A small, affectionate dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has been a popular breed all over the world for decades. They were originally “ratters” - bred to catch rats - for the working class of England, and were one of the first AKC registered breeds after their move to the United States in the late 1800s. These days, Yorkies are known for being independent and feisty at times, but they learn very quickly and are keen to be near their owners. Yorkies are small dogs, typically weighing in at an average of 5-7 pounds, and, although nobody can guarantee any dog is hypoallergenic, Yorkies are often referred to as hypoallergenic because they have human-like hair instead of fur.
From a working-class “ratter” to recognition as one of the world’s most prestigious pure breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier is an icon of breed shows and a favorite the world over.
Seven pounds of silky floor-length hair, the Yorkshire Terrier’s elegant disposition would not be out of place on the lap of a palace-dwelling royal.
Don’t be fooled. The “Yorkie” maybe a toy-size terrier, but the little canine possesses a tenacious, often feisty temperament that quickly elevates the bossy pooch to the top of the familial hierarchy.
Hypoallergenic, compact and delightfully intelligent, Yorkies are the perfect city-dwelling companion. In fact, Yorkies are so well-suited to apartment living that they are frequently recognized as the most popular dog breed in cities across the U.S.
Adult Yorkies are small, often referred to as “toy-sized.” Yorkie puppies, on the other hand, are the epitome of the phrase “miniature” dog.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, Yorkshire Terrier puppies have been known to warm even the coldest of hearts.
Yorkies are comically oblivious to their size, especially Yorkie puppies who are known to develop a stubborn demeanor when training. However, like all puppies, there is no behavioral problem that cannot be solved with regular obedience training.
Bold, energetic and highly intelligent, the Terrier group of canines is one of the most iconic and popular breed groups in human history.
Terriers were originally bred to protect family homes and barns from vermin like rats and mice. Terriers come in all shapes and sizes ranging from miniature terriers, like the Yorkshire Terrier to large Terriers like the Waterside Terrier.
Terriers are more than fantastic pets, they are the most successful breed group in competitive dog show history.
The Wire Fox Terrier has won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 14 times, nearly twice as many victories as any other breed group.
A breed standard details the appearance and temperament of an officially recognized breed. The pedigree of the Yorkshire Terrier is formally recognized by all breed experts and kennel clubs and therefore subject to a detailed breed standard.
The Yorkshire Terrier is a compact, long-haired toy terrier with a blue and tan coat parted to reveal the face, and from the base of the skull to the end of the tail. Coats should hang straight and even on both sides of the body.
Yorkies possess a small head with a short muzzle tipped with a tiny black nose. Ears are V-shaped and perched atop a flat skull.
The Yorkie’s body is described as compact, well-proportioned and rather short. Yorkie’s shoulders should be even with their rump.
Yorkies have straight legs, with elbows in line and straight when viewed from behind. Feet are round with black toenails.
Yorkie tails are docked to a medium length and carried slightly higher than the level of the back.
Coat and color are regarded as exceptionally important to the breed standard of the Yorkie. Adult Yorkshire Terriers should exhibit a coat that is glossy, fine, straight and silky.
Coats are typically grown out very long and groomed parted down the middle of the back. Coats are a dark grey or black color and slightly darker on the tail. The head, chest, and legs are a rich tan that fades from dark to light at the tips.
The Yorkshire Terrier coat is also hypoallergenic which makes the Yorkie a great choice of companion for dog-lovers with allergies.
Yorkshire Terriers stand 9 inches tall and should not exceed 12 pounds.
Yorkies may be tiny, but they are born with big personalities. The Yorkshire Terrier temperament is described as bold, intelligent, courageous, independent and confident, which is a lot to pack into the little pooch.
Yorkies think they are the biggest dog in the yard, in fact, it is common for a little Yorkie to boss around much larger dogs.
Yorkshire Terriers are active, curious, and shower their owners in affection, but they also long for attention. Like a tiny monarch, a Yorkie can become very jealous and arrogant when it feels it is not being paid enough attention.
Yorkies are very courageous and confident which makes them fantastic therapy dogs and travel companions, especially since they can fit in a small carrier bag or purse.
Yorkshire Terriers are known to be aggressive towards other dogs and to be impatient with small children which is why frequent socialization is key to developing a healthy canine personality.
As terriers, Yorkies are very active and intelligent. They enjoy and excel at obedience tasks and quickly learn new commands.
As an officially recognized breed, the pedigree and health standards of the purebred Yorkie has been carefully regulated since the 1870’s. Like all dogs, however, the Yorkshire Terrier is still susceptible to a number of physical disorders.
Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:
Yorkies are relatively long-lived when compared to many large breeds, but that is expected of small breeds.
The life expectancy of the Yorkshire Terrier is between 12 to 15 years. On average, Yorkies live 13.5 years; however, Yorkie females typically outlive males by nearly two years.
The best way to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your Yorkie is to provide a safe environment, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and a nutritious diet.
Caring for a Yorkshire Terrier is an incredibly heartwarming and rewarding experience. Yorkies are small, smart, and eat very little when compared to larger breeds.
However, Yorkshire Terriers are fiercely independent and intelligent, which means they require regular mental stimulation and physical exercise. The Yorkie’s independent nature and “bossy” demeanor include several breed-centric mannerisms, of which owners should be aware.
Bark - Yorkies have a tendency to bark, especially when presented with a situation related to stress. Regular socialization and exercise can reduce stress and a Yorkie's propensity to bark.
Size - Yorkies are considered “toy-dogs” due to their small and compact size. Like all small dogs, Yorkies require a different level of canine care than larger breeds.
Yorkies are indoor dogs, no heavier than a house cat. Don’t forget, the Yorkie coat is better suited for a beauty contest than protecting it from the elements. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to ensure your Yorkie is dressed for the weather.
Ear Care - The ears of a Yorkshire Terrier should stand high on its head. However, excess hair can weigh down the soft cartilage of the ear causing them to droop.
Simply groom away they excess hair to correct the issue. Yorkies also commonly grow hair in the inner ear which can cause discomfort. These hairs should be plucked, and never cut.
Your vet will happily explain techniques to painlessly remove the hair from your Yorkie’s inner-ear.
Eye Care - It is common for Yorkies to develop a small discharge of “eye boogers” which can cause mild discomfort when not removed.
Wet a washcloth with warm water and soften the mucus before gently wiping it away. Your Yorkie with thank you.
Dental Care - Yorkie teeth generate a substantial amount of tartar which can accumulate and cause a litany of dental issues.
It’s important for Yorkie owners to regularly brush their puppy’s teeth.
Children & Pets - Yorkies are intelligent, independent and bold. Therefore, they are less likely than other breeds to suffer becoming the plaything of small children.
The same can be said about other pets, especially larger dogs. Early and regular socialization can alleviate a Yorkie’s temperament toward children and other pets.
However, young children should be monitored and instructed on the appropriate behavior before interacting with any dog.
All nutritional choices should be made in consultation with your vet; though Yorkies generally require 2-3 meals of high-quality dog food appropriate to their stage of life.
Weaning Age Puppies (4-7 weeks) should be free-fed through the entire weaning process until they reach the appropriate weight to be fed a structured diet.
Free-feeding refers to the practice of leaving food out and available for your Yorkie puppy to eat whenever they get hungry.
Yorkie Puppies between the ages of 3 months and 1 year should be fed according to a structured diet, consisting of 3-4 meals of high-quality dog food, free of artificial ingredients.
Adult Yorkies between the ages of 1 and 8 years should be fed a regular diet consisting of high-quality dog food two times per day.
Senior Yorkies require a different level of nutrition than younger dogs. Speak with your veterinarian to establish a diet rich in nutrients that support joint, bone and digestive health.
Quick tip: High-quality dog foods are free of artificial ingredients and made from beef, chicken or venison and are free of grains, potatoes, and wheat.
Feeding your Yorkie dog foods rich, healthy proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins produce a more luxurious coat, healthier skin and greater quality of life.
Like all dogs, Yorkies are carnivores and will never require corn, wheat or gluten. Owners should avoid dog foods that contain ingredients derived from corn, wheat or gluten, and artificial ingredients.
Yorkies will rarely shy away from a snack, which is why obesity is commonly found throughout the breed. Owners should avoid feeding their Yorkies from the table and never feed them:
Every dog, even hairless dogs, require regular grooming. Grooming includes more than trimming a dog’s coat.
A full-service canine grooming includes a bath, nail clipping, and thorough cleaning of your dog's ears and teeth.
Grooming also presents a terrific opportunity to check you Yorkie for potential health concerns such as cuts and abrasions to their legs and paws, poor dental hygiene, ear & eye infections and infestation of fleas and/or ticks.
A visit to the vet is recommended If any such concerns are discovered during the grooming process.
Bath - A bath makes the grooming process much easier for most dogs, but it is especially beneficial to Yorkies and their long silky coats.
The coat of a Yorkshire Terrier behaves much like human hair, which means it is subject to tangles, clumps, and matting.
Professional canine groomers recommend washing your Yorkie’s coat with canine shampoo and conditioner to remove dirt and tangles before grooming.
Drying & Brushing - Once your Yorkie is clean use a blow dryer to thoroughly dry their coat. Use a soft brush to gently remove tangles and clumps.
Repeat this process until your Yorkie is entirely free of tangles and their coat falls straight.
Trimming & Styling - To a show dog, a properly trimmed and styled coat can make the difference between winning and losing.
As show dogs, there are strict regulations regarding a Yorkie’s coat, and how it must be styled to qualify. Of course, you are empowered to style your Yorkie’s coat in the manner that seems best to you.
However you decide to groom your Yorkie’s coat, be sure that the style does not impede their vision or their movement.
Nail Clipping - Dogs who receive frequent outdoor exercise wear down their nails on hard surfaces like sidewalks.
Yorkies are primarily indoor dogs and are often carried, so they require regular nail clippings to prevent pain, discomfort, and possible infection.
Regular exercise is essential to a healthy life for every dog. Regular outdoor activity stimulates the mind, encourages positive social behavior, and fights obesity.
Obesity - Obesity is an epidemic in canines large and small, but small dogs bear the brunt of obesity’s adverse effects.
Small dogs are very susceptible to becoming obese. Like all small dogs, it doesn't take much for a seven-pound Yorkie to become obese.
We know you want to hold the adorable puppy everywhere you go, but Yorkies who are frequently carried will have difficulty maintaining healthy body weight.
Going for walks and throwing a small ball are great ways to keep Yorkies active and mentally stimulated. Regular exercise is also essential to maintaining healthy body weight.
Agility & Competition - The Yorkshire Terrier may be small, but they are surprisingly athletic and incredibly agile.
Yorkies love to play and romp outside, but they are also intelligent and dutifully follow commands when properly trained.
All of these features combine to make the Yorkshire Terrier one of the most iconic competitive canines in history.
Yorkshire Terriers frequently compete in dogs shows such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. One fancy pooch named Cede Higgins even won Best in Show!
All breeds possess varying levels of intelligence and a unique temperament; all of which present a unique set of challenges when it comes to training. Yorkies have a stubborn, often bossy temperament that can complicate the training process, especially when it comes to potty-training.
However, there is no canine behavior that cannot be corrected with consistent, reward-based training, and plenty of love and affection. As with every breed, there are several keys to successfully training a Yorkshire Terrier.
Remove Distractions - Puppies are easily distracted. Focus is an essential lesson in any training session. The best way to keep a puppy’s focus during training is to remove distractions from the area.
Be Patient - Take the time to ensure your puppy understands your commands. As with children, patience is key to properly train a Yorkie puppy.
Be Consistent - Consistency and repetition are critical to establishing the desired pattern of behavior.
Designate a specific sound and gesture for the desired command and use that combination every time you issue the command to your Yorkie.
Reward, Don’t Punish - By rewarding positive behavior you encourage your Yorkie to listen to your commands out of a desire to please you, rather than fear of punishment.
Regular Training Sessions - One session is rarely enough to train any dog properly. Regular training sessions cement the desired behavior into a dog's mind and increase the chance of lesson retention.
Think of housebreaking as puppy school for your Yorkie. Housebreaking is where your Yorkie puppy learns how to behave, and what is, and is not appropriate.
Crate Training - Courageous, intelligent and very curious Yorkshire Terrier puppies are every bit as bold as the adults.
Yorkie puppies are light sleepers and will find mischief if given a chance. Training your Yorkie puppy to sleep in a crate at night ensures you will find your socks, shoes, and papers intact when you wake in the morning.
Owners should also crate train their Yorkie puppy when they are away from the house. Crate training should be done in conjunction with potty training and other housebreaking lessons.
Potty Training - Yorkies are notoriously difficult to potty train. Puppies do not possess full control over their bladder and bowls until they are at least two months old.
The two most important things to have when potty training a Yorkie is patience and realistic expectations.
How To potty train a Yorkie:
The Yorkshire Terrier’s bold and stubborn temperament may appear as a general dislike for other dogs and small children. Like all dogs, Yorkies need to be taught appropriate behavior.
Socializing a Yorkie from an early age introduces the puppy to pets and children in a safe environment resulting in less anxiety for the pooch and less frustration for the owner.
The longer an owner waits to socialize a Yorkshire Terrier, the harder it will be to instill positive social behavior and break negative behavior.
Yorkies are not only smart, they are also incredibly loyal and affectionate, which can make obedience training a rewarding experience for you and your puppy. However, Yorkies are also notoriously stubborn, even bossy, so it’s important to start training early.
When is a Yorkie fully grown? Yorkies are fully grown when they reach 8-9 inches tall and weigh 7 pounds, approximately 3 - 4 years old.
Why do Yorkies shake? It’s common for Yorkies to “shake.” Shaking in small dogs is usually the result of several factors like:
How do you calm a Yorkie? The best way to calm a hyperactive Yorkie is with regular exercise and obedience training. Other methods include rewarding calm behavior and using a crate when they become over-excited.
Are Yorkies “outside dogs"? No. Double No. Yorkies left outside are at risk of more than exposure. Yorkies may think they are the toughest animal in the yard, but we assure you, it’s all in their head.
Are Yorkshire terriers hypoallergenic? Technically, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.
However, owners with dog-allergies are less likely to suffer an allergic reaction when a Yorkie is concerned.
Are Yorkies aggressive? Yorkies are not unlike other small dogs. As such they can develop behavioral patterns that can be classified as aggressive.
However, there is no behavior that cannot be corrected with regular training, positive reinforcement and tons of love and affection.
Is a Yorkie a good family dog? Yes. Yorkshire Terriers belong to the Terrier group of canines. Terriers come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and temperaments, but all have at least two traits in common.
Terriers are deceptively cute, but behind their adorable appearance rests the keen intelligence of a loyal canine, breed to work, and perfected by evolution.
Terriers are fiercely loyal and affectionate to those they consider their family.
Yorkies, though small, are one of the most intelligent, loyal and affectionate companions a human can have.
Do Yorkies sleep a lot? Yes. Yorkie puppies can sleep 16 to 22 hours per day. As Yorkies age, they will gradually begin to sleep less and less until they sleep no more than 13 to 18 hours each day, including naps.
Are Yorkies loyal? You bet! Yorkies are fiercely loyal to their owners, their family, and even other pets who they have come to accept.
The story of the Yorkshire Terrier begins in England at the height of the Industrial Revolution.
English breeders realized the need for a dog who could root out and eliminate the rats from the numerous mills, factories, and mines that dotted the English landscape.
By combining several terrier breeds, including the Paisley, Skye and Clydesdale Terrier, English breeders engineered one of the best ratters ever bestowed the title.
The Yorkshire Terrier grew in popularity as word of its skill at rooting out rats and other small vermin quickly spread around Britain. However, the Yorkshire Terrier soon left its humble roots in the factories and mills of England for the laps of royalty across Europe.
The upper crust of Victorian society adored the diminutive canines long, silky fur and quickly elevated the Yorkshire Terrier into a prestigious symbol of high society and wealth.
By the turn of the century, the plucky little terrier had earned recognition as an official breed and an affectionate nickname, the Yorkie.
The Yorkie’s popularity soared once again in the 1940s when American soldiers returning from the European theatre brought with them tails of the adorable little pooch with the courage of a lion.
Yorkies belong to the Terrier group of dogs, as such, they are related to all terriers. However, terriers are very closely related to the Australian Silky Terrier, Norwich Terrier, and the Norfolk Terrier.
Popular crossbreeds of the Yorkshire Terrier include: