The Yorkshire Terrier’s origin is right in their name; this breed was developed in Yorkshire, England, during the 19th century. Though distinct details are relatively scarce, records suggest that Scottish immigrants brought “Yorkies’” ancestors into northern England. Breeding records are incomplete or nonexistent. Still, the best guesses are that Yorkies emerged from a combination of the Black-and-Tan Terrier, Clydesdale Terrier, and Paisley Terrier, among other breeds. Initially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, today, the Yorkie is ranked number 10 in popularity of the 196 AKC-recognized breeds and categorized in the Toy Group. If you’re considering adding a Yorkshire Terrier to your family, you might be wondering, do Yorkies make good pets?

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Characteristics Of The Yorkshire Terrier

What characteristics define the Yorkshire Terrier? Read on to discover what physical attributes and personality traits make the Yorkie such a unique breed.


Yorkies are easily-identified by their diminutive, fragile bodies and gorgeous, silky coat. Large eyes, a compact frame, and a feisty personality characterize this breed.

The American Kennel Club accepts four coat colors: black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, and blue and tan. The Yorkie’s coat can be kept floor-length or short cropped.

Yorkshire terriers have a tiny, delicate build; they weigh no more than 7 pounds and stand 7 to 8 inches high at the withers or top of the shoulder.

Temperament and Personality of a Yorkie

Yorkies can act a lot larger than their bodies indicate; they are energetic and bold. This breed is also smart, loyal, and affectionate with their families. Their terrier ancestry means they can even be a bit stubborn, so it’s important to develop a bond with your dog early on. Humans tend to let Yorkies get away with problem behaviors simply due to their small size. It’s important to train and socialize your pup right away, so they do not develop or continue poor behaviors. Yorkies can develop “small dog syndrome,” where they are demanding, yappy, and jealous. While they may seem dignified, Yorkies can be quite playful and clownish too.

Yorkies have a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years.

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Caring For A Yorkshire Terrier

Understanding and maintaining a Yorkie’s particular needs will lead to a longer, healthier life for your dog and a more enjoyable partnership between you. Read on to learn more about the nutrition, exercise, training, and health requirements a Yorkie needs to thrive. This will help you to ascertain whether this is the right breed for you.

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Yorkies thrive on high-quality dog food, one that is specially formulated for small breeds. Whether manually or commercially prepared, you should tailor your dog’s diet appropriately based on age and activity level. Many dog foods help by having serving suggestions on the packaging. You should monitor your dog’s food intake and body condition and consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions. These are all simple ways to make sure your dog is receiving the proper nutrition they require.

Exercising a Yorkshire Terrier

Despite their small size, Yorkies have plenty of energy. They need a daily walk or play session in the yard. Be careful not to leave a Yorkie outside unsupervised, even in a fenced-in yard; their small size makes them vulnerable to birds of prey like hawks and owls. Yorkies can participate in sports like agility and Earthdog competitions. 

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The Yorkshire Terrier is an intelligent and loyal breed. They learn easily, respond quickly, and are eager to please, though their terrier stubbornness means they may need firm, gentle correction sometimes. Training should be fun and variable to keep their interest. 

Like all dogs, puppyhood training and socialization are essential to a well-rounded pup. Puppy classes are an excellent way to train and socialize a new puppy from an early age. At a minimum, your Yorkie should learn basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come. Training a Yorkie dog works best with a focus on positive reinforcement. Consistent training and patience are essential to successfully raising a well-rounded Yorkshire Terrier.

Due to their strong family ties and need for affection, Yorkies left alone for abnormally long periods can resort to undesirable and even destructive behaviors. You can alleviate some of these behaviors by providing access to puzzles and interactive toys.


Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy but may be prone to digestive issues, eye infections, and spinal issues like herniated disks. Their small size makes them fragile, apt to break or fracture bones. They can also deal with early-onset tooth decay, so it’s important to feed them a hard, dry kibble or give them plenty of bones to chew on. Make sure to stay up-to-date on their teeth cleanings with the vet. 

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This breed’s long, silky coat requires regular grooming. The texture is similar to that of human hair and should be treated as such. They do not shed but need daily brushing, especially if you keep their coat long. To avoid eye irritations or infections, the hair above the eyes needs to be kept trimmed short or pulled back. Each week, plan to bathe your Yorkie and check their ears and eyes for any signs of health issues. This breed also needs regular visits to the groomer to trim their hair and prevent matting.

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Do Yorkshire Terriers Make Good Pets?

Yorkies are small, energetic, affectionate dogs that can suit almost any lifestyle. They can live in the country, on acres of land, but thrive just as well in a city apartment. They don’t need a yard to run around in but will keep you on your toes with their playful antics. Yorkies love their families and provide almost endless affection, which more than makes up for their occasional stubbornness. These dogs pack a big personality in a little body and would make a fantastic addition to almost any family. 

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