For this month’s breed post, we have the Yorkshire terrier. One of the smallest breeds in the world, the Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie as they’re more commonly known, may be very small in size but they’re large in personality.
Originally bred to catch rodents in mines, they were also used in hunting to burrow underground for foxes and badgers. If they grow up in a household with other pets, the Yorkie will most likely get on well with his feline or canine companions, but unfortunately the likelihood of him making friends with the family hamster will be very slim. As they were bred to hunt rodents, it’s not an easy instinct to switch off. This is something you may also experience out in the park if you encounter a neighbourhood squirrel.
The average Yorkie weighs only 3-3.5kg. Although a toy breed, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is simply a lap dog. The Yorkie has a great abundance of energy and a real enthusiasm for adventure, and could quite easily keep up with some of the bigger dogs in the park. The Yorkie only requires short walks but will still need a good 15-20 minutes off lead to burn off some excess energy. Without receiving the right amount of physical stimulation, you might find your Yorkie sneaking off in the house and getting himself into mischief.
Like all terriers, without the right rules and boundaries put in place, they will simply take it upon themselves to decide to rule the roost. Yorkies don’t look in the mirror and see a toy breed, they see a leader and are happy to take that role if offered.
Yorkies do tend to get along quite well with children, but more so if they have grown up together.
Small as they are, Yorkies do make quite good guard dogs. These little dogs love to use their voices, and will do so readily if they sense there is a stranger present or their families are in any danger. This is also where good socialisation is so important, as you don’t want to find yourself with a continuously ‘yappy’ dog. If properly socialised, the Yorkie will know the difference between a friend and an intruder, and will not be prone to overly guarding their owners.
They can often develop dental problems so this can be something to look out for. As they have quite a small jaw, their mouth can often become overcrowded with teeth which can lead to problems with tooth decay.
Yorkies also don’t do well in cold climates and can be quite prone to chills, so may require a sweater in the winter months.
If you are looking for a loyal and adventurous companion, the Yorkshire terrier might be the dog for you. Just keep an eye out for that mischievous streak!