Breed Profile: Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire terrier, commonly known as the Yorkie, is a spunky little dog with a big personality. Although originally bred as a working dog in the 19th century, the Yorkie became a popular companion and show dog to Victorian families of European high society; so popular, in fact, that Yorkies began making their way to America as early as 1872.1 Given their loyal and affectionate natures, it’s no wonder they’re still popular among pet owners today.
Physical Traits and Appearance of Yorkshire Terriers
Yorkies are distinguished by their coat color, a specific blue and gold. Puppies are born black and tan, but as they mature, their distinctive coloring emerges. The blue color typically starts at the back of the neck and runs to the end of the tail, but the breed is known to have some variations, too.
A Yorkshire terrier’s coat will need almost as much care and maintenance as their owner’s hair. If left uncut, Yorkies can grow a long, silky and glossy coat. And just like yours, this beautiful, flowing hair can tangle and break easily, so proper grooming is key.
Yorkie Temperament and Personality Traits
Yorkshire terriers make incredible companions and have become an increasingly popular breed. Most Yorkies are:
- Bold and lively
- Loyal and affectionate
- Highly intelligent and trainable
- Confident and stubborn
Due to their above-average intelligence, loyalty and small size, Yorkies tend to be easy to train — and you’ll want to start early because they have a big bark. This makes them attentive guard dogs, but a bit noisy and feisty if you have nearby neighbors.
Accompanying their owners on short walks, playing at the park or simply running errands is just the right amount of daily activity for Yorkies. Though energetic, they don’t need a lot of space or time for exercise, so they do well with apartment living. However, they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time, so make sure to give them plenty of attention, regular play sessions and a warm lap to cozy up on.
Yorkies can be naturally suspicious of strangers, so early socialization to both people and other animals is important. Yorkies tend to do better with older children who better understand what a “gentle touch” means.
Health and Care of Yorkshire Terriers
Don’t let the Yorkie’s small stature fool you: This breed packs a lot of personality into their frame. Yorkies generally weigh between 5 and 7 pounds and stand about 6 to 9 inches tall.
Although they boast a longer-than-average lifespan of 14 to 16 years, be aware of some potential health issues, including progressive retinal atrophy, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (thigh bone degeneration), luxating patella (kneecap dislocation), collapsed trachea and portosystemic shunt (a liver condition).1,2
Your Yorkshire terrier should remain fit well into their senior years if they stay healthy.
Grooming Needs for Yorkshire Terriers
Yorkies are known for their long, beautiful, silky coats, which can require more grooming time than other breeds, especially if your Yorkie is a show dog. For shows, a Yorkie’s coat must be long but many owners prefer to keep the hair trimmed and short for easier maintenance.
Yorkshire terriers typically require daily brushing and coat oil to keep the hair from getting knotted. Bathe your pet regularly (once every three weeks), trim their nails and brush their teeth, and you’ll be good to go.
Do Yorkshire Terriers Shed?
Despite their long, silky-smooth hair, Yorkies have minimal shedding. Although no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Yorkshire terriers can be a great breed for dog lovers with pet allergies.
Is a Yorkshire Terrier Right for You?
This loyal and affectionate tiny terrier makes a great companion for individuals or families with older children. And since the Yorkie doesn’t need a lot of space for exercise, they can thrive equally in an apartment or a house with a yard. They will also do well in a home where a little barking won’t be a big problem.
The best-suited home for this breed is one that can set aside some time each day for coat maintenance and playtime. If you’re able to maintain a stable grooming and play routine, then a Yorkshire terrier is a great fit for you.
Thinking of getting a Yorkie? Learn more about the cost of dog adoption.
- PetMD. (2018, January 30). Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_yorkshire_terrier
- Kriss, R. (2017, November 6). Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) Dog Breed Information. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/yorkshire-terrier/