Yorkshire Terriers, also called "Yorkies," have been beloved pets for several centuries. Far beyond the endearing little lapdogs they seem to be, Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to be rat-terriers working on pest-control in the busy clothing mills of Northern England. Because of their size, Yorkies could comfortably following badgers and other underground creatures into their burrows, or kill pesky rats and mice in one swift motion. They are believed to have been derived from a combination of Skye Terriers, Maltese, Manchester Terriers, and the Longhaired Leeds Terrier. Though the original Yorkies were larger than they are today, the common use for this breed is to be a companion dog that is easily portable. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
Yorkies are usually a combination of black-and-tan fur or silvery blue and cream colored. These hypoallergenic dogs can have long silky fur, or fluffy woolen coats of a thicker texture. They can also be bred to the "toy" or "teacup" size.
Yorkies are known to be cheerful, animated and always ready for adventure. They are smart dogs, and have a great capacity for affection and loyalty to their owner. Yorkshire Terriers are natural watch dogs, and will not hesitate to sound the alert if something is amiss, or if a stranger approaches. They require diligent training to understand that they are not the leader of the house. If the Yorkie feels he is the pack leader, he can become yappy, snippy and aggressive to children and other pets. They need owners who will be able to train them and hold boundaries instead of excusing stubborn and territorial behavior as "cute" if it is destructive to the animal's overall behavior. A well-trained Yorkie can prove an invaluable and charming companion.
Yorkshire Terriers need to be taught explicit boundaries, and positive manners. However, the most important lessons will be obedience and submission, so the dog learns that the human is the authority. If this point is understood, they will not act rebelliously or aggressively as often. Yorkies are difficult to housebreak, and will do well to have a designated area to do their business indoors. They need positive reinforcement, without becoming spoiled, requiring a strong master in order to be their very best.
A Yorkshire Terriers' stature makes him prone to slip or topple over. They suffer with tooth decay, and will need a dry chew toy or product to help keep their teeth in strong condition. Yorkies also suffer eye infections, breathing and digestive difficulty, among other complications associated with their size.
They are typically energetic little pups, due to their terrier heritage, who need a brisk walk every day. A Yorkie's behavior at home will indicate whether or not they are getting enough exercise; if your dog is racing around the house, the regular walks will need to be longer. Yorkshire Terriers also enjoy playing at home with their owner, as well as romping at a park or on a large lawn.
Though they are very vibrant little dogs, Yorkshire Terriers find apartment living quite comfortable. They enjoy an air conditioned environment, as their little bodies are highly susceptible to the cold or extreme heat.
These silken terriers can have high grooming demands, or minimal haircuts depending on the preference of the owner. They need frequent brushing and combing, as well as washing. Show dogs will require much more attention and consistent grooming regimes to keep the coat glossy, and all Yorkshire Terriers also do well to have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis.