Definitions

yorkshire-terrier

Yorkshire terrier

or Yorkie

Breed of toy dog developed in the mid-19th century in Yorkshire and Lancashire, Eng. Its lineage appears to include terriers such as the Skye and Dandie Dinmont. Its outstanding feature is its straight, silky coat, parted on the back from nose to tail and long enough to sweep the ground. Its coat colour is dark blue-gray, with tan on the head and chest. It may grow to 9 in. (23 cm) tall and weigh up to 7 lb (3 kg).

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The Yorkshire Terrier (or known as a Yorkie) is a breed of small dog in the terrier category. The long-haired terrier is known for its playful demeanor and distinctive blue and tan coat. Yorkies can be very small, usually weighing not more than ; the standard of this breed does not mention the minimum weight accepted nor does it specify a height.

Description

Appearance

The yorkshire terrier is the best dog ever, albeit they have a tendency to bark very irritably about every ten seconds,The Yorkshire Terrier breed standards specifies that the dog should have a compact, athletic build suitable for an active lifestyle, and hold itself in an upright and confident manner.It is a short toy dog and weighs next to nothing but still needs daily excercise.

Coat and color

Yorkshire Terriers are a long-haired breed with no undercoat, which means that they do not shed as much as their short haired friends. Rather, their hair is like human hair in that it grows continuously and falls out rarely (only when brushed or broken). Additionally, since Yorkies carry less dander on their coat, they generally do not have the unpleasant "wet dog" odor when wet, and they may not affect as many people who suffer from dog-related allergies. (See Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds)

This breed has little to no shedding (see Moult).

Yorkie puppies are born with a black and tan coat and normally have a smart coat filled with puffy exteriors until they mature. The breed stand for adult Yorkies places prime importance on coat color, quality and texture. The hair must be glossy, fine and silky. However, some have very fine hair, making it feel a bit different and are harder to care for. From the back of the neck to the base of the tail, the coat should be a dark steel-blue (not silver-blue)- never mingled with fawn, bronze or black hairs. Hair on the tail should be a darker blue. On the head, chest and legs, hair should be a bright, rich tan, and darker at the roots than in the middle, shading to still lighter tan at the tips. Some Yorkies never turn the usual tan and continue to be gray. There should be no dark hairs intermingled with any of the tan in adult dogs. Many Yorkies do not conform to the standard for coat color; the tan may range from a very light blonde to a darker brown, while the body may be black or silvery gray. Many pet-quality Yorkies have "wooley" coats which are completely black across the back. The hair never "breaks" into the dark steel blue that is preferred in the breed because the coat texture is not a pure silk - the favorable coat texture. The Yorkie’s nose, lips, eye-rims, paw-pads and nails should be darkly pigmented. The breed standard requires that the Yorkshire Terrier's hair be perfectly straight (not wavy). If the coat is the correct silky texture, maintenance for it is relatively easy, requiring a daily brushing and a bath every few weeks. For show purposes, the coat is grown-out long and is parted down the middle of the back, but may be trimmed to floor length to give ease of movement and a neater appearance. Hair on the feet and the tips of ears can also be trimmed. The traditional long, show length coat is extremely high maintenance, requiring hours of daily brushing. To maintain the long coats of show dogs (between exhibitions), the hair may be wrapped in rice paper, tissue paper or plastic, after a light oiling with a coat oil made for show coats, which prevents the hairs from being broken easily and keeps the coat in condition. The oil has to be washed out once a week and the wraps must be fixed periodically during the week to prevent them from sliding down and breaking the hair. As a more practical alternative, many Yorkie-owners opt to keep the dog's coat trimmed to a shorter all-over length.

Build and proportions

The Yorkshire Terrier head should be rather flat and not too round. The teeth should have either a “scissors bite” or a “level bite” (no underbite or overbite). The Yorkie’s dark eyes are not too prominent, but should be sparkling, with sharp intelligent expression, and placed to look directly forward. The small, V-shaped ears are set high on the head, not too far apart, and should be carried erect. In some kennel clubs, ears that do not stand up are cause for automatic disqualification.

The breed standard dictates that a Yorkshire Terrier must weigh no more than seven pounds for the AKC show ring. A Yorkshire Terrier of this weight is typically between 8 and 9 inches tall. There is no distinction made in the standard between Yorkies of various sizes (i.e. there is no "teacup" or "standard" within the breed standard). The compact body of a Yorkie is well proportioned with a level back that is the same height at the base of the neck than at the base of the tail. The tail is carried slightly higher than the level of the back. In a standing position, the Yorkie’s front legs should be straight. The back legs should be straight when viewed from behind, but moderately bent when viewed from the side.

Teacup Yorkies are very small.They are a rare type of YorkshireNurasko (Nurasko)

Modifications

Often, a Yorkie’s dewclaws, if any, are removed in the first few days of life. The AKC and UKC breed standards explicitly permit dewclaws to be removed, while the standards of other kennel clubs do not mention it.

Traditionally, the Yorkie’s tail is docked to a medium length. In America, almost all breeders dock the tails of puppies. However, since the 1990s, there has been a growing movement to ban the practice of cosmetic tail docking. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals oppose tail docking. As of 2007, several nations have enacted prohibitions on docking, including Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. A docked tail is part of the AKC, ANKC, CKC, NZKC and UKC breed standards for Yorkshire Terriers. The FCI and KC breed standards indicate the tail is customarily docked, but the KC standard gives specifications for an undocked tail (“as straight as possible; length to give a well balanced appearance”).

Temperament

Although a toy breed, the Yorkie still retains much of its terrier ancestry in terms of personality. Individual dogs will differ, but they are generally intelligent, independent and courageous. Yorkshire Terriers are quick to determine where they fit in a household's "pack." Their behavior towards outsiders will vary - they often will be inclined to bark at strangers, but some Yorkies are outgoing and friendly towards new people while others are withdrawn and aloof. The differences in behavior in this regard are largely based on how the owner trains or conditions (and socializes) the Yorkie. A few individual Yorkshire Terriers may be timid or nervous, rather than bold, but the vast majority do seem to meet the breed standard for a confident, vigorous and self-important personality. The following distinctive qualities are likely to be present in a Yorkshire Terrier:

Boldness

Yorkies will not assert themselves as the "alpha" dog. Yorkies typically get along well with other dogs and love to play together with them. Rather, a Yorkie's bold character comes from the its mix of great inquisitiveness, or an instinct to protect, and self-confidence. Some Yorkies are unaware of their small size and may even challenge larger, tougher dogs. In one case a 12-pound Yorkie pushed open a screen door (to investigate a commotion outside) and rushed to the aid of an elderly woman who was being attacked by an 80-pound Akita. When the Yorkie snapped and growled, the Akita turned his attention on the small dog long enough for the woman to escape. Unfortunately, this boldness can get Yorkies into trouble, as small dogs can be seriously injured. Due to their small size, Yorkies may not make suitable pets for very young children. Some people also find the dog's boldness to be a source of great nuisance, leading to the dog sometimes being regarded as "yappy." As a breed they are generally quiet and intelligent, rather than noisy, choosing only to bark at real or perceived dangers to their family. They make well rounded family pets.

Intelligence

Yorkshire Terriers as a breed are intelligent dogs. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert on animal intelligence, the Yorkshire Terrier is an above average working dog, ranking 27th (32nd including ties) out of the 132 breeds tested. His research found that an average Yorkshire Terrier could understand a new command after approximately 15 repetitions and would obey a command the first time it was given 70% of the time or better. This capacity as working dogs enables Yorkies to excel in sports like obedience and agility, which require the dog to understand communication from the handler and carry out a complex series of commands. Additionally, Yorkies learn to recognize numerous words and can be taught to distinguish and fetch separate toys in a box by their names.

Independence

The well bred and well handled Yorkshire Terrier is content to be near its owner without being on a lap or underfoot. Yorkies are energetic, but also need much rest and will often prefer to spend downtime in privacy, such as in a kennel or out-of-the-way corner. Early terriers were expected to hunt in the company of handlers and other dogs, but also to have the self-confidence to go out on their own after prey. Very pampered and indulged Yorkies are more likely to be clingy and demanding, and lack the true terrier self-confidence. Yorkshire Terriers tend to be more difficult to train than some breeds, due to their characteristic independent nature. The independent mindedness of Yorkies leads some trainers to consider them to be among the hardest to house-break.

Health

Health issues often seen in the Yorkshire Terrier include bronchitis, lymphangiectasia, Portosystemic shunt, cataracts and keratitis sicca. Additionally, injection reactions (inflammation or hair loss at the site of an injection) can occur. Another common health condition in some Yorkies are their sensitive skin. The most common type of skin conditions Yorkies face are brought on by allergic reactions to seasonal pollen, pollution, food, and sometimes the air itself. Their coats may get very dry due to scratching and biting and eventually leading to massive hair loss. Yorkies can have a delicate digestive system, with vomiting or diarrhea resulting from consumption of foods outside of a regular diet. These particular dogs are usually picky with which foods they eat. They usually will not eat what they don't like, it will be left aside. Trying to mix foods is not a good idea because they tend not to enjoy it. The relatively small size of the Yorkshire Terrier means that it can have a poor tolerance for anesthesia. Additionally, a toy dog such as the Yorkie is more likely to be injured by falls, other dogs and owner clumsiness. Due to their small size, Yorkies may be endangered if kept in the house with an undiscerning or abusive person, especially a child. Many breeders and rescue organizations will not allow their Yorkies to go to families with young children, because of the risk it poses to the dog.

The life span of a healthy Yorkie is 10-15 years. Under-sized Yorkies (3 pounds or less) generally have a shorter life span, as they are especially prone to health problems such as chronic diarrhea and vomiting, are even more sensitive to anesthesia, and are more easily injured.

Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar in puppies, or transient juvenile hypoglycemia, is caused by fasting (too much time between meals). In rare cases hypoglycemia may continue to be a problem in mature, usually very small, Yorkies. It is often seen in Yorkie puppies at 5 to 16 weeks of age. Very tiny Yorkie puppies are especially predisposed to hypoglycemia because a lack of muscle mass makes it difficult to store glucose and regulate blood sugar. Factors such as stress, fatigue, a cold environment, poor nutrition, and a change in diet or feeding schedule may bring on hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can also be the result of a bacterial infection, parasite, or portosystemic liver shunt. Hypoglycemia causes the puppy to become drowsy, listless (glassy-eyed), shaky and uncoordinated, since the brain relies on sugar to function. Additionally, a hypoglycemic Yorkie may have a lower than normal body temperature and, in extreme cases, may have a seizure or go into a coma. A dog showing symptoms should be treated by a veterinarian immediately, as prolonged or recurring attacks of hypoglycemia can permanently damage the dog’s brain. In severe cases it can be fatal.

Genetic defects

As with many purebred dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier is prone to certain genetic disorders, including distichiasis, hydrocephalus, hypoplasia of dens, Legg-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, portosystemic shunt, retinal dysplasia, tracheal collapse and bladder stones. The following are among the most common congenital defects that affect Yorkies.

  • Distichiae, eyelashes arising from an abnormal spot (usually the duct of the meibomian gland at the edge of the eyelid), are often found in Yorkies. Distichiae can irritate the eye and cause tearing, squinting, inflammation, and corneal abrasions or corneal ulcers and scarring. Treatment options may include manual removal, electrolysis or surgery.
  • Hypoplasia of dens is a non-formation of the pivot point of the second cervical vertebra, which leads to spinal cord damage. Onset of the condition may occur at any age, producing signs ranging from neck pain to quadriplegia.
  • Legg-Perthes disease, which causes the top of the femur (thigh bone) to degenerate, occurs in Yorkies in certain lines. The condition appears to result from insufficient circulation to the area around the hip joint. As the blood supply is reduced, the bone in the head of the femur collapses and dies and the cartilage coating around it becomes cracked and deformed. Usually the disease appears when the Yorkie is young (between five and eight months of age); signs are pain, limping or lameness. The standard treatment is surgery to remove the affected part of the bone. Following surgery, muscles hold the femur in place and fibrous tissue forms in the area of removal to prevent bone rubbing on bone. Although the affected leg will be slightly shorter than prior to surgery, the Yorkie may regain almost normal use.
  • Luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps) are another common genetic defect in Yorkies. Weak ligaments and tendons in the knee or malformed (too shallow) patellar grooves, allow the patella to slip out of its groove sideways. This causes the leg to 'lock up' with the foot held off the ground. A dog with this problem may experience frequent pain and lameness or may be bothered by it only on occasion. Over time, the patellar ridges can become worn down, making the groove even more shallow and causing the dog to become increasingly lame. Surgery is the main treatment option available for luxating patellas, although it is not necessary for every dog with the condition.
  • Portosystemic shunt, a congenital malformation of the portal vein (which brings blood to the liver for cleansing), is also common in Yorkies. In this condition some of the dog's blood bypasses the liver and the “dirty” blood goes on to poison the heart, brain, lungs and other organs with toxins. A Yorkie with this condition might exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, such as small stature, poor appetite, weak muscle development, decreased ability to learn, inferior coordination, occasional vomiting and diarrhea, behavioral abnormalities, seizures (especially after a meal), blindness, coma and death. Often the shunt can be treated with surgery.
  • Tracheal collapse, caused by a progressive weakening of the walls of the trachea, occurs in many toy breeds, especially very tiny Yorkies. As a result of genetics, the walls of the trachea can be flaccid, a condition that becomes more severe with age. Cushing's disease, a disorder that causes production of excess steroid hormone by the adrenal glands, can also weaken cartilage and lead to tracheal collapse. There is a possibility that physical strain on the neck might cause or contribute to trachea collapse. Since this is usually caused by an energetic Yorkie pulling against his collar, many veterinarians recommend use of a harness for leashed walks. An occasional “goose honking” cough, especially on exertion or excitement, is usually the first sign of this condition. Over time, the cough may become almost constant in the Yorkie’s later life. Breathing through the obstruction of a collapsed (or partially collapsed) trachea for many years can result in complications, including chronic lung disease. The coughing can be countered with cough suppressants and bronchodilators. If the collapse is advanced and unresponsive to medication, sometimes surgery can repair the trachea.

History

Legacy

The Yorkie was bred as a ratter, used to kill rats in small places. There is some evidence that they may have been used for hunting as well, carried in the pockets of their owner to the fields to hunt. Like most terriers developed in the early 19th Century, it was common for Yorkies to demonstrate their prowess as vermin killers in what were known as "rat killer" contests, counting the number of rats each Yorkie killed, and how quickly they dispatched them.

As a hunting group, terriers specialize in pursuing animals (usually vermin) that live in dens or burrows. Animals that are cornered and defending their young will fight ferociously. Therefore, any dog that would willingly pursue them must have an extraordinary degree of courage; terriers are bred for that quality.

Ancestry

As the name implies, the Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire (and the adjoining Lancashire), a rugged region in northern England. In the mid-nineteenth century, at the peak of England’s industrial revolution, miners and mill workers from Scotland came to Yorkshire in search of work and brought with them several different varieties of small long-coated terriers, generally known as Broken Haired Scotch terriers (not Scotties). The specific breeds that make up the Yorkshire Terrier’s ancestry are not known, since the breeders at that time did not keep records of the bloodlines. Certain breeds, however, are commonly thought to be the main forebears. The likely source of the Yorkie’s small stature, long-haired coat and blue color are Clydesdale, Paisley and Skye terriers, all Scottish terriers transported to England at various times, and Waterside terriers. The English Black and Tan Terrier bloodline probably gave the Yorkie its signature color pattern. These breeds were all working dogs, used to keep vermin under control in the textile mills and coal mines.

The breed first appeared at an 1861 bench show in England as the Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier, named for the dog’s Scottish terrier ancestors. Early Yorkies were also known simply as Toy Terriers, in both rough and broken haired varieties. Yorkshire Terriers were given their breed name by 1874.

Huddersfield Ben

A dog known as Huddersfield Ben is universally acknowledged to be the foundation sire of the Yorkshire Terrier breed. He was born in 1865 in the town of Huddersfield, county of Yorkshire. The very public life of this dog, owned by M.A. Foster, did much to popularize the breed in England. Ben died in an accident at the age of six, but in his short life he won more than 70 prizes at dog shows and also demonstrated exceptional skill in ratting contests. Ben was a highly sought after stud dog because he was one of the first to consistently sire Yorkies true to type and under 5 pounds.

In America

The Yorkshire Terrier was introduced in the United States in 1872. The first Yorkie was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1878, making it one of the first twenty-five breeds to be approved for registration by the AKC. During the late Victorian era, the Yorkshire Terrier quickly became a popular pet, and as Americans embraced Victorian customs, so too did they embrace the Yorkshire Terrier. The breed’s popularity dipped in the 1940’s, when the percentage of small breed dogs registered fell to an all-time low of 18% of total registrations. Smoky, a Yorkie and famous war dog from World War II, is credited with beginning a renewal of interest in the then obscure Yorkshire Terrier breed.

Yorkie hybrids

Yorkies are a popular breed to include in intentional crosses with other dog breeds. In some cases, the purpose of using a Yorkie in a cross is to try to retain the non-shedding Yorkie coat in the offspring. Some current mixes with the Yorkie are with the Maltese (Morkie), the Poodle (Yorkie-Poo), and the Miniature Pinscher(Yorkie Pin).

A cross between a shedding breed and a Yorkie does not reliably produce a non-shedding dog. Most of the offspring will shed to some extent. Because they often do not shed as much as the shedding parent, they will usually require regular grooming, including haircuts. People with dog allergies who want a Yorkie mix should spend enough time with the dog to ensure they will not have a reaction before committing to ownership. Yorkies and Poodles are two breeds that do not shed therefore their offspring should not shed.

Notable Yorkies

In film

In literature

  • Toto in the original book version of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is believed to be a Yorkie. Although the book does not specifically state Toto's breed, it describes Toto as "a little black dog with long silky hair. Most recognize Toto as a Cairn Terrier from the 1939 film version. However, from the illustrations in the first book many have concluded that Toto is a Yorkshire Terrier, as this breed was very popular at the time of publication. Toto was a Boston Terrier in later books of the Oz series.
  • Fred Basset, the comic strip created by Alex Graham, features a Yorkshire Terrier named Yorky.

On TV

Show dogs

Small dogs

  • Sylvia, a matchbox-size Yorkshire Terrier owned by Arthur Marples of Blackburn, England, was the smallest dog in recorded history. The dog died in 1945 when she was almost two years old, at which point she stood 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder, measured 3.5 inches from nose tip to tail, and weighed 4 ounces.
  • For 1995 through 2002 Guinness World Records listed a Yorkshire Terrier named Big Boss, as the smallest dog in the world. Big Boss was listed at 11.94cm (4.7in) tall when his owner, Dr. Chai Khanchanakom of Thailand, registered the toy dog with Guinness.
  • A Yorkie named Thumbelina, 5.5 inches tall and 8 inches long, held the Guinness World Record for smallest living dog prior to 1995.
  • Tiny Pinocchio, an abnormally small Yorkshire Terrier, has appeared on several television programs including Oprah and the Today Show.

War dogs

  • Smoky, a war dog and hero of World War II, was owned by William Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio. Wynne adopted Smoky while he was serving with the 5th Air Force in the Pacific.

White House dogs

Celebrity owners

  • Legendary actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn owned a yorkie named Mr. Famous. When Mr. Famous was killed by a car, Audrey's then husband Mel Ferrer bought her another yorkie which she named Assam of Assam.
  • A Yorkshire Terrier named Spike was the former canine sidekick of television celebrity Joan Rivers. The corporate logo of Rivers' PGHM (Please God Help Me) Productions featured an image of her beloved Spike in a prayerful pose with a halo over his head. Joan Rivers also owned a Yorkie named Veronica.
  • Missy Elliott owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Poncho. The dog appeared in the music video for Elliott's song "Lose Control.
  • Kelly Rowland's Yorkshire Terrier, Mocha, was featured on an episode of Cribs on MTV.
  • Justin Timberlake owns two Yorkshire Terriers named Bella and Bearlie. The dogs appeared with Justin in a 1997 US Weekly feature on the members of *N Sync and their dogs.
  • Model Gisele Bundchen has often been photographed with her Yorkshire Terrier, Vida.
  • Bruce Willis owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Wolf Fishbein (Wolfie), after a character in the Woody Allen movie Crimes and Misdemeanors.
  • Raven-Symone owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Dr. Dolittle . The dog appeared with Raven in a photo shoot for Ebony magazine. After he died, she adopted another Yorkie, Shawty.
  • Professional football player Brett Favre owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Jazzmin.
  • Actress Tara Reid owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Stoli.
  • Public relations professional Lizzie Grubman from MTV's PoweR Girls owns two Yorkshire Terriers named Peanut and Crunch.
  • Actress Taryn Manning owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Speakers.
  • Former Chelsea Football Club Manager Jose Mourinho owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Leya. Mourinho was arrested for obstructing police and animal welfare authorities when they attempted to take his Yorkie into quarantine for alleged improper vaccination travel documentation.
  • Actress and model Molly Sims owns two Yorkshire Terriers named Chloe and Poupette

Notes

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