The little Yorkie is energetic and brave; he thinks he’s in charge. Because of his dominant personality, training is essential. Yorkshires are prone to certain health issues, such as early tooth decay and collapsing tracheae. Grooming is necessary because of the Yorkie's long coat.
Yorkshires are aggressive toward other dogs and possessive of their masters. If you own a Yorkie, you need to establish yourself as the pack leader early in your pup's life. Begin walking him at an early age and train him to heel -- to walk beside you, not ahead of you. He may bark at approaching dogs, so teach him basic commands. Regular exercise and consistent discipline is a must. Agility training is a good choice for this intelligent dog. It will prevent him from being too attached to you. Attachment to owners can cause wariness with strangers.
Because the Yorkie is prone to tooth decay, dry food is better than wet food to help minimize tartar and plaque. Brush his teeth at least once a week with dog toothpaste (don't use human toothpaste). Scrape his teeth once a month with a dental scraper. Talk with your vet on how to use the scraper. Plan on having his teeth professionally cleaned at the veterinarian's office. After the cleaning, the vet may give you a prescription for antibiotics.
The trachea or windpipe connects the throat to the lungs. Its purpose is to direct air into the respiratory tract. If the cartilage rings in the trachea flatten, the trachea collapses. When Yorkshire cartilage rings lose their stiffness, they can't keep a circular shape. If your pup breathes through his mouth, has a raspy sound or coughs all the time, he may have a collapsing trachea. Contact your veterinarian. Corticosteroids or surgery are the treatments for a collapsing trachea.
The Yorkshire's hair grows quickly, so grooming is essential. According to the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, the Yorkie should be bathed every one to two weeks. Use a quality shampoo and condition the hair after shampooing. Trim the hair around the ears, feet and rectum regularly. Brush the Yorkie's hair daily to prevent matting. Some Yorkshires' hair is very fine, and it mats easily. Plan on scheduling regular professional grooming to keep the coat healthy and mat-free.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.