Modern-day Yorkshire terriers are companion dogs, some even carried around in oversize purses by doting owners. Terriers are diggers by instinct; they're also fearless and full of energy. A Yorkie thinks of himself as much bigger than he is. For sure, your Yorkie is much more than an attractive accessory.
You've already noticed that your little guy is smart and curious. For a tiny dude, he's brave and a good watchdog. Maybe too good -- once he starts yapping, he's hard to stop. He adapts well to many situations, making him a favorite for frequent travelers who want portable dogs to bring along. He's not that good with small children -- for one thing, little people may play too rough with him; also, since he's protective of his people, a child the dog doesn't know could unwittingly get in trouble with the dog.
Small-dog owners may not be as concerned with training their dogs as much as those who own larger breeds. Little guys like Yorkies just don't have the potential to cause as much damage as their bigger canine cousins can. However, housebreaking is another story. Yorkies can be tough to house-train. When house-training your puppy, try taking him outside to do his business about 10 minutes after a meal. Praise him like crazy when he gets it right. Some Yorkie owners train their dogs to go indoors on newspapers. Not only is this convenient for owners, it also creates a demand for newsprint journalism.
If you decide to invest in obedience training for your Yorkie, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Not just a dog that is better behaved -- and perhaps listens to your command to stop barking -- but also a dog who genuinely enjoys and is good at various canine activities. If given the opportunity, Yorkies do well in agility and other canine competitions.
A Yorkshire terrier's small size makes him a perfect dog for apartment living. Yorkies don't need a lot of exercise, but they need companionship. A quick walk around the block may suit him just fine, but don't ignore him when you're at home. If you want to take him on longer outings, that's also OK. He'll love you for it.
Unlike some other terriers, Yorkies and cats usually do well together. Maybe that's because the majority of kitties are bigger than the average Yorkie. Other dogs are a different story. Your Yorkie may be just fine with them, but remember that he thinks of himself as one of the big dogs, and an actual larger dog can quickly puncture his illusions as well as his body. Because the Yorkie is so tiny, even friendly dogs that are bigger can harm him while playing.
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.