Yorkshire Terriers

At a glance
yorkshire terrierThe popular image of a Yorkshire Terrier – or ‘Yorkie’ – is of a pampered, well-groomed dog ready for either a ball game or a dog show, which hides their audacious-hunter interior.


  • Names – Yorkie
  • Group – AKC: Toy; KC: Toy Group
  • Size – small
  • Life expectancy – average of 12; range of 9 to 15
  • Cost of ownership – medium
  • Ease of ownership – medium
  • Aggressive tendency – medium
  • Amount of Exercise – medium
  • Amount of Grooming – high
  • Ease of Training – medium
  • Obedience level – medium
  • Suitable for Children – medium
  • Amount of Care Required – high
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – high

A picturesque dog of blue and gold coloring, the diminutive Yorkie is famous for its abundant tresses with a texture that is quite similar to human hair. In fact, if the coat texture turns out well and is not in any way cottony, many allergic people actually interact with Yorkies with no problems. These lovely locks, nevertheless, require a lot of fuss.


  • Bitch: 9 – 12 inches (23 – 31 centimeters)
  • Dog: 9 – 12 inches (23 – 31 centimeters)


  • Bitch: 7 pounds or less (3 kilos or less)
  • Dog: 7 pounds or less (3 kilos or less)


  • Color – blue and tan; puppies turn out black, gradually attaining their blue and tan coloration later on
  • Coat – consists of constantly growing hair; not coarse, but is fine and silky to the touch; no undercoat
  • Shedding – low
  • Allergies – medium
  • Causes Allergies – low

The Yorkie may be small, but it is a through-and-through terrier, complete with the hunting instincts and behavior traits. His loud bark, which is out of proportion to his size, has labeled the dog as being ‘yappy’. Yorkies are sociable dogs and have a friendly disposition towards both humans and other dogs. They are far from being cowards, however, and will audaciously walk or run up to any opponent to fiercely defend their territory when the need is perceived.

  • Separation Anxiety – medium
  • Barking tendency – high
  • Aggressive tendency – medium
  • Compatibility with other animals – medium
  • Suitable for children – low
  • Watchdog suitability – high

Although, Yorkies are classified under the toy breed category, they bear many of the character traits of regular terriers. Yorkies are bold and independent dogs. Nevertheless, the Yorkie temperament tends to escape definition. This is because some are sociable and want to meet strangers, while others are aloof and maintain a distance. The behavior of the dog will depend largely on how it is trained but, as a whole, Yorkie terriers are balanced and energetic dogs.

Puppy play sessions will help these dogs respect the size and strength of larger dogs, acquaint them with children and adults and teach them good manners. Owners must be firm and consistent, even with these tiny canines. Many owners make the mistake of believing Yorkies are beyond housetraining. This is not true. Being persistent and assertive with one’s rules will help a dog eliminate according to a human’s preferences.

  • Obedience – medium

Exercise required
The Yorkshire Terrier enjoys exercise as much as he enjoys a run around the garden or a run in the countryside. Using his terrier instinct, he will take off after prey – whether imaginary or real.

  • Energy – medium
  • Amount required – 20 to 40 minute walk a day

Remove mucus from the corners of the dog’s eyes, daily if needed. Use a piece of cloth or wad of cotton soaked in warm water. Mucus will rot on your pet’s hair if not removed. Care must also be made to ensure that the hair around the Yorkie’s anus is clean and free from traces of feces.

The hair on the top third of the ear flaps must be clipped very short so that excessive hair won’t weigh down the ears before they are firmly “set.” The dog’s ears need to be cleaned regularly for excessive wax and mites, while the excessive hair from inside his ears will need to be plucked by a groomer or a vet. Hair on his feet will need trimming occasionally. As for the coat, long hair should be kept out of his eyes to prevent irritation.

In addition, make sure that any retained deciduous (milk) teeth are removed by the vet if they do not fall out on their own by the time the dog is 7 – 8 months. Yorkies may need regular teeth brushing for protection against tartar buildup.

Some people think that toy breeds like Yorkies need to only have soft foods. That is not a wise decision since it can prevent their teeth from maturing appropriately. A helpful step is to give the dog premium dry dog food or a food mix that corresponds to their age and weight. The mix is a combination of both soft and dry foods. This can be great for young Yorkies, because you can later eliminate the softer dog food as they get older. Owners need to feed Yorkies dry food to help keep their teeth clean and strong.

Upon obtaining the food package, a careful dog owner should check the list of ingredients for unwanted elements (I.E. chicken by-products, such as beaks, legs, intestines). Keep in mind, the terminology matters too, since “meal” is more preferable than “meat.” Chicken is specifically not as good as chicken meal since the “chicken” may have high water content that results in fewer nutrients from the same amount. Chicken meal is better since it is compressed chicken meat. In sum, the Yorkie only requires a small amount of food. It is important to regulate his diet as it can be very easy to overfeed a Yorkshire Terrier, especially one that pleads and begs.

Table food like chocolate and onions, among others, are dangerous and should not be given to the dog.

If the coat is silky enough, maintenance will be relatively easy, as he will only need a daily brushing and a bath every month. Owners may opt to clip the fur short for more convenient care. For shows, the coat is left long and can be trimmed to floor length to allow freedom of movement and a neater appearance. Hair on the feet and the tips of ears can also be clipped.

The traditional long coat is, in fact, a high maintenance project. Breakage can be prevented by having the coat wrapped in rice paper, tissue paper, or plastic, after a light oiling with a coat oil. The oil can be rinsed off once a month and the wraps must be adjusted from time to time during the week to prevent them from sliding down and breaking the hair. These intricate coat care steps were already widespread even from the earliest days of the breed, such as in 1878.

  • Ease of grooming – low
  • Amount of grooming – high

Examples of the most common genetic faults in Yorkies that breeders need to watch out for is Patellar luxation, Portosystemic shunt (Liver Shunt), Retinal dysplasis and Tracheal collapse. There is a test available for eye diseases, but that will only predict about 50% or problems. The other issues more or less become manifest by age three, with the Liver Shunt appearing around six months. An orthopedic specialist needs to check a dog’s kneecaps, and the dog requires CERF certification for their eyes.

In addition, a female 5 pounds or below should never be part of any breeding program.

  • Litter size – average of 4; range of 2 to 5
  • Puppy cost – average of $550; range of $400 to $700

Some Yorkies are vulnerable to bronchitis and tooth decay, have low tolerance of anaesthetic and frail digestion. They sometimes suffer from paralysis in the hindquarters brought about by herniated disks and other problems of the spine. Falls or knocks can seriously cause fractures of fragile bones. Abnormal skull formations in Yorkies measuring less then 8 inches (20cm) is also a problem. Bitches usually develop complications when delivering. Tiny “teacup” Yorkies, due to the priority on size over health concerns, often have serious health and behavioral problems. These dogs should have their teeth cleaned by the Vet to keep them from falling out and inviting infection.

  • Life expectancy – average of 12; range of 9 to 15
  • Susceptibility to illness – high
  • Common health problems – development of bad teeth, some incidence of heriditary/congenital disease in the form of patella luxation, open fontanellas, Perthe’s disease and smaller chances of elongated soft palate and a tendency of collapsed trachea

People who will appreciate owning a Yorkie are comfortable with a small, elegant and easy-to-carry dog. They will also want to take care of a long-coated dog that has the bonus of being among the best breeds for allergy sufferers. In addition, Yorkies move swiftly with light-footed grace, do not require too much exercise, are good at announcing every type of guest, and can coexist with other pets.

Those who need to consider another breed are individuals who dislike dogs that are fragile toy breeds, dogs that suffer from separation anxiety when left alone too much and dogs that display suspiciousness and highstrung temperaments. Furthermore, Yorkies have chasing instincts, are high- maintenance (requiring brushing and combing), take time to housebreak and are yappy.

  • Living conditions – The Yorkie is a good dog for apartment life. They are very active indoors and can make do without a yard. The Yorkie is easily affected by the cold and is more comfortable with warmer climates.
  • Good with Children – The Yorkie is not naturally good with children; children need to be taught from an early age how to handle these dogs.

British born and bred, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the youngest of the terrier breeds. It is believed that Scottish weavers brought a small terrier with them during a period of immigration out of Scotland during the 1850s. The Yorkie is the result of interbreeding that terrier and the Manchester Terrier, the Maltese, the Skye, Dandie Dinmont and the Paisley terriers. Shown as the Scotch Terrier in 1861, the dog later became known as the Yorkshire Terrier and was recognized as such by the Kennel Club in 1886. It was during this same decade that the Yorkie was transported to the United States and was established as a breed in America as well. Even then, the Yorkie had the reputation of being less of a luxury pet and more of a ‘working class’ dog, known among households as a ratter.

  • County or origin – England
  • Group – Terrier, Toy (AKC), Toy Group (KC)

Did you know…

  • Famous Yorkshire Terrier dogs and owners include:
    • Justin Timberlake – Bearlie and Bella
    • Ivana Trump – Dodo
    • Steve Kmetko – Frankie and Spike
    • Mariah Carey – Ginger
    • Audrey Hepburn – Mr. Famous
    • Richard Nixon – Pasha
    • Joan Rivers – Spike and sister Veronica
    • Whitney Houston – Doogie
    • Donnie Osmond – Spike
    • Molly Sims – Poupette & Chloe
    • Hillary Duff – Jack
    • Vanessa Williams – Enzo
    • Britney – London
    • Naomi Watts – Bob
  • According to the Guinness, the distinction of being the planet’s smallest dog from 1995 through 2002 belonged to a Yorkshire Terrier named Big Boss. Big Boss was listed at 11.94cm (4.7in) tall when his owner, Dr. Chai Khanchanakom of Thailand, registered the toy dog with Guinness.
  • A Yorkie’s sweat gland is located between its paw pad.
  • During the first two weeks of a Yorkie’s life he will be asleep approximately 90% of the time.
  • Winsor Pilates

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