Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier: Things to Be Aware Of

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Last Updated on July 19, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter

Since the mid 19th century this little breed has been acclaimed worldwide for its childish behavior. Let’s get to know them more closely.

A love for dogs and the desire to caress and adore them dates back thousands of years. The relationship between humans and dogs has been traced back to somewhere around 13,000 BC. A dog was found buried with two men near Oberkassel, Bonn dating about 15,000 years ago.

Today, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which is the french name for World Canine Organization, has found more than 339 breeds of dogs, most of which we lovingly keep as pets.

The Yorkshire Terrier— An Introduction

It’s pretty hard to describe all about Yorkshire terriers in a short article, but let’s start with some basic facts.

The Yorkshire terrier, affectionately known as the Yorkie, is best known as a tiny accessory dog. However, Yorkies used to be the prized ratting dogs for miners and weavers who emigrated to England from Scotland in the mid 19th century. Today’s Yorkshire terrier is a member of the AKC toy group and leads a much different life from its ancestors.

As one of the most popular breeds, Yorkies are exclusively companion dogs who do not like to be left alone. Yorkies are known to follow their owners from room to room like little shadows. They are excellent companions for seniors but are happy in families of all sizes. They are fearless, bossy, dynamic, intelligent, and lively. It is important to train a Yorkie early as they are prone to excessive barking.

Yorkshire terriers are small dogs typically not weighing more than 7 pounds. Their long and silky coat of fur can appear silvery, goldish, and sometimes even blueish. Their coat should be brushed daily to prevent tangles. Many owners opt for an easy-to-manage short-clipped fur style.

Yorkshire terriers are sweet dogs with big personalities and lots of love to give, making them an ideal dog for anyone.

What Do You Feed Them?

Getting some food from a supermarket or from a local market is something most people do to feed their Yorkie. But researchers are revealing excellent facts about foods you can feed your Yorkie.

The first thing to know is that the food should not be a ‘feed grade’ (something that you wouldn’t like for yourself and something that is made from dead or diseased animals like fowl); it should rather be human-grade food (one that is prepared from human-grade ingredients).

The second thing is that you should not only feed your Yorkie one or two kinds of food. Instead, a rotating selection of food can ensure a balanced diet. It also prevents them from growing fussy or allergic to that food. Many of us don’t know that Yorkshire terriers are allergy-prone.

The third important thing is that you should try, if it is possible at all, to feed your Yorkie homemade or human food. This is going to keep them away from many undesired diseases like pancreatitis and liver shunt (which we’ll talk about shortly afterward).

The best practice is to feed them three small meals a day, heat the food a bit before serving, and not give them feed-grade food.

Sleeping and Other Routine

Like other breeds, Yorkies very easily adapt their habits and daily routines with their masters. It should not, therefore, be hard to include a Yorkie into your schedules. You can walk them, play with them, and set up any routine for them without having to worry whether they can cope with it. It takes only a few days for them to learn.

Unlike other puppies, sleeping less and then spending lazy hours in bed is what Yorkies like most. They need around 14 hours of leisure a day. This includes their naps during the day. Nap sessions generally last from 10 minutes to an hour. They are just like little babies and need an affectionate guide to be able to sleep and play on your routine.

Sometimes you might find unusual behavior in them like untimely sleeping and craving for food. Don’t panic because the solutions are really simple. Inspect his bed and make it comfortable, then check out the food and change it if necessary.

Health Issues

There are three major types of diseases your Yorkie can suffer from:

  • Inherited diseases
  • Congenital diseases
  • Acquired diseases

Among the most common inherited and acquired health problems are as follows.


Hypoglycemia is when there is an abnormally low blood sugar level and is very common among Yorkshire terriers. They are most prone during their first five months but older Yorkies can also contract hypoglycemia, though at a lower rate and severeness. This is common especially when they have liver disease and during their pregnancy.

Some of the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia are:

  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Confused behavior
  • Tremors
  • Weakness

Legg-Perthes Disease

In general terms, this disease is a hip-joint problem as the bulb (head) of the femur gets weak due to the lack of blood supply. This problem can further aggravate deformations of the femur. Once a Yorkie starts limping and suffering pain due to this disease there is only one effective treatment left: surgery.

Skin Allergies

Exposure to chemicals, molds, fleas, pollens, etc. can cause skin allergies. There are basically three types of triggers: through contact, inhaling, or ingesting. Some types of unusual allergies caused by bee stings or wasp stings can be life-threatening. You can catch this problem when you find excessive itching, scratching, irritation, or hair loss with your Yorkie.

Retinal Dysplasia

This common disease creates vision problems in your Yorkie but has no major impacts other than some added blind spots. A thorough eye check-up can confirm this disease.

Unfortunately, this problem does not have effective treatment so once it is detected, you’ll have to make your dog used to living with it. The only thing you can do to make its life easier is to keep everyday things like water, toys, and familiar furniture in their own places and move them as seldom as possible.

Liver Shunt

This disease causes obstruction of blood flow to the liver due to a portal vein abnormality. This leads to a further hematological complexity: unrefined blood flowing to the brain, heart, and other parts of the body.

Seizures, jaundice, behavioral changes, muscular weakness, loss of appetite, vision loss, cognitive issues, and severe weight loss are some symptoms of a liver shunt. If you don’t take prompt action at the first sight of one or more symptoms, this disease can be life-threatening.

Kneecap Dislocation

The Yorkshire terrier has got a rather fragile structure. Being naturally brisk and restless, they are prone to kneecap (patella) dislocation. When this vulnerability is coupled with congenital complexity, the probability of having its kneecap popped out of the knee joint increases.

The Yorkie will likely give out a painful scream and stop walking for a few minutes when suffering from this problem. In the primary stage, this complexity does not bother them for long and the kneecap relocates automatically or with a little physical therapy.

But in chronic cases, when the dislocation recurs more frequently and for almost no reason, it must be considered seriously. You may even need to call for a surgical operation for a permanent correction of the tendons and tissues around the kneecap.

Collapsed Trachea

One of the deadliest generic problems that are seen mostly in small-sized breeds is having an abnormally narrow windpipe or trachea. The weakness of rings that hold the windpipe causes this complexity.

Anyone or more symptoms like wheezing, troubled breathing, gagging or frequent coughing indicate a collapsed trachea. Dogs with this problem need to be handled carefully (described later on). Unfortunately, there is no permanent or complete remedy for this physical complexity.

Some Other Special Care and Precautions

There can be some other responsibilities that you must carry out for your little loving buddy. Most owners are unaware of one or more of the following points:

  1. There must be a defined place for the Yorkie (exclusively allocated for him) to stay at night or when you are away. Making your whole house his resting place creates some inevitable confusion and complexity.
  2. Regular maintenance like washing, brushing up, nail trimming, coat care, and dental cleaning should be carefully performed on a regular basis otherwise undesirable health issues may often occur.
  3. Regular exercise like walking and fun activities can ensure your Yorkie’s sound health.
  4. Some important precautions that most people ignore are as follows:
  5. Never connect a leash to its collar or you might cause a collapsed trachea, endangering its life.
  6. Whatever your dog’s age, you need to puppy-proof the house removing any opportunities to taste or chew anything unsafe.
  7. never let your playful Yorkie jump from heights. As mentioned, these breeds easily suffer from patella luxation and therefore must be refrained from frequent jumping and leaping from heights.
  8. You need to make a routine physical check-up and continuously monitor your little friend’s mental health as well. They are excellent extroverts and express themselves in amazing ways. Therefore, reading their mental condition should not be difficult.

The lively and feisty Yorkshire terrier can be one of your best friends in your family. Some people even like them because of their sweetly domineering attitude. However, be aware of the common diseases they are prone to so that you can catch any symptoms early and get treatment early!

Have a nice time with your little Yorkie!

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About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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