For Yorkshire terrier owners, also known as Yorkies, their pooches are their whole world. Despite their Napolean complexes (a big personality in a little dog), Yorkies are playful, loyal and highly intelligent dogs. Yet they sometimes do things to scare their owners. Though the first time you see your Yorkie shaking might cause you to panic, there may be a myriad possible explanations.
Yorkies are descendants of the waterside terriers that accompanied Scottish weavers in their migration from Scotland to England in the mid-19th century, reports the American Kennel Club. Despite all of the pampering that they seem to demand, Yorkies have humble beginnings as rat catchers for their working-class weavers. It was popular myth that "the dogs' fine, silky coats were the ultimate product of the looms." Eventually, Yorkies would leave the all-too-exhausting rat race for finer English society.
Their rise to prominent English society should not come as a surprise, because Yorkies have fine features that merit a pedigree. One of the most recognizable features is their coat. Unlike other dogs, Yorkies have no undercoat; incidentally, their hair closely resembles that of humans. This missing undercoat means they are less likely to shed and won't give humans allergies. In other words, they are hypoallergenic dogs. However, this means Yorkies are often more sensitive to the cold than other dogs. They could be shaking from being cold or wet.
Even though Yorkies seek warmth as much as possible, there's no warmth that can compare to that of their humans. Yorkies are very needy dogs that love to be around their family. Many Yorkies have been diagnosed with separation anxiety that can result in unwavering shaking. More generally, Yorkies are sensitive dogs with a range of emotions that can cause shaking. Yorkies might shake because they are happy to see you, excited to go on a walk, jealous that you pay more attention to the cat or just scared.
Yorkies are also prone to a medical condition that can cause them to shake - hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, or the fast drop of blood sugar, is most common in Yorkies from birth to 4 months. Hypoglycemia can be caused by stress, lack of nutrients and even being the runt of the litter. Apart from shaking, Yorkies will exhibit other symptoms like drowsiness, seizures or fatigue. Shaking accompanied by other unusual symptoms, such as vomiting, warrant immediate medical attention.
- VetInfo: Causes of Dog Panting and Shaking; 2010
- PetMD: Yorkshire Terrier; 1999-2011
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Yorkshire Terrier; 2007
- American Kennel Club: Yorkshire Terrier History; 2011
- MyYorkieSecrets.com: All About the Incredible Yorkshire Terrier; 2006-2011
- Ideamarkets.com: The Most Popular Dog Breeds