Discover how this yorkie is not just a dog, but also an incomparable family. 

Text by Reg Hernandez

Photos by Jeffrey Lim

Anybody who has had the privilege of having a dog as a best friend knows that that relationship is beyond compare.

Recent ‘Facebook Favorite’ champ Kim of Animal Scene’s ‘My Pet’s Life’ contest on Facebook is an example of why Yorkshire Terriers continue to win people’s hearts all over the world. Her fur parents Dennison and Joey Tan shared with us that they wanted her to be a superstar because “she’s got the X-Factor.” And Yorkies indeed have the X-Factor in many ways.

While dog breeds that top the ‘most popular lists’ include large dogs, such as Labradors and German Shepherds, the toy dog Yorkshire terrier pulls its own weight when it comes to prestige and worldwide position of being the most well-loved.

As with a lot of terriers, it is extra vigorous and inquisitive. Their size may be small, but they have gigantic personality. It can be overly enthusiastic about announcing visitors that come to your home. That said, the Yorkie is a very clever dog and takes to instruction rather quickly. Kim has managed to learn a few tricks easily. Besides the usual skills of ‘sit’, ‘shake’, ‘fetch’, and ‘roll-over’, Joey proudly says, “She can dance and she also goes on the treadmill with me.”

The most distinctive characteristic of the Yorkie is their exquisite hair. Yes, hair, not fur! Its steel-blue and tan color is just gorgeous. And, yes, it is more like human hair rather than fur and is less prone to shedding. “I make sure to comb her hair at least once a day, and we usually go to grooming salons every 3-4 months,” Joey explains. And because Kim is considered family, she sleeps with Joey and her husband. Kim’s grooming rituals include, “a bath three times a week, and we clean her feet and brush her teeth every night.”

All this family devotion for Kim exemplifies that exceptional bond that dogs and humans have had over thousands of years. It could be said that the relationship between pet owners and their dogs can be likened to the connection between parents and kids. “Ever since Kim arrived as a Christmas present back in 2014, she has brought nothing but joy to our family,” Joey says. “We don’t treat her like a dog. She is our little girl.”

The Yorkie will easily charm even those disinclined towards dogs. “My husband supports my passion for dogs, but he himself never thought that one day we would be sharing our room with one,” Joey laughs. “Who wouldn’t love that cutie face and ‘Sossy Doña’ attitude?!”

Irrational love and devotion it may well seem to the uninitiated. But just like all of us who have had the privilege of true canine camaraderie, dogs do bring out the best in humans. Joey and Denison know this for sure, “Kim is very special and the love that we give her, we also get back.”  (Additional text & research by CFB)

AT A GLANCE: 

•BREED: Yorkshire Terrier

• CLASSIFICATION: Toy/Terrier

• Also called: Yorkie; Broken Haired Scotch Terrier; Broken Haired Toy Terrier; or just Toy Terrier

• ORIGIN: Rat catching dog in northern England

• GENERAL APPEARANCE: High head carriage and confident manner should give the appearance of vigor and self-importance

• COAT: Hair should be glossy, fine, and silky in texture. The fall on the head is long, tied with one bow in center of head or parted in the middle and tied with two bows

• COLORS: Black and gold; black and tan; steel blue and gold; steel blue and tan

• HEIGHT: Average 6 – 7 inches

• WEIGHT: Average 7 pounds

• LIFE EXPECTANCY: Average 12-15 years

• PERSONALITY: Affectionate, adventurous, sprightly, spunky, “tomboyish”

• GROOMING: Hair is brushed daily and professionally groomed regularly.

• REPRODUCTION: Litters are only 1-4 pups each and birthing is difficult; they often need a C-section

WORKING ORIGINS – It is amazing how this small breed has gotten celebrity and upper crust social status considering its working class history. It is thought that Scottish workers brought Clydesdale or Paisley Terriers to Yorkshire during England’s industrial revolution to catch rats in the textile mills. These dogs could have been crossed with other English terriers like the Skye and Waterside terriers that eventually gave birth to what we now know as the Yorkshire Terrier. It was during the Victorian era that royalty took a fondness for these terriers.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s February 2017 issue.