Yorkshire Terrier


Yorkshire Terrier

Physical Characteristics

The Yorkshire Terrier is a dog with a long, straight coat, evenly distributed on either side of the body from the nose to the tip of the tail. Its hair is dark steel blue from the base of the skull to the base of the tail. His head and chest are tawny. Other colors exist, but are not recognized by the breed standard. It is a small dog that can weigh a maximum of up to 3,2 kg. (1)

The International Cytological Federation classifies it among the Approval Terriers (Group 3 Section 4)

Origins and history

Like most terriers, the Yorkshire Terrier originated in Great Britain where it was used to control the overgrowth of rats or rabbits. The oldest observation of this breed dates back to the middle of the 1870th century. It takes its name from the county of Yorkshire in the north of England and it was finally adopted in XNUMX.

It seems that the Yorkshire terrier originated from a mix between Scottish dogs, brought in by their masters looking for work in Yorkshires and dogs from this region. (2)

Character and behavior

According to the classification of Hart and Hart, the Yorkshire terrier is classified among the dogs with high reactivity, medium aggressiveness, low learning ability. According to this classification, it is the only terrier that is not in the category of very aggressive, reactive dogs whose training is neither easy nor difficult. (2)

Yorkshire’s common pathologies and illnesses

Like many purebred dog breeds, Yorkshire Terriers have many health issues. Among the most common are portosystemic shunts, bronchitis, lymphangiectasia, cataracts and keratoconjunctvitis sicca. However, oral diseases represent the first reason for veterinary consultation of all ages. (4)

Oral hygiene is therefore a priority for the Yorkshire terrier. Brushing teeth is the classic preventive measure for good oral hygiene, but it is not the easiest act for the owner to perform. There are therefore alternative means, including food or non-food chewing bones (based on collagen), as well as specific foods. In any case, the appearance of a tartar plaque should be watched because it can go as far as gingivitis or loosening.

Portosystemic shunts

the portosystemic shunt is an inherited abnormality of the portal vein (the one that brings blood to the liver). Thus, some of the dog’s blood bypasses the liver and is not filtered. Toxins such as ammonia for example, are then not eliminated by the liver and the dog risks poisoning. Most often, the connecting shunts are extrahepatic the portal vein or a left gastric vein towards the caudal vena cava. (5)

The diagnosis is made in particular by a blood test which reveals high levels of liver enzymes, bile acids and ammonia. However, the shunt can only be found with the use of advanced techniques such as scintigraphy, ultrasound, portography, medical resonance imaging (MRI), or even exploratory surgery.

Most dogs can be managed with diet control and medication to manage the body’s production of toxins. In particular, it is necessary to limit protein intake and a laxative and antibiotics. If the dog responds well to drug treatment, surgery may be considered to attempt the shunt and redirect blood flow to the liver. The prognosis for this disease is usually quite bleak. (6)


Lymphangiectasia is an abnormal distension of the lymphatic vessels. In Yorkie, it is congenital and particularly affects the vessels of the intestinal wall.

Diarrhea, weight loss, and fluid effusion in the abdomen in a predisposed breed such as the Yorkshire Terrier are the first signs of the disease. The diagnosis should be made by a biochemical examination of the blood and a blood count. Radiographic or ultrasound examinations are also necessary to rule out other diseases. Finally an intestinal biopsy should be performed for a complete diagnosis but is often avoided due to the health of the animal. (7)

At first, symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal edema can be treated with medication. Then, the goal of treatment is mainly to allow the dog to regain a normal protein intake. In some cases, modification of the diet is sufficient, but in others, drug treatment will be necessary. A balanced, highly digestible, low-fat diet can therefore be a first step towards improving animal health.

See the pathologies common to all dog breeds.


Living conditions and advice

The Yorkshire terrier’s lifespan is around 12 years, but can reach 17 years! Be careful, therefore, when you engage in the adoption of this dog that English speakers call the Yorkie.

You will have to enjoy grooming if you adopt a Yorkshire terrier. Indeed, they must be combed every day, unless the hairs are cut short. Also be careful as their fine coat does not provide much protection from the cold and a small coat may be necessary. Regular dental care is also a must, as this breed is at risk for premature tooth loss. (2 and 3)

In addition to dental problems, Yorkshire terriers often have a delicate digestive system, with vomiting or diarrhea. Particular attention must therefore be paid to their diet.

These dogs have a strong tendency to bark, which makes them an excellent sitter for your home or apartment. And if barking bothers you, it can only be addressed through education.

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