Dainty, dazzling, and daring: The Yorkshire Terrier

By Lauren Rey

The Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier – Fast Facts

Dainty yet daring, Yorkshire Terriers may be one of the smallest dog breeds, but their personalities are anything but! These petite pups are packed with personality and will keep you entertained with their fun and feisty ways.

Lovingly referred to as Yorkies by many, Yorkshire Terriers are also known for their affectionate side. They become deeply bonded with their owners and love going everywhere with them. Their compact size and can-do attitude have made them popular travel companions. It’s not uncommon to see Yorkies peering out of purses in public just about everywhere these days.

Yorkies are a lot of fun, but they can also be a challenge for some owners. Here’s an in-depth look at these tenacious little terriers!

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The origins of the Yorkshire Terrier began during the Industrial Revolution when Scottish weavers emigrated to England, bringing along various types of small terriers. These dogs were employed as rodent control in the textile factories of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

During the mid-1800s, it is believed these terriers were crossbred with local dogs, becoming a new breed of sorts. By the late 1800s, these new terriers had gone from the factory to the show ring as they dazzled onlookers with their long, luxurious coats.

By the 1900s, these dogs became known as Yorkshire Terriers and were regulars on the dog show circuit throughout Europe and North America. They also grew in popularity as companion dogs, often being seen as fashionable lapdogs among Victorian socialites. Today, Yorkies are still popular lapdogs and often continue to land among the top ten lists of most popular dog breeds.

Yorkshire Terrier traits and characteristics

There are several unique attributes that help define the Yorkshire Terrier breed. Here’s what you can expect from a purebred Yorkie.

Yorkshire Terrier size and appearance

Yorkshire Terriers are in the toy group, among some of the world’s smallest breeds. They typically weigh just 5 to 7 pounds and stand between 7 and 8 inches tall. They are a bicolor breed, Yorkie colors come in variations of either black or blue, mixed with gold or tan. Their eyes are almost always a shade of dark brown.

Yorkies are known for their dainty appearance. They have small bodies, delicate features, and expressive eyes. Their most prominent feature is their long, silky coat, which can reach floor-lengths if not trimmed. Yorkshire Terriers are renowned for their luxurious coats which are often compared to human hair rather than traditional dog fur. While beautiful, the Yorkie’s coat can also be high maintenance.

Key traits of a Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are feisty, confident, and affectionate dogs. They love spending time with their owners and are generally friendly but can, at times, be wary of strangers. In true terrier fashion, Yorkies are also quite brave and won’t back down from a fight, even if their opponent is twice their size!

Boisterous and bossy at times, Yorkies can be a challenge to train and tend to bark a lot, but a good training plan can help set them up for success.

While Yorkies do have a bit of a reputation for not getting along with other dogs, this can be highly dependent on the individual dog. Like most terrier breeds, Yorkies can be territorial, so factors like their prior level of socialization and the personality of the other dog can make a big difference.

Yorkshire Terrier health and lifespan

The Yorkshire Terrier is a generally healthy breed with a long lifespan of 11 to 15 years. However, like all purebred dogs, Yorkies can be predisposed to certain health conditions such as:

Being a toy breed, the Yorkie is also quite delicate. They can be at higher risk for injury from falls, jumping off furniture, or rambunctious play. Extra caution should be taken to keep them safe.

While not every Yorkshire Terrier will be impacted by one of these conditions, pet insurance is always a good thing to have to help with veterinary expenses. Especially in emergency cases. Protect your Yorkie with a 24Petprotect Insurance Plan.

Living with a Yorkshire Terrier

While they don’t take up much space, Yorkshire Terriers will take up quite a bit of their owner’s time. Their grooming needs can be arduous and these feisty dogs command attention and playtime. They are also intelligent and curious, so things like puzzle toys are a Yorkie must-have!

Along with their big personalities can also come a lot of barking. Yorkshire Terriers are vigilant and vocal dogs. They’ll often alert their owners to any and all threats, whether or not they may be real. While training can help curb excessive barking, many Yorkies will still bark fairly frequently, it’s just in their nature.

Like all toy breeds, Yorkshire Terriers come with a unique set of challenges pertaining to their size. Caution should be used in homes with very young children or large, rambunctious dogs. Yorkies can become easily injured during play or end up nipping at children or other dogs that don’t understand how overwhelming they can be to a small dog.

When outside the home, Yorkies can be at an increased risk for wildlife attacks. Particularly in areas with coyotes. Due to their popularity, Yorkshire Terriers are also one of the most stolen dog breeds. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for Yorkies to be plucked right out of their own yards when left unattended.

To help protect your Yorkie, never leave them unattended outside, consider a coyote protection vest (these have outer spikes to prevent coyotes from picking up small dogs) and get them microchipped. Adding a 24Petwatch Lifetime Protection Membership will also give you access to 24/7 lost pet recovery specialists and the largest microchip data registry in North America if your dog ever goes missing.

Top things to consider before owning a Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers make wonderful companions, but as with all breeds, they are not suited for everyone. Yorkies can be a challenge for certain lifestyles so it’s important to fully research the breed before bringing one home. Here are the top things to consider if you’re thinking about owning a Yorkshire Terrier:

Ultimately, Yorkshire Terriers are sweet, companion dogs but they still have a tenacious side from their ancestral “ratting” days. They love spending time with their owners and command lots of attention. If your lifestyle requires excessive hours away from home or frequent travel, a Yorkie might not be the best breed for you.

Yorkshire Terrier FAQs

Are Yorkshire Terriers good family dogs?

Yorkshire Terriers can make great family dogs as long as they are properly trained and socialized. Their playful energy can be a great match for kids but as with all toy breeds, Yorkies tend to do better with older children that can understand boundaries and gentle handling. Regardless of breed, interactions with children and dogs should always be supervised.

Are Yorkies good with other pets?

Yorkies can get along with other pets, but it may take some work. A well-trained, well-socialized Yorkshire Terrier is much more likely to accept other pets into their realm. Yorkies can be tenacious and territorial, so bringing other pets into the mix can sometimes create conflict. Their best match will be a dog with a calm, docile nature that doesn’t mind being bossed around a bit by the Yorkie! Some Yorkies will also get along fine with cats, but caution should be used around smaller mammals like rabbits or guinea pigs. These can incite the Yorkie’s natural hunting instincts.

Are Yorkshire Terriers high maintenance?

Yorkshire Terriers are considered a high-maintenance breed. This is mainly due to their intensive grooming needs; they require frequent brushings and trips to the groomer. Many also consider the Yorkie’s confident, feisty personality as high maintenance. Some Yorkies can be particularly bossy and boisterous.

Do Yorkies bark a lot?

Yorkies do tend to bark frequently. They are a vigilant breed that will alert their owners of any unusual sights or sounds, even if it’s just the comings and goings of your next-door neighbor. Training may help reduce barking, but Yorkie owners should be aware that their dog will most likely be a barker.

Are Yorkshire Terriers hypoallergenic?

While no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, Yorkshire Terriers come pretty close with their almost human-like hair. Despite their long coats, Yorkies don’t shed much. This limits the spread of allergy-inducing dander. Most allergy sufferers will find that Yorkies don’t trigger their allergies as much as some other dog breeds do.

Ready for a Yorkshire Terrier?

Yorkshire Terriers are a special breed, offering lots of love and lots of laughs! Just be sure you are ready to handle a tenacious terrier that needs frequent trips to the groomer.