Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed information
The Yorkshire Terrier, (diminutive /
nickname: Yorkie), is a
breed of small
dog in the
long-haired terrier is known for its playful
demeanor and distinctive blue and tan coat.
 Yorkies can
be very small, usually weighing between 5 and 7
pounds (2.5 to 3.5
The Yorkshire Terrier breed standard specifies
that the dog should have a compact build and hold
itself in an upright manner, conveying a confident
and self-assured demeanor (a reflection of its
 The Yorkie's
appearance should be one of spirit, intelligence and
dog shows, a Yorkie that appears sullen or
lifeless will be penalized.
the Yorkie's silky coat, its body is athletic and
sturdy, designed for an active life.
trotting about, the Yorkie has a free, jaunty gait,
with both head and tail held high.
Yorkies, toy stature does not mean frail or fragile.
Coat and Color
Yorkshire Terriers are a long-haired breed with
no undercoat, which means that they do not shed.
their hair is like human hair in that it grows
continuously and falls out rarely (only when brushed
 This makes
Yorkies one of the best breeds for allergy
Additionally, since Yorkies carry less dander on
their coat, they generally do not have the
unpleasant "wet dog" odor when wet. Yorkie puppies
are born with a silky-soft black and tan coat and
normally have black hairs mixed in with the tan
until they are matured.
 The breed
standard for adult Yorkies places prime importance
on coat color, quality and texture.
 The hair
must be glossy, fine and silky.
 From the
back of the neck to the base of the tail, the coat
should be a dark steel-blue (not silver-blue), never
mingled with fawn, bronze or black hairs.
 Hair on the
tail should be a darker blue.
 On the
head, chest and legs, hair should be a bright, rich
tan, darker at the roots than in the middle, shading
to still lighter tan at the tips.
 There should
be no dark hairs intermingled with any of the tan.
Yorkies do not conform to the standard for coat
color; the tan may range from a very light blonde to
a darker brown, while the body may be black or
Yorkie’s nose, lips, eye-rims, paw-pads and nails
should be darkly pigmented.
The breed standard requires that the Yorkshire
Terrier's hair be perfectly straight (not wavy).
 For show
purposes, the coat is grown-out long and parted down
the middle of the back, but may be trimmed to floor
length to give ease of movement and a neater
 Hair on the
feet and the tips of ears should also be trimmed.
traditional long coat is extremely high maintenance,
requiring hours of daily brushing.
maintain the long coats of show dogs (between
exhibitions), the hair may be wrapped in rice paper,
after a light oiling, which prevents the hairs from
being broken easily and keeps the coat in condition.
 As a more
practical alternative, many Yorkie-owners opt to
keep the dog's coat trimmed to a shorter all-over
Build and Proportions
The Yorkshire Terrier has a small head, which,
according to the breed standard, should be rather
flat and not too round.
 The teeth
should have either a “scissors bite” or a “level
Yorkie’s dark eyes are not too prominent, but should
be sparkling, with sharp intelligent expression, and
placed to look directly forward.
 The small,
V-shaped ears are set high on the head, not too far
apart, and should be carried erect.
 In some
kennel clubs, ears that do not stand up are cause
for automatic disqualification.
The breed standard dictates that a Yorkshire
Terrier must weigh no more than seven pounds.
compact body of a Yorkie is well proportioned.
 The back
should be level, with the same height at the base of
the neck and the base of the tail.
 The tail
is carried slightly higher than the level of the
 In a
standing position, the Yorkie’s front legs should be
straight. The back legs should be straight when
viewed from behind, but moderately bent when viewed
from the side.
Often, a Yorkie’s
dewclaws, if any, are removed.
 The AKC and
UKC breed standards explicitly permit dewclaws to be
removed, while the standards of other kennel clubs
do not mention it.
Traditionally, the Yorkie’s tail is
docked to a medium length.
America, generally all breeders dock the tails of
since the 1990’s there has been a growing movement
to ban the practice of cosmetic docking.
World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the
European Convention for the Protection of Pet
Animals oppose tail docking.
 As of 2007,
several nations have enacted prohibitions on
docking, including Australia, Belgium, Cyprus,
Finland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, South
Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.
 A docked
tail is part of the AKC, ANKC, CKC, NZKC and UKC
breed standards for Yorkshire Terriers.
 The FCI
and KC breed standards indicate the tail is
customarily docked, but the KC standard gives
specifications for an undocked tail (“as straight as
possible; length to give a well balanced
Yorkshire Terriers are generally social animals,
exhibiting the full range of canine behavior.
 They are
quick to determine where they fit in a household's
"pack." Their behavior towards outsiders will vary -
they often will be inclined to bark at strangers,
but some Yorkies are outgoing and friendly towards
new people while others are withdrawn and aloof. The
differences in behavior in this regard are largely
based on how the owner trains or conditions the
 A few
individual Yorkshire Terriers may be timid or
nervous, rather than bold, but the vast majority do
seem to meet the breed standard for a confident,
vigorous and self-important personality.
toy breed, still retains much of its
terrier ancestry in terms of personality. Though
personalities differ from dog to dog, they are
generally intelligent, independent and gutsy.
Yorkies, especially males, can be very territorial.
Some Yorkies are unaware of their small size and may
even challenge larger, tougher dogs.
of their pugnaciousness and tendency to pounce and
"hunt" they can nip and are not suitable for homes
with very young children. Their small size also puts
them at risk of being injured inadvertently by
children. Small children should be carefully watched
around Yorkies. Generally speaking, yorkies should
not be homed with families with small children. The
independent mindedness of Yorkies leads some
trainers to consider the Yorkie (especially males)
to be the hardest canine to house-break.
Yorkies typically get along well with other dogs
and love to play together with them. However, they
are terriers, and even an old, sedentary
lap dog may eagerly hunt
rodents. Because they are so small, they are
easily injured; They usually get along well with
children, but may be endangered if kept in the house
with an undiscerning or abusive person, especially a
child. Also, despite their small size, if attacked
or continually provoked, like all dogs, they pack a
surprisingly powerful bite.
Yorkshire Terriers tend to be more difficult to
train than some of their canine cousins; however,
this difficulty is considered to be a result of the
breed’s characteristic prey drive rather than any
major deficiency of intelligence as they were bred
to work without human intervention.
Health issues often seen in the Yorkshire Terrier
Additionally, injection reactions (inflammation or
hair loss at the site of an injection) are common.
often have a delicate
digestive system, with vomiting or diarrhea
resulting from consumption of foods outside of a
relatively small size of the Yorkshire Terrier means
that it usually has a poor tolerance for
anesthesia. Additionally, a toy dog such as the
Yorkie is more likely to be injured by falls, other
dogs and owner clumsiness.
life span of a healthy Yorkie is 12-15 years.
Under-sized Yorkies (3 pounds or less) generally
have a shorter life span, as they are especially
prone to health problems such as chronic
vomiting; are even more sensitive to anesthesia;
and are more easily injured.
Low blood sugar in puppies, or
transient juvenile hypoglycemia, is caused by
fasting (too much time between meals).
In rare cases hypoglycemia may continue to be a
problem in mature, usually very small, Yorkies. It
is often seen in Yorkie puppies at 5 to 16 weeks of
Very tiny Yorkie puppies are especially predisposed
to hypoglycemia because a lack of muscle mass makes
it difficult to store
glucose and regulate blood sugar.
Factors such as stress, fatigue, a cold environment,
poor nutrition, and a change in diet or feeding
schedule may bring on hypoglycemia.
blood sugar can also be the result of a
parasite, or portosystemic liver shunt.
causes the puppy to become drowsy, listless
(glassy-eyed), shaky and uncoordinated, since the
brain relies on sugar to function.
Additionally, a hypoglycemic Yorkie may have a lower
body temperature and, in extreme cases, may have
seizure or go into a
 A puppy
symptoms should be treated by a
Sugar can be placed in the dog’s mouth as an
Medical attention is imperative, as prolonged or
recurring attacks of hypoglycemia can permanently
damage the dog’s brain.
 In severe
cases it can be fatal.
As with many purebred dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier
is prone to certain
genetic disorders, including
hypoplasia of dens,
tracheal collapse and
following are among the most common
defects that affect Yorkies.
Legg-Perthes disease, which causes the top
femur (thigh bone) to
degenerate, occurs in Yorkies more than in
any other breed.
The condition appears to result from
circulation to the area around the
As the blood supply is reduced, the bone in the
head of the femur collapses and dies and the
cartilage coating around it becomes cracked
Usually the disease appears when the Yorkie is
young (between five and eight months of age);
signs are pain, limping or lameness.
The standard treatment is surgery to remove the
affected part of the bone.
Following surgery, muscles hold the femur in
place and fibrous tissue forms in the area of
removal to prevent bone rubbing on bone.
Although the affected leg will be slightly
shorter than prior to surgery, the Yorkie may
regain almost normal use.
Luxating patellas (slipping
kneecaps) are another common genetic defect
tendons in the
knee or malformed (too shallow) patellar
grooves, allow the patella to slip out of its
This causes the leg to 'lock up' with the foot
held off the ground.
dog with this problem may experience frequent
pain and lameness or may be bothered by it only
time, the patellar ridges can become worn down,
making the groove even more shallow and causing
the dog to become increasingly lame.
Surgery is the main treatment option available
for luxating patellas, although it is not
necessary for every dog with the condition.
Portosystemic shunt, a congenital
malformation of the
portal vein (which brings blood to the
liver for cleansing), is also common in
this condition some of the dog's blood bypasses
the liver and the “dirty” blood goes on to
lungs and other
organs with toxins. A Yorkie with this
condition might exhibit a wide variety of
symptoms, such as small stature, poor appetite,
weak muscle development, decreased ability to
learn, inferior coordination, occasional
vomiting and diarrhea,
behavioral abnormalities, seizures
(especially after a meal),
blindness, coma and death.
the shunt can be treated with surgery.
Tracheal collapse, caused by a progressive
weakening of the walls of the
trachea, occurs in many toy breeds,
especially very tiny Yorkies.
a result of genetics, the walls of the trachea
can be flaccid, a condition that becomes more
severe with age.
Cushing's disease, a disorder that causes
production of excess steroid hormone by the
adrenal glands, can also weaken cartilage and
 There is
a possibility that physical strain on the neck
might cause or contribute to trachea collapse.
Since this is usually caused by an energetic
Yorkie pulling against his collar, many
veterinarians recommend use of a harness for
occasional “goose honking”
cough, especially on exertion, is usually
the first sign of this condition.
Over time, the cough may become almost constant
in the Yorkie’s later life.
Breathing through the obstruction of a collapsed
(or partially collapsed) trachea for many years
can result in complications, including chronic
coughing can be countered with
cough suppressants and
the collapse is advanced and unresponsive to
medication, sometimes surgery can repair the
The Yorkie was bred as a ratter, used to kill
mice and rats in small places.
 As a
hunting group, terriers specialize in pursuing
vermin) that live in
dens or burrows.
that are cornered and defending their young will
fight ferociously. Therefore, any dog that would
willingly pursue them must have an extraordinary
degree of courage; terriers are bred for that
quality. The Yorkshire Terrier, with its feisty
temperament, is no exception.
As the name implies, the Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire County (and the adjoining
Manchester County), a rugged region in northern
 In the
century, at the peak of England’s
Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and
brought with them several different varieties of
small long-coated terriers, generally known as
specific breeds that make up the Yorkshire Terrier’s
ancestry are not known, since the breeders at that
time did not keep records of the bloodlines.
breeds, however, are commonly thought to be the main
forebears. The likely source of the Yorkie’s small
stature, long-haired coat and blue color are the
Waterside terriers, all Scottish terriers
transported to England at various times.
Black and Tan Terrier bloodline probably gave
the Yorkie its signature color pattern.
breeds were all working dogs, used to keep vermin
under control in the textile mills and coal mines.
have suggested that the
Maltese, an ancient breed (likely originating in
Asia), may be in the Yorkshire Terrier’s background
The breed first appeared at an 1861 bench show in
England as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier,
named for the dog’s Scottish terrier ancestors.
Yorkies were also known simply as Toy Terriers,
in both rough and broken haired varieties.
Yorkshire Terriers were given their breed name by
A dog known as
Huddersfield Ben is universally acknowledged to
be the foundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier
 He was
born in 1865 in the town of Huddersfield, county of
 The very
public life of this dog, owned by M.A. Foster, did
much to popularize the breed in England.
died in an accident at the age of six, but in his
short life he won more than 70 prizes at dog shows
and also demonstrated exceptional skill in
 Ben was
a highly sought after stud dog because he was one of
the first to consistently sire Yorkies true to type
and under 5 pounds.
The Yorkie in America
The Yorkshire Terrier was introduced in the
United States in 1872.
first Yorkie was registered with the American Kennel
Club in 1878, making it one of the first twenty-five
breeds to be approved for registration by the AKC.
 During the
Victorian era, the Yorkshire Terrier quickly
became a popular pet, and as Americans embraced
Victorian customs, so too did they embrace the
breed’s popularity dipped in the 1940’s, when the
percentage of small breed dogs registered fell to an
all-time low of 18% of total registrations.
Smoky, a Yorkie and famous war dog from
World War II, is credited with beginning a
renewal of interest in the then obscure Yorkshire
Based on registrations, Yorkshire Terriers became
the #2 most popular dog breed in the
United States in
2006 according to the
American Kennel Club, trailing only the
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