The Yorkshire Terrier is a toy dog that has a small body but an immensely sized personality. The breed is well-renowned for its spiritedness and makes for a devoted and affectionate family companion. The Yorkshire Terrier is sometimes referred to as a Yorkie and is the most frequently purchased breed in the toy group in the United States today.
One of the Yorkshire Terrier’s biggest drawing cards is its adaptability. The breed does well in an apartment and is also well-suited to life in a home with a fully fenced yard. However, those who plan to add a Yorkie to their home must be prepared for the yappiness which comes along with this breed, a trait your neighbors may not appreciate.
A breed known to have teeth problems, regular dental care is important to ensure the Yorkshire Terrier’s teeth remain in excellent shape.
Height: 7-8 inches
Weight: 7 pounds
Life Span: 11 to 15 years
Breed Size: Toy
Best Suited To: Families with children, first time dog owners
Personality: Friendly, sociable, comical, elegant, affectionate, devoted, spirited
Intelligence: Fairly intelligent
Shedding: Not a heavy shedder
Exercise: Minimal daily exercise required
Barking: Can be prone to barking and howling
Drooling: Not known to drool
AKC/CKC Group: Toy group
Colors: Black and tan, black and gold, blue and tan, and blue and gold
Coat Types: Hair instead of fur
The Yorkshire Terrier, often affectionately called a Yorkie, is a self-assured dog that carries himself with a natural arrogance that many find quite amusing. A dog breed whose coat is made of hair not fur, the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is floor length and silky smooth while his head is adorned by the classic top not. The Yorkshire Terrier is quite a sophisticated pooch. With fans of the breed found worldwide, the Yorkie is a dog type that greets his public in the comfort of specially designed dog purses that can be carried like accessories by his owner.
The Yorkie’s coat comes in several different colors, but the best known seems to be blue and tan. A dog that is small of size, the Yorkshire Terrier has has a larger than life personality that many people find enchanting. This breed is truly the epitome of a big dog in a small body. A dog breed with a spirit of adventure, the Yorkie is up for anything you’ve got in mind and often finds himself in mischief.
A dog breed that is loving and affectionate, the Yorkshire Terrier may belong to toy group, but he possesses the heart of a true terrier. The breed can be wary of new people and is prone to barking at unusual noises and strangers. Yorkshire Terriers may respond aggressively to unfamiliar dogs and will also chase and kill squirrels if the dog can catch them.
An excellent family companion, the Yorkshire Terrier thrives when allowed to spend time with his family. The breed loves being the center of attention and will demand your focus if not automatically receiving it. A people-oriented dog, the Yorkshire Terrier does not do well if left alone for long period of time.
To prevent behavioral problems from occurring, it is important to not coddle the yorkie. Owners who choose to do this may end up with a Yorkshire Terrier that is very needy. The breed is well renowned for its sensitive nature and can get its feelings hurt quite easily.
One of the smallest dog breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier weighs between six and eight inches at the shoulder. The average weight for a Yorkie is only seven pounds. The hallmark of the breed is its small head that includes a medium-length muzzle. The ears should be v-shaped, set high on the skull, and set at attention. The Yorkshire Terrier’s body is sturdy, well put together, and displays a level topline.
The Yorkie’s coat is floor length. The hair is straight and is very silky to the touch. Though the Yorkie comes in four recognized colors, blue and tan is the most popular and the most commonly seen.
Traditionally, the Yorkshire Terrier’s tail is docked and sits relatively high on the back.
The Yorkie is sassy and confident yet, possessing the innate feistiness and mischievousness of a true terrier. The Yorkshire Terrier has many personality traits ranging from affectionate and lively to aloof and even clingy. Some Yorkies are very outgoing while others are a little more introverted.
A dog that needs firm boundaries, the Yorkshire Terrier requires a family that will establish limits and expect the dog to heed them. Yorkies that are overly spoiled can become unruly and difficult to live with.
Yorkshire Terriers are a very active breed indoors, taking every opportunity to play. Because of this, the dog’s activity needs are easily met without the need for excessive walking.
A breed that is relatively easy to train, the Yorkie excels at learning new tricks. This dog type is quite intelligent and easily picks up the skills required for such activities as agility, Rally, or obedience.
One area where Yorkies are notoriously difficult to work with is housetraining. To ensure the dog learns where he is expected to potty, it is important that owners stay on top of this training from a very early age before bad habits are formed.
Yorkies succumb to both cold and heat easily.
The Yorkshire Terrier is not particularly well-suited to life with young kids simply because of their size. Since the Yorkie is a true toy breed, it is easy for them to get underfoot where they may be stepped on. It is also possible that an overexuberant child may accidentally crush the dog when hugging him.
Though Yorkies can make excellent companions for other household pets, it is best for the Yorkshire Terrier to enter the home as a puppy and grow up with his housemates. The breed can respond aggressively to outside dogs or cats and are fearless in attack if feeling threatened, regardless of the size of his opponent.
The Yorkshire Terrier coat is lengthy, straight, and silky to the touch. Dogs shown in conformation should have hair that descends right to the floor. A single coated breed, the Yorkie’s coat sheds only minimally.
The Yorkie is a very high maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. Owners must be prepared to keeping their dog’s hair in a short clip and to daily brushing to prevent matting from occurring.
As with most toy breeds, Yorkies suffer from dental issues. Tartar easily accumulates on their teeth leading to such problems as periodontal disease and early tooth loss. To combat this, it is a good idea for owners to brush their Yorkie’s teeth frequently and to book appointments for a dental cleaning once annually.
To keep the Yorkie’s coat shiny, it is a good idea to bath him at least once weekly. Nails should be trimmed every couple of weeks for optimal foot health.
All dog breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. Thankfully, through careful health testing of breeding dogs, it is possible to limit and even possibly eliminate the transmission of some of the most commonly seen problems in some breeds. The main health issues that can affect the Yorkshire Terrier include:
- Patellar luxation
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Portosystemic shunt
- Collapsed trachea
- Reverse sneezing
- Eye infections
- Teeth and gum problems
Reputable breeders conduct the appropriate physical and DNA tests on their dogs prior to any matings to ensure genetic illness is not knowingly passed from generation to generation.
The Yorkshire Terrier traces his roots back to England and the Industrial Revolution. During this time, workers migrated from Scotland to Yorkshire to seek employment in the coal mines, manufacturing plants, and textile mills. Many of these workers brought with them pet dogs known as Clydesdale Terriers or Paisley Terriers. These dog breeds were considerably bigger than today’s Yorkshire Terrier. Their primary role was to serve as rodent control in the factories.
Over time, these dogs were selectively bred to different terriers including the English Black and Tan Toy Terrier, the Skye Terrier, and the Waterside Terrier. These dog breeds were instrumental in establishing the prototype for the Yorkshire Terrier we know and love today.
1861 saw a Yorkshire Terrier type dog entered in a conformation show and classified as a “broken-haired Scotch Terrier.” His name was Huddersfield Ben, and he was born in 1865. He had an excellent career in the show ring and is considered to be one of the most important ancestors of the modern Yorkie. In 1870, the breed officially adopted the name of Yorkshire Terrier since it was in that town that the majority of the breed’s development occurred.
The breed gained recognition in the British Kennel Club in 1874 with the first breed club established in the UK in 1898.
The first Yorkshire Terriers were born in the United States in 1872. In 1878, the breed became eligible to compete in local conformation events. During this time, Yorkshire Terrier were divided into two distinct weight categories: under five pounds and five pounds and over.
Fun Facts About the Yorkshire Terrier
- Yorkies are considered to be tomboys.
- The Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is made of hair not fur.
- The Yorkshire Terrier was originally a working dog whose most important job was keeping the rat population at bay.
- Some people believe that Toto from the book version of The Wizard of Oz was inspired by sketches of Dorothy’s side kick that closely resembled a Yorkie.
- Yorkies are known for being fearless and brave. A Yorkie named Smoky saved the lives of many soldiers during World War II when he hauled a communications cable along a narrow drainage tunnel.
- The Yorkshire Terrier is a highly adaptable breed and can learn to enjoy living in any type of environment.