Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

These energetic little dogs are known for their spunky, determined natures. "Yorkies" were bred in the 1800s to catch rats in clothing mills in Yorkshire England and were the beloved pets of working-class weavers before winning over people from all walks of life. With their petite frames and silky, glamorous fur, it's easy to assume they enjoy pampering, but Yorkshire Terriers are often called "tomboy toys" because they love being in the thick of any activity.


Other Names

Yorkshire Terriers are also commonly called Yorkies.


Yorkshire Terrier Mixes

Yorkshire Terrier mixes are commonly available from shelters and rescues, possibly due to their tendency to bark. Yorkshire Terrier mixes can share common traits with any number of other breeds, but will likely resemble Yorkshire Terriers in at least some physical characteristics and personality traits. Though Yorkies are one of the best dogs for people with allergies, it's possible a Yorkshire Terrier mix will not be as hypoallergenic. Also, most shelters do not do DNA testing on their mixed breeds, so breed heritage is usually a best guess based on characteristics and any information shared when the dog is surrendered.


If you have your heart set on a Yorkshire Terrier mix, locate a shelter that does genetic testing on mixed breeds, or let local shelters know you are interested in AKC-registered Yorkshire Terrier surrenders. Keep in mind, even with proof of Yorkie ancestry, each dog's personality can differ from the breed standard based on their unique genetics, experiences, training, and socialization.


Common Yorkshire Terrier mixes include Maltese, Poodle, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Schnauzer, and Jack Russell Terrier.

Physical Description

Coat

The long, silky coat of the Yorkshire Terrier is more similar to human hair than fur. The hair on a Yorkies' body is long and straight, and must be trimmed for neatness and to prevent tripping. For competition, the AKC requires the hair on a Yorkie's head be tied in one bow on top of the head, or parted down the middle and tied with two bows. The coat colors are black and tan, black and gold, blue and gold, and blue and tan.


Height

Average Height: 7-8 inches


Weight

Average Weight: 7 pounds

Breed Standard & History

Yorkies are compact dogs, with a short back. They carry their heads high, indicating confidence and intelligence. They have a small muzzle, dark eyes and V-shaped ears that stand up.


Yorkshire Terriers are descendants of Waterside Terriers, which were themselves crosses between rough-coated Black-and Tan English Terriers and Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers. They were brought to Yorkshire by weavers moving south from Scotland and used as "ratters" in textile mills. The breed first appeared in benched dog shows in England in 1861 under the breed name "Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier." Their name was changed to "Yorkshire Terrier" after reporter Angus Sutherland suggested they should be named for the place where the breed's distinguishing characteristics were perfected.


AKC Breed Category

Toy Group

Personality

General Temperament

Yorkies are boisterous, brave little dogs with a spring in their step. They are always willing and eager to play, though they also enjoy plenty of lap time on the couch.


Family Life

Are Yorkshire Terriers Good with Kids? Yorkshire Terriers can be good with kids, but it requires some training for both the dog and the children. Yorkies should be socialized to be comfortable around children from an early age. Kids should also be taught gentleness around Yorkies because of their small size and fierce personalities. A Yorkshire Terrier will protect themselves if a child is too rough or doesn't notice when the dog needs a break.


(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)


Are Yorkshire Terriers Good with Other Pets? Yorkies are tolerant and even friendly of other pets when socialized with them from an early age. At the dog park, Yorkies tend to be civil, though they will become aggressive towards any size dog if they feel threatened.


Protective

Yorkies can be highly protective of their families and their territory.


Are Yorkshire Terriers Good Guard Dogs? Yorkies will bark loudly and at length to alert you to the first sign of visitors to your home.


Energy Levels

Yorkshire Terriers are moderately energetic. They require a few walks per day and some playtime to stay healthy.


Specific Concerns

  • Prone to excessive, loud barking.
  • Difficult to house train.
  • Can be stubborn and independent-minded.
  • Can be picky eaters.
  • Don't enjoy being alone.

Requirements

Indoor 

Yorkshire Terriers are exceptional indoor dogs. They are generally friendly and fun-loving and, because of their unique coats, they don't shed fur all over the house. Their size and moderate exercise requirements make them excellent apartment dogs, as well as wonderful pets for older people.


Outdoor 

Yorkies love a good frolic outside, but they are not yard dogs who should be left unattended for long periods of time. If you do have a yard for your Yorkie, make sure to triple-check it for escape routes because they are little and can easily dig under fences.


Exercise 

Several short walks a day and games of toss in the living room will keep your Yorkie in prime condition.


Endurance 

Though they are only moderately active dogs, Yorkies have the stamina to keep up with you on medium-length walks and play sessions. They'll also let you know when they've had enough by refusing to go further, at which point you can put them in your purse and carry them the rest of the way.


Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: A few sprints back and forth across the yard is enough for a Yorkie.
  • Hiking Miles: Best to leave your Yorkie home when hiking.


Food 

Yorkies benefit from two to three small meals per day. Because of their small size, and a tendency for low blood sugar, it's best to talk with your veterinarian about the optimal amount of food for your Yorkie's age and weight.


Alone Time 

Yorkies are not comfortable spending much time alone and are prone to separation anxiety. As quintessential 'purse dogs,' they'd rather come along with you wherever you go. Yorkies often follow their families around the house.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

11-15 years


Grooming

Yorkies require daily grooming to prevent knots and mats in their long hair. They should be shampooed occasionally. Their nails grow fast and should be trimmed regularly. Check and clean their ears regularly, watching for wax buildup and signs of infection.


Common Health Issues

Breed-specific concerns in the Yorkshire Terrier can include:


  • Patellar luxation
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Portacaval shunt
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Legg-Perthes disease

Trainability

Basics

Yorkshire Terriers are notoriously difficult to house train. Patience and consistency are crucial, as are puppy pads.


Yorkies respond well to obedience training, but they have a stubborn independence that can slow the process. Consistent and patient training as a puppy, and with lots of dog treats as rewards, yields the best outcomes.


Advanced Training

Yorkies have the energy and athleticism for agility training, whether for competition or just for fun in the backyard.


Sporting Dog Training

Yorkshire Terriers can be trained for non-competitive AKC Earthdog tests, which develop and test their skills hunting rodents in underground tunnels.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Yorkshire Terriers.

Explore Other Breeds

Yes. While no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, Yorkshire Terriers are great options for people with pet allergies because they have hair, not fur, and don't shed.

Yorkies can be hyper, especially when young. With regular exercise and training, however, hyperactive Yorkies can learn to stay calm and mellow.

Teacup Yorkies are not an AKC-recognized dog breed, they are simply very small Yorkshire Terriers. These tiny dogs are bred to weigh between two and four pounds and are prone to serious health problems, including low blood glucose and teething problems. They are also very delicate when young, and require extra care so they aren't accidentally stepped on by family members.

Teacup Yorkies are not an AKC-recognized dog breed, they are simply very small Yorkshire Terriers. These tiny dogs are bred to weigh between two and four pounds and are prone to serious health problems, including low blood glucose and teething problems. They are also very delicate when young, and require extra care so they aren't accidentally stepped on by family members.