Yorkshire Terrier – Everything You Need To Know

One of the smallest of the terrier group, the Yorkshire Terrier, also known as Yorkie, is a feisty, fearless, domineering, and affectionate toy-size dog that exhibits all the traits of a faithful terrier. Initially, they were bred as ratters for hunting rats in northern England, and they’ve stuck true to their working-class roots. These bossy pups have tenacious but loving personalities. A dedicated owner can train and socialize Yorkies into delightful companions. Also, their unconquerable spirit makes them excellent watchdogs. 

Yorkies tend to be very local and protective, and despite their small size, these little pups make excellent guard dogs. They are considered ideal apartment dogs but can be stubborn during house training. One of the notable features is their silky-smooth hair that can grow to floor-length, but many people keep the coat in a shorter “puppy cut.” In addition, they might be a better fit for allergy sufferers, but it’s necessary to note that no canine is 100 percent hypoallergenic. However, at heart, Yorkshire Terriers are excellent companions who enjoy pampering and snuggling up to their beloved ones.

Yorkshire Terrier Overview

Yorkies are one of the most glamorous representatives of the dog world. These pocket-size pups will attract attention wherever they go with their long silky coat and perky topknot. Yorkies are affectionate towards their humans, as anyone would expect from a companion dog. However, being true to their terrier lineage, they’re suspicious of outsiders and bark at strange sounds. Hence, considering your neighbors, it’s necessary to tone down their unhappiness and guide them on when and when not to bark. In addition, they also can be aggressive toward dogs, and no squirrel is safe from them.

Apart from their brave and bossy personality, Yorkies have a soft side that needs lots of attention and time with their family. They do better with older children who’ve been taught to respect them than with toddlers and small children. They may become possessive of their owners if a new pet is brought into the home. Being terriers, Yorkies may challenge the “intruder,” and if a battle breaks out, the terrier’s vibrancy is to fight to the death. So, be conscious and take a lot of care while introducing a Yorkie to a new animal.

Yorkshire Terrier Pros and Cons

Good watchdogCan be loud
Affectionate and loyalNeeds lots of grooming
Energetic and entertainingCan be difficult to housebreak

Yorkshire Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Yorkshire Terrier
  • Origin: England
  • Group: Toy Group
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: 7 – 8 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds 
  • Coat: Long, silky
  • Color: Black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, or blue and tan
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Agility, confirmation, watchdog, obedience, ratters, companions, and guard dogs.
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Litter Size: 6 puppies
  • Other Names: Yorkies
  • Breed’s Original Pastimes: Ratters
  • Life Span: 11 – 15 years

History of Yorkshire Terrier

As the name indicates, the Yorkshire Terrier is derived from terrier roots. While the mid-1800s, in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, Yorkie was developed and is thought to descend from other terriers, including the black & tan Manchester, Dandie Dinmont, and Maltese, as well as extinct breeds, like the Clydesdale terrier.

The historical facts of the Yorkies are conflicting and uncertain. Some believe they were bred by working men in Northern England who could not effortlessly keep large breeds yet wanted a feisty companion. Others believe the Yorkie was bred to catch rats that infested mine shafts and as a canine to enter badger and fox burrows. However, another view is that Scotsmen working in Yorkshire wool mills developed Yorkies. The original Yorkies were more significant than those of today. They were miniaturized and became fashionable dogs via selective breeding.

  • In the U.S., Yorkies first appeared in shows during the late 1800s.
  • The AKC recorded its first Yorkie, a female named Belle, in 1885.
  • Yorkies were first registered in the British Kennel Club stud book in 1874. 
  • The first Yorkie breed club in England was formed in 1898.

Yorkshire Terrier Highlights

  • Yorkies are known for being difficult to housetrain. 
  • Crate training is recommended.
  • Yorkies don’t enjoy the cold and are prone to chills, mainly if wet or in moist areas.
  • Yorkies are not recommended for households with toddlers or small kids because of their small size, delicate structure, and terrier personality.
  • Yorkies can have delicate digestive systems and may be picky eaters. 

Yorkshire Terrier Personality

The Yorkshire Terrier is a fun, good-tempered, and devoted companion who is feisty, energetic, affectionate, domineering, and highly bonded to its owners. The sight of a Yorkie is a scene of striking beauty. They are incredible watchdogs but can be snappy towards other kids if not treated gently or respectfully. Some Yorkies might be aggressive toward other small pets, but they live peacefully with dogs and cats if introduced to them from the very initial stage. 

Intelligent and self-assured, the Yorkie combines an endearingly small size and an adventurous terrier nature. In addition, they portray a range of personalities, such as:

  • Mischievous
  • Outgoing
  • Cuddly
  • Perky
  • Charming
  • Playful
  • Lively

You can spot two distinctive looks in Yorkies: with their coats trimmed shorter in a puppy cut or with their silky hair grown out to the ground. The standard color combinations are blue and tan, blue and gold, black and tan, and black and gold. They grow to about 8 to 9 inches at the shoulder level and weigh no more than 7 pounds, with 4 to 6 pounds being preferred. Always be aware of breeders who deliver “teacup” Yorkies. Puppies smaller than the standard are predisposed to genetic conditions and generally at a higher health threat.

Friendliness Overview

Affection level High
Family-friendly Medium to high
Kid-friendly Low to medium
Pet-friendly Medium
Stranger -friendly Low to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living High
Good to new owners Medium to high
Sensitivity level High
Tolerates being alone Low to medium
Cold-tolerance Low to medium
Heat-tolerance Low to medium

Yorkshire Terrier Physical Features

Head: They have a small and flat head with a muzzle and skull in almost equal lengths, black nose, medium-sized dark eyes, and small, V-shaped ears. 

Neck: Moderate neck with tight skin that innately widens towards the shoulders.

Topline and Body: Well-proportioned and compact body with a short topline.

Tail: Docked tail.

Forequarters and Hindquarters: They have straight forelegs and hind legs with round feet and black toenails. 

Coat: The coat is long, glossy, and silky in texture. The coat wraps the dog entirely over its body and legs. These dogs bear gorgeous golden tan hair on the sides of the head, on muzzles, and at ear roots.

Color: Puppies are primarily tan and black in areas like their legs, head, ears, underbelly, and occasionally the shoulders. Adult dogs have combinations of blue and tan, blue and gold, black and tan, and black and gold.

Gait: Their movement is free, smooth, effortless, and agile.

Disqualifications: Other colors or a mixture of colors other than tan and blue. 

White markings except for a small white spot on the chest, not exceeding an inch.

Yorkshire Terrier Temperament

Yorkies are highly energetic, independent, confident, and sometimes stubborn and headstrong. They expect their human family to treat them well. If not, be ready to face their grudge. Yorkies are mischievous beings who love fun and frolic. Therefore, they frequently dig, chew, and exhibit detrimental behaviors when not assigned a job. Hence, it would help if you kept them mentally and physically stimulated. Also, they can get along well with other pets, including cats, only if they socialize with them at an early age. Even though small in stature, Yorkies are real terriers at heart. So, they’ll need limitations to keep them from showing less adorable qualities like separation anxiety, excessive barking, or suspicion toward strangers or other pets. They symbolize boldness and are good watchdogs who adore their family. With a do-it-all perspective and a keen intelligence, they discover and become adaptable, taking on any role you throw at them. 

Yorkshire Terrier Training

Training a Yorkie can be challenging, given their stubborn attitude and agile build. However, you can take advantage of their brilliance, eagerness to please, and endearing nature to ease the training procedure. It is good to offer constant training for your Yorkie to harness their full potential. Also, their training sessions must include a combination to encourage their attention until the end. You can train them in complicated tricks and reinforce their learning positively with praise, treats, and special playtime. 

Since Yorkies are pretty rambunctious, enrolling them for obedience training earlier when they are still a puppy is recommended. You can begin with basic commands like sit, come, and stay. On the contrary, if you’re training an adopted adult Yorkie dog, take it slow and give them time to adapt to your expectations and lifestyle. Here are some of the training activities that you need to do with your Yorkies: 

Trainability Overview

Easy to train Medium
Intelligence Medium
Mouthiness tendencies Low to medium
Barking and howling tendencies Medium
Prey drive Low to medium
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium

Yorkshire Terrier Exercise Needs

Yorkies require a lot of time and space to spend their high energy levels. Thankfully, you don’t have to take them for a jog or a long walk if you have a yard where they can play and run. However, without a yard, you must invest your time in the dog’s park with a leash. However, they can quickly adapt to an apartment if their requirements are fulfilled. Furthermore, early socialization and proper exercise can avoid unnecessary guarding instincts and timidness. Hence, it is vital to encourage them to be occupied mentally. 

Exercising Yorkies are essential mainly for three reasons:

  • To keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • To avoid any other destructive behavior.
  • To keep them away from obesity.

You can meet your Yorkie’s daily exercise needs by:

  • Teaching new tricks
  • Walking
  • Fetching
  • Chasing
  • Playing with puzzle toys
  • Frisbee
  • Herding trials
  • Flyball
  • Hiking

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level High
Exercise needs Medium to high
Intensity Medium to high
Playfulness High

Yorkshire Terrier Grooming

Yorkies are non-hypoallergenic, low-shedder dogs with long, silky coats. If you keep their coat long, they will require brushing every day to prevent tangles and mats. In addition, regular trimming will be needed to prevent it from dragging, and the hair on their head should either be cut short or put in a headband to keep it out of your Yorkie’s eyes. However, to avoid eye irritation, the hair on the hair on their head can be trimmed short or pulled up into a topknot. To avoid this hassle, many owners prefer to keep the coat short. 

Yorkie’s grooming needs are as follows:

  • Bathe weekly to keep their coat beautiful and shiny. 
  • Brush their coat regularly and maintain facial hygiene. 
  • Brush their teeth regularly.
  • Trim their nails once or twice a week using a grinder. 
  • Clean their eyes and ears weekly.

Grooming Overview 

Easy to groomLow to medium
Drooling tendency Low
Amount of shedding Low to medium

Yorkshire Terrier Health

Generally, Yorkies are a healthy breed. A nutritious diet and good physical activity will free them from disorders. However, like all breeds, they are predisposed to develop certain health diseases.

Health Overview

Overall health Medium to high
Weight gain tendencies Low to medium
Size Low

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition occurring when the thigh bones fail to fit aptly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.

Other reasons:

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 


  • Pain  
  • Lameness

Elbow dysplasia: When Yorkies go lame later in life, elbow dysplasia is the most common cause. It’s a malformation of the elbow joint, loss of motion, driving it to deviate, resulting in pain and, ultimately, lameness.

Hypothyroidism: A condition that occurs in Yorkies when their thyroid glands don’t produce enough thyroid hormones. This situation slows down your pup’s metabolism leading to hair loss, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, obesity, epilepsy, and other skin conditions.

Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD) is a genetically transmitted blood disorder characterized by an inability to clot. 


  • Excessive bleeding post-surgery or injury  
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bleeding in the stomach or intestines.

Allergies: Yorkies may be predisposed to skin allergies, which may occur as: 

  • Food-based allergies: If your Yorkie is allergic to specific food ingredients, you can adopt an elimination diet involving gradually removing certain ingredients to which your dog may be allergic.  
  • Contact allergies: When your Yorkie’s immune system reacts adversely. They suffer from contact allergies due to topical substances such as flea powders, dog shampoos, bedding, and other chemicals. 
  • Inhalant allergies: If your Yorkie accidentally inhales airborne allergens like dust, pollen, and mildew and suffers from any signs, they are said to have inhalant allergies. Treatment for these allergies varies with the severity of the disease. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: The gradual deterioration of the eye’s retina marks the progression of this disease. Affected dogs exhibit night-blindness symptoms, slowly progressing to complete vision loss. However, most affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision if they continue to reside in the same environment when they had a vision.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: This condition is generally found in toy dog breeds; also known as Hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome occurs when the dog starts vomiting and has blood in diarrhea. It can be treated by Intravenous fluid therapy. The cause for HGE is unknown; hence there is no known cause; the scan cannot diagnose this.

Patellar Luxation: This painful condition is the falling of the knee cap from its spot in the legs. Signs are dogs feel uncomfortable while hiking or running and kick their leg to set the knee cap in its position. 

Eye problems: Yorkies are inclined to these eye conditions: 

  • Glaucoma 
  • Cherry eye 
  • Entropion 
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis) 
  • Eyelid mass 
  • Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) 
  • Corneal damage 

Portosystemic Liver Shunt: A disorder in which the liver does not get sufficient blood supply to purify it. As the name indicates, blood flow to the liver will be shunted. You can fix this condition through surgery. 

Hypoglycemia: A disease affecting several tiny dogs. It results when a dog’s sugar level drops too low. If you suspect your Yorkie is suffering from Hypoglycemia, make an appointment with your vet. 

Collapsed Trachea: A dog’s trachea is a muscular tube supported by mild cartilage rings. The trachea moves through the dog’s neck to the lungs. A dog pulling too hard on a collar or choking on a chain can cause this disorder. On the other hand, many little puppies are born with weaker or malformed tracheal cartilage. 

Spay or Neuter: In spay, the ovaries or uterus in females is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the male dogs are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

Hyperadrenocorticism: Hyperadrenocorticism, also called Cushing’s disease, is a defect in the functioning of the adrenal glands resulting in excessive steroid hormone production. Excessive thirst, frequent urination, lethargy, and increased appetite are some of the symptoms to detect Cushing’s disease. Consistency with the treatment and regular veterinary check-ups can cure this condition.

Bleeding disorders: Yorkies are prone to bleeding disorders. After several diagnostic tests, the surgery is performed depending on the type.

Recommended Tests for the Yorkshire Terrier

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Yorkshire Terrier Diet and Nutrition

It is recommended to measure food 1/2 to 3/4 cups that are high in quality, dry food to your Yorkies twice a day rather than letting the food on the plate all day long to eat. Since these puppies are potential weight gainers, it is better to watch the quantity of food you offer. However, ensure the diet you feed is measured and tailored to your dog’s size, activity level, age, and weight. Also, limit the treats you give your Yorkie, specifically while training. You can always choose high-quality canine food, either homemade or commercially manufactured. 

Yorkshire Terrier Living Condition 

Yorkies are the most suitable companion puppies who adapt well to their human families. They love to play and adore the company of older children. They are satisfied when they are around their family. On the downside, they undergo separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. Also, they are slightly unfriendly with outsiders but get gelled well with other pets if socialized at an early age. Yet, they have a strong prey drive, making them unsuitable for houses owning a cat. 

Yorkies adapt well to homes with a yard, while smaller homes and apartments pose a challenge. However, if you are an active family who adores exercise and is outgoing, Yorkies are the ones for you.

Did You Know?

  • Classes for the Yorkie breed have been offered in the U.S. since 1878.
  • They became known as Yorkshire terriers in 1870 after a journalist stated that “they should no longer be called Scotch terriers, but Yorkshire terriers for having been so enhanced here.”
  • In its beginnings, the Yorkie efficiently belonged to the working class, specifically, the weavers; facetious comments were made about how the breed’ fine, long, silky coats were the leading product of the looms.
  • The Yorkshire terrier traces to the Waterside Terrier, a “weaver dog.”
  • Yorkies debuted at a bench show in England in 1861 as a “broken-haired Scotch Terrier.”
  • The Yorkie became a stylish pet in the late Victorian era and before.
  • They are more hypoallergenic than other breeds. 
  • Yorkies are a great choice for seniors, people with disabilities, and medical conditions.
  • They are excellent therapy dogs.

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