The Yorkshire terrier was named for the place where it is believed to have originated from, Yorkshire, England. When they were originally bred they were much larger than they are today. The smaller size was achieved by selective breeding. They were originally bred to chase and kill small rodents like field mice.
Because of their long hair women use to use them as feet warmers during church services. They have now become a fashion statement with woman carrying them in their purses and dressing them for all occasions. The fist known showing was in a dog show, where the standard characteristics are the same as today, was in 1870. The American Kennel Club admitted the Yorkshire terrier to the AKC toy group in 1878.
The dog usually is six-seven inches in height and weighs an average of seven pounds. The have a general life span of 12-15 years. They are judged on their overall characteristics. This includes their hair. The coat should be like fine silk, be ultra long with a part down the spine.
It should fall on either side of the body and lay straight. The tail, which has been docked, should be level with the back. The Yorkshires head is considered flat, the muzzle length is medium with a black nose, and the teeth are regular. The "V" shaped ears can either stand erect or semi-erect. The limbs of the dog are straight and the feet are round with black toenails.
The coat is tan in color and the body and tail are considered steal blue. These dogs are high energy and very curious which can get them into trouble. But they are a very loyal breed, especially towards their owners. They are very brave, quite clever, and affectionate.
They tend to be a little hardheaded and demanding. They will need lots of attention from their owner. Their disposition is usually very loving and sweet. If they are startled or scared they may become snappy. Yorkshire terriers are a little fragile; falls could easily lead to fractures.
They can have problems in the spinal and hindquarter areas. They can herniated the disks and suffer from paralysis. Early tooth decay is also something to watch out for.
They are prone to bouts of Bronchitis. A Yorkshire terrier does not require a lot of exercise, making it a good breed for apartment type housing. You should give it opportunities to run and play, though.
They like the warmer climates because they are sensitive to the cold. Although they shed little to no hair you should brush your Yorkshire regularly, preferable daily but at least once a week. This will help keep the coat shiny and tangle free. Their hair should be trimmed occasionally. Make sure you clean their teeth to help prevent tooth decay.
Lee Dobbins writes for Dog Breeds 123 where you can learn more about all breeds of dogs as well as see photos of the Yorkshire Terrier.