Breed Type: Toy Terrier
Country of Origin:
Also known as:
Height: 15-17.5 cm Weight: 1.4-3.2kg
Exercise Requirements:
Care Requirements:
Lifespan: 13-16 Years
Best Suited as:
Family Pets

The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the “Yorkie” is a very popular breed throughout the world. They perfectly describe the large dog in a small dog’s body.

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog with human like hair that is fine, glossy and straight. It generally falls straight to either side. A Yorkie puppy is born with black fur with a tan muzzle, above the eyes, the legs and feet and toes, the inside of the ears, and the underside of the tail. As a Yorkie ages, usually two or three years later, these tan areas deepen further into a brighter tan. The rest of the coat turns a grey or steel blue color from the back of the neck to the tail.

Yorkshire Terriers have small flattish heads and an average size muzzle. They have small black noses and medium size dark colored eyes that have been described as “sparkling”. Their ears stand erect on their heads. They have a level back line and customarily have a docked tail. Their body is well proportioned and very compact. Their front legs stand straight and their hind legs are straight when seen from behind. Yorkies’ feet are round and they have black toenails.

Despite the sophisticated look of the Yorkshire Terrier, this dog comes from humble roots. Originally used as vermin catchers in Yorkshire, England, the Yorkshire Terrier was nothing more than a working class dog. It is believed that this breed is the result of crosses between several Terrier breeds brought from Scotland in the mid-19th century – Waterside Terriers, Clydesdale Terriers, Paisley Terriers, rough-coated English Black and Tan Terriers, and maybe even the Skye Terrier, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and Maltese.

The Yorkshire Terrier made its first appearance at a show in England in 1861 as a “broken-haired Scotch Terrier”. Huddersfield Ben, regarded as the Father of the Breed, was the first registered Yorkshire Terrier there. In 1870, the breed became known as the Yorkshire Terrier. The first Yorkshire Terrier on the scene in Australia was “Punch,” exported to Brisbane. “Punch”, was a close relative of Huddersfield Ben. By 1880, Yorkies had come to the United States. By 1900, fanciers in Australia, Europe and the United States successfully bred the Yorkshire Terrier to be one of the smaller and most luxuriously coated dogs in the world.

The Yorkie is an animated, affectionate, energetic, confident and devoted dog. She loves to be the center of attention and certainly expects to be treated as an important family member. She is never happier than when she is near you. While your Yorkie may be content to cuddle in your lap, she also loves action, and will jump quickly off your lap to explore any unusual noises.

Yorkies love to play and although they do not require a great deal of exercise to be happy, they certainly appreciate any game that you might play to amuse them. Without proper stimulation, you may find your Yorkie making up mischievous games of her own. Do not even think about leaving her alone in the yard for the day – you will have to answer to her later. It is much better to take this easily traveler with you and some owners tote them along in a handbag or on a small harness.

While a friendly, social dog, many Yorkshire Terriers are shy and wary around new humans. They make very good watchdogs, with their outstanding hearing and high-pitched bark. While some people find this “yappy” bark annoying, they can be trained to stop barking on demand. Intelligent, most Yorkies are easy to train and have the ability to remember multiple commands.

Your Yorkshire may sometimes forget that he is a small dog and challenge bigger dogs he meets. Your dog may also exhibit some jealous behaviors if they feel too much of your attention is being averted away from them.  At their worst, some Yorkies may become anxious and high strung and may show some aggression.

Care and Grooming
With the appearance of a beauty queen, Yorkies can take a lot of time and care in the grooming department. Owners who are less eager for their dog to play the role of the pampered pooch, may trim their fur short for easier care.  Like human hair, Yorkie hair does not stop growing. Without a regular haircut, a Yorkie’s coat can grow long enough to drag on the ground. Many owners have found that using a hair clip or a ponytail works well to keep the abundant fur on the Yorkie’s face from falling into their eyes.

While the Yorkie does not necessarily need a long walk daily, some exercise on a daily basis will help your Yorkie get out some of their nervous energy.

A number of health issues have been found in individual Yorkshire Terriers. Some of these include distichiasis, hydrocephalus, hypoplasia of dens, slipped stifle, luxating patella, portosystemic shunt, retinal dysplasia other eye problems, tracheal collapse, and bladders stones. Yorkies may also suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar but mostly when they are puppies.

Yorkies are also prone to early tooth decay and should be given safe bones to chew on to help keep their teeth clean and strong. Due to their size, some Yorkshires have trouble delivering their young during childbirth and may need to have a caesarian section.

Suitability as a Pet
If you looking for a small, nearly non-shedding dog to join your family, you may have found the right pet in a Yorkshire Terrier. They tend to be easy to train (including house breaking) and are eager to please their owners. While they may come across as arrogant, most Yorkie owners feel that their pets are full of a healthy self-confidence and worth. They require a great deal of attention and should be adopted by an owner who has the time and energy to devote to this breed.

While Yorkies can do very well in most families, they have a lower tolerance than some breeds for small children who may tease them. Prone to snap when they feel mistreated, it is best for an owner with small children to wait to adopt this pup when their children are a bit older and mature.

Not afraid of larger dogs, this small but fearless dog should be kept on a leash to prevent it being swallowed whole. As a dog sibling to other animals, he can get along with other dogs and possibly with cats if he is brought up with him, but he will hunt and can harm smaller, rodent pets. Your Yorkie can excel at dog sports, especially in agility contests if they are in good health.