The Yorkshire Terrier Breed Characteristics
The Yorkie Breed History
There’s not much debate about the origins of the Yorkshire Terrier or its popularity. Often referred to as the Yorkie, this toy breed was named after the county in England where it was bred to catch and kill rodents in textile factories. The origin of today’s Yorkshire Terrier stems from cross breeding other terriers present in the textile factories of the time. Agile and courageous, the Yorkie made a great “ratting” dog, but how did it become America’s second most popular lap dog?
When dog shows began gaining popularity in the mid 1800’s distinguished men and women began seeking unique breeds, especially lapdogs. That lead to Yorkies being bred more for looks than hunting skill. As a result, we have the tenacious and beautiful Yorkshire Terrier we know today. Not officially named the Yorkshire Terrier until 1870, the breed standard was inherited by a stud names Huddersfield Ben. Ben is considered the “father” of the modern Yorkie and one of the first show dogs of the breed. Unlike the Maltese, Yorkies were not a favorite breed of royalty, However, they did steal the hearts of celebrities during the 1960’s, which helped the breed climb the ranks of popularity, being named the second most popular dog breed in America by 2006.
The Yorkie Personality
Don’t let the lapdog label fool you, the Yorkshire Terrier is strong willed and bold. Their roots in hunting gives them an inherent independence and cleverness. The result is a dog that can be challenging to train, especially for those who find it difficult to discipline a smaller breed. As with all breeds, training is important to a good ownership experience and does not require physical discipline – a stern “NO!” will often go a long way.
If the “Napoleon Complex” ever applied to a dog breed, the Yorkie is on the shortlist of breeds that qualify. Their bold nature can get them in trouble. Owners should be cognizant of their courageous nature, especially around larger dogs. A Yorkshire Terrier may be a match for rats in a textile factory, but it wouldn’t take much for the neighborhood bulldog to seriously injure the toy Yorkie if challenged.
Does the Yorkie need a lot of grooming?
The look of your Yorkie puppy will dictate how much time needs to be dedicated to grooming. Regardless of coat length, the breed requires daily brushing because they are non-shedding breed. If care is not taken to remove excess dead hair, the fur will quickly mat and more invasive grooming will be necessary. In fact, if the matting becomes too bad a complete shaving may be needed.
The quality of a Yorkshire Terriers coat depends upon the bloodlines and breeding. Although all Yorkies should have similar coloring and markings, the texture of their coat may vary. Breeders strive for a silky, flowing, and shiny coat. Some however have a more textured feel, which can lead to more tangles and breakage. If your Yorkie has a more textured coat, fear not. With proper care and grooming, you can still achieve a lustrous flowing coat that rivals any Westminster Kennel Club show participant.
Do Yorkie’s need a lot of exercise?
Where the Yorkie requires great attention to grooming, you’ll make up some time in their relatively low exercise requirements. As with many toy breeds, they do well with apartment life and can be exercised easily indoors. However, Hello Puppies always recommends daily walks for exercise and socialization. Regardless of the breed, regular exercise will help combat negative behavior by giving your puppy an outlet for his energy that isn’t chewing or barking.
Are Yorkie’s good family dogs?
The Yorkshire Terrier is a wonderful companion that enjoys the playful and exciting nature of children. However, great care must be taken with younger children to avoid injuries to your Yorkie. A fall from even a few feet can seriously injure any toy breed, not to mention how easily they can be caught under foot. It’s good practice to always play with your Yorkie on the floor, and put them in an exercise pen when your not watching them.
With proper training, the Yorkshire Terrier can be a great addition to any family. These highly affectionate dogs are good with other pets, including cats, and tend to be friendly with children and strangers. If you can commit to their demanding grooming regimen, you’ll find a lifelong companion whose playful nature brings fun and excitement to your home.
Hello Puppies wants to find the best home for all our dogs, so if you think the Yorkie is a good fit for your family contact us or stop by. If you’re unsure or have any questions about the Yorkshire Terrier or any other breed, take our perfect puppy quiz to see what dog fits your unique personality and lifestyle.