Yorkshire Terrier breed: everything you need to know about this fierce dog

László Enikő

2020. July 1 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

The Yorkshire Terrier is very popular all over the world. Its charming appearance and small stature will steal everyone's heart.


Many people think of the Yorkie as a spoiled fashionista, who just sitting around with a bow on his head all day. But this is a mistake. Anyone who knows them knows they are much more than that. They have a fierce nature, they like to run around in the garden, roll around and have a very strong sense of who they are.

They are happy to play, run around in the garden, not just rest on the owner’s lap.


The breed was introduced in the 19th century in Yorkshire. It was originally bred for rat and mouse hunting, because its small size could fit into small places where large dogs could not. It was considered a favourite of poor people and was a very common breed among workers. They were also used by miners, because they would bark loudly in the shafts if they detected an explosive gas mixture. Their ancestors are the now extinct Clydesdale and Paisley terriers, and the Airdale and Skye terriers. The first Yorkies were brought to America in the late 1800s, where by 1886 they were among the top 25 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.

Its origins date back to the 19th century.

Breed standard

Officially it belongs to the toy category, despite its terrier existence. Its coat is black when it is a puppy, later it is steel-blue tanned. Its coat is like human hair, making it an ideal companion for allergy sufferers. Dogs kept as hobby dogs often have short coats, while show dogs have long, silky coats. White spots are considered a fault according to the official FCI classification. Nowadays, the biewer version, which is characterised by its white fur, is becoming increasingly popular.

The Yorkie’s ancestors were heavier than today’s specimens, sometimes reaching up to 8 kg. Today, the ideal weight is 3 kg, but in many cases you will also find larger breeds weighing 4-5 kg. The average height is 23 cm. Contrary to misconceptions, there is no mini or extra mini version. Their ears are V-shaped and point upwards. Their eyes are alert, intelligent, not bulging, dark brown. Their walk is proud and dynamic, with a straight back. Their tails are often cropped for aesthetic reasons only. Their life expectancy is usually 11-15 years.

Yorkies preparing for the show have their fur left long and their hair decorated with a bow.


The Yorkshire Terrier is a very fun little dog. He is a strong and proud character, who can be quite willful. He is not afraid of big dogs at all, often even fussing at them, which shows that most of them have a mild Napoleon complex. They are playful, teachable and stubborn creatures, which is why proper training is important. He is very affectionate with his owner, but his behaviour towards strangers is variable. With the rodent-killing blood of his ancestors still running through his veins, he can often be driven by the hunting instinct.

Their instincts still guide them when it comes to rodents.

Ideal environment

He is well adapted to all living situations. As he is very affectionate, he should not be left alone for long, as he does not tolerate loneliness well. He is not always friendly with foreign children.


Apart from brushing and occasional bathing, his coat does not require any special care. His eyes should be rinsed out with cotton wool every week and his teeth regularly cleaned. His ears need to be cleaned from time to time, and his claws trimmed if they become too long.

Of course, they can never resist a little pampering!

Common health problems

If you have a Yorkie, you should pay attention to his dental care, so he can keep its teeth for a long time. Patella luxation is also common in these dogs and can only be corrected by surgery. His clingy personality means he is always underfoot, and his fragile build means you have to be careful where you step.

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