6 Things You Need to Know Before You Get a Yorkie
By Deb Gray
The Yorkshire Terrier is an almost perfect dog according to most owners: it’s smart, affectionate and loyal. But like any breed, there are downsides.
At a glance, here are some of the more common concerns with Yorkshire Terriers:
- hereditary health problems that come with any purebred.
- barking too much – they’re Terriers!
- harder to housebreak than many small breeds.
- lots of grooming needed.
- Yorkies can be very needy – they suffer from separation anxiety more than some other breeds.
- They are very fragile – despite their gutsy approach to life, Yorkies can be easily injured
Responsible breeders work hard to meet the high breed standards that national organizations like the CKC and AKC set. (Canadian Kennel Club and American Kennel Club).
They also work hard to reduce the risk of hereditary health problems. Unfortunately, all purebred dogs have in-bred health concerns; and the Yorkie is no exception. That doesn’t mean YOUR Yorkie will get one or all of these diseases; just that they are more common in Yorkshire Terriers.
Patellar Luxation – or “floating” kneecaps. The kneecap or patella, actually slips in and out of place.
Collapsing Trachea – ever heard a really wheezy old terrier? Likely his trachea has started to collapse. The cartilage rings that normally hold the windpipe round, begin to deteriorate.
Portosystemic Shunts (PSS) – also known as a liver shunt, can occur while the pup is still in its mother’s womb. Development is abnormal and the result is, blood from the intestines goes only partly through the liver, and the rest mixes into general circulation. So normal toxins aren’t fully cleared by the liver, and your dog becomes ill.
Intervertebral Disc Disease or ruptured discs: most common in Dachshunds, Yorkies can also suffer from this disease which can result in pain, weakness, paralysis, loss of sensation, and the inability to control urination and defecation.
2. Barking – Yorkies tend to bark a lot!
This makes them excellent guard dogs because they will sound the alarm when anyone gets near, be it day or night. Yorkies tend to be very vocal, protective and loyal.
Despite their small size, they make excellent guard dogs. If this does not sound like something you want to put up with do not buy a Yorkshire Terrier. While this barking problem can be somewhat resolved with proper training, the Yorkie IS a terrier, and barking is bred deep, deep into their characters.
3. Housebreaking problems
Yorkie Terriers are one of the more difficult breeds to housebreak. Some owners never manage to get their Yorkies fully housebroken. Again, proper training can really help: some owners go with litter training, some choose indoor puppy pads for life; others have their Yorkies well trained to go outdoors only, and so on. But whichever method you choose, it takes time and patience. If your schedule is time-starved, a Yorkie Terrier just may not be for you.
Yorkies have silky, continuously growing hair which should be brushed regularly if kept long. Many Yorkie owners choose to keep their dog’s hair cut short.
Either way, the breed requires a moderate amount of routine grooming. Grooming a Yorkie can be time consuming too, but it must be done or you’ll have a very matted, dirty coat quite quickly. One alternative is to keep your Yorkie in a short or “puppy cut.” This cut almost always has to be done by a professional groomer.
The good news is that the Yorkie is just one of many hypoallergenic dog breeds – meaning that hair shedding is minimal. (Please note though, that no animal is 100% hypoallergenic because of dander: material that’s shed from the body of various animals and humans, similar to dandruff. Dander is a big source of irritation for those who are allergic.)
This is something dog owners are seeing more and more these days, naturally as we work harder and longer hours.
Yorkies, who are very affectionate dogs, can really suffer with separation anxiety if they are left alone too long. They need almost-constant companionship and do not like being alone. Left alone for more than a few hours, Yorkies will show their unhappiness by barking, chewing and generally trying to be destructive. If you work all day, you’ll need to take this into consideration and find some ways to offset the problem: perhaps a neighbour or local dogwalker could come int, or you may find TWO Yorkies works well.
Despite their boldness, Yorkshire Terriers are one of THE most fragile breeds around. Many people buy this toy breed because of his cuteness of their small size.
Your Yorkie Terrier can be seriously injured if stepped on or if a larger dog in your home knocks it over by mistake. If you accidentally sit on the dog on the couch for example, you may well kill him.
Everyone in your household needs to commit to being extra careful with a Yorkie Terrier around; and the dog is definitely not one for smaller children. Many breeders in fact, will not sell a Yorkshire Terrier into a household where there are children under the age of 10. Not the your kids mean to hurt the dog, but the Yorkie is just too fragile. Even other toy dogs like Maltese, are much more sturdy.
Hi I’m Deb and I’m passionate about small dogs – Yorkies and Maltese in particular. I’ve loved and raised many Maltese dogs over the years (21 last time I counted them all!) and I now have a yorkie called Tinker Bell, and had a yorkie called Bella recently. When I realized that Maltese and Yorkies aren’t exactly alike, I got really interested in finding lots of yorkshire terrier information… how to train a yorkie (I hope they are easier to train than Maltese), how to raise a yorkie and how to control that big-size personality in the small-size dog! I’ve even learned that some people who can’t decide between a Yorkie and a Maltese — get a Morkie. Yes, that’s right, the hybrid that results when you breed a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese dog. For more about Yorkie Terriers, please visit my work at http://www.growingupyorkie.com Like Growing Up Gotti, just more barking.
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