The Yorkshire Terrier is a small breed of toy with distinct features that include a long straight coat hanging down evenly on both sides from the nose to the tail. It is a compact and vigorous little breed with a well proportioned body. It has a rather small head and a proportionally sized muzzle with a black nose. The eyes are slightly round and dark with sharp intelligent expression while the small, v-shaped ears are carried erect and covered with short hair. The teeth form complete scissor bite. The body is characterized by a level back with a compact profile and is supported by straight forelegs and hindlegs. The tail is commonly docked and is also profusely covered with hair, a bit darker than the rest of the body. The long, glossy coat has a fine silky texture. The head, ears and muzzle are deeply coloured in rich golden tan while dark steel blue colours the coat from the back of the head to the root of the tail.
The Yorkshire Terrier (also called “Yorkie”) was originally bred as a ratter, used for hunting and killing rats and mice. It was developed in Yorkshire County in northern England around the mid-19th century from breeds that came from Scotland brought by craftsmen during the height of England’s industrial revolution. Among the probable ancestors of the Yorkie include the Clydesdale, Paisley, Skye and Waterside terriers from where it got its small physique, long-haired coat and blue colour. Over time, the English Black and Tan Terrier was added to the mix which probably gave the Yorkie its unique colour pattern. These breeds were all working terriers that were extensively used to hunt vermin in textile mills and coal mines. The Yorkie was first displayed publicly in 1861 England and was known as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier. It was also once known as Toy Terrier which came in rough and broken-haired type. Its present name was officially adopted in 1874 although the breed has been around since 1870. A dog named Ben who was born in 1865 in the town of Huddersfield in Yorkshire County is generally recognized to be the foundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a highly energetic, intelligent, loyal and courageous little breed. The breed’s small size is packed with a big dog attitude, oftentimes bold and confident and always eager for adventure. Loving with it's master but very suspicious of strangers and aggressive towards strange dogs and small animals, of true terrier ancestry. However, it will go along well with other animals in the house that it grew up with. The Yorkshire Terrier makes a good watchdog as it tends to bark on almost anything; however, it can be trained to lessen barking.
The Yorkshire Terrier is an intelligent breed and is easily trained. It has a natural penchant to please its master but it is important not to spoil this little breed. It requires constant human attention or it will display destructive behaviour when bored.
The long coat requires daily brushing to prevent tangles and to keep its coat luxuriously shiny.
The average lifespan for a healthy and well cared-for Yorkshire Terrier is between 12 to 15 years. However, similar to many purebred dogs, the Yorkie is prone to some hereditary disorders. Chief among them is portosystemic shunt where the blood bypasses the liver resulting in “dirty” blood. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar content sometimes occur in puppies but rarer in adults. The breed is also prone to develop cataracts especially in its old age.
Dog food experts recommend a base diet that contains a mixture of beef, sugar beet, potatoes, wheat and barley.
Although it is a very energetic breed, it does not require a lot of exercise but it will do the Yorkie best if it is taken for regular walks or opportunities to run and play off-leash in an open but secured space. It is an excellent pet to have for someone who lives in an apartment or condominium. It is very active indoors and will do fine without a yard. It is sensitive to cold weather and prefers to live in warm climates.
It is generally a friendly breed but does not tolerate rough play, hence, it is more suitable to a family with older, more considerate children. Males can be quite territorial and will stop short of nothing to defend its property and family, which could even mean challenging larger dogs head to head.