Yorkshire Terrier

Breed Group: Toy

Temperament and Behavior

Much of the Yorkshire Terriers’ popularity comes from the fact that they possess the self-assured personality of a terrier and the appearance of an adorable toy dog. This feisty little dog does not seem to realize it weighs less than ten pounds. They are brave and always up for an adventure. Yorkies are quite affectionate within their own home but can be suspicious of strangers. They are aggressive with dogs and other pets, oblivious of their diminutive size. Yorkies are good with children, but care should be taken with the smallest kids. They can be too rough for little dogs. Because they are wary of strangers and other pets it is important to socialize a Yorkie from an early age. This can dispel distrust and nervous anxiety that sometimes develops in this breed. For exercise needs, Yorkies are low maintenance. They will exercise themselves indoors and in this way are suitable for city or country living. Although not necessary every day, they do like a short walk or time to play outside in a safe area. They do not like to be ignored and need plenty of playing and cuddling time with their people.

Physical Characteristics

Yorkies are one of the smallest dog breeds. They are only 7 to 9 inches tall and 5 to 9 pounds in weight. Their distinctive coat is long, silky, tan and blue-black in color, and lies flat and straight on either side of the dog. If not a show dog, most owners keep the coat trimmed for a more convenient, short, and shaggy look. The longer the hair is kept, the more often it needs to be brushed. Exceptionally small Yorkies sometimes called a ‘teacup’, which not a size recognized by the AKC, are prone to significant problems. These dogs are frequently runts that responsible breeders will never intentionally select for breeding. Until marketed as ‘fashionable’, few if anyone would buy them. But some breeders now charge more for a ‘teacup’ than an appropriately sized dog.

Trainer's Notes

Although a Terrier, Yorkies are fairly easy to train. They are intelligent and eager to please most of the time. True to their Terrier heritage, they can sometimes be stubborn and independent. Games and fun training sessions are helpful. As good watchdogs, Yorkies tend to bark too much. This can be corrected with proper training. A problem that may arise with Yorkies is a result of an owner’s tendency to treat them as decorations rather than dogs. Although pretty and small, Yorkies are still dogs and need to be treated as such. If kept only on display and not allowed to play, they can become unhappy and nervous.

Photo © by Pelz available under the CC by-SA 3.0
Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier


Yorkies suffer from a number of potential health issues. They are prone to tooth decay, upper respiratory infections and broken bones. They can have digestive issues and may be allergic to anesthesia. Other problems sometimes seen include Legg-Perthes, tracheal collapse, Patellar Luxation, plus the eye problems of Dry Eye, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and PRA. When a puppy, Hypoglycemia is not uncommon. Unusually small Yorkies are more prone to these and a number of other health issues.


In 2006, Yorkshire Terriers moved up the ranks to become the second most popular breed in the AKC. They registered 48,346 dogs in that year. Because Yorkies are such a popular breed, research should be done to find a responsible breeder. With high demand for puppies, mills often churn out badly bred dogs with physical or emotional defects.

Breed History

The Yorkshire Terrier, today thought of as a show breed and a companion to wealthy ladies actually developed among the working class of Yorkshire as a ratter. In the 1800s, several breeds, many from Scotland, were used to breed a small, ratting dog. The breeds used in the development of Yorkies may have included Waterside, Clydesdale, Paisley, Black and Tan, Skye, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. The breeders kept minimal records, so the exact lineage is unknown. What is known is the first Yorkshire Terriers were larger than the dogs of today. But by 1900, the breed had become favored a companion dog in Europe and the U.S. As a result, they were bred down to the small size that is seen today.

Additional Information

The National (US) Breed Club is the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America.

Is A Yorkshire Terrier THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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