Adopting a Yorkshire Terrier

If you like small dogs with big dog attitudes, you may want to consider a Yorkshire Terrier.

These dogs are so sure that they are just as big and bad as the other guy, that they will not hesitate to take on a Great Dane. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Yorkshire Terriers aren’t lap dogs.

The Yorkie can cuddle with the best of them. The Yorkshire Terrier is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group. In the show ring, a Yorkie seems to glide across the ground, since the dog’s long, flowing coat hides its tiny feet. Although Yorkies can be as small as one pound, most breeders do not recommend trying to breed dogs this tiny, and for good reason. When dogs are bred to be this tiny, health is often sacrificed for size and weight.

The AKC calls for the Yorkie to be under seven pounds, but does not have a minimum required weight. Yorkshire Terriers have long flowing coats of silver, blue or black hair, with tan on their heads and legs. Yorkie puppies are all born with black and tan coloring.

This breed has dark, intelligent eyes. The Yorkshire Terrier is an ideal apartment dog. Of course, your Yorkie would enjoy having a yard to romp in, but he can survive without it. In fact, some Yorkshire Terriers do not go out at all. These dogs are litter trained, instead. If you do not take your Yorkie for daily walks, you should look for ways to help him get some exercise, such as playing an indoor game of fetch.

If you do have a yard, be sure that there are no gaps under the fence, as Yorkies love to explore. Since these dogs are so small and cute, a Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t always have a chance to get back home before a passerby takes the little dog home, thinking it is lost or abandoned. Yorkshire Terriers are sociable little dogs and enjoy being in the midst of all the activity and bustle of family life. However, these dogs are not a good choice for families with toddlers.

This is not because Yorkies are untrustworthy with children, but because they are delicate little dogs and can be easily injured. A Yorkshire Terrier with a good temperament will allow children to squeeze, poke and pull on him, but it is unfair to subject a little dog to that treatment. Despite the fact that a Yorkie is small, you should still take your puppy to obedience classes. These little guys have a tendency to become stubborn and set in their ways without proper training.

Also, obedience training may save your Yorkshire Terrier’s life if you are able to call him back to you if he escapes out the front door. Yorkshire Terriers have few serious health problems. They do often have dental problems, such as retained baby teeth. Other problems these little guys can have are hernias and hypoglycemia.

Food for your Yorkshire Terrier will probably be your smallest expense. These little dogs don’t eat much. However, you will have to be careful that you don’t spoil your puppy with soft food or he may refuse to eat dry food, which will help you keep his teeth in better shape. Most Yorkies should be groomed at least three times a week to keep their hair from matting. Dogs with silkier coats may only need to be groomed once a week. Also, since Yorkies are prone to dental problems, you should brush your dog’s teeth several times a week.

If you want a pocket sized dog with plenty of spunk, then a Yorkie may be the perfect breed for you.

Two Questions You Must Ask Before Adopting A Dog From A Shelter

Ask these two questions to any animal shelter you’re thinking of adopting a dog from.  The answers may surprise you

“What medical care has already been provided, and should I be aware of… before adopting a dog from you?”

There are certain baseline medical needs that must be met before you take a dog from a shelter: she needs to have been wormed; her blood needs to have been checked for heartworms (in most areas of the country); and her ears and skin need to have been checked or treated for mites and other parasites. And she needs to have had her first vaccinations for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza (DHLPP), as well as bordetella, coronavirus and (if she’s old enough) rabies.

Be certain that any shelter you contact provides at least these basic services. Spaying or neutering is another basic medical requirement that a shelter may or may not provide. Many shelters spay or neuter all dogs six months of age or older before they leave the facility, and that’s ideal for you.

But lots of shelters, understandably, don’t have the money to provide such services, before adopting a dog.  Nevertheless, they’re acutely aware of the importance of stemming canine overpopulation, so good shelters always require adopters to have their dogs spayed or neutered within a reasonable time period after adoption. Some require a deposit, which is refunded upon submission of proof of spaying or neutering, while others give adopters low-cost spaying/neutering certificates from area veterinarians or provide low-cost services themselves.

In some areas, it’s becoming common practice for shelters to spay or neuter all their dogs – even those under the traditional minimum six-month age. Opinions are mixed on this approach to population control. Cities and counties whose shelters alter 100 percent of their animals report a dramatic decrease in the numbers of stray animals on their streets and of animals euthanized in shelters. But some experts believe that medical complications can arise in dogs who are spayed or neutered too young.

If you adopt a dog, make sure she’s been operated on by a reputable veterinarian and is certified healthy before you take her home.

The second question is: “Do you evaluate your dogs’ temperaments, before adopting them out?” At some shelters, you’ll find formal temperament evaluations posted on each dog’s cage that you can read, before adopting a dog. At others, you’ll find staff members who can tell you all about each dog’s personality.

Either approach is fine. What’s not fine is a shelter whose employees know little or nothing about the natures of its animals. Since you’ll have only a limited time to spend with the dogs you meet, you’ll want to find out about their habits, quirks, assets and drawbacks from the people who have been caring for them. Ask whether the shelter does any formal temperament testing of its animals (that is, specific exercises designed to assess a dog’s level of dominance, submissiveness, protectiveness, etc.). If the answer is no, ask whether the staff has spent enough time with the dogs to know their dispositions and to know what kinds of adoptive homes will likely be best for them.