Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, started out life as ratters from Scotland. They were brought to Yorkshire and quickly became popular, especially with the local cotton and woolen mills.
Breeding Yorkies became something of a pastime in the area. One of the most famous show dogs, Huddersfield Ben, set the standard for the breed, resulting in the sweet dogs we have today.
Yorkies are a great choice for people who prefer a hypoallergenic dog that does not shed. They are wonderful lap dogs, although some can be prone to nervousness despite their rough and tumble history. They can be prone to health problems, similar to most purebred dogs, but they have a lifespan of around 13-20 years. Yorkies can be extremely affectionate companions. They are also responsive to training, as they are quick and intelligent due to their background as working dogs once upon a time.
Yorkie puppies are ready to leave the nest and move in with you after they are eight weeks old. When they first live with you, they will sleep a lot! If your puppy does not have the traditional coloring just yet, don't be alarmed. Yorkie puppies do not have the same coat color as the adults. It takes a few years before the colors grow in and are standard. The puppy's coloration will be a dark blue, almost black, before they grow into the famous blue and tan coat of the breed.
Given the small size of the Yorkshire terrier, the puppies are especially delicate and care must be taken when handling them. The puppies are also known for their overactive bladders, so consider the possibility of a pee pad or diaper for your Yorkie puppy. Remember to take your puppy to the vet and make sure it gets all of its shots! Unless the puppy came with information about its medical history, you can assume that it hasn't had all its required vaccinations. Preventative measures are the best way to ensure a happy and healthy dog. Exercise is also recommended, a short walk at least twice a day to let the dog relieve itself and get out in the open air for exercise. This is also healthy for you!
Yorkies need some time to become habituated to human presence and grooming. It's a good idea to have several guests over while the puppy is young, to help prevent them developing nervous habits in later life. However, guests should visit one at a time, as groups may startle the puppy. Eventually, you will be able to habituate your dog to the presence of others. Regardless, a Yorkie is not the best choice for a family with very young children.
Teacup Yorkie Puppies
A teacup dog is one that has been bred to be a miniature version of the regular breed. This type of breeding is not sanctioned by the AKC or other kennel organizations, and remains a controversial topic. Most teacup puppies are four pounds or less, making teacup Yorkie puppies even more delicate than their full-sized counterparts. Since Yorkies already have an inclination towards health problems, this can be increased in the teacup-sized dogs because they are selectively bred. Teacup-sized animals are nothing new in the Yorkie breed. One dog, Sylvia, was a Yorkshire terrier the size of a matchbox! She only lived for two years, but managed to win an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Teacup dogs often have a shortened lifespan, but can occasionally live for up to 16 years, depending on the animal.
Buying and Adopting a Puppy
If your heart is set on buying a puppy, do your due diligence to research reputable breeders. Puppy mills are a real problem, posing a danger to the health of the dogs and perpetuated by people buying puppies. Puppies bought from mills can also have a host of health problems because mill breeders are more concerned with greed than the health of their dogs. Before you commit to purchasing a puppy, find out the seller's background. If it's a puppy mill, walk away. Additionally, avoid purchasing a puppy at a pet store. Most of these are being phased out because the pet shops acquire their animals from mills and don't offer the puppies a good environment prior to purchase.
Your best bet is contacting local shelters or Yorkie rescues. Rehoming a dog is one of the most positive things you can do when you are looking for a new family pet. Many of the dogs are owner surrenders or pets that had nowhere to go after their owner passed on. If you adopt an adult, their temperament is already known so you'll be able to see if the dog is a good fit for you and your family. Helping a dog find its forever home is a wonderful experience for everyone involved. You can find a local Yorkie rescue in your area by searching online, or contacting official Yorkshire terrier organizations for your country to ask whether they know about anyone in your area who is offering rescues for adoption.