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Yorkshire Terrier

Tags: toy, Small-sized, Adaptable to apartment life

You might not recognize my ancestors back in the 19th-century mills and mines of northern England, where the Yorkie was developed to kill rats -- and was twice my current size (8 inches at the shoulder, 4-7 pounds). But I've always had this long, fine, silky hair -- the butt of jokes about what English woolens from those mills were really made of. And the miners never tied my hair up in ribbons -- although some lost a day's wages betting on which Yorkie could kill the most rats. Subsequent downsizing got the Yorkshire Terrier into the AKC's Toy Group in 1885, as a companion and a "ratter." Our portability makes us the third most popular breed on the kennel club's list of dog registration statistics -- right above a hairy dog that won't fit under an airline seat, the Golden Retriever, in fourth place.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, loyal family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Classy canine
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Energizer doggie
  • Intelligent and ready to learn

Report card

  • Aggressive toward other dogs
  • Strong willed
  • Independent thinker
  • Training can be difficult
  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with daily exercise

What to expect

I need you to know a few things about the Yorkie (and why, as one of the most popular dogs in America, we're so good for the economy). Maintaining those gorgeous coats keeps grooming parlors in business (although you could probably learn to at home). Our strong terrier personalities keep obedience classes filled and fun to watch (start me early, in Puppy Kindergarten, and don't stop until my Canine Good Citizen diploma is on the wall). And our tendency to bark at almost anything makes earplug companies rich (bake a nice pie for the neighbors, and knock twice if they can't hear you).

Watch for

Possible urolithiasis (stones), hydrocephalus ("water" on the brain), keratitis sicca (dry eye), patellar luxation (slipped kneecaps), distichiasis, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and melanoderma.

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