Yorkshire Terriers

a Yorkshire Terrier laying under the covers on a bed

The Yorkshire Terrier is also known as the Yorkie. They are a very small breed, and they enjoy running around playing or sitting on someone’s lap. This feisty dog began its history working as ratters in the mines and mills of Old England.

Yorkshire Terriers are very good with children, and become attached to their family very quickly. They are very agile, and will enjoy running around and playing fetch. They are also very curious and will enjoy investigating everything around them. They desire both close companionship and independence.

Yorkies show a surprising amount of courage, often barking at dogs or people much bigger than they are. Obedience training is necessary to have a well-behaved Yorkie because they do tend to be stubborn. Yorkshire Terriers are sensitive to extreme temperatures and prefer to be indoors most of the time.

Yorkies form strong bonds with their owners and love to be showered with attention. They need moderate exercise from daily walks to play time. Try not to leave them unattended for too long because they can suffer from loneliness and can get anxiety if it happens too often.

Yorkshire Terrier puppies are very cute and adorable, and will grow into beautiful adults. They are also very smart, and will learn new commands quickly. They are also affectionate and loving, and will form strong bonds with their family.

If you decide to adopt a puppy from a breeder or shelter, you should expect to pay anywhere between $1250-$2500 for a healthy Yorkshire Terrier puppy.

Yorkshire Terrier Information

  • Average Height: 7 to 9 inches
  • Average Length: 12 to 15.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 4 to 7 pounds
  • Coat Type: Silky
  • Coat Appearance: They have a straight, silky, and glossy coat
  • Coat Colors: Combination of black, blue, tan, and gold
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: Low 
  • Brushing Requirements: Daily
  • Sensitive to Touch: Moderate
  • Excessive Barking: High
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: With proper training, yes!
  • Good with Other Dogs: Moderate
  • Good with Other Pets: Moderate
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes! They are great pets for apartments as their exercise needs are minimal.
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: It can be difficult to house train them in the beginning, so No.
  • Training: Obedience training and positive reinforcement techniques works best with them
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Weight Gain: Medium
  • Health Concerns: Leg Perthes disease, hypoglycemia, retinal dysplasia, liver shunt, collapsed trachea, teeth problem, and gastric conditions.
  • Allergies: Exposure to pollen, mold or chemicals can cause skin or respiratory allergies
  • Average Life Span: 11 to 15 years

Physical Appearance of Yorkshire Terriers

a Yorkshire Terrier sitting in the grass

Yorkshire Terriers are the second smallest dog breed in the world. The dogs have a little head with a medium length snout. They have a condensed body with a straight back. The ears are v-shaped which are set high on their head and stand erect. Yorkies have medium-sized dark brown or black eyes. They have a medium-length tail that is often cut at birth. More on this at the end of the article in the related questions section.

Yorkies have a long, single coat which is silky and mostly straight. Yorkies fur mostly has a combination of tan and steel-blue, golden, and black colors. An interesting fact about Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is that it changes from birth to adulthood. The puppies usually have a black coat when they are born and the shaded pattern starts changing after they turn one. Some puppies might start developing a lighter shade before they turn one. In this case, the hair on the coat turns gray rather than turning steel-blue.

Temperament of Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are a smart and independent dog breed. They have a slightly proud and courageous character. The dogs are affectionate and loyal to their owners. They are a confident dog breed and look forward to adventures.

Though they are loving companions for the family members they are not so good with strangers and other dogs. The Yorkie considers itself a big dog and does not shy away from becoming aggressive or barking at strangers or even bigger animals. They will need to have early socialization training to correct and minimize this behavior.

Training a Yorkshire Terrier

a Yorkshire Terrier standing in a field on a beautiful sunny day

First-time dog owners may find it difficult to house train Yorkshire Terriers because they are stubborn. The dog looks small but as we’ve mentioned, carries the mindset of a big dog. Positive reinforcement and obedience training practices will be the best training methods for the Yorkie. Patience and consistency are what an owner needs while training them.

Kennel Training

Kennel training works very well for Yorkies. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.

Clicker Training

Yorkshire Terriers are known to misbehave fairly often, especially as puppies. They need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.

If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to make the Yorkie understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.

Obedience Training Classes

Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy. The amount of time you spend trying to stop your Yorkie’s excessive barking can be a lot less if you know the best way to teach them. Because Yorkies love barking, with or without obedience training you will likely spend a good deal of time teaching them to be quiet.

Early Socialization Training

a Yorkshire Terrier standing in the grass and looking towards the camera

Early socialization is absolutely necessary for Yorkshire Terriers. They need exposure to different sounds, places, people, other dogs, and pets right when they are a puppy. By being exposed to so many things it will help interact more confidently with others and not be so skittish or aggressive with strangers or other dogs.

Their Compatibility with Children

Yorkies are devoted towards their family members but when it comes to children they are not so good with them. They can sometimes become aggressive and even bark at younger children. Until you know how your dog will react around children we recommend having an adult supervise them when they are together. Supervising their interactions will let you quickly deal with any possible situations before they become a problem.

Their smaller body structure may also be a concern. Younger children might think that they can treat them like a toy. If your child tries to pick them up that can anger and also possibly hurt your dog. It’s best not to let your children pick up your Yorkie. Train both your Yorkie and the children on how to interact with each other. Generally, we don’t recommend owning a Yorkshire Terrier if you have a toddler at home. Yorkies do much better with older children, at least 5 or 6 years old.

Best Climate for Yorkshire Terriers

a Yorkshire Terrier playing in the grass

Yorkshire Terriers’ temperature tolerance to heat and cold is not good. They are sensitive to extreme temperatures and do best as inside dogs. They do well at normal room temperatures inside, or outside on warm but not hot days. Though they have a long coat, Yorkies cannot tolerate cold temperatures. If the temperature outside is anything below 45 degrees, their visits outside should be only to go potty. If you stay in an area that experiences cold rainy days or snow, you should limit the time your Yorkie spends outside. Their long coat will absorb water and if it’s too cold out can cause hypothermia.

Yorkshire Terriers also find it difficult to deal with extreme heat. They have a short nose and paws which makes it difficult to cool their body like other dogs can. Exposing them to high temperatures can cause heatstroke. For their safety keep them inside the house when it gets too hot outside. Always have lots of water for them when the temperature outside is high. A fresh bowl of water will help them stay hydrated.

The Attention a Yorkshire Terrier Needs

Yorkshire Terriers need a lot of attention. They can become jealous if you give attention to other pets or children. They are very friendly and loving towards their family members, but they are fairly needy. To show their love they will often give cuddles and licks to the owners.

Some Yorkies enjoy following family members inside the house while doing different activities. Yorkies are a dog breed that wants to spend maximum time with their owners. Though they do not require a lot of exercise, you should take them for walks and play with them every day. Regular play and exercise will help take care of their physical needs and also keep them from getting bored. Do not leave them alone for too long because they can develop separation anxiety over time.

Health Issues

Though Yorkshire Terriers are overall a healthy breed, they can have both genetic and acquired health conditions.


Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is also a disease that is seen in a number of small dog breeds. Hypoglycemia can be easily treated in initial stages but if it’s not diagnosed quickly, it can become fatal and lead to coma or death. 

Hypoglycemia is more likely to happen when your dog is stressed. Their blood sugar levels drop and they can experience weakness, confusion, or even seizures. Take your dog to the vet if you see any of these symptoms.

Legg-Perthes Disease

Canine Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD) is a condition affecting a dog’s hip joints. It’s caused by a decrease in blood supply to the top part of their femur, causing it to break down and become necrotic. This can lead to pain and lameness in the affected limb.

The exact cause of LCPD is unclear, however it may be due to an abnormality in their blood supply to the hip joint or a genetic predisposition. It’s most commonly seen in small dog breeds and can occur at any age.

The prognosis for dogs with LCPD depends on the stage of the condition and the individual dog. If caught early and treated properly, most dogs can make a full recovery. However, some dogs will need lifelong management to prevent disease recurrence or progression.

Collapsed Trachea

Collapsed trachea is a condition that causes a dog’s windpipe, or trachea to collapse. This condition is usually caused by the cartilage rings weakening that normally help keep the trachea open. This weakening can be due to genetics, obesity or other medical conditions such as heart disease or respiratory infections. Signs of collapsed trachea include a dry, “honking” cough, breathing difficulty, and exercise intolerance. If you think that your dog has a collapsed trachea, please contact your veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.

Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea

A puppy sleeping with a stethoscope.

The most common symptom of collapsed trachea is a dry, honking cough. This type of cough is typically worse after exercise or excitement and can be heard from a distance. Other signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing especially during exercise
  • Intolerance to physical activity

Liver Shunt

Canine liver shunt is a condition where the normal flow of blood from the intestines to the liver is disrupted. This disruption can be caused by either an extra vessel (called a portosystemic shunt) or an abnormal connection between two vessels (called a congenital shunt). In either case, the result is that some of the blood bypasses their liver, preventing it from performing its normal functions.

Diagnosing canine liver shunt is typically done through a combination of physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies. An ultrasound or CT scan can help identify the presence of an extra vessel or abnormal connection. Blood tests can also be used to measure levels of bile acids, which are produced by the liver and can indicate a problem with its function.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disorder that affects the retina of dogs. It’s an inherited condition, meaning it is passed down from parent to offspring.

PRA is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for producing the photoreceptor cells in the retina. These cells are responsible for converting light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain and interpreted as vision. As PRA progresses, these photoreceptor cells die off, leading to blindness

Symptoms of Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Symptoms of PRA can vary depending on the breed and type of PRA, but generally include:

  • Night blindness
  • Decreased vision in dim light
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cloudiness of the eyes
  • Head tilt

As the disease progresses, these symptoms may worsen and eventually lead to total blindness.

Periodontal Disease

Domesticated cats and dogs can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.

Another major problem if the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque build-up in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria enter the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.

One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth. More than likely they won’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Though Yorkshire Terriers are a small breed, their long and silky coat needs a lot of grooming. You have to brush them daily to keep their coat clean. Their coat should be trimmed so that it is above the floor to make sure their fur does not get caught on anything and hurt them.

The hair on their face should be trimmed to keep it out of their eyes. The hair on the top of their head should be trimmed or pulled back to a knot to keep it out of their face. Some dogs have problems with the hair around their back end and need it trimmed when it becomes too long.

They will need a bath once a week to maintain the smooth and glossy texture of the coat. Bathing them is somewhat similar to taking care of your own hair. This is because the Yorkie hair feels so much like human hair.

Use a high-quality dog shampoo after rinsing their coat. You do not have to use a brush, just work the shampoo in with your hands to gently rinse their hair to remove dirt from their coat. After that, apply conditioner to their coat and rinse it out.

Like most tiny dogs, Yorkies are susceptible to dental problems. A lot of tartar forms on their teeth which can lead to periodontal disease, broken teeth or even tooth loss. Check their teeth regularly for any signs of damage or plaque build up. If you feel comfortable brushing their teeth once a week will be great. If you don’t feel comfortable brushing their teeth yourself, schedule teeth cleaning every three months with your vet. If you see that their teeth have become dirty sooner, you can get them cleaned sooner.

They’ll need their nails trimmed about once a month.

Check their ears, eyes, and nose after bathing them for redness or infections. Give their body a thorough check while grooming them. If there is redness, sores, or rashes it could be due to an infection and you should take your Yorkie to the vet to be checked out.

Feeding A Yorkshire Terrier

A close up of a bowl of dog food.

Yorkshire Terriers need ¼ to ½ cups of dog food every day, divided into two meals. Don’t leave food out in the open so your dog can eat it whenever they want. If they don’t eat it all after it is put out, put the food away until the next scheduled feeding time.

Avoid feeding table scraps to your Yorkie. If you want to feed them people food, consult your vet before giving them any. They are a small breed and their food needs are minimal. Eating more than what they are supposed to can cause them to put on weight or lead to negative health conditions.

Related Questions:

Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic Dogs?

Yes, Yorkshire Terriers do not typically cause allergies in people. The main reason why they don’t cause allergies is that their fur isn’t like other dogs. Other dogs have fur, and a Yorkie’s coat has hair which is very similar to human hair. They shed less and are considered great pets for people who are sensitive to allergies.

Are Yorkshire Terriers Good Therapy Dogs?

Yes, Yorkies are great emotional companions. Their loyalty and loving character help them be great support for individuals with high stress, emotional needs or mental illness. In addition to that, their small size makes it easy for them to be carried almost anywhere. Being able to bring them just about anywhere is great for people who need to take their support dog with them.

Do Yorkies Make Weird Noises?

Yorkshire Terrier suffers from reverse sneezing disease. It is a condition in which the Yorkie tries to pull air inside instead of pushing the air outside while sneezing. This creates a funny honking sound. Though it sounds weird there is no need for any concern as it passes after a few minutes. The condition is harmless and is often caused by pollen, dust, or perfumes.

Why are Their Tails Usually Amputated?

Some owners find the shorter tails more visually pleasing. Usually within a week of birth half of the Yorkie’s tail will be amputated. It is becoming much more common the last few years to see Yorkies with full tails. Recently several countries have banned this practice, but in the US it is legal in every state. Two states have restrictions with when or how their tails can be amputated.

C&R Family Pets does not condone the body modification of animals purely for cosmetic reasons.

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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.