The Yorkshire Terrier might be a very small dog, but do not make the mistake of confusing this with delicacy. It is a tough and sturdy breed, with a history of being fearless ratcatchers. A manicured and enribboned Yorkie may seem attractive and cute, but thereís a fighting spirit lurking beneath. Over-pampering a Yorkie is a misplaced favor, they prefer to be treated with respect and straightforwardness.
History The breed was developed in Victorian times in the Northern Industrial towns of England. The cotton mills had a terrible vermin problem, so ambitious ratcatchers spent much of their free time breeding a better ratting dog. The exact bloodlines used to establish the Yorkshire Terrier are open to considerable speculation, but most agree that genes from the Manchester Terrier, Skye terrier, and Clydesdale terrier are all in the mix. The official foundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier was born in 1865. The dog was spectacularly successful in rat killing competitions, and led a very public life, popularizing the breed enormously. In the early 1870s the Yorkshire Terrier came to the United States, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1878. At this time the dogs were nearly 30 lbs in weight. Selective breeding in the following years (by crossing only the smallest animals), progressively miniaturized the breed, until the 1930s by which time the Yorkshire Terrier weighed the 5 to 7 lbs common today.
Temperament The Yorkshire Terrier has vermin-hunting it its blood. Itís a spirited, energetic, inquisitive character, not easily intimidated by larger dogs or people. Constantly alert and attentive, the Yorkshire makes a great guard dog, quick to warn of a strangerís approach. As with many dogs, it hates being left alone in the house, and might destroy things out of boredom.
Care and Exercise A daily brushing is needed to keep the dogís coat in condition, otherwise the hair mats and quickly takes on an unkempt look. The long hair around the face is normally tied into a smart topknot with a small bow. When washing the Terrier, make sure to use warm water, and dry the dog quickly Ė being such a small dog, they can easily become cold when wet and stationary. The Yorkshire needs only a small amount of outdoor exercise, provided they are allowed free reign in your house.
Puppies Normally there are 3 puppies in the litter. Small mothers can have difficulty with the birth. Newborn puppies are mostly black, with slight areas of tan on the tip of the jaw, eyebrows, chest and feet. It takes about 2 years for a Yorkie to mature fully.
This breed can be prone to lung infections. Check teeth regularly, and never feed a Yorkie sweet things, as this can quickly lead to tooth decay.