5 Things to Know About Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are little dogs with big personalities. Photo: mato181

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Toy
  • Height: 6–7 inches
  • Weight: 4–7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Around 15 years

Yorkshire Terriers (a.k.a. Yorkies) are one of the most popular dogs among the toy breeds.

Although the tail is usually docked, this practice is illegal in some European countries.

The coat is long and silky and comes in colors of steel blue and tan. The coat is sometimes clipped short for easy maintenance, especially near the face, which is flanked by V-shaped ears.

2. Where They Came From

Weavers from Scotland migrated to England with a dog called the Waterside terrier.

People used to make sarcastic remarks about the dogs’ coats, that they were products of the loom from the clothing mill in which the weavers worked. Despite this perception, the breed flourished and was named for the city of Yorkshire, England, in 1870.

The dogs were often used to rid the mills of mice and rats. The small dog could also fit into other animals’ burrows to chase them out.

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Yorkshire Terriers were much larger than they are now; they were bred down in size over time to become the tiny toy dogs so popular today.

The breed appeared in the United States in 1872 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

Yorkies used to be used to keep vermin away from weaving mills. Photo: pixabay

3. How Friendly Are They?

Don’t let their small stature fool you; Yorkies may be small in size but are big on personality. They need to be trained or can become snappy or unruly.

They are notoriously difficult to house-train, but they are determined little pups, also described as brave, curious, energetic and affectionate companions.

Perhaps surprisingly, they make excellent watchdogs.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


LOW: Yorkies need only limited exercise due to their small size. Play with yours daily and take them for a walk to help expel energy.

They are active indoors and suitable for apartment living.

Grooming Needs


HIGH: Although these dogs don’t shed much, you’ll still have to brush them daily and groom them regularly. Otherwise, their coats can get tangled and matted to a painful degree.

The dogs also have a propensity for dental problems, so get comfortable with brushing your Yorkie’s teeth. As always, clean the ears and trim the nails weekly.

On the plus side, Yorkies are considered to be a great option for people with dog allergies and asthma.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: Yorkies are sensitive to cold temperatures and prefer warmer weather.

In addition to their temperature sensitivity, they are prone to these conditions:

  • Luxated patella
  • Bronchitis
  • Eye problems
  • Tooth decay
  • Anesthetic sensitivity
  • Digestive issues
  • Herniated disks

This Yorkie’s tricks are amazing!:

5. How to Adopt One

If you consider getting a Yorkshire Terrier, please try adoption resources first. See Petful’s pet adoption page.

You can also check with rescue groups and breeders. Ensure that the breeder is reputable — puppy mills are unfortunately real and widespread.

Additional Resources

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