Getting to Know Your Yorkie

Do you know your Yorkshire terrier, I mean REALLY know your Yorkie? You may love you dog, and want the best for him/her, but you can't be the best owner unless you know and understand the personality of your pet. Please read the following article, used with permission, for more information about Yorkshire Terriers.

Author: Dan Stevens

Getting to know your dog starts by getting to know its breed, and that includes getting a better idea about its appearance, personality, and health requirements. Here's what you need to know about the Yorkshire Terrier: Often called a "Yorkie," the Yorkshire Terrier is a smart dog with a beautiful coat. As with other terrier breeds the Yorkie has a lot of energy but it is also a very devoted attitude toward its family. While some controversy exists as to theorigin of this breed, most people believe it is the result of breeding both English and Scottish terriers. Interestingly, the first name given to this breed was the "Broken Haired Scotch Terrier." This particular dog was around 13 pounds and had wiry hair. The entire purpose of the development of the Yorkie was to help keep rats and other small critters out of small places within the home.

It was not until the late 19th century when the official name "Yorkshire Terrier" was given, a name representing Yorkshire England. Another fascinating aspect of this breed is that it is believed the father Yorkie that started this breed was actually an accident. However, from this accident, it was discovered the dog had good energy, was highly intelligent, very devoted, and beautiful. Today, the Yorkshire Terrier ranks as the third most popular dog according to the American Kennel Club.

Physical Appearance:

This small breed of dog usually weighs between five and seven pounds, although it looks bigger due to the long, flowing hair. What you typically notice first about the Yorkie is its tall and proud stance. Without doubt, the Yorkie is a self-confident breed, one with curiosity, cleverness, and spirit.

The coloring for the Yorkie is a steel blue and tan although you might also see some with black or silver/gray in the coats. The face and legs are tan, and while most have a straight coat, there are some dogs with a slight wave. Keep in mind that if you plan to show your Yorkshire Terrier, wavy hair is not acceptable. The hair of the Yorkie has to be brushed daily and clipped. In fact, for show dogs, the care of this dog's hair is quite complicated. For instance, pet owners will apply oil to the hair, followed by wrapping it in rice paper to keep the ends of the hair strong and shiny. In addition, the American Kennel Club would look for the nose, lips, rims around the eyes, and paw pads to have dark pigmentation.

Temperament and Personality:

While a wonderful breed, the Yorkshire Terrier is not for everyone. This breed does have a high level of energy and if not properly trained, can be somewhat strong-headed. However, this independence and intelligence is also an attraction. Since this dog gets along well with children and other pets within the home, it makes a great family addition. The one downside is that the Yorkie can become injured if not handled properly. Therefore, it is generally not a breed recommended for households with real small children.

It is important to provide the Yorkie with outside time to help burn off some of the energy. We also strongly recommend training for this breed. Again, carrying the terrier traits means being strong-willed and determined. Therefore, you want to start while the puppy is young, teaching him or her that its place within the home.


For the most part, the Yorkie is a strong, healthy breed of dog. Unfortunately, as the dog ages, the development of cataracts is common. Other possible health problems include arthritis and a collapsed trachea. To keep the trachea from collapsing, you want to use a harnessrather than a collar around the neck. This way, when or if the Yorkie were to pull, direct force would not be placed on the neck.

Other potential health problems, although not as common, include various genetic disorders. For instance, the liver shunt, known as Portosystemic Shunt, occurs when a part of the dog's blood bypasses the liver. The result of this is the blood not being cleaned of dangerous toxins. Spotting this problem can be a challenge in that symptoms might involve changes in behavior, poor muscle development, seizures, and so on. If you have any concerns whatsoever, you should have your Yorkshire Terrier checked by a reputable Veterinarian.

Updated 10/13/15

About the author:

Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of SitStayFetch, a leading dog training guide having sold over 21,000 copies. See

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