An Expert Guide To The Yorkshire Terrier: The Small But Mighty Breed

  • 13/11/2015

The Yorkshire Terrier is a member of the Toy Group and the sixth most popular dog breed in America. This vivacious little dog originates from Yorkshire, England in the 1800s and has been pleasing families ever since.


The Yorkshire Terrier was bred in the 1800s in northern England to hunt rodents that were abundant in mines and clothing mills. Its origins beyond this point are not clear, but it is believed that their ancestors arrived during the Industrial Revolution, when millworkers and miners traveled from Scotland to England in search of work. These men brought over a variety of terrier breeds, including the Manchester Terrier, the Maltese, the Skye Terrier, and the Dandie Dinmont. These breeds would then be bred into local breeds in England, creating a terrier resembling the one we know today, except larger.

As the Industrial Revolution died down, the need for these dogs as rat hunters fell. They were then bred to a smaller size and became a fashionable dog for women to carry in purses or in their arms. Upper class socialites, in particular, became enamored with the breed, and it's popularity soon spread into America and the American Kennel Club recognized it in 1878.


The following is based of the AKC standard:

  • Coat: Their coats are kept long for showing and hang down straight its sides. Yorkshire Terriers can have coats that are blue/tan, blue/gold, black/gold, and black/tan. Hair around the ears should be trimmed, while the muzzle hair is kept long.

  • Head: The skull is small, not too round, and with a slightly flat top. The ears are perky and in a 'v' shape. The eyes can be either hazel or brown and the nose is black.

  • Body: They are a toy-sized breed and the body needs to be small and compact. The back should be level and its forelegs straight. The tail is docked and positioned somewhat high on the back. The dog should give off an air of confidence. They must be at least 4 lbs. and not exceeding 7 lbs.


  • Coat is a solid color or colors other than listed above.
  • Eyes that are not dark hazel or brown.
  • An undocked tail.
  • Cannot appear timid.
  • An overbite of any kind.
  • Weight under 4 1bs.

Note: The AKC does not recognize "Tea-Cup Yorkies", or a Yorkshire Terrier that is purposely bred to smaller sizes. These dogs may come with health complications and potential owners should keep this in mind when buying a Yorkshire Terrier.


This breed frequently forgets its small size and has the bravado of a much larger dog. Their vivacious and energetic personality is endearing to many and seems to attract attention wherever it goes. The Yorkshire Terrier can be mischievous due to its love for adventure and they can get into trouble if not trained early. They are affectionate towards their family but can be a bit suspicious of strangers and give warning barks to those who approach their territory.

Despite acting like a big dog in a small dog's body, the Yorkshire Terrier can be a true lapdog and enjoys spending time with its family. It may be hesitant with other dogs, but will usually warm up to them quickly. Due to its size, Yorkshire Terriers do best with older children.


The grooming needs of a Yorkshire Terrier may require time.

  • Grooming: Their coat requires regular maintenance. They should be brushed every day and may require a professional for regular trims.
  • Living Situation: They are great apartment dogs if training is started early to ensure that their barking is not a problem.
  • Exercise: They require 30 minutes daily exercise, which due to their small size, can be achieved inside the home or on a walk.
  • Approximate Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Common Health Problems: The breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia, reverse sneezing, and a collapsed trachea.

The Rundown: The Yorkshire Terrier is a great companion for those who do not have small children. They are affectionate and exercise requirements are minimal, but this breed requires regular grooming maintenance, which may cost time and money.

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