Please don't let your Yorkie know the truth. He has no idea he's a little dog. While the average Yorkshire terrier spends his time as a companion pooch, his ancestors were varmint-hunters. Shocking but true -- your darling's progenitors killed rats and mice. He remains a tough tiny terrier.
Make no mistake -- your Yorkie might only weigh 5 pounds, but he's a terrier, through and through. He's brave, curious, active and loves to be with his person. Although he can't save you from harm, he'll certainly warn you about it. The Yorkie's a good little watchdog, although he tends to bark a lot in general. He may also try to protect you from people you don't want protection from, such as your significant other. Let him know gently but firmly that he must accept other people in your life. If your SO gives him an occasional treat, it likely seals the deal.
He's not the easiest dog to housebreak. It will happen sooner or later, so be consistent and patient with him. If you take him to obedience school, you might be surprised at how well he does. He's a smart little (that word again) guy, who can shine at dog sports like rally and agility, competing with other dogs of his stature. Although he's fine with a short daily walk and is a good choice for apartment dwellers, he's also up for more exercise. He can't keep up with joggers, but if you want to take him on longer walks, he should be fine as long as you work him up to it.
Playing Well with Others
Yorkies generally behave themselves with cats, as well as smaller dogs. The problem is with larger dogs -- meaning 90 percent of the canine world. Because your Yorkie doesn't think of himself as little, he might take on a bigger dog if dog politics intervene, with unfortunate or even deadly results for him. Protect him from his size delusions. He's not a good dog for small children, because little ones may accidentally harm a tiny Yorkie. Older kids who learn the Yorkie handling ropes are OK, but he's too small for roughhousing, even if he wants to participate.
It's important to purchase your dog from a reputable breeder, not from a pet shop or via the Internet, where the dog's origins may be murky. Yorkies are prone to various health issues. These include luxating patellas, in which the kneecap pops out of joint; dental problems; hypothyroidism, or insufficient thyroid hormore; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which results in rear leg bone degradation, and various eye issues. A good breeder should give your puppy a health guarantee.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.