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The Yorkshire terrier is a small dog breed of the Terrier group, developed in the 1800s in the historical area of Yorkshire in England The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy Coat. For adult Yorkshire terriers, the importance is placed on its coat colour, its quality, and its texture. The hair must be glossy, fine, straight, and silky. Traditionally the coat is grown-out long and is parted down the middle of the back. Yorkies have very soft coats. Yorkies have two types of coats; a silky or a soft. The silky coats are the coats of the show dogs. The soft coats are short and do not need to be brushed very often. From the back of the neck to the base of the tail, the coat should be a dark gray to a steel-blue. On the head, high chest, and legs, the hair should be a bright, rich tan, darker at the roots than in the middle that shades into a lighter tan at the tips. A Yorkie puppy at birth displays the characteristic of black/steel black and tan coat. Adult Yorkshire terriers that have other coat colours than the above, or that have woolly or extra fine coats, are still considered to be Yorkshire terriers, and will be just as good of a companion as a dog with the correct coat. In addition, care may be more difficult for “woolly” or “cottony” textured coats, or coats that are overly fine.
A newborn Yorkie puppy is born black with tan points on the muzzle, above the eyes, around the legs and feet and toes, the inside of the ears, and the underside of the tail. Occasionally Yorkies are born with a white “star” on the chest or on one or more toes. These markings fade with age, and are usually gone within a few months. A white “star” on the chest is generally an indication that the puppy will be a good coat grower. It may take up to three years or more for the coat to reach its final colour.
The typical fine, straight, and silky Yorkshire terrier coat has also been listed by many popular dog information websites as being hypoallergenic. In comparison with many other breeds, Yorkies do not shed to the same degree, only losing small amounts when bathed or brushed. All dogs shed, and it is the dogs dander and saliva that trigger most allergic reactions. Allergists do recognize that at times a particular allergy patient will be able to tolerate a particular dog, but they agree that “the luck of the few with their pets cannot be stretched to fit all allergic people and entire breeds of dogs. The Yorkshire terrier coat is said to fall out only when brushed or broken, or just said to not shed.
If the coat is the correct silky texture, maintenance for it is relatively easy, requiring a daily brushing and a bath every month. Owners may trim the fur short for easier care. For shows, the coat is left long, and may be trimmed to floor length to give ease of movement and a neater appearance. Hair on the feet and the tips of ears can also be trimmed. The traditional long coat is extremely high maintenance. To prevent breakage, the coat may be wrapped in rice paper, tissue paper, or plastic, after a light oiling with coat oil. The oil has to be washed out once a month and the wraps must be fixed periodically during the week to prevent them from sliding down and breaking the hair.
The ideal Yorkshire terrier character or “personality” is described with a “carriage very upright” and “conveying an important air”. Though small, the Yorkshire terrier is active, loves attention and should not show the soft temperament seen in lapdogs.
The Yorkshire terrier breed is bold and active. They are brave for such a small breed. They are, however, also quite loyal and affectionate. Yorkshire terrier puppies are especially loving and cuddly with their owners in their first 2-3 years.
Low blood sugar in puppies, or transient juvenile hypoglycaemia, is caused by fasting (too much time between meals). In rare cases hypoglycaemia may continue to be a problem in mature, usually very small, Yorkies. It is often seen in Yorkie puppies at 5 to 16 weeks of age. Very tiny Yorkie puppies are especially predisposed to hypoglycaemia because a lack of muscle mass makes it difficult to store glucose and regulate blood sugar Factors such as stress, fatigue, a cold environment, poor nutrition, and a change in diet or feeding schedule may bring on hypoglycaemia. Low blood sugar can also be the result of a bacterial infection, parasite, or portosystemic liver shunt. Hypoglycemia causes the puppy to become drowsy, listless (glassy-eyed), shaky, uncoordinated, since the brain relies on sugar to function. During a hypoglycaemic attack, the puppy usually has very pale or grey gums. The puppy also may not eat unless force-fed. Hypoglycemia and dehydration seem to go hand-in-hand, and force-feeding or injecting fluids may also be necessary. Additionally, a hypoglycaemic Yorkie may have a lower than normal body temperature and, in extreme cases, may have a seizure or go into a coma. A dog showing symptoms should be given sugar in the form of glucose and be treated by a veterinarian immediately, as prolonged or recurring attacks of hypoglycaemia can permanently damage the dogs brain. In severe cases it can be fatal.
The life span of a healthy Yorkie is 12-15 years. Extremely under-sized Yorkies (1.5kg or less, and often promoted as “Teacups”) generally have a shorter life span, as they are especially prone to health problems such as chronic diarrhoea and vomiting and are more easily injured. Even the normal small size of a Yorkshire terrier means that it can have a poor tolerance for anaesthesia, and it is more likely to be killed or injured by falls, other dogs, and owner clumsiness.