Yorkshire Terriers

The Yorkshire Terrier is also known as the Yorkie. This is a very small size dog, falling into the toy group of dogs. They can often be seen being carried in a purse or sitting on someone’s lap. This feisty dog began its history working as ratters in the mines and mills of Old England.

In appearance, the Yorkie looks to be rather dainty. In actuality, Yorkies are true Terriers with entertaining personalities, desiring both close companionship and independence.

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

This breed readily forms a bond with the owners and love to be accompanied. They need moderate exercise in the form of daily walks and play time. Be mindful to not leave them unattended for many hours as they do suffer from loneliness and could exhibit anxiety symptoms as a result.

a Yorkshire Terrier laying in bed under the sheets

Yorkshire Terrier Information

  • Average Height: 7 to 9 inches
  • Average Length: 12 to 15.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 4 to 7 pounds
  • Coat Type: Long length
  • Coat Appearance: They have a straight, silky, and glossy coat
  • Coat Colors: Combination of black, blue, tan, and gold
  • Grooming Needs: Medium
  • Shedding: Medium 
  • Brushing Requirements: Daily
  • Sensitive to Touch: Moderate
  • Excessive Barking: Medium
  • Good 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.
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog 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: Low 
  • Weight Gain: Medium
  • Health Concerns: Commonly occurring diseases are leg Perthes disease, hypoglycemia, retinal dysplasia, liver shunt, collapsed trachea, teeth problem, and gastric conditions.
  • Allergies: Exposure to pollen, molds or chemicals can lead to skin or respiratory allergies
  • Average Life Span: 11 to 15 years
a cute Yorkshire Terrier sitting outside in the grass

Physical Appearance of Yorkshire Terriers

The Yorkshire Terrier is 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 and stand erect. Yorkies have medium-sized eyes that have a dark color. 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.

The dog has a long, single coat which is silky and mostly straight. Yorkies mostly have a combination of tan and steel-blue, golden, and black color. The color from the back of the head to the end of the tail is steel-blue. Their head has a bright golden color. The hair is darker at the base of the ears and snout. In the rest of the areas, the color of the coat is tan. Some can also have solid white, tan, or tan, and white color coats.

An interesting fact about Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is that they do not have this combination when they are born. The puppies usually have a black coat when they are born and the shaded pattern starts forming 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 minimize this behavior.

One good aspect of their more aggressive personality is that they do make excellent watchdogs. If they see someone coming to your home they will always let you know.

Training a Yorkshire Terrier

First-time dog owners could find it difficult to house train the pet as they are stubborn. The dog looks small but carries the mindset of a big dog. You need to use positive reinforcement and obedience training practices for the Yorkie. Patience and consistency are what an owner needs while training the dog.

Provide kennel training to them. Keep them inside the kennel for 5 minutes to start with and then gradually increase the duration. This will help you to keep them inside the kennel and out of trouble when they are not being watched..

As Yorkies are known to misbehave fairly often you should train them to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help with this. It involves making a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done and giving them a treat. This will help the dog to understand which behavior they are required to do. 

If the dog misbehaves try not to punish them as it can discourage them. Instead, 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.

Early socialization training is important to help them to be more receptive to strangers and other dogs.

a Yorkshire Terrier puppy running outside in the grass

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 the dog will react around children it is advised to have adult supervision anytime they are together.  This will let you quickly deal with any possible situations before they become a problem.

Their compact body structure is also a potential problem. Younger children might treat them like a toy.  If a child tries to pick them up it could anger the Yorkie and possibly accidentally hurt it. Never let your children pick up the Yorkie. Train both your Yorkie and the children on how to interact with each other. Generally, it is not recommended to own a Yorkshire Terrier if you have a toddler at home.

a Yorkshire Terrier puppy standing outside in the grass

Best Climate for Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are sensitive to extreme temperatures and a moderate climate is best for them. Though they have a long coat their body 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 snow or rain, you should limit the time your Yorkie spends outside. This is because their long coat will absorb water which can cause hypothermia.

Yorkies also find it difficult to deal with extreme heat. They have a short nose and paws which prevents them from rapidly cooling 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 outside temperature is high. This will help them to stay hydrated.

The Attention a Yorkshire Terrier Needs

Yorkshire Terriers need a lot of attention, and not just with grooming.  The dog can also become jealous if you give attention to other pets or children. The dog is usually very friendly and fond of its family members. To show their love they will often lick or cuddle with its owners. They can be good family dogs.

You will also see them following you inside the house while you are doing different activities. Yorkie is a dog breed that wants to spend maximum time with their owner. Though they do not require a lot of exercise, you should take them for walks and play with them daily. This will help to take care of their physical needs and also keep them entertained. Do not leave them alone for many hours as they can develop separation anxiety.

Health Issues

Though Yorkie is overall a healthy breed, they can have both genetic and acquired health conditions. Like many small toy breed dogs, the Yorkie can develop hypoglycemia. This happens when the dog is stressed. The blood sugar levels drop and the dog could experience weakness, confusion, or even seizures. Take them to the vet if you see any of these symptoms in your Yorkie.

Another common disease is Legg-Perthes disease. It is a hereditary condition in which the hip joint starts to deteriorate. The dog will have problems while walking. Surgery is the most effective remedy for this condition. Another similar disease is patellar luxation which affects the knee and thighbones.

Liver shunt, a type of liver disease is another health condition found in the Yorkie. It happens when the liver fails to properly cleanse the blood. This leads to toxins flowing to the heart and can cause weakness or cognitive issues. Liver disease is life-threatening and needs to be treated with antibiotics and other medications.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. The good part is that it can be diagnosed well in advance which can help in treating the condition early on. Apart from this, they can also have gastric and respiratory conditions of mild nature.

a Yorkshire Terrier standing outside in the grass on a sunny day
a Yorkshire Terrier standing outside in the grass

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Though Yorkshire Terriers are a small breed, their long and silky coat demands a lot of grooming. You have to brush them daily to keep the coat clean. The coat should be trimmed up to the length of the floor to ensure that the hair does not entangle the Yorkie and hurt them. 

The hair on the front head should be trimmed or pulled back to a knot to prevent eye irritation. Also, the hair around the anal area has to be trimmed when it becomes too long.

You have to give them 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 exactly like human hair. 

Use a high-quality dog shampoo after wetting the coat. You do not have to use a brush, just use your hands to gently rinse the hair and remove dirt from the coat. After that, apply the conditioner on the coat. 

Like most tiny dogs, Yorkies are also prone to developing dental problems. A lot of tartar forms on their teeth which can lead to broken teeth or even tooth loss. Check their teeth regularly for any signs of damage, but do not try to brush it on your own. Instead, schedule teeth cleaning every three months for your Yorkie.

If you see that their teeth have become dirty before, you can get it cleaned even earlier. Regular cleanings will go a long way towards preventing dental diseases.

Trim their nails every week. Check their ears, eyes, and nose after bathing them for redness or infections. Also, as they have long hair you should 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.

Your Yorkie may not be one of the show dogs competing at the kennel club, but they’ll need more time being groomed than other dogs will to stay looking nice.

Feeding A Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkie requires two cups of dog food every day, divided into two meals during the day. You should not leave the dog food out in the open as the dog will then be able to eat it whenever it feels like. Keep it in a closed place so that they do not overeat.

Avoid serving table scraps to Yorkie. If you want to feed them human food, consult your vet before giving them any. They are little dogs and their food needs are minimal. Eating more than what they are supposed to can make them obese or cause certain health conditions.

a pile of multi colored dog food

Related Questions:

Is Yorkie a hypoallergenic dog?

Yes, Yorkshire Terriers do not cause any allergies. This is because, unlike other dogs which have fur, their 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 to be of great support for individuals with high stress, emotional needs or mental illness. In addition to that, their small size lets the owner carry the dog anywhere. This is of great help for people who need to take the 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 often amputated?

Often owners find the shorter tails more visually pleasing.  So 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 them with full tails.  Recently several countries have banned this practice, but in the US it is legal everywhere, but 2 states have restrictions with when or how this can be done.  We at this website do not condone the body modification of animals purely for cosmetic reasons.

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