Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
If you love food, the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Yorkshire” is probably pudding. But if you’re a lover of all-things-puppies, the first thing that pops into your mind is, without a doubt, the Yorkshire Terrier.
These little dogs may not be large in stature, but they more than make up for it with their spunky, larger-than-life personalities—which has endeared them to dog lovers the world over and helped the Yorkshire Terrier secure a spot on the American Kennel Club’s Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds.
Let’s take a deep dive into some of the most interesting must-know facts about the Yorkshire Terrier:
Also Known As…
Yorkie. “The cutest little werewolf you’ve ever seen!”
Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred in the English county of—you guessed it—Yorkshire. Back in the mid-1800s, a wave of workers came to Yorkshire from Scotland, looking for better opportunities—and they brought a variety of small terrier breeds with them.
These small terriers were bred, mostly by the workers and common people, in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire (another area of Northern England)—and for many years, the terms “Yorkshire Terrier” was used to describe any small terrier in the region. It wasn’t until the late 1860s when the breed became more defined, when a Yorkshire woman named Mary Ann Foster started showing her Paisley-type Yorkie, Huddersfield Ben, at dog shows across England.
Huddersfield Ben was widely regarded as one of the most impressive show dogs of all-time. His puppies were highly in demand across England—and, as a result, he and his lineage became the standard for the Yorkshire Terrier we know today.
Yorkies made their way from England to North America in the early 1870s and were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
Yorkshire Terriers are tiny little dogs. Typically, they only reach a height of between 7 and 8 inches.
Because their small frame can’t support a lot of extra weight, the ideal weight range for a Yorkshire Terrier is about 7 lbs.
Yorkies may be slight in size. But slight in personality? Absolutely not!
These small dogs pack a huge personality punch. Yorkies are extremely loving and affectionate with their owners, but they can also be stubborn and spunky; if your Yorkie doesn’t want to follow your commands, believe us—they’ll let you know!
While a Yorkie’s spunkiness is usually fun and harmless, they can be aggressive to other small dogs—especially if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
Yorkshire Terriers also tend to be vocal dogs; they have a natural inclination to barking, which makes them great watch dogs (but might be a little bothersome if you’re looking for some peace and quiet).
Intelligence / Trainability
Yorkies are extremely intelligent, curious, and eager to please—which makes them the perfect candidates for training.
Yorkshire Terriers need consistent training to help curb their more challenging personality quirks (like excessive barking and aggression towards other dogs). Here are some of the best training techniques to inspire the best behavior in a Yorkie:
- Use positive reinforcement. As mentioned, Yorkies are eager to please—so rewarding your Yorkie for positive behavior is going to be a much more effective training method than punishing them for negative behavior. When your Yorkshire Terrier follows a command or participates in training, make sure to give them plenty of praise, treats, and other positive reinforcement. Once they realize their good behavior is making you happy, they’ll be eager to repeat the behavior—and training will be a whole lot easier!
- Focus on socialization. If you want your Yorkie to interact well with other dogs and people, you need to socialize them—early and often. Introduce your dog to new people, places, and things in a safe, relaxed, and controlled environment; the more comfortable your Yorkie gets being exposed to new dogs and people, the better they’ll behave around new dogs and people as they get older.
- Challenge them. Yorkies are small—but they’re also intelligent, agile, and athletic. Your Yorkie will respond well to being challenged, both physically and intellectually—so make sure you work challenges (like puzzle toys and agility training) into their training regimen.
Yorkies are small, so they don’t need a ton of space. If your living space is on the smaller side, no problem! A Yorkie will have no problem making themselves at home in smaller quarters. However, if you live in an apartment and have neighbors that share walls, a Yorkshire Terrier’s excessive barking could be an issue!
Good For Families And Kids?
Yorkies are not always the best fit for a household with small children. Because Yorkies are so small, they can easily be injured—and the unpredictable nature of young children can put them in danger. Plus, Yorkies can be feisty—and if they feel threatened, they won’t hesitate to nip, which isn’t safe for young kids. If you want to add a Yorkie to your family, you may want to wait until your children are around 10 years old.
Of course, some Yorkies can be wonderful dogs across the board! It’s just important to make sure both children and dogs are engaging respectfully with one another.
Smaller dogs typically live longer than larger breeds—and the Yorkshire Terrier is no exception. Yorkies have an average lifespan of between 11 and 15 years.
Overall, Yorkies are a pretty healthy breed—but one thing you need to keep in mind? Their size.
Because Yorkies are such small dogs, they’re also more fragile than larger breeds. This puts them at an increased risk for injuries from things like falls (or even being stepped on!), so it’s important to treat your Yorkie with care. Their small stature also makes Yorkies more sensitive to anaesthesia—which can put them in a higher risk category during surgeries.
Yorkies are also known to have sensitive digestive systems, and can be prone to vomiting and diarrhea. Other health issues common to Yorkshire Terriers include eye issues (including cataracts), luxating patella, and bronchitis.
Typically, Yorkshire Terriers have a good amount of energy and enjoy taking walks and playing with toys and/or their owners. But Yorkies can also be great lap dogs—and, depending on their mood and temperament, can be more than happy to snuggle up in your lap for a nice, long nap.
If a Yorkie doesn’t have enough interaction and/or activity in their day-to-day schedule, they can become restless—so it’s important to make sure you give your Yorkshire Terrier the attention and energy-busting activities they need to feel their best.
Friendly with…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Yorkshire Terriers are loving, affectionate dogs to the people they’re closest too. But when it comes to strangers, Yorkies can take time to warm up.
It’s the same thing with other animals. While there’s no doubt that Yorkshire Terriers can get along swimmingly with other pets, they do have a tendency to be suspicious, and occasionally reactive, toward other animals they don’t know—especially if that animal is smaller than they are, like another toy dog or a small cat. Because of this, it’s important to ease Yorkies into situations with new animals and give them plenty of time to adjust and become friends.
Coat & Grooming
Yorkies have a long, luxurious coat that is, in many ways, similar to human hair—and needs a similar amount of brushing, washing, and overall attention. Yorkies need their long coat brushed on a daily basis to avoid knotting and matted areas—and they should be bathed about once a week to keep their coat in tip-top shape.
Toys Yorkshire Terriers Would Like Best
Yorkies have a fun, playful side—and you can bring out that fun, playful side (and enjoy the fun right along with them!) with the right variety of toys.
Some of the best toys for Yorkies include:
- Thinker Toys. Yorkies are curious little pups—and if you don’t channel that curiosity, it can get them into trouble. Enter thinker toys. These puzzles are the perfect way to engage your Yorkie’s brain—and channel all that intellectual energy into something fun!
- Tug Toys. Yorkies can be feisty—and the best way to engage that feisty nature? With a good, old-fashioned game of tug of war. Tug toys are a great way to work off your Yorkie’s excess energy—and have fun at the same time!
- Super Chewer Toys. Yorkies have small teeth—but don’t let that fool you! There is some serious strength behind those chompers, and Yorkshire Terriers can easily chew less durable toys into oblivious. Super chewer toys are built to withstand some serious gnawing—and are perfect for those little Yorkie teeth.
For a more expensive list, check out the following post: What Are The Best Toys For Yorkshire Terriers?
Recommended Diet or Supplements
Yorkies will feel their best—and stay their most healthy—with a steady diet of dog food made from high-quality ingredients. Because Yorkies have sensitive digestive systems, any deviation from this diet (for example, feeding them people food or dog food of a lower quality) can result in tummy issues like vomiting or diarrhea.
There are also supplements you can give your Yorkie to help them function at their highest level. A supplement for joint health can be a great way to support mobility, especially as your Yorkie ages, and an Omega-3 supplement can help their coat stay thick and shiny.
For older Yorkies or dogs suffering with arthritis or hip dysplasia (or just any dog that likes lying down!), a comfortable, supportive dog bed is probably a good idea.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s stout body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your favorite Samoyed. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Yorkshire Terrier Of Your Dreams
There are so many dogs out there that need a forever home—including Yorkshire Terriers. If you’re looking for a Yorkie, adopt, don’t shop! Here are a few Yorkie-centric rescues to help you find the perfect companion:
- Save a Yorkie Rescue, serving the Northeastern United States
- Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, serving Yorkies across the country
- Yorkie 911 Rescue, serving the New York area
- Wren Yorkie Rescue, serving Northern California
- Adoptable Yorkies on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Yorkshire Terriers
Want to insert a little Yorkie-inspired happiness into your social media feed? If so, you’ll definitely want to follow these Insta-famous Yorkshire Terriers:
***Looking for a gift to blow your Yorkie’s mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂