The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog that was first bred in Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills. As such, the dog is bold, inquisitive, and loyal to its owners. As with many small dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier can be prone to dental problems, tracheal collapse, and luxating patella. The breed may also be susceptible to portal shunts, which can cause systemic toxicity. The Yorkshire Terrier lives 14 to 16 years, with the smallest of the breed living a few years shorter.
Primary Health Conditions of the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier can suffer from diseases of both the teeth and gums. These infections can then spread through the bloodstream to cause other health problems. Regular dental care at home and the veterinarian’s office is required. This small breed is also subject to tracheal collapse when a genetic defect weakens the tracheal rings. Breathing difficulties or a honking cough can result. Keeping the dog from overexerting itself is the best prevention, and if the condition advances, surgery may become necessary. Portal shunts are a hereditary disease in which blood is not properly filtered by the liver, which is necessary to remove toxins. Stunted growth, seizures, and coma are possible, and surgery can be used to correct the problem.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier is, like many small dogs, susceptible to luxating patella, or the slippage of the kneecap. The condition can cause pain and limping in the dog, leading to decreased activity. Surgery can be used to correct the problem, although the disease can be managed in some dogs with weight control and leg slings. The Yorkshire may also be prone to Legg-Perthes syndrome, in which the head of the femur degenerates, causing walking difficulties and pain. Surgery can treat this condition as well.
Yorkshire Terrier Exercise and Walking Needs
The Yorkshire Terrier is a lively dog but its small size necessitates only short walks and exercise bouts to keep the dog well conditioned and happy. Much of this exercise can be gotten inside, even in an apartment, as the dog chases toys and plays with its owners. All dogs, however, require daily walks to interact with their environment. A Yorkshire Terrier that receives daily exercise starting early in life can avoid some of the bone and joint troubles that are common to the breed.
Yorkshire Terrier Nutritional Needs
The Yorkshire Terrier is prone to dental disease and as such should only be given a high quality dog food, never fed from the table or given sweets. A dry dog food with small sized kibbles will be preferred by the Yorkshire Terrier, and chewing this food will help to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth. Care should be taken to match the dog’s food portions with its age and activity levels. The Yorkshire will lead a longer, healthier life with good weight management and proper nutrition.