Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
A toy breed, the Yorkshire Terrier dog is best known for his full flowing tresses of a texture quite similar to human hair. The coat colouring is unusual too, being a steel blue and gold (rich tan). He has an air of importance about him, holding his head high.
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Yorkshire Terrier Key Facts

Life Span: 13-16 years

Weight: No more than 3.2kg

Height: 18-20cm

Colours: Steel blue, gold (rich tan)

Size: Small

Kennel Club group: Terrier


Family-friendly: 4/5

Exercise needs: 4/5

Easy to train: 3/5

Tolerates being alone: 2/5

Likes other pets: 3/5

Energy level: 5/5

Grooming needs: 2/5

Shedding: 2/5

History and Origins

Country of Origin - Germany

Known as the Grey Ghost, the Weimaraner’s origins spring form the court of the Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar sometime around 1810. His aim was to breed a perfect hunting dog and so crossed German Pointers, French Hounds and Bloodhounds to produce a dog that would be as happy hunting bears as they would be birds. He also wanted a head-turning dog that would be a status symbol for the nobility.

The breed was closely guarded in Germany, until just before the outbreak of the second world war, when a breeder managed to acquire a male and two females and take them to the US. In 1943, the AKC recognised the breed but it wasn’t until the 1950s that they made their way to the UK.


The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog with a big attitude. This is a dog that will one minute happily snuggle on grandma's knee and enjoy a good cuddle, and the next minute leap through the air and tear after the neighbour's dog promising to show it who is boss. Yorkies are terriers after all, and will protect their territory valiantly.

This is a huge dog in a small body! He is lively and curious and into everything – and owners will have to get used to being tailed everywhere by their inquisitive (and often noisy) shadow. This is a dog who needs lots of exercise and stimulation – he loves long walks but also needs games in the house to keep his busy mind occupied.

Ideal Owner

The Yorkshire Terrier will suit an owner who wants a big personality in a small package, who doesn’t mind a bit of noise and who enjoys grooming. This is another breed who doesn’t like to be left, and so a home-loving owner is needed.

Health and Common Issues

Yorkshire Terrier dogs tend to have a long lifespan. Nevertheless, they are predisposed to eye problems, kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place, a specific thigh bone disease, bladder stones, a windpipe disorder and congenital liver disease.

Exercise Needs

To keep your Yorkie healthy and fit, daily exercise is a must. Yorkshire Terriers love walking and will trot on for miles if allowed. A short walk will please a Yorkie so long as he gets a good sniff around and some mental stimulation. Do remember that Yorkshire Terriers aren't just lap dogs, though, and do like to run, fetch and play like any dog. A minimum of half an hour of exercise is needed by an adult daily.

Space Requirements

The Yorkshire Terrier enjoys being a country dog but is equally happy in a flat as long as he has access to the outdoors for exercise and toileting. Close neighbours may not enjoy the sound of his voice however!

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Grooming Yorkshire Terriers

As a pet, the coat of a Yorkshire Terrier dog needs to be brushed daily, using a brush and comb to ensure all tangles are removed. The topknot should be taken down, brushed out and redone. Leaving an elastic band in for days will destroy the coat. Hair under and around the tail should be checked for faeces. The teeth should also be brushed daily, as the small mouth leads to overcrowding and a tendency to teeth decay. Once mastered, the daily grooming should take no longer than 15 minutes.

Training Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are surprisingly clever and can be taught basic exercises easily - although can often be selectively obedient if he is distracted by something exciting! They should be taught to walk on a collar and lead and early and ongoing socialisation in a class with other small dog puppies is vital to prevent them being nervous around other dogs.

If they are to live with cats, it is best to find a breeder who rears the puppies with cats and that they are introduced early. He may never get on with strange cats however.

Did You Know?

The Yorkshire Terrier was bred to hunt and kill rats in the coal mines – and so be small enough to fit in a miner’s pocket!

While the Chihuahua is recognised as the world’s smallest breed, the world’s smallest ever dog was a Yorkshire Terrier who was only 6cm high.

One brave Yorkshire Terrier called Smoky was an American Air Force mascot who flew on 12 combat missions and was awarded eight battle stars. She went on to become the first Therapy Dog on record visiting wounded airmen and soldiers in hospital.

Best Family Dog Breeds

Yorkshire Terriers are not great family dogs as they are too small and delicate for exciting games and some have a traditional terrier short fuse! They can live with older sensible children however.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

Similar Breeds:

Irish Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Skye Terrier


Is this the right breed for you?

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What to consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption. Click here for more information.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed. Click here for more information.

Welcoming your dog home

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