Yorkshire terriers, commonly called Yorkies, have become the third most popular purebred, according to the American Kennel Club Society. This small breed is full of personality and can be described as a large dog in a small body.
Yorkshire terriers are affectionate and loyal to their owners and families, and if raised with children, they get along with them fine. If not properly socialized, Yorkies can be aggressive toward strangers or strange dogs and other animals due to their protective nature. As with all terriers, a Yorkie must have a pack leader who is firm, otherwise it will assume that it is the pack leader, which leads to undesirable behaviors such as barking and nipping. They are alert and make excellent watchdogs.
Yorkshire terriers can be stubborn and difficult to train, but as long as the owner is consistent, patient and firmly sets boundaries, a Yorkie can be trained as easily as any other dog. Because they are cute and small, some owners allow them to get away with behavior that would be unacceptable for another dog, such as chewing, nipping or messing in the house. When walking on a leash, a Yorkie should be trained to walk beside or behind its owner. If allowed to lead, it will assume that it is the pack leader.
For a small breed, Yorkshire terriers have a lot of energy and are active. Daily walks or play time in a large fenced yard will reduce undesirable behaviors such as barking, chewing and pacing.
Yorkshire terriers should be fed a diet mostly consisting of a dry dog kibble that is specifically formulated for small-breed dogs. Dog kibble formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs may be necessary in some cases, as Yorkies have delicate digestive systems. Wet dog food can be fed, but Yorkies are prone to dental problems because of their small mouths. Bones or chew toys that clean the gums and teeth are highly recommended, as is routine tooth-brushing or scheduled cleanings from a veterinarian.
Regular grooming is necessary to keep a Yorkshire terrier's coat in good condition. Because Yorkshire terriers shed little or no hair, their coats should be trimmed every four to six weeks and should be brushed daily to avoid matting. Some owners choose to trim their Yorkies' coats themselves.
Yorkshire terriers are prone to certain health problems, including bronchitis and eye infections. They have a poor tolerance for anesthetic and a delicate digestive system. Due to their fragile bones, Yorkies are also prone to slipped stifle, herniated disks or other spinal problems that can lead to paralysis and bone fractures.