Yorkies
Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on April 25, 2019
Fact Checked

Yorkies are a small dog breed that originated in Yorkshire, England in the 19th century.

The breed is commonly found around the world given their popularity as companion dogs that don’t take up a lot of room in the home.

With a reputation for having a long lifespan, these small pooches don’t require a lot of maintenance and tend to be popular with senior dog owners.

Their full name is Yorkshire Terrier, but it’s often shortened to Yorkies. The yorkiesofinstagram hashtag has over three million submissions on the photo sharing app.

This English dog has played a role in the development of other small terrier breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.

The American Kennel Club ranks the Yorkie as the ninth most popular dog in the world.

What is a Yorkshire Terrier?

Yorkshire Terrier Michcant (Photo: Michcant)
Yorkshire Terrier Michcant (Photo: Michcant)

A Yorkshire Terrier is a member of the Terrier Group. They’re small dogs that usually don’t grow to more than eight inches in height.

Yorkies have glossy, long coats – but don’t be fooled by their dainty appearance. The breed are tenacious little animals that were initially used to hunt vermin in the 19th century.

A lap dog for Victorian ladies, the Yorkshire Terrier has remained a dearly loved companion for many dog owners around the world.

Their hair is often likened to human hair rather than dog fur, so they can make a good choice for anyone who wants a pup but suffers with an allergy to dogs.

Yorkies are often found in urban areas given their small size is perfect for apartment living. Their fun personalities can provide plenty of laughs, while these Terriers have a feisty side.

However, owners can often have their work cut out to train these determined little dogs.

Where do Yorkies come from?

As their name suggests, the Yorkshire Terrier came from the northern county of Yorkshire in England.

The breed’s origins can be traced back to the start of the 19th century when workers arrived in Yorkshire from Scotland with some small terrier dogs in toe.

With lots of cotton and woollen mills in the area at the time, Yorkies were thought to have been bred by millers in the area.

Three dogs were used to start the breed – a male named Paisely, a bitch called Kitty and an unnamed second female.

Breeds such as the Paisley Terrier, the Skye Terrier and the Maltese were also rumoured to have played a role in the development of the Yorkie.

Described as Scotch dogs (a nod to their Scottish heritage), the Yorkshire Terrier was originally classied in a group of dogs called “Rough and Broken-coated, Broken-haired Scotch and Yorkshire Terriers”.

The Scottish weavers developed the Yorkie to navigate tight spaces and find little nooks and crannies in the cotton and wool factories to hunt rodents.

While their beginnings may have been unglamorous, the Yorkshire Terrier would start to climb the social ladder towards the end of the 19th century.

The Kennel Club granted the breed full status in 1886, which prompted a surge in demand and popularity of these silky-coated terriers.

They became a fashionable companion for Victorian women, earning a reputation for being the ideal lap dogs.

The Yorkie started to grow smaller in size as they became more and more popular as companion animals rather than dogs used to hunt mice and rats in factories.

America was introduced to the Yorkshire Terrier around 1870 before the first Yorkie was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1885. Her name was Belle.

Their popularity and population dipped before World War II before their number started to grow again.

As of 2018, Yorkies are ranked as the ninth most popular dog in United States, while their ranked 17th in their country of origin, England.

Yorkshire Terrier size

Yokrshire Terriers usually grow to between seven or nine inches in height. While the AKC don’t state a height standard for the breed, they clearly outline that these dogs should not weigh more than seven pounds. Of course, some Yorkies can weigh as much as 15 pounds, depending on bone structure or obesity.

How do Yorkies look?

Yorkies are a long-haired, silky terrier. Their coat should be around floor length, given them a dainty and elegant appearance.

Their black and blue tan coat should be parted from the face and skull, running to the end of their tail.

Yorkshire Terrier are compact and rugged breed, while they should carry themselves with an air of confidence that emits a sense of “vigor and self-importance”.

Their standout feature is their glossy coat, which should be fine and silky in texture. The AKC standard states that their coat should be moderately long and perfectly straight.

What color is Yorkshire Terrier?

A Yorkie is usually born with a black and tan coat. As they mature, the black hair should diminish, with a dark blue steel appearance coming to the fore.

The tan hair should be darker at the root, tan in the middle and a lighter color at the tip.

The AKC adds the dark steel blue should extend over the body, from back of neck to root of tail”. They add that the hair on tail is “a darker blue”, notably so at the end of the tail.

Is a Yorkie a good family dog?

When considering a Yorkie as a potential pet, a question that is often asked is whether these dogs do well in a family environment.

Whether you’re looking to get your first family pet, or a grandparent hoping to find a companion, it’s imperative you find a dog that has a good temperament to handle life with children.

Yorkies can be rambunctious little dogs, so they’re better suited to a family with older children who can be encouraged and taught to handle these terriers in the correct manner.

Are Yorkies cuddly?

While they may not be suited to families with small children, it’s not to say the Yorkie doesn’t have a softer side.

They were popular lap dogs during Victorian times – and the Yorkshire Terrier remains a favourite amongst those looking for a companion dog to this day.

Yorkies can be affectionate and like to receive attention, but they do have a mischievous side that can keep dog owners on their toes.

Are Yorkies smart?

Instagram star Michcant (Photo: Michcant / Instagram)
Instagram star Michcant (Photo: Michcant / Instagram)

The Border Collie was rated as the smartest dog in the world in by Stanley Coren in his book, “Intelligence of Dogs”.

You’ll have to work your way down to number 34 to find the Yorkshire Terrier.

They’re described as “above average working dogs”. This means that Yorkies understand new commands within 15 to 25 repetitions. They’ll obey the first command 70 per cent of the time.

In short, Yorkies are pretty intelligent dogs.

Are Yorkies easy to train?

Given their IQ levels, Yorkshire Terriers should be quite easy to train with consistent and regular practice.

They can be quick to learn tricks such as beg, handshake and roll over if there is a treat up for grabs. However, they can prove challenging to walk on the leash as these confident dogs like to dictate their own terms.

While Yorkies do have a stubborn streak, if you’re willing to put in the hard hours from puppyhood, you’ve got a better chance of positive experience when it comes to training.

How do you potty train Yorkie puppy?

One area where Yorkies have earned a bad reputation is house breaking. These dogs can be notoriously difficult to potty train.

Experts suggest training a Yorkie to do their business outside can be especially difficult if you live in cold, wet or windy environment.

You can use potty pads and litter boxes to help the process, while the services of an experienced and professional dog trainer could also help.

When leaving a Yorkie at home alone for a couple of hours, it may be a good idea to crate them to avoid any accidents in the home.

Will Yorkies use a litter box?

Yorkshire Terriers can be taught to use a litter box to go potty. They make great apartment dogs given their size, so a litter box is a viable for solution for those without access to a garden or yard.

Are Yorkies jealous dogs?

This English breed make great companion dogs but that can come at a cost. If they become overly attached to their pet parent, this can sometimes spill into over protection.

Some Yorkshire Terriers can become jealous if their owner is getting affection or giving affection to or from a person or pet.

A quick Google will highlight that this is a relatively common issue for Yorkshire Terrier parents.

Are Yorkies good with kids?

Yorkshire Terriers are good with older children but probably aren’t the best fit for a house with young kids.

Are Yorkies loyal?

These little dogs are loyal to their owners. Yorkshire Terriers can become like a second shadow as they follow you around the house or the garden.

Devoted to their human owners, this Yorkshire breed will be your companion for life.

Can Yorkies be left alone?

Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Yorkshire Terrier (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Yorkshire Terriers are usually considered one of the better dog breeds when it comes to being left at home alone.

The breed is usually fine if left alone for around four hours a day, although they’d much rather be in the company of their pet parents.

If you’ve got a puppy, you shouldn’t leave them to their own devices at your home for more than two or three hours.

Of course, any dog can suffer from a bout of separation anxiety. Yorkshire Terriers are no different.

It’s a good idea to acclimatize a Yorkie to periods of separation from a young age to get them used to be left alone. However, this anxiety can develop at any age.

Why Yorkies bark?

Yorkshire Terriers have earned a reputation for being “yappy”. They’ve got a trademark territorial bark that will let their owners know if someone is at the door.

These alert little dogs are tuned into even faint noises inside and outside the home. Their barking is an attempt to communicate with their human companion to make them aware of a potential threat or ensure that they’re safe.

Are Yorkies hyper?

These small dogs do require some exercise despite their diminutive stature. Loved by senior dog owners because Yorkies are happy to walk at a slow and steady pace, they enjoy shorts bursts of activity in the dog park or at the garden.

The AKC recommends two short walks a day to keep these dogs satisfied. The more exercise the breed gets, the less likely they are to be a bundle of energy inside the home.

When do Yorkies stop growing?

Yorkies will usually grow to between seven and nine inches in height. However, some may be even taller than this.

A Yorkshire Terrier should stop growing at the one-year mark, with the growth spurts starting to slow down around the nine-month mark.

How long Yorkes live?

Long live the Yorkie! These little terriers have a reputation for living long and happy lives. The average age of a Yorkshire Terrier is between 12 and 15. However, some can live up to 20.

What health problems do Yorkies have?

Yorkshire Terriers have a reputation for being a generally health breed of dog.

Of course, there are some issues that can affect Yorkies.

Digestive problems

They can often have a sensitive digestive system – if they manage to find something on the ground outside or are given some food that isn’t usually in their diet, it can result in diarrhea or vomiting.

Skin issues

Yorkies can suffer from a variety of skin ailments. If they’re exposed to a trigger, it can result in excessive itching, scratching or possibly even hair loss.

Dental care

Like a lot of small breeds, Yorkshire Terriers can struggle with dental hygiene. It’s a good idea to brush their teeth on a regular basis and keep an eye on the build up of plaque.

Luxating patella

A luxating patella, or kneecap dislocation, is another potential concern. The AKC recommend preventative steps such to limit Yorkies jumping too much.

Are Yorkies hypoallergenic?

There is no such thing as a completely hyopallergenic dog, but there are some breeds that are more suitable to those with an allergy to dogs.

The Yorkshire Terrier has a unique coat that is often likened to human hair, rather than dog hair.

While Yorkies don’t shed a lot, it’s important to remember that dander and salvia can often be a trigger for people who are allergic to dogs rather than hair.

Can Yorkies tolerate cold?

While Yorkshire Terriers can tolerate the cold, they are sensitive to drops in temperature. You may want to consider a coat for these small dogs in autumn and winter.

Are Yorkshire Terriers good with cats?

Yorkshire Terrier can live in a home with a cat but it’s a good idea to introduce them at a very young age to boost your chances of living in a harmonious home.

It’s never a good idea to leave a cat and a dog in a room unsupervised, even if you think they have a good relationship.

Will Yorkies catch mice?

Yorkies were used in cotton and wool mills to catch small rodents. Given they were bred to do carry out this function in 19th century England, you may find that your Yorkshire Terrier has a small prey drive.

Can Yorkies eat cheese?

Yorkie owners can given their little dog some small bits of cheese as a treat or to act as a tool in training. However, be careful not to overfeed given some members of the breed do develop stomach issues.

Can Yorkies eat eggs?

While cooked eggs can be a source of protein for some dogs, it’s a good idea to consult with your local veterinarian before making any changes to your pup’s diet.

How much does Yorkshire Terrier cost?

Yorkies are moderately expensive. You should expect to pay between $800 and $1000 for a Yorkshire Terrier puppy.

However, the price can vary from breeder to breeder. You should always do thorough research to make sure a breeder is an ethical and responsible one.

Yorkies to adopt

You may prefer to adopt a mature Yorkie. There are a variety of different organisations that look to rehome Yorkshire Terriers.

For our US readers, check out Yorkie Rescue dot com.

For our UK readers, visit Yorkshire Terrier Club Rescue & Rehoming.

Which celebrities have Yorkies?

You won’t be surprised to learn that the breed has been popular with celebrities throughout the years.

Singers Donny Osmond, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears have all be proud owners of the breed. Other Yorkie enthusiasts include actresses Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Portman and Emmy Rossum.

Former Wimbledon champion Venus Williams owns a Yorkshire Terrier who follow her around the world on WTA tour.

Yorkies to follow on Instagram

1) @littleleothemorkie – 158,000 followers

2) @michcant – 97.000 followers

3) @kodietheyorkie – 80,000 followers

4) @_miss_maggiemae – 61,000 followers

5) @cody_bear_the_yorkie – 51,000 followers

6) @yorkie_zoe – 28,000 followers

7) @ruby_the_yorkie – 22,000 followers

8) taco_minnie – 21,000 followers

9) @teddy_the_tiny_terrier – 78,000 followers

10) @tinytigi – 11,000 followers

Advice from Yorkie owners

More to follow.

In conclusion

It’s easy to see why the Yorkshire Terrier is perennially ranked amongst the top ten most popular dogs in the world.

With an elegant appearance, these dainty dogs have big personalities despite their size.

They’ll make you laugh, keep you on your toes but are happy to cuddle up at the end of a long day.

Starting off as ratters in the 19th century, the breed are now firm favorites in homes across every continent.