Why “Yorkies” Make Good Family Dogs
For people with older children. The “Yorkie” is an intelligent and active breed of dog that transmits an air of importance. The Yorkshire Terrier loves attention and is very loyal.
The Yorkshire Terrier does not have the typical mild temperament seen in most lap dogs. This breed is bold and excitable. The Yorkshire Terrier is very brave and makes a good watchdog.
This dog can be very affectionate with his family. It is not impossible to raise young children and a Yorkie successfully, but a Yorkie can easily be overwhelmed by loud voices and quick movements and can become aggressive as a defense. Young children can accidentally roll over, step on, or drop the small dog, causing serious injury.
Where did the Yorkshire Terrier come from?
The Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire and Lancashire, in the north of England. In the mid-19th century, many people came to England from Scotland to look for work, bringing with them several varieties of small terrier dogs.
They bred the dogs together and out of all the breeding there was a very successful new breed that came to be known as the Yorkshire Terrier. Instantly popular for its size, character, and color.
Today’s Yorkies originated from two of three possible parents. A male named Old Crab and a female named Kitty, or a third bitch whose name was not well documented and is now missing.
In 1860, an award-winning male stallion named Huddersfield Ben was the most desired Yorkie for breeding. He became famous for his great poise and obedience, it was what people wanted the Yorkie to represent. Their cubs define the breed as we know it today. But only one of her cubs continued the legendary recognition that her father won such an award and acclaim in show business. Huddersfield’s puppy Ben’s name was Mozart.
Huddersfield Ben was a champion before the Yorkshire Terrier was introduced to the United States. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878, making the Yorkie one of the first 25 breeds to be recognized at the club’s establishment. Americans liked the Yorkie because of its popularity with the English, and the United States held Victorian customs in high regard at the time.
Yorkshire Terrier Health Promotion
The Yorkshire Terrier can be predisposed to some health risks common to the breed. Not all dogs will have these health problems, so it is crucial to follow up with a veterinarian to find out the general health of the puppy or dog you have. Many breeders will be able to tell you about the health problems the puppies will be predisposed to based on the health of their parents and should test the puppies to treat and avoid any problems. The Yorkshire Terrier can have the following health problems, either inherited from birth or acquired through the natural aging process.
Distichea (Tab out of place). The eyelash usually grows poorly and can cause constant irritation and tearing of the dog’s eye. It is usually treated by manual extraction, electrolysis, or surgery.
Den hypoplasia (malformation of the vertebrae) causes pain, but can be treated by having the dog wear a brace for several months and surgery if necessary. However, the treatments may not be fully effective and surgery comes with big caveats for these little dogs due to their small size.
Legg-Calve-Pethes syndrome (degeneration of the femur bone), treatment requires surgery.
Patella luxation (sliding patella) can be painful and is also treated with surgery.
Portosystemic shunt is (malformation of the portal vein which is a main vessel for bringing blood to the dog’s liver), where it is detoxified of impurities, similar to the human circulatory system. Just as the system does not work properly in dogs with portosystemic shunt, the “dirty” blood continues to circulate through the heart, brain and all other major organs. This can be corrected by surgery.
Tracheal collapse (progressive weakening of the walls around the trachea). As a result, the dog usually begins to have a cough that sounds like a “goose honk.” The vet can often prescribe cough medicine and medications to help open the lungs and make breathing more effective. However, in later stages, surgery may be the only option.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Probably because this little energy has a high rate of metabolism, it is better to have a constant source of energy. Most vets would probably recommend feeding two small meals a day rather than one larger meal.
Establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian over time is essential to the health and longevity of your dog, regardless of breed. I recommend annual visits even when there is nothing obviously wrong with your dog, just to promote the dog’s health. Prevention is always better than having to undergo treatment when it is available.