Yorkshire Terrier FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Yorkies
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
How big are Yorkshire Terriers?
Yorkshire Terriers are "supposed" to stand about 7-8 inches at the shoulder and weigh 3-7 lbs, but some individuals are smaller, and many are larger.
Have you heard these phrases: Teacup Yorkie? Tiny Toy Yorkie? Extreme Tiny Yorkies? Some breeders use these cutesy, made-up phrases as "marketing terms" for smaller Yorkshire Terriers. That's all they are -- marketing terms. There is only one Yorkshire Terrier breed, and whether an individual weighs 3 pounds or 6 pounds or 10 pounds, he's still just a Yorkshire Terrier. Some are simply smaller or larger than others. The larger individuals are actually sturdier and often make safer pets.
In fact, I do NOT recommend Yorkies under 4 pounds. These individuals are great risks in the health department. Their bones are extremely fragile. There is not enough room in their mouth for healthy teeth. Their internal organs are often weak and can fail suddenly. They tend to have great difficulty regulating their blood sugar and can suddenly fall into hypoglycemic comas.
Responsible Yorkshire Terrier breeders never try to produce these tiny high-risk creatures. If a tiny one pops up in one of their litters, they do their best to find the best home that can keep it alive, yes, but they try hard not to produce them in the first place.
IRRESONSIBLE breeders, on the other hand, deliberately breed tiny, high-risk Yorkies because they can sell them for high prices to unsuspecting owners who don't know how fragile they are, or to owners who want one because it's "adorable" or to satisfy their mothering instincts. Don't be one of these people. If you reward irresponsible breeders by giving them your money, you are encouraging them to keep producing tiny, sickly, short-lived creatures.
Please be a responsible buyer and stick with Yorkies who will mature at 4 pounds and up, who have the best chance of living a normal healthy life. In this way, breeders will be motivated to produce these sizes. (You can tell that a puppy will mature at 4 pounds and up if he already weighs at least 2 pounds at 10-12 weeks old.)
Where does the Yorkshire Terrier come from?
A smallish terrier in Scotland, he was brought to Yorkshire, England, by Scottish weavers and miniaturized even more into a true lapdog size.
What kind of temperament and personality does the Yorkie have?
I give you my honest opinions about Yorkshire Terrier temperament and personality -- positives AND negatives -- in my dog breed review, Yorkshire Terrier Temperament (What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em).
What colors do Yorkshire Terriers come in?
The official Yorkshire Terrier clubs and breeders who show their dogs in the conformation ring assert that the ONLY correct colors for Yorkies are tan with a blue saddle, or gold with a blue saddle. (The blue is supposed to be dark steel blue, but is often more silvery blue.)
But "correct" or not, Yorkies do come in other colors:
- Tan (or gold) with a black saddle. This color hearkens back to Yorkie ancestors in the 1800s -- working terriers who were black and tan.
- Solid tan (or gold). These Yorkies have very little blue saddle.
- Liver or chocolate (brown). These Yorkies have inherited a color-modifying gene that changes their blue pigment to brown (any shade from light brown to chocolate brown). All of their blue pigment is affected, including their nose and the pads of their feet. Even their eyes are hazel or yellowish.
- Particolor. These Yorkies are white with colored patches.
The official clubs and show breeders disqualify all these colors from showing and breeding. Black and tan Yorkies, solid tan/gold Yorkies, and liver/chocolate Yorkies are considered very faulty, while the particolors are considered crossbreeds.
Personally speaking, I don't have a problem with any of these colors. Even if the white gene was introduced by cross-breeding, genetic diversity is a good thing in living creatures and I don't view cross-breeding as evil (read my article, The Truth About Crossbred Dogs).
In general, as long as a breeder can meet my 15 Family Companion Guidelines (read my article How To Find a Good Dog Breeder, I don't much care whether a particular color is approved by a club or not. And you can still register these dogs with the AKC and compete with them in activities such as obedience and agility.
How much grooming do Yorkshire Terriers need?
Their feathering needs to be kept combed to avoid mats and tangles, which can be quite painful, as they pull on your dog's skin whenever he moves. The worst places for mats and tangles are on their face, behind their ears, behind their front legs (in their "armpits"), and on their chest, stomach, and groin. Their legs and paws also need to be kept combed. And you should clip their groin and anal area short so it stays clean and sanitary when your dog goes to the bathroom.
Several times a year, their feathering should be trimmed short to make it easier to comb. You can do this yourself, or have a professional groomer do it.
If you want to minimize brushing and keep your Yorkshire Terrier looking like a perpetual puppy (very cute!), you can shear the coat short several times a year.
How much do Yorkshire Terriers shed?
Very lightly. Yorkshire Terriers produce very little dander and are one of the best breeds for allergy sufferers.
Do Yorkshire Terrier ears stand up on their own, or do they have to be cut or taped to make them stand up?
Yorkshire Terrier ears prick up naturally -- they're never surgically cut (cropped) like in a Doberman Pinscher.
Are Yorkshire Terriers born with a short tail?
No, they're born with a normal-length tail, which is then surgically cut when the puppies are just a few days old. This practice, called docking, is done today purely for fashion. Many countries have outlawed it as cruel, so you will see Yorkshire Terriers in England and Australia, for example, with their natural tails. In the United States, if you don't want your Yorkie's tail docked, you will need to find a breeder who's willing to designate a specific puppy for you when it's just a few days old and not dock its tail. Good luck!
How long do Yorkies live, and what health problems do they have?
Typically 12-15 years, but they're not necessarily healthy throughout their long life! You should definitely read my full article, How Long Do Yorkshire Terriers Live?
Do crossbred or mixed breed Yorkshire Terriers make good pets?
They do make good pets, yes, but first you need to know what a purebred dog really is -- and what crossbred and mixed breed dogs really are. You might think you know, but I bet you'll be surprised by my articles: The Truth About Purebred Dogs, The Truth About Crossbred Dogs, and The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs.
Can you help me decide whether the Yorkshire Terrier is the best breed for me?
Yes, I offer personal consultations on choosing the best breed for your family and lifestyle. Learn more about my Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Do male dogs or female dogs make better pets?
Ah, let the debate begin! Honestly, male Yorkshire Terriers have pros and cons, and female Yorkshire Terriers have pros and cons. Visit Male Dogs versus Female Dogs
If I just want a dog for a pet, not for showing or breeding, does it matter whether he has AKC registration papers?
First you need to know what registration papers really mean -- and don't mean. You might THINK you know -- but you might be wrong! Find out the truth about AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?.
There's an adorable Yorkshire Terrier puppy at the pet shop. The store manager assures me they only buy from responsible breeders. Could this be true?
No. There are no responsible Yorkshire Terrier breeders who would ever place one of their Yorkshire Terrier puppies in a pet shop for resale. To find out more about pet shop puppies, visit Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store.
How do I find a good Yorkshire Terrier breeder?
It's hard! The sad truth is that the vast majority of people offering Yorkshire Terrier puppies for sale are unknowledgeable, irresponsible, completely clueless -- or all of the above. Visit Dog Breeders: How To Find a Good Breeder.
How do I pick the best Yorkshire Terrier puppy from a litter?
You can do puppy personality tests. Visit How To Choose a Good Puppy.
I'm interested in adopting a dog rather than buying from a dog breeder. How do I find Yorkshire Terrier dogs for adoption?
I just got a new Yorkshire Terrier. Which pages should I read first?
- Yorkshire Terrier Health, which includes my advice on feeding, vaccinations, and health care. These pages are very important, because if you start your Yorkshire Terrier puppy off on the wrong foot, he will probably experience health problems later on. Starting off RIGHT is essential!
- Training Yorkshire Terriers, which includes my advice on respect training, housebreaking, and socialization. Again, you must start your Yorkshire Terrier puppy off on the right foot by teaching him what he needs to know and you must avoid doing the wrong things with him so that he doesn't develop bad habits that will be much harder to fix later on.
What's a good training schedule for training Yorkshire Terrier puppies? What things should I teach, and when?
Here's the puppy training schedule I use for Yorkshire Terriers: Puppy Training Schedule.
How do I housebreak my Yorkshire Terrier?
The key to housebreaking your Yorkshire Terrier is confinement, confinement, confinement. Visit Housebreaking Your Puppy or Adult Dog.
My Yorkshire Terrier has some behavior problems I'd like to solve.
Respect training solves behavior problems much better than obedience training. Visit Respect Training For Puppies and Adult Dogs.
What's the best dog food for Yorkshire Terriers?
Homemade dog food. Visit The Best Dog Food For Your Dog. If you can't feed homemade dog food, there are only a few (very few!) commercial dog food brands I recommend. Visit The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Dog.
I have to take my Yorkshire Terrier to the vet soon for shots. Which vaccinations does he really need?
The schedule of vaccinations that dogs really need has changed dramatically -- but most vets are not telling you the truth about this! Don't let your vet give your Yorkshire Terrier any more shots until you've read my article on Puppy Shots and Dog Vaccinations.
What are the pros and cons of spaying and neutering my Yorkshire Terrier, and when should it be done?
Spaying and neutering are often recommended too early, which can lead to health problems later in life. Visit Spaying Your Female Dog or Neutering Your Male Dog for the straight scoop on the safest (and riskiest) times to spay or neuter.
My vet doesn't agree with some of the things you've written about health care.
My advice is based on the latest research by veterinary immunologists, and it's the same advice given by most licensed veterinarians who belong to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. If this advice sounds different from what your own veterinarian is telling you, it's a good bet that he or she does not belong to the AHVMA. Visit Think Your Veterinarian's Good? Here's How To Tell.
I have a question about Yorkshire Terriers that I don't see answered on your web site.
It's probably answered in one of my books:
- If it's a question about training, check out Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
- If it's about health, see 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
- If it's about buying or adopting a dog, you want Dog Quest – Find The Dog Of Your Dreams.
Copyright © 2000-2013 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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