Yorkshire Terrier History
The Yorkshire Terrier breed originated in England in the early 19th century. Several different terrier types were bred together to ultimately become the Yorkshire Terrier. It’s purpose was to be the best small dog to cover ground in the pursuit of vermin and other small animals. The English Kennel Club recognized the Yorkshire Terrier in 1886. By this time the bred was well established and much the same as it is today. Yorkshire Terriers were seen in the United States as early as 1880 and the first one was registered in the US in 1887.
Although this is a toy dog, they possess the spirit, stamina and tenacity of a true Terrier. The exact origin of this little dog is not really known. It is believed to be a mixture of what was the Clydesdale or Paisley Terrier-now extinct-the Skye Terrier and perhaps Maltese. This mixture of coat textures and colors may account for the variation in coat types as well as size of the Yorkshire Terriers we have today. When introduced to the US it was thought that these dogs did not seem to be consistent in size-ranging from 2 ½ to 13 pounds and their type was not well fixed.
The Character of the Yorkshire Terrier
Toy dogs are defined as a group of dogs characterized by a very small size. A Terrier is defined as a group of dogs used for hunting vermin. Add a compact, well-proportioned body not to exceed 7 pounds, covered with a silky coat of bright, shining dark steel blue and rich, shaded tan, eyes sparkling with intelligence and self-importance and you have the Yorkshire Terrier of today. This little dog is first a terrier-bred to a toy size. It is difficult for us to imagine that our elegant Yorkies of today were once ratters. With the true temperament they possess, it is easy to see that these traits do still exist. Early English breeders told of the Yorkie’s great love of hunting. However, this is not part of the criteria for today’s Yorkie. A Yorkie should have a confident manner and give the appearance of vigor and self-confidence. He is proud and bold-not intimidated. He knows what he wants and how to obtain it. This bold attitude can be seen in his proud head carriage, erect ears, tail up, eyes sparkling-aware of his surroundings. A Yorkie is loyal-a devoted companion, as well as protective of his family and surroundings. You may think you own him-but he really owns you-and your house, your car, and your favorite chair! If placed in a new situation, he will adjust easily. The adaptability is a unique part of his temperament. A Yorkie is truly a big dog in a small package. Yorkies are addictive-once you own one you will never be without one!
The breed standard calls for the Yorkie not to exceed 7 pounds. There is no Teacup or Miniature Yorkshire Terrier. This is a misconception that has been created by the public’s love of the small and tiny dogs. A Yorkie’s average weight will normally be between 4 and 7 pounds. This is still a very small dog. A breeder will occasionally have a puppy less than 4 pounds or greater than 7 pounds. Smaller Yorkies can be a challenge due to health problems, potty training and frailty. Yorkies classified as Teacup or Tinys are usually the smallest of the litter or Yorkies that have been purposely breed down to a smaller size. In both cases, they may experience health issues and may not live to a normal life expectancy. As a new Yorkie owner, the most important thing to remember about size is the chance that your puppy can become injured. While Yorkies learn quickly to stay out from under feet, there is a period of time when they are unaware of danger. Puppies need supervision. Watch carefully when moving around while your new puppy is on the floor- shuffling your feet helps them to hear you and you to avoid stepping on them. Be careful when opening and closing doors. Be careful when holding a small puppy-Yorkies are fast and there is real danger of dropping them. With small children it is advisable to have the child sit , preferably on the floor and hold the puppy with both hands. Use common sense-your puppy will only be about 2 to 3 pounds when it first comes home.
Unique Yorkie Traits
Yorkies are not the sissy dogs that their beautiful coat tied up with a bow would indicate. The Yorkie does not shed hair as most dogs do and if they are bathed regularly they are normally odorless. If their coat is clipped in a cute puppy cut, they are very easy to maintain. Yorkies are a single coated dog-they do not have the under coat that can cause allergies, but that undercoat is also the natural insulation for dogs against heat and cold. Be careful to keep your Yorkie from getting too warm in the sun or too cold in the winter. The Yorkie is an extrovert and is always willing to play. He has a great sense of humor and enjoys being laughed at. He is a show off and a clown. Like all terriers, Yorkies are active! They are lightning fast and have a “stick to it” personality. These little guys are tough and have no sense of how small they are-so it is necessary to watch them around other dogs and animals. Most Yorkies thrive on companionship and are compatible with other dogs. But they are natural scrappers and are not deterred when meeting larger dogs, which can prove dangerous. With other dogs their own size they can be lively and inquisitive and playful!
There are many theories to feeding dogs. I do believe that Yorkies need dry food in their diet. Dry food helps to combat dental problems. Yorkies are notorious for teeth issues and dry food helps to keep tarter from building up. I do add other foods and supplements for variety and to improve coat and skin condition. If you choose to use only a dry food, please feed a premium quality food to help maintain your puppy’s health. If you choose to change your puppy’s diet, do so gradually. Abrupt changes may result in diarrhea. Yorkies have tiny systems that can react to change easily. Should your puppy have diarrhea or vomiting it is best to take food and water away for approximately 2 hours and then slowly give Pedialyte in small amounts allowing your puppy’s stomach to rest.
Hypoglycemia aka Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by low blood sugar. It occurs mostly in toy breeds, but can also be seen in larger breeds as well. Hypoglycemia can occur without warning when a puppy goes to a new home, misses a meal or doesn’t eat full meals, becomes chilled, overtired, or exhausted from too much handling or playing. Signs to look for are depression, weakness, wobbly or jerky, teeth tightly clamped, convulsions, seizures, or coma, which can result in death. The gums will appear white or gray instead of pink. Remember, this is a puppy. Compare it to an infant child, which requires extra care. You would not wake you baby up to show your friends or neighbors, so do not wake you puppy up..It needs its rest, too. This is very important!!
Treatment: The blood levels of glucose must be restored IMMEDIATELY!! DO NOT HESITATE—YOUR PUPPY’S LIFE IS AT RISK. If your puppy is conscious, give it a little Karo (corn) syrup under its tongue, or rubbed on the gums. If you have a syringe, slowly give the puppy Karo syrup mixed 1 part to 3 parts water, no more than 1 cc at a time. Do not pour excessive amounts in the puppy’s mouth as it can easily choke or aspirate the syrup into its lungs. Nutrical also works well and can be found at most pet stores. Rub the puppy’s throat gently to stimulate the swallowing action. You should see improvement in 5 to 10 minutes. Once your puppy starts to improve, follow with protein in 10 to 15 minutes—mix an egg yolk with half and half and slowly syringe into mouth or let puppy lap up if he is able. If the puppy does not respond within 10 minutes or is unconscious, contact your vet immediately. The small puppies do not have much extra reserve to carry them, and they can die very quickly. Not every puppy experiences hypoglycemia, and they should outgrow it at about 4 months of age, but you need to be familiar with the signs and treatment in the event your puppy becomes hypoglycemic.
Prevention: Feed your puppy several small meals of moist food a day. Soak dry food in warm water, add 1 teaspoon of quality canned food, and once a day add a teaspoon of cottage cheese. Leave dry kibble available 24 hours a day for nibbling. Make sure your puppy eats! Do not just set food down and assume the puppy will eat it. Watch to make sure it eats. Add one teaspoon of Karo syrup to two cups fresh drinking water every day. Stir the Karo until it dissolves, or it will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Never feed your puppy chocolate, fried foods, or cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is good for young puppies. Buttermilk is good for diarrhea. Do not allow your puppy to become over tired or chilled. Let your puppy rest and become adjusted to it’s new home. REMEMBER…STRESS WILL CAUSE A SUDDEN DROP IN THE BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL. AVOID STRESS. ANY TIME YOUR YORKIE APPEARS SICK FOR ANY REASON, TAKE IT TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY.
Many different things can cause frequent, loose and watery stools. One or two loose movements may be the result of a minor upset. Three or more should be taken seriously as dehydration can result. Another factor to consider in how quickly you take your dog to the Vet is whether or not he is acting sick or has a fever. A normal temperature for a dog is 101 degrees. You can use a rectal thermometer, putting a little KY jelly on the end to take your dogs temperature with. Uncomplicated diarrhea can be treated for a day by withholding all food for 12 hours, giving Pedialyte and then feeding very bland food such as cooked chicken, chicken broth, and boiled rice. If there is blood or mucous in the diarrhea, vomiting or fever or generalized sickness, consult your Veterinarian without delay.
Every breed has illnesses that they are more prone to. The Yorkie and Toy breeds are no exception. I have been told that if you are a breeder long enough, you will see just about everything. Most Yorkies live to be about 15 years or so.
Luxating Patella: This is very common in toy breeds. The knee cap (hind legs) will slide from its normal position toward the inner leg. The most obvious symptom is a limp. There may or may not be any sign of pain. The only permanent cure is surgery, however most dogs with patella luxation have minor cases that seems to do fine without surgery. If you suspect this ailment ask your vet for advice. Many toy puppies will have some degree of looseness, but may not require surgery.
Legg-Perthes: The head of the femur bone crumbles from a cut off blood supply. This can be the result of trauma or genetically transmitted. There is no documented proof to certify or disprove either claim. The affected dog will begin to limp and progressively use the affected leg less. The treatment is surgery and recovery is usually complete. This is a disease that may manifest itself at about 6-7 months of age.
Liver Shunt: Congenital malformation of the portal vein which brings blood to the liver for cleansing. Symptoms can vary widely and include poor appetite, occasional vomiting and diarrhea, decreased ability to learn, poor coordination, seizures, blindness, coma and death. The only cure is surgery. Consult your vet if any symptoms are present. Though selective breeding, and testing by concerned breeders a DNA marker may be discovered to help identify this issue. It is now known that dogs with elevated Serum Bile Acid test results are more prone to Liver Shunt and Micro vascular Dysplasia, but these tests are not conclusive that the dog will develop either condition.
Retained Baby Teeth
During teething, the roots of baby teeth are reabsorbed as adult teeth grow to take their place. Sometimes this does not happen. Toy breeds in particular, tend to retain their baby teeth as the adult ones erupt. The permanent teeth are then pushed out of alignment. You may also see what appears as a double set of teeth. Puppies 3 to 6 months should be checked periodically to see that their teeth are falling out and new teeth are emerging. Failure of the baby teeth (also know as milk teeth) to fall out on their own can also cause bacteria to build up between the baby and adult teeth, causing odor and decay. The vet should remove baby teeth if they do not come out on their own. This can be done at the same time that your puppy is spayed or neutered. During this time teething may cause your puppy’s ears to drop. Tape them up with masking tape to help them stand up until the puppy is done teething.
Begin house training you puppy right away. Establish a warm cozy environment for your puppy, and house training will be much easier, because his instinct is not to soil in his den or bed. Start by putting your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and by making frequent trips outside. If you are feeding a good quality puppy food, you will find that the training period will be shorter because your puppy’s feeding and elimination schedule will be more routine. There are certain signs you should watch for which would alert you that it is time to take your puppy outside. If your puppy walks around the floor in circles, sits or whines at the door, or voluntarily gives you the “look”—it is time to take your puppy outside. Always take your puppy outside to the same area, using the same door. Yorkies love routines. Use the same words..”Let’s go potty” “Good boy/girl.” Be consistent and positive. When your puppy has finished eliminating, praise him and bring him back inside. He’ll soon connect elimination outdoors with praise, and he will be anxious to please you. When to take your puppy out: First thing in the morning!! Right after his naps! Upon returning home to a puppy who has been left alone! Right after meals! Last thing in the evening! Whenever he gives you the “look”! Accidents do happen! Should you discover a mess, do not raise you voice, spank your pup or rub his nose in it. While he’ll certainly cower in fear, he’s too young to connect your reprimand with his mess. If he’s caught in the act, immediately take him outside to finish. When he does, praise him for his efforts. You must catch him in the act for him to understand what he is doing wrong. Clean up!! To clean up deodorizers and repellents work effectively. Do not use ammonia—ammonia and urine are very similar in chemical makeup, and will entice your puppy to repeat urination in the same area. Once you have cleaned the area, barricade the spot until it is dry. Otherwise, your puppy will be back to investigate the scent and may feel the urge to repeat the mess! House training your puppy will take time and patience.
First you must decide if you want to groom your Yorkie yourself, or use a professional groomer. There are many good groomers available. A good way to locate a good groomer is to ask other Yorkie owners, or your vet. A Yorkie in full show coat is a beautiful sight, but that beautiful show coat does not happen without a lot of time and patience on the part of both the owner and the dog. A good short clip is so much easier for you and your dog. Your Yorkie will need to be bathed about once a week…more or less depending on if the dog gets into your prized flowerbed, or if it sleeps in your bed!! Be sure to dry your puppy with a hair dryer. Yorkies should not be allowed to get chilled, and in our Northwest climate even the summer air can sometimes be too cool for the Yorkie to be allowed to “air-dry.” Bath time is a good time to look over your little one. Check his teeth, eyes, ears, skin, nails, nose and rear end. Remember to set some time aside for bathing, so that you are not rushed. At first you puppy will wiggle a lot, but be patient. Your Yorkie is getting used to a lot of new things! Be positive, praise, but also be firm. After a few baths, things will go much better! I recommend Coat Handler’s shampoo and conditioner. These products were made with the Yorkshire Terrier’s skin and coat in mind and work well in the Northwest-I’ve been told by breeders in other areas of the US that they do not work as well with their climate and water. They also do not sting or burn their eyes, as other shampoos may do. You don’t like soap in your eyes, neither will your puppy.
Grooming equipment recommended: Pin Brush Metal (Greyhound) comb and plastic comb Ear Trimmer-or mustache trimmer Shampoo/conditioner Hairdryer Latex bands for topknot/ nail clippers/ Kwik stop—for when nails are cut too close.
It is my hope that this website will be informative and helpful to you, your family, and your new puppy. The Yorkshire Terrier is truly one of the most delightful breeds to own. Quite often people will have two. My husband says they are like potato chips!! Can’t have just one! Just remember your Yorkie is not a timid little lap dog. Bred to hunt, this little dog is ready for action at all times. That inquisitive and feisty nature could get your little friend into trouble!! I truly hope your experience with your Yorkie is a great one! My goal is happiness for you and the puppy has that left my home!