Yorkshire Terrier Overview

Dog Breed:
Yorkshire Terrier
Breed Group:
Toy Group
Mischievous, bossy, courageous, spunky, affectionate
7-8 inches
7 pounds
Life Span:
11-15 years
Coat Colors:
Black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, blue and tan
Area of Origin:
Best For:
Novice owners
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Yorkshire Terriers
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Yorkshire Terriers
Mixed Breeds:
Ratchi & Chorkie

Yorkshire Terrier Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Yorkshire Terrier

  • Nicknamed the “Yorkie”

  • Small dog, big personality

  • Considered to be hypoallergenic

  • Good for novice owners

The Yorkshire Terrier, a breed commonly referred to as a “Yorkie,” is a toy dog. Characterized by its silky locks which reach to the floor, the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat comes in a variety of different colours with the most commonly recognized being its trademark blue and tan. 

Though toy in size, the Yorkshire Terrier is a dog that is big on personality.  A dog breed that likes to be in charge, the Yorkie is truly a big dog in a small package. Delicate of appearance, this dog type is spirited, lively, courageous, and bossy; all qualities befitting any dog whose name includes the word “terrier.”

Yorkies enjoy excellent longevity with a lifespan which extends 11-15 years. The breed is considered to be hypoallergenic as its coat bears similar properties to human hair. Its long flowing tresses and distinctive topknot make the Yorkie one of the most dapper dogs in the toy group. The Yorkie relishes life in the lap of luxury, enjoying such perks as being toted around in designer handbags and taking pride of place in its owner’s lap. 

A dog breed that is exceptionally affectionate to its family, the Yorkie does not make fast friends with strangers, requiring time and effort for a relationship to be built before trust is established. Yorkshire Terriers are known to alert bark when they detect unusual noises. A breed that can be prone to barking, potential owners will need to invest time and effort to ensure their Yorkie doesn’t disturb their neighbours with incessant nuisance barking. 

The Yorkie is not always tolerant of other dogs and can be known to display aggression towards them. A dog with a high prey drive, Yorkies will roam if given opportunity to do so. 

Yet in spite of its true terrier attitude, the Yorkshire Terrier is also a loyal, loving companion. The Yorkie thrives under the attention of its cherished family and prefers company to being alone. A true toy breed, care must be taken not to spoil a Yorkshire Terrier lest the dog become needy and demanding. Yorkies are known to resource guard their owners, so care must be taken to prevent this behaviour from developing. 

A good dog for the novice owner, Yorkies can thrive in any environment, including an apartment, so long as their daily exercise needs are met. Though Yorkshire Terriers can live amicably with children, they are best reserved for families with older kids as they are intolerant of rough handling and will snap if feeling provoked. 

Yorkshire Terrier Breed History

  • Developed by Scottish weavers who migrated to England

  • A hybrid whose pedigrees included Scottish, Skye, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers

  • Bred to help control rodent population

  • Became cherished lapdog of fashionable ladies of the day


A breed that traces it roots to England in the 19th century, the Yorkshire Terrier was primarily developed in Yorkshire and Lancashire Counties. From its inception, the Yorkie was a breed destined to adorn the laps of its owners as it did with the elite ladies of the Victorian era.  However, prior to this dog breed’s installation in the lap of luxury, the dog descended from more humble beginnings. 

The Yorkshire Terrier was developed by a group of Scottish weavers who moved to England, bringing their beloved Scottish Terriers along with them. This early type of Scottish Terrier played an important role in the development of the Yorkie and is included in its distant pedigrees alongside such terrier breeds as Dandie Dinmonts and Skyes. Some experts also believe that the Maltese may have been included in developing this new hybrid. 

The Yorkie was deliberately bred to be of a size that made them well suited to fitting in small spaces to help control the rodent population in damp, cold England. The Yorkie’s now highly prized coat was once the topic of jokes with references made to the quality of the hair having been created directly from the weavers’ looms. Though the Scottish weavers moved to England, bringing with them their trade; the region was also home to many mining operations. It was here the Yorkshire Terrier was put to work to keep the rat population at bay. 

In 1886, the Kennel Club (England) officially recognized the Yorkshire Terrier as its own breed, and it soon gained popularity among the elite as a companion for the ladies who lunch. As this dog breed’s appeal broadened, its size began to decrease in order for the dog to more easily fulfil its new role: a lapdog with the task of amusing ladies of leisure. 

The first Yorkie was brought to the United States in the 1870’s where the breed also became an instant sensation. 

Yorkshire Terrier Size & Weight

  • 7”-8” in height

  • 7 pounds in weight

  • Only one size

  • Overfeeding to be avoided


The Yorkshire Terrier, a toy breed, measures 7”-8” at the shoulder with its ideal weight being 7 pounds. The breed is known for its inconsistencies of size with some growing to be larger and to weigh more than the established guidelines published in the breed standard. 

Though today some breeders advertise the sale of “Teacup Yorkies,” there is no such size variation in this breed. To achieve teacup size, undersized dogs are bred to undersized dogs. This unfortunate practice is discouraged as it can lead to genetic health issues and serious health complications for the dogs. 

Toy breeds are very delicate. Though the Yorkie’s personality is quite boisterous, its frame is very small, requiring a gentle hand. Owners must take care to watch where they step to avoid causing injury to a Yorkie that gets underfoot. Caution must be exercised to not overfeed a Yorkshire Terrier as excess weight can cause undue stress on the dog’s joints. 

Yorkshire Terrier Personality & Temperament

  • Moderate intelligence

  • Affectionate with family; reserved with strangers

  • Not tolerant of rough handling

  • Best suited to families with older children


A dog of moderate intelligence and with attitude to spare, the Yorkshire Terrier is both spirited and game. Unlike some breeds, the personality traits of the Yorkie vary from dog to dog. While some Yorkshire Terriers crave the affection of their owners, others display a more independent spirit, always seeking new and interesting ways to cause trouble. 

The Yorkie is not what most people would describe as a friendly dog, displaying a natural reticence towards strangers. Early socialization can help this breed learn to view new people as potential friends and not enemies. 

Yorkies are loyal and affectionate with their family. A dog breed that enjoys company, Yorkshire Terriers do not do well if expected to spend a lot of time alone. A breed that loves to test its boundaries, a Yorkie that is allowed to exert its own will may easily become a spoiled companion that is difficult to control. It is important to establish and enforce boundaries to ensure a happy, well-mannered pet. 

Though Yorkies can live amicably with children, they are best reserved for families whose kids are older. Because of their size, Yorkies are easy to drop or step on; something that could cause the dog irreparable harm and cause ill will between the dog and the child. To introduce a Yorkie puppy to a child, it is important to carefully supervise all play time as Yorkshire Terriers are prone to snapping if they feel uncomfortable or are handled roughly. 

Yorkshire Terriers have the potential to live in peace in a multi-pet home. However, in order to ensure the success of this venture, it is best to bring a puppy into the home rather than an adult. The best approach is to introduce the Yorkie puppy to its new family members in a neutral setting where none of the animals will feel the need to be territorial. In spite of good intentions and sincere efforts, sometimes it is not possible to integrate this breed into a home with other pets as dog aggression can be problem with Yorkies

Yorkshire Terriers can thrive in any living situation, including apartment life. Though regular daily exercise is an important part of keeping a Yorkie in good health and body condition, the breed does not do well in cold weather. Walks during inclement weather should include a sweater to keep the Yorkshire Terrier warm and dry. 

Yorkshire Terrier Health & Grooming

  • High grooming requirements

  • Weekly baths necessary

  • Low shedding breed

  • Enjoys good health


In general, the Yorkshire Terrier is a breed that enjoys good health and excellent longevity. However, there are a number of genetic illnesses that Yorkies can be predisposed to. These include patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, portosystemic shunt, hypoglycemia, and collapsed trachea. Most of these problems are inherited, and thus, proper health screening can help determine the presence of disease in any dogs being considered as breeding stock. This type of testing is vital to ensure the health and wellness of future generations. 

Another problem which can affect the breed are retained baby teeth. This problem typically becomes evident around age 5 months when a puppy should be undergoing the teething process. If an adult tooth is trying to make its way into the spot occupied by a firmly in place baby tooth, it will be necessary to make a visit to the vet to have the baby tooth extracted to prevent overcrowding or poor bite formation. 

The Yorkshire Terrier is a high grooming breed. Potential owners must be prepared to invest a significant amount of time to keeping their Yorkie’s coat in good condition. However, Yorkies are not a breed that shed frequently, meaning there is little cleaning of hair to do. 

Long coats must be brushed on a daily basis to remain mat and knot free. Since the hair also gets lengthy at the top of the head, it must be secured in place with a topknot or clipped short to prevent eye infections. 

The Yorkie’s coat can become quite oily and smelly if not kept in proper condition. To prevent this from occurring, the Yorkshire Terrier should be bathed once weekly. Ears should be inspected each week to ensure they are free from debris and odour which could indicate an infection. Nails should be trimmed on an as needed basis. 

In addition to the home grooming requirements, Yorkshire Terriers should frequent a professional groomer’s salon several times yearly for proper hair trims. 

Yorkies are not a breed known for excessive drooling. Though not a breed that suffers from hip or elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation can be common in the breed. To help promote proper knee health, care should be taken to keep the Yorkshire Terrier at a healthy weight. 

Yorkshire Terrier Training

  • Enjoy training with their owners

  • Learn new things readily

  • Early socialization to new people, places, and things important

  • Prone to barking and roaming


Yorkies are not known to be a stubborn breed, making them amenable to training. A breed of moderate intelligence, the average Yorkie can learn the basic obedience commands in the time it takes to complete a formal puppy obedience class of approximately six weeks in length. 

Yorkshire Terriers respond exceptionally well to positive training techniques, particularly when reinforced with many treats and lots of praise. The breed is sensitive in nature and will shut down if harsh corrections are issued. 

Because the breed is reticent of new people and unfamiliar situations, the Yorkie should be socialized early and often. Care must be taken to ensure each new person, place, or situation remains 100 percent positive to avoid any regression in training efforts. 

Yorkies are not typically a mouthy breed; however, during puppyhood, they will often nip in play. To help curb this habit, owners should simply redirect the puppy’s attention to something more appropriate to chew on like a bone or toy. 

A terrier breed, Yorkshire Terriers are prey driven and will not pass up an opportunity to roam. For this reason, they should never be allowed off-lead and require secure fencing. The breed can be yappy, so care must be taken to teach the dog a “no bark” command to prevent complaints from angry neighbours. 

Yorkshire Terrier Exercise Requirements

  • Enjoy training with their owners

  • Learn new things readily

  • Early socialization to new people, places, and things important

  • Prone to barking and roaming


Though a toy breed, Yorkshire Terriers have energy to spare. To remain mentally and physically healthy, Yorkies require daily exercise. However, the amount and intensity of the activity is minimal when compared with the needs of larger breeds. A walk that encompasses several blocks or a vigorous play session is plenty to keep a Yorkshire Terrier contented and in good body condition. 

Yorkshire Terriers are also well-suited to such activities as agility, obedience, and tracking. 

Yorkies are naturally a very playful breed and will welcome the opportunity to have fun with their owners. 

Yorkshire Terrier Diet & Feeding

  • Feed a high-quality diet

  • Puppies should eat puppy food

  • Adults should eat adult food

  • Adjust portions to match activity level


To best understand the nutritional needs of a Yorkshire Terrier, it is always wise to consult with a veterinarian. In general, Yorkies do well on a high-quality dog food that is balanced and properly formulated to meet the requirements for their age and body condition. 

Puppies should always be fed a puppy food since their bodies are still developing, and they have different nutritional requirements to adult dogs. In like fashion, adult dogs should also receive a diet that is appropriate for their age. 

To determine how much food to feed a Yorkie, the bag of food selected will give an approximate guideline. This is an excellent starting point but should be adjusted according to the activity level of the Yorkie. Several adjustments may need to be made before settling on the correct amount. The dog’s appetite and body condition will serve as an excellent guide during this process. 

Yorkies are a breed with sensitive stomachs. They are often extremely picky and may reject the foods selected for them. Should this occur, a good first step is to check the condition of the dog’s teeth. Mouth pain is often the culprit behind a dog that is not eating as it should. 

You may also be interested in:

Yorkshire Terrier Rescue Groups


For more information regarding Yorkshire Terriers available for adoption in your area, we recommend the following resources:

The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America



Rescue Me Yorkie Rescue



Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue Inc.