CLEVER, HYPOALLERGENIC, LAP DOG
History & Origin
The Yorkshire Terrier, which gets its name from the part of the United Kingdom in which it originated, is one of the smallest breeds of dog in the world, although their attitude is that of a dog much larger in size. They may be small, but they have a huge heart! They were first known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, and later as the Toy Terrier, and given their official name of Yorkshire Terrier in 1874.
The breed originated in the mines and mills of England during the time of the Industrial Revolution. As such, its ancestry is uncertain, as people did not keep breeding records. It is thought, however, that they are a mixture of myriad other breeds, including the Paisley, Skye, and Clydesdale terriers.
The Yorkie’s job, during this period of time, was that of ratter. Their owners would take them down the mines or into the mills with them so that they could rid the places of their rat infestations, which were rife at the time. Their use was not only limited to ratting, however, as hunters would also use them when hunting badgers, foxes, or other smaller wild animals.
For its size, the Yorkie can be a ferocious little dog, and was and is known for its courage and bravery in any given situation.
The breed, due to its popularity, started making its way to American shores, where, in 1878, the Yorkshire Terrier was formally registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).
From its humble origins in the mines and mills of Great Britain, the Yorkshire Terrier, as we know it today, has become a popular pet all across the world, especially in the UK, USA, and Australia.
- LAP DOG
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
A Yorkie can most accurately be described as a big dog in a little body! They have all the traits that are usually associated with a much larger dog. They are daring, bold, extremely intelligent and excellent watch dogs – nothing escapes a Yorkie!
Yorkies are notoriously brave little dogs, which could be their undoing as they would not hesitate to attack a dog that is larger than them in size if they feel you are in any danger. They have no understanding of their own, small size.
They are difficult to housebreak and tend to try and dominate. If you, as his owner, do not set boundaries, are not firm and consistent, and do not take your place as leader of the pack, you may end up with a dog that rules the home! This, of course, is not the desired outcome, so training with this regard needs to be implemented the day you bring your new puppy home.
Although they do well with children, it is not a dog that is recommended for homes with smaller children, as a Yorkie, because it is so small, can very easily get hurt. They are excellent with the elderly, however, and make wonderful companion dogs.
Do not be surprised if your new puppy forms an exceptionally strong bond with you. It is their nature. They adore people and being with them, plus, they make excellent foot warmers in winter.
Yorkshire Terriers are a breed where each dog is a character on its own, with them each developing their own, unique personalities. No two Yorkies are alike!
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Although your new puppy makes a wonderful companion, he does tend to be high maintenance, and to this end, regular and proper grooming are a must. They do well living in an apartment because of their size, but they still need regular exercise, and a daily walk is recommended.
As smaller dog breeds tend to burn more calories than larger dogs, they need food that is denser in calories. Therefore, when feeding your Yorkie commercial dog food, make sure that it is a food that is breed specific as far as possible, as well as one that meets all its nutritional requirements for its age. A puppy, for example, has different nutritional requirements than a Yorkie of more advanced years that leads a sedentary lifestyle!
When choosing a dry, commercial brand of dog food, it is also imperative that one looks at the size of the dry granules. These dogs have, for all their ferocious attitude at times, extremely small mouths, and the size of their food needs to correspond.
It is also advisable that their chosen commercial food has a crunchy texture. This is important as a Yorkie tends to develop tooth decay quite easily, and crunchier food will help get rid of plaque which not only leads to tooth decay but gum disease as well.
With regards to homemade dog food, a protein derived from fish, chicken, and turkey is recommended, as well as vegetables. Sweet potatoes and brown rice are especially great as they provide fiber and are an excellent source of carbohydrates. Raw onion and garlic should never be added to your Yorkie’s diet, as they are poison for this little dog.
As to quantity, it depends on the age of your dog. These are small dogs with tiny tummies that can only eat a little at a time. Because of this, your new puppy should have four small meals per day that are reduced to two daily by the time he is six months old. A Yorkie does not need quantity with regards to meals, but the quality is very important.
COAT AND GROOMING
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these dogs have small yet compact bodies with fine, silky hair which is blue and tan in color. Their weight should not be more than seven pounds – a very small dog indeed! As for size, there is no set standard, but an adult Yorkie, measured from its withers to the floor, can stand at anything between six inches and nine inches. An interesting fact is that the smallest dog on record happens to be non-other than yours truly!
They are a fine-boned and delicate breed, easily hurt by rough play. To this end, they are not recommended for families with smaller children, although they tend to get along with everyone.
Yorkies have three varieties of coats: silky, wiry, and soft. Because their hair grows all the time, much like a human, they tend to be hypoallergenic to most people who suffer from allergies. They have no undercoat and do not shed much, a plus factor in many people’s books. As a puppy, your dog will have a predominantly fluffy, black coat, which grows out and colors into the usual blue/tan Yorkie look as he gets older.
Their long coats need to be brushed often in order to avoid matting and to keep it in great condition. If you are not able to do so, it is advised that you take your Yorkie to a puppy parlor for frequent clipping – many Yorkie owners do so. An added bonus is that your spunky little dog will end up looking like a puppy for as long as you do so.
Bathing should be done on a weekly basis using a good quality shampoo followed by a good conditioner. You would not skip on conditioning your own hair, so why would you when bathing your Yorkie? Human shampoo and conditioner is not recommended, however. He needs to be thoroughly dried (preferably with a hairdryer) afterward, as allowing him to run around or drying himself off on the grass or a carpet will tangle his hair.
His ears need special attention during bath time as well. A damp cotton wool ball will make cleaning his ears a breeze. If any discharge is noticed, a trip to the veterinarian might be in order as this is usually a sign of an ear infection.
As the majority of Yorkies are indoor dogs, their nails might need some special attention as they are not filed down naturally. To this end, they need to be clipped. If you are unsure, a quick trip to the doggy parlor or your veterinarian is a great idea and does not cost that much.
Trimming your new puppy’s long hair is something best left to the experts, as they are more knowledgeable about the different Yorkie haircuts. One could, however, keep a cut in shape longer by the careful trimming of any wayward hair.
Your Yorkie puppy may never grow to be large, but he does need exercise. They are high energy little dogs that need an outlet to let out that pent-up energy, although they do tend to differ with regards to this. Some just like being lapdogs!
Your new puppy’s training should begin the moment he gets home, with housetraining probably being the main consideration. This is because this breed is notoriously difficult to house train! Because of this, it is recommended that you take your new puppy outside every fifteen minutes after a meal so that it learns where it should go when it needs to do its business. Crate training, for this breed, also works very well.
Socialization is another skill a Yorkie needs to develop at an early age, as they have an inherent tendency to be wary of ‘new’ dogs when they come into contact with them. Familiarizing them with a variety of people is also great, as they can get overly protective of their owners. It is nothing strange for someone to ask you to lock up your Yorkie because it wants to bite them!
Training a Yorkshire Terrier takes patience. They are extremely intelligent yet easily distracted and, at times, stubborn! In order to avoid your puppy getting confused, it is important that there is one designated master who undertakes the dog’s training. Also, make sure that everyone in the house follows the same rules with regards to your puppy. You do not want him getting mixed signals!
As a puppy, your new family addition could, quite conceivably, sleep for up to sixteen hours a day (with intermittent periods of activity, of course). This is nothing unusual, as your puppy is still a baby and needs his sleep. His sleeping periods will get shorter and fewer as he matures.
Probably the most common health problem associated with Yorkshire Terries has to do with skin problems because many tend to be allergic to certain foods or changes in the season. They are, however, generally speaking, a healthy breed. They can grow quite old, sixteen years being not uncommon.
As with any other breed, though, they do tend to be more susceptible to certain health problems, although these are mainly minor in comparison to other breeds.
Some develop Leg-Calve-Perthes Disease or LCP for short which affects smaller dog breeds. It most generally leads to arthritis, although, if detected early enough is treatable. They also occasionally get Patellar Luxation (floating kneecap) where the kneecap gets dislocated or moves out of position. This is a treatable condition. Other occasional ailments include tracheal collapse and progressive renal atrophy (PRA).
It is always advisable to make sure you purchase your new puppy from a reputable breeder and that you have a history of both your dog’s parents. This allows you to foresee most of the probable ailments that might afflict your new puppy. The breed, on the whole, though, tends to be quite tough in the health department.
For a small dog, your new puppy has a large dog temperament. It is extremely loving and protective of its family and will guard you with its life if the occasion had to arise. Not recommended for families with small children, they do, however, get along well with them as well as with other pets if properly introduced.
It is a favorite of those living in an apartment (although it does need exercise) and a wonderful companion to the elderly. It might need a lot of care in the grooming department, but for those who are willing to overlook this, a Yorkshire Terrier makes a stunning addition to any family, especially one where allergies abound.
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