Yorkshire Terrier in Grass

Getting to Know Your Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are adorable little pups with big personalities. They are the most popular among the toy dog breeds in the United States. Known as “Yorkie” for short, they can be great dogs to own but they do get feisty so you’ll want to be prepared before you bring one home.

Read through this quick guide to learn the basics of what you should know before getting your very own little Yorkshire Terrier.

Physical Characteristics

This is a very small breed that will max out at about 8 or 9 inches tall and just 4 to 6 pounds. They’ve got a small build as well so they just look and feel light and tiny which is exactly what you want in a toy dog breed.

Yorkshire Terrier Look

Their coat is made up of straight, long silky hair. It’s a single coat and they shed very little. They are born with black fur but as they age, it will lighten to a mixture of bluish grey and tan or gold.

The tan or gold coloring appears on their paws, ears, and faces. The bluish grey color coats their entire back, tail and around the edge of their faces. What is interesting about their coloring is that it continues to change with age and hormones.

They will grow lighter and lighter as they age. And females will lighten during their mating season and return to a darker shade when that season is over.

Personality and Temperament

Yorkies have a wide range of possible personalities. They tend to be very smart and confident and have the adventurous spirit of a terrier. But each Yorkie is unique with some being a little more mischievous and others being a little more on the cuddly side. But all of them are energetic and friendly.

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Carrying Leaf

Due to their adventurous spirit, it’s very important to set boundaries with your Yorkie from a very young age. As adorable as they are, it’s important not to spoil them. With a Yorkie, it’s far better to teach good habits from a young age because it will be all but impossible to correct bad habits once they’ve gotten a taste for them.

Common Health Issues

For the most part, Yorkies are pretty healthy but there are a few health issues you will want to be prepared for just in case you encounter them:

  • Portosystemic Shunt: Some Yorkies are born with this condition where the blood vessels skip passed the liver (which means the blood does not get cleaned properly). Symptoms to check for include: poor weight gain, unusually small size, digestive problems, excess thirst, excess urination, lethargy, lack of coordination, seizures (especially after eating). This can be managed through corrective surgery and a special diet.
  • Retained Baby Teeth: it’s relatively common that Yorkies don’t lose their baby teeth by themselves. So when your pup is around 7 months old, take them to the vet to check on their teeth. There, they will pull any remaining baby teeth so their adult teeth can grow in.
  • Heart Disease: Yorkies are prone to heart problems such as heart palpitations and enlarged heart. Check for symptoms like difficulty breathing, fatigue, or lethargy.
  • Joint problems: hips and knees are especially at risk for degeneration and other problems in Yorkies. Check for signs of limping, difficulty walking, or difficulty getting up and sitting or laying down. These problems can be managed but you want to catch it early to avoid permanent damage and excess pain.

Cute Yorkie Puppy Eyes

Basic Care Instructions

Yorkies can be pretty demanding in a few regards but they are suitable housedogs. Here’s what you should be doing on a regular basis:

  1. 5 to 0.75 cups of dry food per day. Divide this into two separate meals (one in the morning and one in the evening).
  2. Fortunately, most Yorkie fur doesn’t tangle easily (unless they have a soft coat). Even so, it’s important to brush your Yorkie every day. And you should spritz their coat with a conditioner before brushing because brushing a dry coat will cause breakage.
  3. Bathe them once a week and make sure to use a moisturizing conditioner to keep their skin and fur hydrated and soft.
  4. Once every couple weeks, you’ll want to trim the hair on the buttocks (near the anus) to keep the area clean. You’ll also need to trim their nails as they grow fast.
  5. Exercise is not as much of a worry as their small size means running around indoors is generally enough to keep them in shape. Make sure they have plenty of toys to motivate them to play. They especially love squeaky ones.
  6. Although they don’t need much help getting enough exercise, they definitely enjoy a nice walk outdoors which will quench their thirst for adventure.
  7. Yorkies should definitely be kept indoors most of the time, however, because they are very sensitive to both cold and heat. This is not a backyard dog.

Yorkie Playing Fetch

Final Word

The Yorkshire Terrier is certainly adorable and full of bright, bubbling personality. However, that personality can turn them into mischievous little trouble makers if you don’t set firm boundaries and train early. Their silky, long fur can be a bit of a hassle to groom as well.

So if training and grooming are not your strong suits, you’ll either need to invest in hiring professionals for the job or opt for a breed that doesn’t require as much intensive training and grooming.

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