Yorkshire Terrier

AKC Toy Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

There seem to be two different stories about the Yorkshire Terrier’s origins. The first states that the breed was brought to Yorkshire, England, by Scottish weavers emigrating to England in the mid-nineteenth century. The second states that the Yorkshire Terrier was developed by English miners in the 1800s to help control the rat population in mine shafts. According to the second story, the Yorkie probably resulted from crosses between the Dandie Dinmont, Skye Terrier, black and tan Toy Terrier, and the Maltese. The new breed was originally called the Scotch Terrier. This little dog was also pitted against rats for the miners’ entertainment. Later he became a favorite companion of well-to-do women who carried the tiny dogs in their bags or under their arms. Though nineteenth century terrier aficionados thought the breed’s future was dim, the Yorkie has become one of the most popular breeds. Today, this spunky little dog is both a lively companion and a glamorous show dog.


The Yorkshire Terrier is a vigorous small dog with a long, profuse, silky steel blue and gold coat. Puppies are born black with tan points and generally come into their adult coat after about a year. The full adult coat is parted down the middle of the spine and hangs down long enough to touch the ground. The delicate head is flat, with a medium-length muzzle topped by a cute black button nose. The eyes are bright and dark with dark rims. The ears are small, erect, and triangular. Hair on the ears is dark. The topline is straight, and the body is compact. The tail is docked at three to five days to half its original length. It is carried slightly higher than the level of the back.

Key Facts

  • Height:  Averages 7-1/2 in.
  • Size: Very small
  • Weight:  Up to 7 lbs.
  • Availability:  Very popular
  • Talents: Watchdog, obedience


Show dogs need constant and extensive grooming. Can be difficult to housebreak. Avoid puppy mill Yorkies, as these animals may be misproportioned and more difficult to housebreak. Sensitive to cold. Bitches often have trouble delivering. Have a veterinarian on standby for each birth. Do not overprotect this little dog, or he can become neurotic. The very tiny “teacup” Yorkies often have serious health and behavior problems. Prone to slipped stifle and eye infections. The soft teeth tend to be prone to decay and weakness. Inspect and clean the teeth regularly.


Spirited and willful. Self-confident. Affectionate and very lovable. Highly energetic and bustling. Brave and clever. Doesn’t get along well with other animals. Demanding and dependent. Needs companionship. Can be snappish if frightened, surprised, or over-teased.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Needs people a lot
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness:  Somewhat dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Very active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: Some trimming or stripping (little skill required)
  • Coat: Long coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Very little exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Prefers warm climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Yorkshire Terrier Breed Standard


Yorkshire Terrier Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Yorkshire Terrier


Yorkshire Terrier Gifts