- Breed group — Toy group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 7-9 inches
- Weight — 4-7 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Long, fine, straight, and silky
- Coat color — The most common color combinations include blue and tan, black and gold, and black and tan. Puppies are born black and tan and are generally darker in color than adults. They may also show an intermingling of black and tan hairs until they mature.
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — Very vocal
- Life span — 12-15 years
- Temperament — Lively, affectionate, courageous, and assertive
- Hypoallergenic — Yes
- Origin — England
Yorkshire terrier fun facts
- Yorkshire terriers are sometimes called tomboy toys. Despite their small stature, they developed this nickname because of their spunky personality and trademark confidence.
- The coat of a Yorkshire terrier is similar to human hair. A Yorkie’s coat will continue to grow throughout their lives, just like human hair. It’s also much finer than standard dog fur, which makes these dogs a great choice for allergy sufferers.
- Smoky the Yorkshire terrier was a war hero. She was awarded a medal for saving the lives of World War II soldiers by dragging a communication cable through a 60-foot drainage tunnel.
Yorkshire terrier temperament and characteristics
Yorkshire terriers, affectionately known as Yorkies, are small dogs with big personalities. They are loveable and confident, which has made them one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. These dogs thrive on human attention and tend to be equally affectionate with all members of the family.
However, Yorkies are best suited to homes with older children because they are physically fragile and don’t appreciate rough handling. They also generally get along with other dogs as well as cats, as long as they have grown up together or know each other well. Yorkies are generally unsuitable for households with smaller pets, such as rodents, because they have a strong hunting instinct and prey drive, similar to other terriers.
Yorkshire terriers are one of the smallest toy dog breeds, so they do just as well in apartments as in houses. You just need to ensure they get the necessary attention and exercise they need because they can suffer from separation anxiety. They will be quick to sound the alarm when strangers visit your home, and they can be wary of new people until they get to know them.
Common Yorkshire terrier health problems
Daily exercise, mental stimulation, and a well-balanced diet will help your Yorkshire terrier to live a long and fulfilling life. However, they are prone to developing certain health conditions of which you need to be aware.
- Patellar luxation. This occurs when the dog’s patella (kneecap) shifts out of alignment. Owners may notice a skip in their dog’s step for short periods, then return to normal as if nothing happened. Surgical treatment may be needed for dogs with a more severe grade of patellar luxation because it can lead to long-term problems such as arthritis.
- Portosystemic shunt. Also known as a liver shunt, a portosystemic shunt is caused by an abnormal connection between the blood vessels that join the blood supply from the intestines to the liver. In dogs with this condition, blood bypasses the liver so toxic substances aren’t removed before the blood re-enters the main circulation. Symptoms include poor muscle development, stunted growth, and disorientation.
- Hypoglycemia. This condition is characterized by low blood sugar, which can cause lethargy, weakness, depression, tremors, and seizures. Puppies under 5 months and pregnant females are more prone to developing hypoglycemia.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. With this condition, the head of the femur bone weakens over several weeks due to a lack of blood supply. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease usually only affects one hip and can cause lameness and pain. Mild cases can be managed with medical therapy and pain medication. However, more severe cases may require surgery.
Cost of caring for Yorkshire terriers
The Yorkshire terrier is a popular dog breed. So, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to upwards of $3,000 for a purebred Yorkie puppy. Additionally, these dogs have fairly high grooming needs because of their long, silky coats. Yorkies require regular trims from a professional groomer every four to six weeks, which cost around $40-$80 per session.
No one likes to think about their beloved dog becoming ill, but portosystemic shunt surgery can cost up to $3,000, while a diagnosis of hypoglycemia can require costly long-term treatment, depending on the underlying cause. Pet insurance is a great way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Providers offer the greatest benefits to pet owners who sign up their pets early. If you are worried about the monthly cost of pet insurance, consider setting up a pet savings account. Creating a budget will help you to prepare for future medical expenses.
History of the Yorkshire terrier
The Yorkshire terrier was first bred in the 1800s in Yorkshire, England. During this time, the height of the industrial revolution saw miners and mill workers travel to Yorkshire from Scotland to find work. Many brought their dogs along, including Skye, Paisley, Waterside, and Clydesdale terriers. These terrier breeds are believed to be the genetic ancestors of the Yorkie we know today.
Yorkshire terriers, originally known as broken-haired Scotch terriers, became popular for their impressive vermin-hunting skills in the mills and factories. They also hunted down medium-sized animals like foxes that lived in burrows, or dens, in the forest.
Yorkies became popular as canine companions in the Victorian era and made their way to America in the early 1870s. They became known as the Yorkshire terrier in 1874 and were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. They are among the few terrier breeds not included in the AKC Terrier Group.
Caring for your Yorkshire terrier
Caring for a new puppy of any breed is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We also recommend that you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething.
Yorkshire terriers are prone to developing dental problems caused by overcrowded teeth in their small jaws. So, regular brushing and a variety of dental chews are important to prevent tartar buildup. One of the common signs of teeth issues in Yorkies is halitosis, also known as bad breath.
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Yorkshire terriers need a surprising amount of exercise for their small size. These dogs need 30-40 minutes of daily exercise, including calm walks and short bursts of cardio. These will help to prevent boredom-related behaviors such as chewing and excessive barking. Yorkies also tend to do very well in agility training courses because of their high intelligence and limitless energy. Challenge your Yorkie with novel games and interactive puzzles. Start with simple challenges until your dog gets the hang of them. Then you can move on to more advanced brain-stimulating exercises.
Caution in the cold
Yorkshire terriers are prone to developing hypothermia in cold weather because they lack an undercoat. This is especially important in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Help keep your dog warm by purchasing a dog coat and shortening outdoor walks in the winter.
Yorkshire terriers are quite labor-intensive on the grooming front because of their long, silky coats. Yorkies are prone to matting, which can be a nightmare to get out once it’s formed. Brush them at least once a day if they have a long coat and at least every two days if they have a shorter “puppy dog” coat. A slicker brush or pin brush is best, alongside a comb and an appropriate coat spray to keep the coat shiny.
In addition, Yorkies require a trim once every four to six weeks. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, book a professional groomer. These dogs should be bathed roughly once every three weeks with a dog-specific shampoo. Don’t bathe your Yorkie too often as this can remove the skin’s natural oils.
Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week to prevent dental problems. Start slow and offer plenty of rewards to ensure it becomes a positive experience for you and your pup. Clean their ears once a week and trim their nails around once a month or when needed.
👉While no breed is truly hypoallergenic, Yorkshire terriers have fine, human-like hair rather than fur. This makes them great for allergy sufferers because they produce far less dander than other breeds.
Diet and nutrition
With so many options on the market, you must choose the right food for your pup’s needs. Yorkshire terriers are prone to obesity, so offer your Yorkie a high-quality diet that contains the right mix of protein sources, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Dry dog food is the best option for these dogs because the abrasive action of chewing can help to prevent dental disease.
Your vet can guide you on how much to feed your dog, depending on their weight, breed, and health status. On average, the daily calorie intake for adult Yorkies should be around 35-40 calories per pound, split into two to three meals. Yorkshire terrier puppies are better off with three to four meals a day and require more calories. Around 55-60 calories per pound per day is ideal.
Training your Yorkshire terrier
Start training your Yorkshire terrier as early as possible. This includes socialization, positive reward training, and lots of affection. Yorkies are known to be big barkers, but consistent training can help.
Yorkshire terriers are a lively breed known for their boundless energy and intelligence. However, they also have a bit of a stubborn streak. Keep training sessions short and fun, especially in the beginning, to make sure you keep their attention. It’s also a good idea to train them in a quiet room because they can be easily distracted by sudden movements or noises.
Breeds similar to the Yorkshire terrier
Not quite sure that a Yorkshire terrier is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Toy poodle. These lively little dogs are very affectionate and also considered hypoallergenic. Toy poodles are also considered hypoallergenic but have more intense grooming needs than Yorkshire terriers because of their distinct curly coats.
- Dandie Dinmont terrier. Sometimes called the gentleman of the terrier family, Dandies are highly affectionate and known to be very gentle around children. Like Yorkshire terriers, Dandies are alert, intelligent little dogs.
- Silky terrier. This breed is similar in appearance to the Yorkshire terrier. Both have silky, hypoallergenic coats, and both are highly playful. However, Yorkies tend to be calmer than silky terriers and need less exercise.
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Frequently asked questions
Can a Yorkshire terrier be left alone?
Yorkshire terriers are independent and confident. They can be left alone for 2-4 hours when needed. However, don’t leave them alone for long periods because they are prone to separation anxiety and stress.
Are Yorkshire terriers high maintenance?
Despite their small size, Yorkies have big personalities and demand a lot of attention from their owners. Furthermore, they have long, fine coats that need daily brushing. On the other hand, these dogs are independent yet loving, which makes them the perfect pet for the right owners.
Do Yorkies bark a lot?
Yorkshire terriers do tend to bark a lot. These sprightly little dogs make great watchdogs because they will bark at any unfamiliar sound or movement. However, this trait can be controlled with consistent training from puppyhood.
Are Yorkies good family pets?
Yorkies can make wonderful family pets as long as they have been well-socialized. They are playful, affectionate, and mischievous, which makes them fun to be around. However, they are best suited to homes with older children because they are physically fragile and can become snappy with repeated rough handling.
Do Yorkies like to be cuddled?
Yorkshire terriers are affectionate but independent. They are not natural lap dogs, however, they can learn to enjoy hugs from their favorite family members through positive reinforcement training.