the 3-7 pounds of today. They were for some time in their history a 12-14 pound wire haired dog known as the broken haired Scotch terrier.

Today the Yorkshire terrier is in the toy, not the terrier, group. Their longer show coat is not a practical point on many farms. With their jobs reduced, they were bred down as pets, a role that they have taken on with overwhelming success.

With their small size few would see them as hero potential. Yet in World War II a Yorkie named Smoky became a war dog, outwardly entertaining soldiers with tricks they taught her. Her small size meant she could do something valuable the big dogs couldn't she helped run communication lines through a culvert under a runway. This meant the runway did not need to be shut down for several critical days. After her service she returned to her home in Ohio with her handler. One report was that she was awarded eight battle stars for her service, and her story is remembered many years later.

They have a spirited temperament and are normally an intelligent small dog with a little fire. It is worth noting that some can be quite territorial and must be closely watched. Their attacking a much larger dog can prove a fatal flaw if the large dog retaliates. Like other terriers, they can be bold and bossy.

Their independence can be viewed as hard to train by some. They take patience and a willingness to think ahead of the dog. They can be successfully trained for many activities including obedience, agility, earth dog, fly-ball, canine freestyle, entertainment and pet therapy. Agility courses involve running through a series of obstacles. One of the newer competitions is called rally, evolving from road rally competitions. This also has a series of obstacles, but unlike agility where there is a course to be followed, this involves moving from one sign to another, and you don t know where you re going in advance.

Basic obedience training is good for all dogs to learn. The above competition events are an outlet for a Yorkie s energy even if you just do it at home for fun. Keep the sessions fun and play filled.

From a health standpoint Yorkies tend to be rather long lived but they can develop cataracts as they age. An issue with tracheal collapse can result when an improperly trained Yorkie pulls excessively on the leash, although some believe this is partly genetic. Liver issues are not unheard of also, and require veterinary treatment to live a comfortable life. Failure to diagnose and treat this can result in, among other symptoms, seizures and behavioral problems.

Patellar luxation and retinal dysplasia are two other serious disorders that can affect Yorkies. The latter is an eye disorder which can be passed on by genetics. Buying from a reliable breeder is important.

A condition called hemorrhagic gastric enteritis is particularly dangerous to small dogs, with less body reserve than large dogs. Health issues should be discussed with the breeder when you purchase your puppy many offer health guarantees.

Hypoglycemia is another problem that can occur more often with toy breeds. Because of their small size, they have little reserve. Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, can result from temperature, stress or too long between meals. Feed regular meals of good quality food. Keep Karo syrup or honey on hand just in case there is a problem. If your puppy looks sluggish or wobbly rub his gums with the honey or Karo. If you catch it early placing a little on the tongue so he swallows it is good. Do not ignore this it can be fatal.

With their smaller size extra attention is needed to insure the dog does not become overweight and that they get sufficient exercise. While many people simply carry them, they need to walk, run and play like other dogs also.

For those interested in the show standard it can be found at American Kennel Club, and is worth noting by the standard there is specific markings allowed and a maximum weight of seven pounds.

This leaves an opening for pets of those that are slightly larger or don't have the perfect marking and color allowed. Being a small dog, 2-3 puppies per litter is normal.

There are people who advertise teacup or teeny Yorkies many breeders recommend against these extra small dogs due to health issues and other problems that breeding for the extra small size can bring. The breed is already small. There are some that have solid or partly color dogs, these do not meet the standard and may not be registered.

The long flowing coat of today takes maintenance and regular grooming. This is a breed that is said to not shed regular brushing takes care of dead and damaged hair. Show dogs are kept up quite intensely, like long haired dogs of all breeds. That coat that catches the eye also needs much attention. For the pet home, regular brushing to keep the coat from being tangled and matted is important. Be sure to get all the way down into the coat.

For those not wanting to keep up the long coat, get a pair of good electric clippers and clip the belly, under arm area, between the hind legs and up to the anal area. While this is basic, it keeps the hair shorter and easier to groom. There are several good grooming guides online and in print that can help guide you to a cut and routine that works best for you and your dog.

Like other long haired breeds use caution bathing so as to not tangle the coat, and rinse all traces out of the coat thoroughly. If desired, and depending on the situation, use a good quality conditioner rinse and rinse thoroughly. Use a hair dryer and comb to comb through and completely dry the coat. Extra caution should be used to not use the high heat that can burn puppies as well as bigger dogs.

A good metal comb with long teeth can be found for under $10 this gets all the way down into the coat. Comb through the coat to insure no tangles start that can become matts. This doesn't take a long time if done regularly, and brushes can miss some tangles that can easily be removed when starting, before it gets to a tangled mess.

Teeth should be cleaned regularly, which can be helped with appropriate chew toys. Ears should be trimmed so as to allow them to stand erect.

Joan Rivers and Eva Gabor (of Green Acres fame) are but two celebrities who have a Yorkie as their dog. Others reported to have Yorkies include Bruce Willis, Richard Nixon, Justin Timberlake, Audrey Hepburn and Brett Favre.

A lifespan of 12-16 years, sometimes longer, underscores the importance of taking on the puppy for life. Good food, proper care and safe management can result in a dog that is with you for quite some time. Putting time and effort into a good dog is never wasted!

About the author: David Beart is the owner of the at the time of the writing of the article above. The site covers family related issues from raising children to caring for a dog, relationships to cooking.

Other Dog Posts and Articles You Might Like:

What is a Morkie? Chow Chow Puppies and Dogs Dalmations Basset Hounds
Cute Yorkie Pictures and Yorkshire Terrier Art 
Cute Plush and Stuffed Yorkshire Terriers

Updated 2/28/17

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