The Yorkshire Terrier might be a small dog but he comes with a big personality. This is the most popular toy dog breed in the United States. The "Yorkie," as he's known to his owners, has a large fan base because of his extreme devotion to his owners, his very elegant looks, and his high suitability to apartment living.
- Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
- Height: 8 to 9 inches (20.32 to 22.86 centimeters) tall at the shoulders
- Weight: 4 to 6 pounds (1.81 to 2.72 kilograms)
- Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Intro To the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier is a dog that is completely full of himself. And he should be. This breed of dog is one of the most glamorous dogs in the dog world with his long and silky coat and his little perky topknot. Many dog owners bring this dog everywhere they go. Often carrying him in his own special dog purse.
The crowning touch to the Yorkie is his long steel-blue and tan coat. But ask any Yorkie owner what attracts them to his breed and you'll most likely be told: "Why it's his personality, of course."
This tiny little canine thinks he's a big dog. He's always looking for an adventure which sometimes gets him into a bit of trouble. But, aside from that, the Yorkshire Terrier is a really affectionate dog towards people which makes him a perfect companion dog. And, like all terriers, he can sometimes be suspicious of strangers.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a bit of a yapper and needs to be taught when and when not to bark. They also tend to be aggressive to dogs they don't know and they love to chase squirrels. Aside from all this braveness, they have a very soft personality to people and animals that they know. They also need lots of attention and time with their family. They are not the type of dogs that like to be left alone for long hours.
As a Yorkie owner, you should not over-protect them. These dogs are very attuned to their owner's feelings. If they sense bad vibes from their owner they can become quite neurotic.
As a small dog, the Yorkshire Terrier does not do well with very young children. They don't like to be teased or startled. In these situations, they will become snappers and their little teeth are very sharp and can do quite a bit of damage. Children that are old enough to respect this breed will do quite well with the Yorkie.
This little dog will adapt quite nicely as an apartment dog as long as they get some exercise on a daily basis. He will get along quite nicely with other dogs and cats of the household if he has been raised with them. Also, the Yorkie is known as a dog that will become very possessive of their owner's is a new pet is brought into the house. As a true terrier, they will challenge the new intruder and will fight to the death. A new pet must be introduced very slowly.
Yorkshire Terrier FAQs
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier adapt well to apartment living?
- As long as the Yorkshire Terrier has at least one thirty minute exercise period per day they can do quite nicely in an apartment. Even though he is a small dog he does have a bit of energy that needs to be expended so that he will calm down for apartment life. (See our List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a good choice for a novice dog owner?
- Some dogs are just easier to care for than others. The Yorkshire Terrier, even though he requires quite a bit of attention, is a fairly easygoing dog that makes a great companion for the novice pet owner. (See our List of Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a sensitive dog?
- Can the Yorkshire Terrier tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time?
- This dog really needs to be around its owner(s) almost constantly. For this reason, they do not like to be left alone for a long time. They can, however, usually put up with being alone for about an hour. Anything longer than that and they will show their dissatisfaction by becoming destructive in the house when you are away. (See out List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Be Alone.)
- Can the Yorkshire Terrier tolerate cold weather?
- Being a small dog, the Yorkshire Terrier will rapidly lose body heat in cold environments. These dogs should wear a sweater during the cold months of winter and should not be outside any longer than to relieve themselves. (See our List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
- Can the Yorkshire Terrier tolerate hot weather?
- Being a small dog that is low to the ground he will pick up on the heat from the ground and overheat quite quickly. Also having a long coat puts him at risk of heatstroke and hyperthermia. (See our List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited For Hot Weather.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier an affectionate dog with all family members?
- This is a people dog. As such he will bond quite easily with all members of the family. Especially children if they are old enough to respect him and not tease or startle him. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not Affectionate with Family.)
- How kid-friendly is the Yorkshire Terrier?
- This dog can do quite well with children that understand how to respect a dog. Kids 10 years old and up should do fairly well with this breed of dog. Younger children will most likely not be tolerated by this dog. It is wise to train this dog on how to get along with kids when it is a puppy to lower the risk of biting and snapping. Also, teach children how to act around and properly treat the animal. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not Kid-Friendly as well as our Kid-Friendly Dog List.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a dog-friendly dog?
- All dogs can be trained to be tolerant of other dogs. The Yorkie is better able to be with other dogs if it was raised with the other dog. But even if you are introducing a new dog into the house he will get along with it if you do so very slowly. It is always a good idea, though, to teach dogs good canine social skills so that they will respect other dogs. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog-Friendly.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a friendly dog toward strangers?
- Dogs that have been exposed to many different types and ages of people as a puppy tend to be more friendly than a dog which has led a sheltered life. The Yorkie, as a general rule, is suspicious and wary of strangers. But as long as he has been properly socialized around people he will get along just fine. (See our List of Dogs That Are Shy.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier shed a lot?
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier prone to drooling?
- Some dogs are constant droolers while others barely drip. The Yorkshire Terrier is a very low drooler. Even when preparing his meals he will probably not drool. (See our List of Dogs That Don't Drool A Lot.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier an easy dog to groom?
- Brush-and-go dogs are those that only need a quick brushing daily to keep their fur in good condition. Others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming. The Yorkshire Terrier is a brush-and-go dog. A five-minute (preferably a ten-minute) daily brushing is basically all that is required of this breed. (See our List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a healthy dog?
- All dogs are susceptible to certain genetic and medical conditions because of past breeding habits that were poorly maintained. But this does not mean that all dogs will acquire any of the conditions that plague their breed. For the most part, the Yorkshire Terrier is a very healthy breed. Before getting any dog, it is a good idea to talk with the breeder to get a history of your potential pup's parents health. (See our List of Dogs That Are Prone To Health Problems.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier have problems with weight control?
- All dogs are capable of gaining weight is they are fed improperly and don't get enough exercise. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to control the amount of food a dog gets. For the most part, though, the Yorkie usually has no problems with weight control.
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a big, small, or medium-sized dog?
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier an easy dog to train?
- Some dogs can pick up on new ideas very quickly while others need plenty of practice. The Yorkshire Terrier is an average dog when it comes to trainability. Sometimes they can have a stubborn streak and will refuse to pay attention to your training efforts. Sometimes it is necessary to bribe this dog into doing what you want it to do. (See our List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier and intelligent dog?
- Working dogs require the ability to make decisions and are considered to be very intelligent. The Yorkshire Terrier, because it was basically bred to be a companion dog, is considered to have an average level of intelligence. Although, there are some Yorkies that have been able to figure out how to play their owners quite well. (See our List of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier have a high potential for mouthiness?
- Mouthiness in this sense refers to the tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. This is a common behavior with all puppies as well as in retriever breeds. If the Yorkshire Terrier is taught what type of behavior you allow and what you don't allow its tendency for mouthiness can be very low.
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier have a high prey drive?
- Dogs that were bred to hunt usually have a high prey drive and will chase anything that catches their attention. Companion dogs don't tend to have a high prey drive and that is true of the Yorkshire Terrier as well. (See our List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier have a high tendency to bark or howl?
- Some dogs are more vocal than others and seem to like the sound of their own voice. Others will barely make a sound throughout their whole lives. The Yorkshire Terrier is average when it comes to being vocal. However, with a little effort and training, you can minimize the amount of vocalization in this dog. (See our List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier prone to wandering away from its owner?
- Some dogs just like to explore their environments. Others dread the idea of ever losing sight of their owners. Some Yorkshire Terriers do love to explore but for the most part, these dogs will stay close to their owners. It is still advisable to have a fenced-in yard for the dog to play in. It is also advisable to keep these dogs on a leash when going for a walk. (See our List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier have a lot of energy?
- The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog that likes to be active. So they have an abundance of energy. These dogs require daily exercise and mental stimulation. They love to play games and will tire out their owners quite quickly. (See our List of Dogs That Have Low Energy.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier an intense dog?
- Some dogs play with toys or dig in a matter-of-fact way. Others will put everything they've got into the task at hand. The Yorkshire Terrier is not an overly intense dog but he does tend to put his mind to anything that he is doing. (See our List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
- Does the Yorkshire Terrier need a lot of exercise?
- Being an active dog means that this little dog has a lot of energy for its size. For this reason, these dogs require at least one thirty minute exercise period per day. This could be as simple as playing a good game of catch or fetch. Even a bit of a run around the house is a good game for this little fellow. (See our List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
- Is the Yorkshire Terrier a playful dog?
- This dog is basically a perpetual puppy. He is always wanting to play a game with his owners and other family members. If you are a low-energy person this might not be the dog for you. (See our List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
Highlights of the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier is well known for being a difficult dog to housetrain. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you crate train this breed while housetraining. They are also very prone to chills and need to be kept warm if you live in an area that is damp or cold. Sweaters and coats are required for this little dog. They should also never be left outside longer than a few minutes at a time. If they don't relieve themselves after a few minutes it is best to bring them back inside and to try again in about ten or fifteen minutes. Also, booties will help to prevent their paws from freezing in the winter.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a delicate, small terrier dog. These dogs do not do well in a household that has small children or toddlers. Consider this dog breed if your children are at least ten years old. It is also important to educate the child on how to interact with not only this breed, but with any dog.
One of the potential drawbacks of this breed is that they can be quite vocal and "yappy." These dogs require early and consistent training to keep them from becoming constant barkers. Sometimes it might be necessary to seek the help of a professional dog trainer.
The Yorkshire Terrier can be a very finicky eater because of their delicate and sensitive digestive systems. However, eating problems can also be a result of the animal having teeth or gum problems as well. If you notice that your Yorkie is pawing at its mouth, or refuses to eat, have your veterinarian examine his teeth and gums for any problems. You may be required to place the animal on a soft-food diet until the problem clears up.
Even though these are small dogs, they have a very big personality and quite often think that they are big dogs. Because of this, Yorkies often get themselves into trouble with bigger dogs because they want to pick a fight with them. To help prevent these circumstances the Yorkie needs to be socialized at a very young age. Obedience classes are often a must for these dogs because they get to spend time with other dogs so they will learn to get along with the other dogs.
One of the problems that these dogs have is that they tend to retain their baby teeth. Because of this, you should check their teeth every few days once they are about five months old. If you notice an adult tooth coming through but the baby tooth is still there you will need to take your puppy to the veterinarian. Your vet will most likely have to remove the baby tooth to prevent any problems. Baby teeth that are retained will cause the adult teeth to come in crookedly which will result in tooth decay as the dog ages.
Don't buy a Yorkie from a pet shop or an advertisement in a newspaper or on the Internet. You never know what you'll get with these sources. Always buy from a reputable breeder. Such breeders will have all of their dogs tested for hereditary and genetic diseases. They also guarantee that the dog you choose will have a good and sound temperament.
History of the Yorkshire Terrier
When Scottish workers came to Yorkshire to work in the coal mines, textile mills, and factories they brought with them a dog known as the Clydesdale Terrier or Paisley Terrier. These dogs were a lot larger than the Yorkshire Terrier and they were used to catch the rats that plagued the workplaces of Yorkshire.
These Clydesdale Terriers were most likely crossed with other types of terriers like the English Black and Tan Toy Terrier and the Skye Terrier to establish the first Yorkshire Terrier dogs. It is also believed that the Waterside Terrier was also a part of the mix in establishing the Yorkshire Terrier breed. This was a small dog with a long blue-grey coat.
It wasn't until 1861 that the first Yorkshire Terrier appeared in a bench show. This dog was classified as a "broken-haired Scotch Terrier.
In 1865 a dog by the name of Huddersfield Ben was born. This dog is believed to be the father of the modern Yorkshire Terrier.
The name "Yorkshire Terrier" was not given to this new dog breed until 1870. This name was chosen because the development of the Yorkshire Terrier was mostly carried out in Yorkshire.
The first Yorkshire Terrier was registered in the British Kennel Club's stud book in 1874. The first Yorkshire Terrier breed club was formed in England in 1898.
In 1872 the first Yorkshire Terrier was born in the United States. This dog contributed greatly to the advancement of the breed within North America.
Yorkshire Terriers have competed in dog shows since 1878. At that time the Yorkshire Terrier was divided into two classes --- Under 5 pounds and 5 pounds and over. These two classes eventually became combined and today we have one class of Yorkshire Terriers --- between 3 and 7 pounds.
Yorkshire Terrier Size
Yorkshire Terriers are small dogs. They should stand between 8 to 9 inches (20.32 to 22.86 centimeters) with a maximum weight of 7 pounds (3.18 kilograms). The preferred weight of these dogs should be between 4 and 6 pounds (1.81 and 2.72 kilograms).
This is a very inconsistent dog breed. It is not unusual for a littler of pups to grow up and range in weight from 6 pounds to 15 pounds (2.72 to 6.80 kilograms).
Also, sometime a breeder will offer what is called a teacup variety of this breed. Beware. Dogs that are smaller than 4 pounds (1.81 kilograms) often have genetic disorders and are at a very high risk of contracting health problems.
The Yorkshire Terrier Personality
This dog is a very smart and self-assured dog. This is a dog that you will fall in love with because of its small size and adventurous spirit of the terrier.
There are so many distinct personalities with this breed. Some dogs will be very cuddly and perky. They will follow their master's footsteps throughout the day. Others are like the devilish child. They are mischievous and outgoing. And they get into everything.
Regardless of the personality of your dog, you must set limits. Try not to spoil this dog. If you do you are going to end up with a very demanding dog that wants you to cater to its every need.
The training process should be started as early as possible. Doing so will give you the upper hand in controlling unwanted behavior.
Also, early socialization is a must for this dog. He needs to be exposed to as many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences as possible. Proper socialization will ensure that you end up with a well-rounded dog that is friendly towards people and other animals.
Health Considerations of the Yorkshire Terrier
In general, the Yorkshire Terrier is a healthy dog breed. But just like all dog breeds, they are prone to certain medical and genetic conditions.
To get a healthy dog you should only buy one from a respectable dog breeder. This person will be able to show you all the health clearances for both parents of your puppy's parents. These health clearance prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of particular conditions that may plague a breed.
For Yorkies, the health clearance that should be given include clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease. You should also see clearances for thrombipathia and a certification from a certified canine eye registry that certifies that the eyes are normal.
In addition to the above, the Yorkshire Terrier may also be susceptible to the following medical conditions:
- Patellar Luxation: Also known as "slipped stifles," this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts — the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not properly lined up. This causes a lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait in the dog. It is a disease that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of Patellar Luxation ranging from grade I, which is an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, in which the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may require surgical repair.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disorder. Blindness caused by PRA is a slow process resulting from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
- Portosystemic Shunt: Portosystemic shunt (PSS) is an abnormal flow of blood between the liver and the body. That's a problem because the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body, metabolizing nutrients, and eliminating drugs. Signs can include but are not limited to neurobehavioral abnormalities, lack of appetite, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), intermittent gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract problems, drug intolerance, and stunted growth. Signs usually appear before two years of age. Corrective surgery can be helpful in long-term management, as can a special diet.
- Hypoglycemia: Like many toy and small breed dogs, Yorkies can suffer from hypoglycemia when stressed, especially when they are puppies. Hypoglycemia is caused by low blood sugar. Some of the signs may include weakness, confusion, a wobbly gait, and seizure-like episodes. If your dog is susceptible to this, talk to your vet about prevention and treatment options.
- Collapsed trachea: The trachea, which carries air to the lungs, tends to collapse easily. The most common sign of a collapsed trachea is a chronic, dry, harsh cough that many describe as being similar to a "goose honk." Collapsed trachea can be treated medically or surgically.
- Reverse sneezing: This condition is sometimes confused with a collapsed trachea. This is a far less serious condition and lasts only a few minutes. Reverse sneezing primarily occurs when your dog is excited or tries to eat or drink too fast. It also can occur when there are pollens or other irritants in the air. Secretions from the dog's nose drop onto their soft palate, causing it to close over the windpipe in an automatic reaction. This can be very frightening to your Yorkie, but as soon as he calms down, the reverse sneezing stops. Gently stroke his throat to help him relax.
- Eye infections, teeth, and gum problems also can occur.
Caring for the Yorkshire Terrier
This dog is an absolute joy to have. He is the type of dog that will definitely love going for a walk with you or playing a good game in the backyard. Because of their active lifestyle, it usually doesn't take a lot to keep this dog well exercised.
Yorkshire Terriers are always very receptive to training. This is because they just love the attention they get during any training exercise. They really love to perform cute tricks as well as agility or obedience sessions.
One of the drawbacks of this breed is that they can be difficult to housetrain. Many pet parents just let their accidents slide. This is a big mistake. You are better off training the dog where to go to the bathroom than letting it go indoors. If you reward them for doing their business in the right place they will consistently do their business in that spot. Some people like to paper train their dogs so that they don't have to take them out in very hot or cold weather.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a definite house dog. These dogs do not do well in very hot or cold weather. Keeping them inside in an air-conditioned house in hot weather is a necessity. Also, putting a sweater on them in the cold season is a must to keep them from freezing.
Yorkies love to play. They also love squeaky toys. However, you should constantly check the squeaky toy to make sure that your Yorkie didn't tear open the toy and get a hold of the squeaker.
Feeding Your Yorkshire Terrier
The recommended amount of food for these dogs is between 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the highest quality dry dog food you can afford. This amount should be divided into two daily meals.
Keep in mind that this amount of food is a recommendation only. Depending on your Yorkie's size, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity, your dog may require more or less food.
One thing that pet owners need to realize is that the quality of the dog food makes a big difference. Always try to get the best quality dog food possible. You will end up feeding less to your dog because good quality dog food is more satisfying and nutritional.
Coat Color and Grooming the Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier has a long and silky coat that is not wavy. Show quality dogs will have hair that touches the floor. Even though they have a long coat, it is a single layer coat which means that they barely shed.
Puppies of the Yorkshire Terrier are born all black. The blue and tan coats develop gradually after the puppy is about a year old. If the puppy's coat starts to lighten before it is a year old they will develop a grey coat rather than the blue and tan coat.
The hair from the back of the head to the tip of the tail is usually a dark steel-blue. The top of the head appears as a bright gold with tan hairs that are much darker at the roots than the ends. The headfall, which is the hair that falls over the face, is long and of the same golden color as the face. The hair at the base of the ears and on the muzzle is slightly darker and the tan on the head does not extend past the ears. There are also no black hairs mixed in with the tan. The legs are also tan which does not extend above the elbows. As the Yorkie ages, these colors will become lighter.
The grooming process with a Yorkshire Terrier can be long and tedious. Yorkies with a "soft" coat will develop tangles quite easily unlike the Yorkie with a silky coat. For this reason, many Yorkie owners tend to keep their Yorkie's coat trimmed.
The Yorkshire Terrier should be gently brushed every day to prevent his hair from matting and to remove excess dirt that can get trapped in the hair. Brushing should last for at least 15 minutes. Preferably longer.
Yorkies are prone to having dental problems as they get older. Brushing their teeth regularly will help to prevent early dental problems. They also require annual teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.
During the grooming process, you need to check the Yorkie's ears carefully. Check inside and smell for any bad odor coming from the ears. If you notice anything wrong with the ears have your veterinarian check them out. Yorkies tend to get infections in their ears as well as acquiring ear mites. If there is any excess hair in the ear canals you should pluck them out gently or have your veterinarian remove them.
The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the few dogs who requires a weekly bath. This is required to keep the coat healthy and shiny. Use a good quality dog shampoo. Do not rub the coat when you bathe your dog. Gently run your fingers through the hair that is well-shampooed to lift out the dirt. After you rinse out the shampoo you need to apply a dog conditioner to prevent tangles. Rinse your dog thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo and lightly towel dry or use a hairdryer set to very light heat.
When brushing your dog you should apply a light spritz of conditioner. This will help to remove tangles and keep the hair shiny. Never brush a dirty coat. This will cause the hair to stick to the brush and cause the hair to break and develop split ends.
Yorkie nails can grow quickly. Check his nails after every bath and trim them if necessary. As a rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog's nails clicking on the ground when he walks then the nails are too long and need to be trimmed. If you are uncomfortable with trimming your dog's nails, have a professional groomer do it for you.
Try to keep the whole grooming process a positive and fun time for both you and your dog. This is your time to bond and the whole process can aid your veterinarian when the dog goes in for its annual checkups.
As part of the grooming process, this is your time to check the animal for any sores, irritations, rashes, and any other condition. If you notice something unusual have your veterinarian check it out. Pay particular attention to the nose, mouth, eyes, and ears. Any abnormalities should be checked by your vet immediately.
Children and Other Pets
Yorkshire Terriers are very small dogs. Because of this, they are not well suited for families with very small children. Most of the time a breeder will not sell a Yorkie to a family that has children younger than 6 or 8 years old. It is way too easy for the Yorkie to become injured when around very young children. They also don't appreciate any teasing which is something that kids tend to do to dogs.
For the most part, Yorkies can get along with other pets in the house. Including cats. However, this requires proper socialization with other animals. A process that needs to be started when the Yorkie is very young. But if you bring a new pet into the house the Yorkie will show just how bold it is. To prevent fights, which the Yorkie will do until the death, it is best not to introduce new animals into the house. Yorkies will tolerate other animals if they are raised with them. But once they have established themselves in the home they will not tolerate any new addition in the form of other animals.
Yorkshire Terrier Rescue Groups
Unfortunately, many people purchase a dog without knowing what is actually required to care for the animal. Because of this many Yorkies end up in shelters or rescue groups. There are way too many dogs in these organizations. If you really want to get a Yorkshire Terrier check out your local humane society and shelters first. If they don't have a Yorkie up for adoption they can lead you to a rescue group that deals specifically with these dogs. You can also contact the following rescue groups if you would like to adopt a Yorkie. Just keep in mind that these are most likely to be older dogs and not puppies.
Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Pics
Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Pics