A Complete Guide to Yorkshire Terriers
Informally known as a “Yorkie,” the Yorkshire terrier comes in distinct variants, including the miniature Yorkshire terrier (also known as the teacup Yorkshire terrier) and the Australian terrier. These dogs are playful and intelligent, and display a gentle nature.
- Height: A standard Yorkshire terrier generally tops out at 8 to 9 inches in height, though a teacup Yorkie, like the teacup Pomeranian, won’t usually stand more than half a foot tall.
- Weight: The miniature Yorkshire terrier is a maximum of 3 pounds, and a regular Yorkshire terrier dog can’t weigh more than 7 pounds to be entered in sanctioned American Kennel Club events.
- Coat: This breed displays a silky, unique and readily identifiable blue-and-tan coat with little to no color variation.
- Ears and Eyes: Yorkie puppies and dogs have medium-sized, round eyes that are generally dark but bright. Ears are roughly triangular in shape and are held either straight up (if cropped) or drooping slightly down towards the head (if uncropped).
- Tail: The American Kennel Club indicates that the tail of a Yorkie should be docked, medium in length and carried higher than the plane of the dog’s back.
Both teacup Yorkshire terriers and their full-grown cousins are friendly towards owners, cohabitants and known friends but can be aloof and suspicious of strangers. They recognize their place within a pack and don’t assert themselves as dominant. Generally friendly and fun-loving, these dogs love to play with toys and tend to be brave and confident on the whole, but badly bred dogs can be snappy, especially with possessions and food. They’re not a terrible choice for families with young children, but they’re not the best, either.
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- AKC Group: Toy
- Training: Yorkshire terrier puppies can be tricky to housebreak but generally display a high level of obedience and intelligence. They learn new tasks relatively quickly, and Yorkshire terrier breeders have noted that these dogs tend to enjoy fetching games and can be taught a wide range of unique tricks involving retrieval.
- Ideal Environment: These dogs fare best in comfortable, safe environments and are ideally suited to urban life. They’re favored by families, seniors and singles or couples who live in apartments or condominiums. These dogs love being pampered, but they’re not dainty or fragile, so obsessive concern is unwarranted.
Health and Care
- Feeding: While Yorkie puppies need protein-filled diets to ensure proper growth, an adult Yorkshire terrier dog has lesser nutritional needs. These dogs are small and need to have their caloric intake limited to avoid weight gain. Also, these dogs should avoid soft foods, since they’re prone to the gum problems these foods can cause.
- Grooming: This breed requires daily grooming to prevent its soft fur from getting matted. Brushing and combing the dog’s hair will usually suffice, though their handsome coats should be professionally maintained for the best results.
- Exercise: These dogs are perfectly happy to lay idle with their owners. A daily walk should be enough to satisfy their relatively modest activity needs.
- Health Problems: Yorkshire terrier breeders have noted that these toy dogs can suffer from slipping or dislocated kneecaps, also known as luxating patella, a condition common to small dog breeds. Overweight and obese pets are at increased risk for developing canine arthritis and canine diabetes.
- Average Lifespan: Yorkies are generally long-lived, surviving for 13 to 15 years or more.
Buying a Yorkshire Terrier
To avoid paying the exorbitant fees many Yorkshire terrier breeders charge, consider adopting an adult from a Yorkshire terrier rescue center. Regular puppies generally cost several hundred dollars, and a teacup Yorkshire terrier can set a buyer back $2,000 or more. Yorkshire terrier rescue centers are happy to place animals in loving homes for a much more modest price.
One thing to avoid is purchasing a pet at a puppy farm. While they may offer price breaks, these mills are rife with animal rights violations and don’t monitor the health or parentage of their puppies.