The Yorkshire Terrier is a breed most notable for its small size. It is one of the most popular breeds here at Yorkshire Vets. In fact, Border Collies are the ninth most common breed we see across our surgeries. To find out more about the breed, and its suitability for your family, read on below.
The Yorkshire Terrier standard states that the breed should weigh a maximum of 3.2kg, though we commonly see larger examples. They are a compact, well-proportioned breed, with an upright stance. They have upright V-shaped ears, which frame an intelligent and inquisitive face. The Yorkie coat should be straight and silky and requires regular brushing. It is not uncommon for Yorkies not used for showing to receive regular clips to keep their coat short. This makes it easier to keep clean and tidy. As a low shedding breed, Yorkshire Terriers can be suitable for those with allergies. The KC breed standard only allows for dark steel blue and tan colouring, though we often see dogs with a wider variety of colours.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a forthright and intelligent breed. They generally love attention and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone. As such a small dog, they do not need vast amounts of exercise but do require plenty of interaction with their owner. They can be very overprotective, so early socialisation is important in order to minimise aggression towards dogs and other animals. A propensity towards barking can make them good watchdogs, though some can develop somewhat of a barking problem! Training is important with Yorkies but is often overlooked due to their small stature. With proper training, the breed is quick to learn and can become a very well rounded and sociable pet. Because of their bold nature, they are not recommended for families with younger children, though are happy with older kids.
Yorkshire Terriers, as with all breeds, are more prone to certain health problems than other breeds. We see luxating patellas (dislocating kneecaps) from time to time in Yorkies. Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, which causes degeneration of the femur can also occur in the breed. They can also suffer from a number of eye conditions, including retinal dysplasia, hereditary cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. It is not uncommon for the breed to suffer from portosystemic shunt, which is the malformation of the vein carrying blood to the liver. This means that toxins are not properly removed from the bloodstream, which can result in numerous health problems. It is advisable to feed Yorkie puppies small regular meals to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The breed can also suffer from dental problems, such as retained baby teeth and periodontal disease.
Scottish weavers, who had moved to Yorkshire and Lancashire for work, first developed the Yorkshire Terrier in the mid-19th Century. These weavers brought a variety of small terrier breed with them, including Paisley Terriers, Skye Terriers and, Manchester Terriers. Cross breeding these terriers resulted in a ratting Terrier, intended to work in the mills. The breed standard became established in the 1860’s, with a dog named ‘Huddersfield Ben’, who many consider the father of the breed. In fact, many Yorkies today can have their ancestry traced back to Huddersfield Ben. The Kennel Club first recognised the breed in 1874.
Yorkshire Terriers have appeared multiple times in popular media. Audrey Hepburn appeared alongside a Yorkie called Mr Famous in the movie ‘Funny Face’. In ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, the character of Mrs Coady owned three Yorkshire Terriers. A dog called Boi appeared in High School Musical 2 and was played by a Yorkshire Terrier belonging to the film’s director. Whitney Houston’s Yorkie Doogie also featured regularly alongside his owner on the reality show ‘Being Bobby Brown’.
The Yorkie in the above image is Princess Poppy, a patient at our Morley surgery.