In 2011, the American Kennel Club announced that Yorkshire terriers were the fifth most popular breed of pet dog. This small, adaptable terrier originates from Yorkshire, England, where it was originally bred to control rats and mice. Today, the “Yorkie” has a reputation as a friendly, if slightly self-confident dog, that exists harmoniously in the domestic environment. As with all pet dogs, it’s imperative to understand the particular requirements of the breed to deliver adequate care.
Give three small portions of fat- and fiber-rich food to your Yorkie puppy each day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Feed only at breakfast and dinner time if the dog is older than six months. Small breeds like Yorkshire terriers grow more quickly than large breeds, and so require a larger amount of energy from fat to thrive during puppyhood. Small breed complete puppy foods are convenient for delivering the optimum nutrients for your dog’s life stage. For dogs over one year old, feed an adult food.
Remove the bowl after ten minutes. This is an adequate window for a small dog to eat a sufficient amount. If there is regularly left over food, reduce the portion size to avoid waste.
Monitor your Yorkshire terrier’s toilet habits. If his stools are wet or runny, reduce food intake. If wet stools persist for more than one day, consult your vet as it can signify the presence of parasites or bowel obstruction.
Take your dog for three short walks per day, no more than twenty minutes at a time. Due to their size, Yorskhire terriers require minimal exercise. If your dog appears exhausted to the point of general lethargy, reduce the walk distance.
Smell your dog’s breath. If you notice a foul odor or change in the natural scent, consult the vet. Yorkshire terriers are prone to tooth decay from a young age. Mitigate the risk of tooth decay by giving your pet dental chews and having your vet brush the teeth during biannual health checks.
Comb your adult Yorkshire terrier’s coat every day with a slicker comb. This removes tangles from his fine, silky coat and prevents matting. Matting is painful for the dog and encourages dirt to gather, which attracts bacteria. The long, glossy coat characterizes the breed and should appear clean and tangle-free at all times. Puppies require minimal grooming until the coat is fully grown.
Observe how your dog walks. A limp or apparent discomfort when walking can signify luxated patella, a painful rear leg disorder common in the breed. If you notice a drastic change in your dog’s gait, consult the vet. Limping or impeded mobility can also be a sign of injury. Yorkshire terriers typically have fragile bones, so bone injury is more likely in this breed than others.
Monitor your dog's water intake. Excessive drinking can be a sign of liver shunt, a serious health problem in which insufficient blood is delivered to the liver, meaning unfiltered blood containing toxins travels around the body. The condition is more prevalent in Yorkshire Terriers than in other breeds.
Monitor your dog's activity levels. If he appears to tire easily or coughs after exercise, this is a sign of patent ductus arteriosus, a potentially fatal yet easily treated heart defect. If your dog displays symptoms, consult your vet.