The Ultimate Guide on Yorkie Puppies – Everything You Need to Know
Yorkies are small dogs with big personalities. They are good lap dogs but can also be stubborn and show an attitude. They walk with comfortable poise and are not unafraid to raise their heads and stand their ground.
Below is an overview of everything you need to know about Yorkie terriers.
The Yorkshire terrier is believed to be a crossbreed of other terriers like the black and tan Manchester, Dander Dinmont, waterside terrier, Skye terrier, and maltase. However, their exact origin is not clear.
Some people claim that the dog breed was developed by Scotsmen who brought it to England, while others believe it was bred in England. Nevertheless, Yorkies were quite popular in England during the Victorian era. They were used in mines to catch rats and enter fox burrows. They were also used as hunting dogs due to their tenacious personality.
The original Yorkie terries were much bigger than the ones we know today. Over the years, leading to the late 19th century, they were miniaturized through selective breeding. They entered America in the late 1800s as beautiful companion dogs.
Yorkies are tiny dogs. They are 6-7 inches tall and weigh between 2-7 pounds. Although some males may be slightly taller, there isn’t much difference in size between males and females.
Their body is compact and short. They have a level back, and their tail is docked upwards and slightly higher than the back. This small breed of dogs has a small head that is flat at the top and a medium-sized muzzle. Their ears are V-shaped and erect.
Their most notable feature is their coat. Yorkies have long, straight, and fine fur. It is longer at the top of the head, and some Yorkshire terrier owners like to tie it with a ribbon for a dashing appearance.
The majority of Yorkies have a black coat on most parts of their body with sections of tan coloring. However, the hue of the black and tan color may vary from one Yorkshire terrier to another, depending on their genetic composition. The black tends to be bluish in some, while the tan can be golden brown in others.
Yorkies can be categorized into different types, depending on their color and size. Since a Yorkie’s coat takes up to 3 years to fully develop, you may not tell your Yorkie’s true color until they are matured.
Types of Yorkies
- Black and Tan Yorkies. They do not have any graying genes. Most of the torso is black, while the legs, chest, face, and inside parts of the ears are tan.
- Black and Gold Yorkies. They have one greying gene, which makes the tan parts of their body lighter. They closely resemble the black and tan Yorkies, except the tan parts are gold.
- Blue and Tan Yorkies. They also have a single greying gene. But, instead of it affecting the tan coat, it lightens up the black parts, making them appear bluish. Their coat stands out as it looks shimmery and bright. Also, their tails are usually brighter than the rest of the body.
- Blue and Gold Yorkies. They have two sets of graying genes that brighten both the standard black and tan Yorkie colors. The coat color combination is quite common in adult Yorkies. The coat is darker at the root and brighter at the tip.
- Parti Yorkies. They are mainly brown and tan but with white or chocolate sections across the body. The white color is caused by a recessive pebald gene passed down from both parents. However, not all Yorkies with a piebald gene have white patches.
- Blue Yorkies. While most Yorkies have either of the above five color combinations, a few are born with a completely blue coat. Unfortunately, most die within a year of birth, and those that do survive tend to be sickly and miserable.
- Black Yorkies. There are no purebred black Yorkies. Those that exist are usually crossbred.
- Red-legged Yorkies. They are black with red parts in the legs, head, tail, and chest. They usually have two copies of recessive genes passed down from their ancestors. Their coat tends to be stiff and wiry.
- Chocolate Yorkies. They are entirely brown due to a recessive gene known as the b allele gene. While purebreds can have a chocolate coat, it is an indication that the dog is crossbred in some instances.
- Teacup Yorkies. A teacup Yorkie is just like other types of Yorkies except that it is much smaller.
Yorkshire terriers are feisty. They are intelligent and self-assured. Yorkies are like high-spirited toddlers. They are energetic and domineering yet want lots of attention. The lapdogs love to cuddle and spend quality with their owners. They also love to be pet and pampered. They are possessive and like to please the owner.
Yorkie puppies are also quite territorial. They do not like to share their toys or space. They often act aggressively or attack other dogs, including a large dog. They cannot be kept as a pack with other breeds.
They get along well with other terriers such as the paisley, waterside, toy fox, Skye, and Clydesdale terrier. However, they are not afraid to stand up for themselves even against a larger dog like an Australian shepherd and older retrievers.
Generally, they are friendly to children. They consider them equals and like to play with them. However, if a child does something the dog doesn’t like, it can become snappy and even bite them.
A Yorkshire terrier is an excellent watchdog as not knocking on the door, or nearby can go unnoticed. They are barkers, which can be a nuisance if they are not well trained as they can bark excessively.
Life Expectancy and Life Cycle
Like most small dogs, Yorkie puppies have 12-15 years of life expectancy. However, it is not uncommon for some to live up to 18 -20 years. Their exact lifespan depends on their health status and how well they are taken care of.
Similar to other toy dogs, Yorkie pregnancies last 58-68 days. Younger Yorkies usually have one puppy per litter, while more mature ones can have 3-5 puppies per litter.
Unlike mature Yorkies, Yorkshire terrier puppies cannot deliver puppies naturally and have to undergo a cesarean section. Unfortunately, they do not tolerate anesthesia well, making the procedure risky for them.
Newborn Yorkie puppies are fully dependent on their mother as they have no senses and can’t move around. They begin to develop their senses between two and four weeks of age. At around 5 weeks, they are also to walk and bark. They can be separated from their mother from week 8.
In the early days and months of puppyhood, between 8 and 16 weeks, they are easily overwhelmed by intense sound, which can cause them to go through a fear stage. After that, they become accustomed to their surroundings and are eager to explore and learn. You can take them out for car rides or outdoor activities.
Adolescents are six months to two years old. At this stage, their personality begins to show. They exhibit dominance and independence. If they are not yet spayed or neutered, they may also exhibit sexual behaviors. If you have not yet trained your Yorkie, you must do so in this stage as it will be hard to do so in adulthood.
After two years, a Yorkshire terrier puppy is considered an adult dog. They have fully grown anatomically, and their personality is full-blown. Past the age of 10, Yorkies begin to show signs of aging, including compulsive behaviors, loss of interest, forgetfulness, stiffness, sight loss, and deafness. They may also become sickly. They require more care and attention in their senior dog years.
How to Care for a Yorkie
Since they are small, Yorkshire terrier puppies do not require a big space. They do well even in smaller apartments as long as they are well trained and provided with essentials. A comfy bed, food, pee pads or mat, and toys are just some of these essentials. They shed, so you may need to clean your home more regularly, especially during peak shedding seasons.
Yorkies travel well as long as you provide appropriate conditions. They especially like riding in a car. Although you can take them along on a flight, they do not like being put away in the cargo area.
Health and Vet Care
Yorkies are generally healthy dogs. However, certain environmental, anatomical, or genetic conditions can predispose them to diseases.
Like most toy breeds, Yorkies are prone to hypoglycemia – a life-threatening condition where the blood sugar levels drop drastically. It is more rampant in puppy Yorkies, up to five months.
Since Yorkie puppies are quite playful, they expend lots of energy. Therefore, ensure they are well fed and hydrated throughout the day. You may also offer them sweet water or syrup to help keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Pancreatitis is extremely common in Yorkies and can be life-threatening. Usually, it is caused by a high-fat diet that causes inflammation in the pancreas. Common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite.
Yorkies are also prone to periodontal disease due to their small jaws and overcrowded teeth. Other common health problems include collapsed trachea, hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes disease, portosystemic shunt, and luxating patella.
Most Yorkie diseases can be prevented through a healthy diet, exercise, and a safe environment. If you notice any health issues with your Yorkie, see a vet immediately to diagnose and treat it.
In case your Yorkie has a genetic condition such as portosystemic shunt, fragile bone, progressive retinal atrophy, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia, they will require close monitory and regular vet visits.
While some conditions can be fully treated, others are lifelong and require specialized care. Keep a record of your pup’s health condition and vaccinations. Ensure your Yorkie puppy gets all their vaccinations in time.
Yorkies require regular grooming. Its hair needs to be brushed daily. Apply conditioner to the hair as brushing it while dry can cause it to break. It should also be trimmed regularly. If left unattended, your Yorkie’s hair can grow up to two feet long, making it difficult to clean and brush.
Bathe your Yorkie weekly and trim their nails. Brush your Yorkie’s teeth daily to prevent tartar from building up on the teeth. Make grooming time a fun and rewarding experience for your Yorkie.
Since they are stubborn, many dog owners find it difficult to train them. However, the training success rate is higher if you start training early. The best recommended age is between 8 weeks to 6 months. When training them, you need to be firm and patient in equal measure.
Yorkie dog training includes obedience training, house training, potty training, and socialization. When training a Yorkie, the keys to success include an early start, consistency, repetition, and positive reinforcement. Create a favorable training environment by eliminating distractions. You can train the Yorkie yourself or hire a professional.
Yorkies require a well-balanced and nutritious diet. It should be low in fat and high in high-quality proteins. Dry food is preferred as wet food can cause digestive issues. However, if your Yorkie has a problem eating dry food, mix it up with a bit of wet food.
Unless your pup is allergic to grains, incorporate some into their diet in small quantities, e.g., oats, quinoa, and barley. Studies show that a diet containing grains can help prevent dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.
Offer them small, frequent meals – at least three scheduled meals per day. Their small bodies can only accommodate small portions of food at a time and leaving them without food for too long can cause hypoglycemia. Ensure that the diet meets their daily recommended calorie intake depending on their body size and age.
Due to their high energy levels, Yorkshire terrier puppies enjoy exercise and playing. They require at least 30-40 minutes of exercise per day. They enjoy walking, running at a moderate pace, and toy games such as fetching a ball.
Use a harness instead of a collar when walking the dog, as a collar can cause the trachea to collapse. Maintain a steady space to prevent the dog from getting distracted. Do not over-exercise your dog and watch for signs of exhaustion.
Yorkshire terrier puppies are a perfect companion dog for the right dog owner. Although they are entertaining and high-spirited, they can also be quite stubborn. They are mostly healthy but can be susceptible to certain diseases due to genetic, health, and caregiving factors. If you consider getting one, understand that they require quite a bit of patience and proper training, but it will be worthwhile.