The tiny terrier with a big personality, the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie to his friends) commands the most hearts per pound of any breed. With dreams of world domination, the Yorkie rose to become the second most popular dog in America in the first decade of the 21st century---and he's not yet done.
This blue-coated blueblood had blue collar beginnings. In 19th century England the Yorkie's ancestors caught rats and mice. When dog shows became fashionable, the Broken-Haired Terriers, as they were called, didn't get much attention. But one especially fancy dog named Huddersfield Ben changed all that; in fact, people decided he and his progeny were so beautiful the breed deserved a nicer name, and the Yorkshire Terrier was born.
Yorkies became popular lapdogs to the upper class, and continued that role in America. They don't mind returning to their tough roots, though, and will battle a toy to the death. That's the Yorkie: feisty, clever, independent and bold---all draped in a cape of gunmetal blue and gold.
Yorkies love to play with toys that let them bring out their inner terrier. But mostly they like to play co-pilot, directing your activities from your lap or at your feet.
Feed your Yorkie puppy a puppy food designed for toy dogs. Tiny puppies should be fed small amounts often---more often than larger dogs---because they can't store glucose efficiently. They can easily develop hypoglycemia if they are active and have gone without food for too long. Puppy food for toy dogs combats hypoglycemia because it is high in protein, fat and complex carbohydrates. If your puppy becomes sleepy to the point of being hard to rouse, or unresponsive, it's an emergency. Rub syrup on his gums and get him to the veterinarian immediately. Most Yorkies outgrow the danger by the time they are 7 months old. But even as adults, a food designed for toy dogs is the best choice.
Yorkies are prone to knee problems. If you see your Yorkie skipping for a step or two, he may have a condition your veterinarian needs to check. He may also eventually develop arthritic changes. To combat this, add a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement to his diet as soon as he shows any signs of hopping or lameness.
For a little dog, some Yorkies can pass a lot of gas! Adding an anti-gas pill to meals can make your lap-sharing time more enjoyable!
It's not easy to grow the long coats you see in the show ring. To do so you must feed a nutritious food with probiotics and vitamin supplements. You must keep the coat free of parasites and dirt. Use a pin brush or metal comb daily to keep the coat tangle-free. When brushing or combing, spritz the coat lightly with a combination of water and conditioner; this prevents static electricity and breakage.
Bathe often, using a gentle shampoo. If your dog tends to scratch, use an avocado oil or oatmeal based shampoo. Follow with a conditioner. You can also apply a leave-in conditioner that will help prevent tangling and matting; however, you have to wash these out and replace them every week or even more often if your Yorkie gets dirty.
Most people opt to forgo the super long tresses and instead go for a cute trim. But you should still use the same shampoos and conditioners to keep the coat tangle-free between visits to the grooming shop.
Yorkies have healthy ears, but check them weekly for debris or redness. Use an ear cleanser if you see debris in them.
Toy dogs are prone to dental problems and tooth loss, so brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a small dog nail clipper.
Yorkies are a long-lived breed. But even Yorkies are affected by age-related changes, including arthritis. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him young at heart and in body well into old age.