The Yorkshire Terrier or ‘Yorkie’ is a favourite with people who prefer a very small dog. In spite of his size he is often described as feisty. In the past terriers were bred for hunting and many have retained this trait. Due to his size and popularity the Yorkie is often pampered unnecessarily, but he is better behaved and happier if treated simply as a dog. The Yorkie’s long, silky coat needs careful, regular grooming, so if this is something you are not happy to do, the Yorkie is not for you.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 9.6% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS40.24
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- The Yorkie’s long, silky coat can get in the way of him fully enjoying life if it is not cut or clipped. It will harbour dirt and dust, become easily tangled and matted and prevent him seeing perfectly.
- The extremely small versions of the breed tend to be more fragile, so a larger type may make a better family or companion pet. There is a risk of leg fractures occurring due to the Yorkie’s small, delecate bones.
- The extreme small size of his mouth can cause poor dentition and the retention of baby teeth.
- There is a risk of leg fractures occurring due to the Yorkie’s small delicate bones.
- Eye disease: Hereditary Cataract (HC) (annual testing); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) (gradual loss of vision); Primary lens luxation (PLL) (annual testing)
- Chiari malformation Syringomyelia (CMSM)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA prcd)
- Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles – causes intense itching)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heart disease: Myxomatous degeneration of the mitral valve (also known as endocardiosis, chronic valvular disease)
- Tracheal collapse (collapse of the breathing tube)
- Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap)
- Craniel cruciate ligament disease (causes pain and lameness of the hind limb)
- Distichiasis (abnormal eyelashes which can damage the eye)
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (developmental disease of the head of the femur, causing severe pain and lameness)
- Urolithiasis (stone formation in urinary system)
- Necrotising encephalitis (inflammation of the brain, causing progressive neurological symptoms and death) (autoimmune disease)
- Chronic hepatitis (gradual loss of liver function)
- Dry eye
- Cancer: intracutaneous cornifying epethilioma
- Hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
- Syringomyelia (a painful neurological disease where pockets of fluid collect in the spinal cord)
- Portosystemic shunt (an abnormality of the blood circulation, resulting in blood from the heart bypassing the liver and entering the general circulation – waste products accumulate in the blood and have toxic effects on the brain and other organs – causes chronic malaise, pain and eventually dementia)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: