Breed profile:The Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier : South Africa’s most popular pedigree dog

The gorgeous Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie as he is affectionately called, is an alert, boisterous little dog with plenty of spunk! He may be small in size but he makes up for it with his big personality. The Yorkie enjoys plenty of close companionship with his family and often builds a strong bond with one special person.

A member of the Toy group, the Yorkshire Terrier was developed in the mid-19th century in industrial England where he was used to control the rat populations in the coal pits and cotton mills. Breeders in the West Riding area of Yorkshire are credited with refining the Yorkshire Terrier’s size and perfecting the glorious silky, steel blue and golden tan coat which is the breed’s most distinguishable characteristic today.

An engaging, playful breed, the Yorkie has a fine, straight and glossy coat. While it does need regular attention to prevent those dreaded tangles, it is non-shedding, so your home will not be covered in hair. He is very suited to smaller homes, but someone must be with him during the day.

Fact File: Yorkshire Terrier

Origin: Great Britain,

Inside or Outside?: Ideal house dog, suited to smaller properties; alert watchdog

Life span: 14 years

Weight: Up to 3.3kg; height: not specified

Coat type: The breed’s fine, glossy, silky and straight coat comes in steel blue (body) with rich golden tan on the head, face, chest and legs

More Information: 

-Thrives on human companionship

-Socialisation and training recommended

-Good leash training for walks; moderate exercise, garden play/walks

-Extensive grooming for show dogs; twice-weekly brushing for companion dogs

-Feisty, alert, boisterous, loves affection, self-confident

Temperament and lifestyle

The Yorkie’s pleasant temperament has made him a sought-after companion throughout the world. He may be small in stature but he is an alert little dog, often with an air of self-importance. His boisterous, feisty nature makes him a joy to have around. He needs company and enjoys a close family. He is an affectionate breed.

They don’t fare well on their own and are very suited to active seniors or people who are home during the day. A larger Yorkie makes a lovely family pet and will get on well with the children, while a very tiny Yorkie would be more suited to a single person. Tiny Yorkies are not good pets for children and are susceptible to both hereditary and non-hereditary health problems. They can also be quite fragile.

For a well-balanced temperament, start socialisation with dogs and people at an early age and be consistent in your training. The coat is non-shedding, making the Yorkie a good breed for allergy sufferers.

Exercise and training

Despite his size, the Yorkie is an active dog with moderate exercise needs. He will enjoy daily walks on lead and interactive garden play – like playing fetch with a ball. The Yorkie is trainable, but possesses a bit of an obstinate streak, so keep things positive and consistent. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded with good behaviour.

Yorkies have been successfully trained to compete in obedience, agility and carting. If you want to get involved in any sport with your Yorkie, you must start with basic obedience training.

Daily care

Regular brushing and feeding your Yorkie puppy a good diet is an essential start to developing a good coat in your adult dog. Speak to your veterinarian about the right diet for your new puppy. To keep an adult Yorkie in full coat, you’ll need to pay attention and be prepared for hard work. It takes daily brushing and regular bathing and conditioning to keep the coat in outstanding condition. Show dogs require expert presentation for the show ring and the coat will need to be wrapped in special paper. Yorkies who are kept as companions may have their coats clipped into a more manageable length.

Brushing your puppy’s teeth will help to keep them healthy, so start early to get him used to this. Some Yorkies retain their milk teeth. Your vet can remove these while your dog is under anaesthetic during his or her neuter or spaying procedure.


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