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Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed

The Yorkshire Terrier (informally known as a Yorkie) is a breed of small dog in theYorkshire Terrier Dog Breed 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 7 pounds (3.18 kg); the standard of this breed does not mention the minimum weight accepted nor does it specify a height.

Appearance

The Yorkshire Terrier breed standard specifies that the dog should have a compact, athletic build suitable for an active lifestyle and should hold itself in an upright and confident manner. It is a short toy dog and weighs next to nothing but still needs daily exercise.

Coat and color

Yorkshire Terriers are a long-haired breed with no undercoat, which means that they do not shed at all unlike 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.

This breed has little to no shedding.

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 standard 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 that makes it feel a bit different and are thus 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, darker at the roots than in the middle, and 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.

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 very 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 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: The Yorkshire Terrier seems oblivious of its small size. It is ever eager for adventure. This little dog is highly energetic, brave, loyal, and clever, with above average intelligence. Affectionate with its master, it can become suspicious of strangers and aggressive to strange dogs and small animals, if not properly socialized. Sometimes they will even attack small rodents such as squirrels or chipmunks, which traces back to their hunting heritage. Some people allow them to get away with behaviour no dog should display. They can become yappy, as the dog does his best to tell you what he wants you to do. They can develop jealous behaviors and become snappish if surprised, frightened or over-teased. They are recommended for older, considerate children, simply because they are so small. Yorkies can be easy to train. However, some Yorkies have a mind of their own and can be quite difficult to train. If given the proper boundaries by owners, training can be easy. Housebreaking requires simple consistency. The Yorkie is an excellent watchdog. When owners display pack leadership to the Yorkshire Terrier, they are very sweet and loving and can be an excellent companion for children. The problems only arise when owners, because of the dogs' cute little size, allow them to take over the house. The human will not even realize it. If your dog has any of the negative behaviors listed above, it's time to look into your pack leader skills. These are truly sweet little dogs who need owners who understand how to give them gentle leadership. If you own a Yorkie who does not display any negative behaviors, high five for being a good pack leader!

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. Sadly, the Yorkie was mauled by the Akita, but survived with only 9 stitches. Unfortunately, this boldness can get Yorkies into trouble, as small dogs can be seriously injured. Due to their small size, the smaller 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, leaking 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. Yorkies are probably one of the most affectionate breeds around.

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 may be more difficult to train than some breeds, due to their characteristic independent nature. The independent mindedness of Yorkies leads some to consider them to be difficult to train.

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 is 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. These tiny ones, sometimes referred to as "Teacups", are often bred only for tiny size, rather than health. Their health is sacrificed by unscrupulous breeders simply for the smaller size, and accompanying higher prices.

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 given sugar in the form of corn syrup and 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.

 

 

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