Yorkshire Terrier

"The Weaver's Terrier"

Photo of Yorkshire Terrier


When a group of Scottish weavers displaced by the Industrial Revolution moved to Yorkshire, England, they brought along their small long-coated terriers with coats like silken floss, to keep rats out of their shops. These dogs, crossed with now-extinct terriers such as the Clydesdale Terrier, Waterside Terrier, and Old English Terrier, produced the Yorkshire Terrier, officially named in 1874. Every Yorkie today descends from a dog named Huddersfield Ben (1865-1871), considered the Father of the Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies probably arrived in the United States in the 1870s, and have steadily increased in popularity. In 2006, the Yorkie surprised everybody by overtaking the German Shepherd Dog and the Golden Retriever to become the second most popular breed in the United States.


Proud and self-important, Yorkshire Terriers don't seem to have any clue how small they are. Ready to ankle-bite intruders, leap on and off furniture in a single bound, or tease their favorite people by darting just out of reach, Yorkies have plenty of personality to keep the household lively and everybody amused. Yorkies have a lot of energy but they can exercise by running around the house or playing with their toys, so they make good companions for seniors and people in high rise apartments who can't easily get outside to walk a dog. Most Yorkies tolerate cats and lord over larger dogs, who usually defer to this tiny tyrant. A Yorkie would rather be the center of attention and won't necessarily dote on the children. However, older, gentle kids can become wonderful friends to a Yorkie, who probably won't mind playing dress-up or beauty shop.


A petite toy dog with a long silky coat, the Yorkie looks proud as it holds its head and tail high and surveys the world with dark sparkling eyes. Compact at just 7 pounds or less, Yorkies have their tails docked to a medium length. The Yorkshire Terrier's most distinguishing feature is the glossy, silky coat, long and perfectly straight. The Yorkie has long muzzle hair and long hair on its head, called a fall, typically tied up into a topknot. Black and tan as puppies, Yorkies lighten as they mature into a golden tan color with a dark steel-blue saddle over the back. Occasionally, Yorkies are born in other colors, but the so-called “rare gold Yorkies” or “parti-colored Yorkies” aren't correct, and dogs in these or other colors or patterns would be disqualified from a dog show. Some breeders sell tiny Yorkies (under 4 pounds) as “Teacup,” “Micro Mini,” or “Teenie” Yorkies, but these super-small dogs are more likely to have hereditary and other health problems and are more easily injured than normal-sized Yorkies.


The Yorkie's terrier independence can make it a challenge to obedience train, but most Yorkies quickly learn the house rules if treated with patient consistency and lots of rewards, rather than punishment. Housetraining can be more difficult because the Yorkie must go out frequently, which can be inconvenient. Yorkies can be paper-trained indoors. Patience and regularly scheduled, supervised “bathroom breaks” will eventually housetrain the Yorkie.

Grooming & Care

Yorkies can be kept in their long coats, which require only minimal trimming but daily brushing and combing. Many pet owners prefer to take their Yorkies to a professional groomer to have them clipped into cute short haircuts, which require less daily maintenance. Or, pet owners can learn to cut the Yorkie's hair short themselves with a good pair of grooming scissors and a lot of practice. Tie up the topknot with a grooming rubber band and decorate with bows or barrettes. Yorkies also need their teeth brushed daily, nails trimmed weekly, and a bath every 6 to 8 weeks.

Health Concerns

Like most toy breeds, Yorkies can develop luxating patellas (kneecaps that slip out of place) and collapsing trachea. Yorkies can also be prone to portosystemic shunts (a liver disorder), kidney failure, and canine hypothyroidism. Puppies can be prone to hypoglycemia. Ask the breeder about these issues.

Famous Yorkshire Terrier

Smoky, a little female Yorkie, was a World War II hero. The stray dog ran messages back and forth through a narrow culvert.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 2
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 48
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 56
Exercise 62
Challenges High energy; can be difficult to housetrain.
Height 8 to 9 inches
Weight 6 to 7 pounds
Life 14 to 16 years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 86
With Strangers 91
Availability 96

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.