Based on the AKC registration statistics, it seems that the Yorkshire terrier is becoming a very popular breed. Considering that Yorkies were originally bred in England to catch rats, they sure have come a long way. This onetime rodent catcher now finds itself keeping company with the stars and suburban families. Celebrities have taken a liking to this particular breed of purse pooch and families have made this breed a top choice for a canine companion. If you own a Yorkie, or are thinking about adding one to your life, read the steps below to become informed about caring for this pint-sized breed.
Step 1: Keep your Yorkie within the recommended weight guidelines of 4-7 pounds. After all, who wants a heavy purse pooch? Maintaining this recommended weight shouldn’t be difficult for dog owners who commit to purchasing a high quality dog food for their terrier. Yorkies should be fed several small meals a day to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, which this breed is at risk for. Also, be careful not to give too many treats to this breed; it can be hard to resist their charm and confidence. Yorkies don’t need a lot of exercise to stay trim and slim, but Yorkie owners should commit to limited exercise, such as one walk a day.
Step 2: Make your Yorkie a constant companion. This is not to suggest that the Yorkie is a high maintenance breed, but they do require a lot of daily interaction. If you’re unable to incorporate this breed into your daily activities, then it might not be the breed for you.
While you don’t have to carry them in your purse all day long, Yorkies do appreciate being in the center of the action and they might retaliate if left home alone too long. Plan to have a dog walker or pet sitter on your phone list if you’re unable to spend a lot of time with your Yorkie.
Step 3: Plan for a regular grooming routine. Okay, so maybe the Yorkie is a high maintenance dog! This breed is known for its long, fine, silky coat and Yorkie owners should take pride in maintaining this attractive feature of the breed. Yorkies should be groomed regularly to avoid tangling and matting and should have the hair around their ears and feet trimmed for a neat appearance.
Step 4: Know that this small dog has a big personality. While Yorkies may weigh less than 10 pounds, they certainly don’t blend into the background. Yorkies tend to be very protective of their owner and while they are not necessarily aggressive, they certainly aren’t meek. This personality trait can get a Yorkie into trouble, as its small size will put it at an extreme disadvantage when it confronts another dog. Hold on tight to your Yorkie as they have been known to jump from their owner’s arms in an attempt to protect them, only to be injured by the jump itself.
Step 5: Teach your Yorkie some training commands. Remember, the Yorkie was once trained to clear rodents from farms; they are intelligent enough to receive commands. Your Yorkie should have no problem quickly picking up training commands such as sit, stay, etc. You might even want to try assigning your Yorkie a “job” in your home to keep him stimulated. It would be worth your while to enroll in an obedience class with your Yorkie. It will be time well spent and it will prove to be a bonding experience with your new family member.
Step 6: Be aware of health issues that this breed is prone to. Yorkies are genetically predisposed to health issues affecting their spinal cord, femur, and kneecaps. They have also been known to suffer from issues with their trachea and eyelashes. Make sure you schedule regular visits with your veterinarian to stay informed about the overall health of your Yorkie.
If you’re able to commit to the steps above then you’re probably ready to have a Yorkie as a companion. With regular care and constant interaction, you and your Yorkie can plan to celebrate many birthdays together. The lifespan of the Yorkie typically exceeds 10 years when given the proper care and attention.