Yorkshire terrier

Yorkshire Terrier: Your Kind of Dog?

The petite, 4 to 7-pound Yorkshire Terrier is the most popular Toy Dog breed in the United States. It is an active, playful, affectionate dog with a big personality. They need attention and do not like being left alone. Many Yorkie owners take their dogs with them whenever and wherever dogs are allowed.

When the Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) is all dressed up for a dog show, few dog breeds can match its elegance and charm. The Yorkie is a real show stopper with its gorgeous, long silky coat and a bow adorning its forehead. Remember, however, the Yorkie has Terrier for a last name. The Yorkie does its best to live up to that last name when it’s not strutting its stuff in the show arena.

Where Do Yorkshire Terriers Come From?

The Yorkie has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a ratter (dog) in the dark, dank, and musty Yorkshire coal mines. Their rat-catching beginnings appear when you give your Yorkie a tiny, squeaky mouse-like toy. Yorkies also chased rats in clothing factories. They were small enough so farmers could carry them in their pockets and set the dog loose to hunt rodents in the fields.

Huddersfield Ben
Huddersfield Ben

Several breeds were used to develop the Yorkie. There is no accurate record. The workers from Scotland who started the breed did not keep stud books, maybe because they had no interest in documenting a dog’s pedigree or perhaps because they could not read or write.

Several Terrier breeds probably contributed to the Yorkies’ ancestry. The usual suspects include the Paisley Terrier, Back-and-Tan Terrier, and the Clydesdale Terrier. These breeds are now extinct. Whatever its exact ancestry is, Huddersfield Ben gets credit for being the Yorkshire Terrier breed’s founding father.

In 1872, the first Yorkshire Terrier arrived in the United States, and the first Yorkie was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1885. 

Smoky, a Yorkshire Terrier
Smoky Fair use

The breed’s popularity rose and fell before the Second World War. During that war, a Yorkie named Smoky became a war hero and revived the Yorkies’ standing as one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

Weighing only 4 pounds, Smoky was found by a US soldier in 1943. The dog had been abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea

Smoky achieved fame as a brave little soldier whose exploits were equal to those of much larger war dogs during the rest of the war. 

Smoky proved that bravery often comes in small packages. Read Smoky’s story here.

Are Yorkies Smart?

In Stanley Coren’s book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” the Yorkie ranks number 27, which means it is above average in dog intelligence. It is not a doggie genius, but it is relatively easy to train.

These little dogs are individuals, and each will do its thing in its own good time. The Yorkie may take a while to housetrain. You will find conflicting opinions about this on the internet or in books about the Yorkie. 

While house training is necessary and can be challenging, it is only a relatively short period in a dog’s and your life.   Just be patient and consistent, and soon your little friend will learn that the whole world is not its bathroom.

How Much Does A Yorkie Cost?

Yorkies will have a small litter.  Since they are very popular dogs, you should expect and will find that a Yorkshire puppy is expensive due to supply and demand. On the low-end, you may be able to find a Yorkie puppy for $800 to $1,000. On the high-end, especially if you are looking for a show-quality dog, the price could jump to $10,000 or more.  

Not all breeders are equal. It would be best if you did considerable research before settling on where or from whom you will get your puppy. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America website has a list of breeders you can consider. You will still need to do your own “due diligence” even if you choose a breeder on their list.

It may be possible to find a rescue Yorkie to adopt. Of course, rescue dogs are usually older. Your local animal rescue foundation or the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America website is a place to start looking for a rescue dog.  

Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic?

The Yorkies’ fine, silky hair is much like human hair. They shed about the same hair you do if you still have hair. No dog is entirely hypoallergenic, but the Yorkie might cause fewer problems than dogs that shed profusely. 

Are Yorkies Healthy?

Yorkies are generally healthy. The amazing Smoky mentioned above lived in the jungle, shared its owner’s rations, and had no veterinarian care during its wartime exploits. Smoky lived to the age of 14, which is well within a Yorkies expected lifespan of 11 to 15 years.

Your best chance of making sure you get a healthy dog is to buy from a reputable dealer. Backyard breeders do not also care what kind of dogs they are producing. Also, avoid very small, the so-called Teacup dogs. Smaller dogs will likely have more medical problems and shorter lives than normal dogs. A Yorkie’s average adult weight should be from 4 to 7 pounds.

Are Yorkies A Good Family Dog?

Yorkies make great personal companions and are good family pets, provided they are treated properly. Yorkies are affectionate and usually non-aggressive.  

Boy with yorkshire terrier dog puppy. Cute baby boy hugs york terrier puppy and siting on green gras
This kid knows how to love a dog.

However, due to its small size, the Yorkie may not be a good choice if you have children who do not know how to treat a small animal properly.  

The Yorkie will generally be friendly to all family members but will likely have a favorite person. The person who feeds the dog will undoubtedly be in contention for the most popular, but the dog may choose a favorite person for reasons known only to the dog.  

Do Yorkies Bark A Lot?

Yes, Yorkies will bark. They make good watchdogs because they will sound the alarm whenever they detect strange noises or people. It is unlikely you will be able to keep a Yorkie completely silent. Proper training may help decrease their barking instincts if their barking becomes a problem.

Do Yorkies Need Grooming?

cropped shot of young professional groomer grooming yorkshire terrier in pet salonEvery 4 to 6 weeks, an adult Yorkie will need to have a bath and a haircut. The Yorkie does not shed, and its hair will continue to grow. Some owners do their grooming, but most will take their dogs to a professional groomer.  

Yorkies with longer hair need daily brushing to prevent tangles and keep the coat looking pretty. Some owners prefer to keep their Yorkies’ coats in a shorter “puppy-cut” that considerably reduces the need for frequent brushing.

The Ultimate Yorkie Dog Manual icon

More Yorkie Information

For more information on the Yorkshire Terrier, visit the American Kennel Club and the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America.

Other Toy Dog Breeds To Consider

BreedStatsCountry of Origin
Affenpinscher - The Little Monkey DogAffenpinscher
Height (Inches): 9-11.5
Weight (Pounds): 7-10
Lifespan (Years): 12-15
Popularity (AKC): 148
Group (AKC): Toy
Cavalier King Charles SpanielCavalier King Charles Spaniel
Height (Inches): 12-13
Weight (Pounds): 13-18
Lifespan (Years): 12-15
Popularity (AKC): 18
Group (AKC): Toy
United Kingdom
Pekingnese the Lion Dog Pekingnese
Height: (Inches): 6-9
Weight (Pounds): up to 14
Lifespan (Years): 12-14
Popularity (AKC): 92
Group (AKC): Toy
Toy PoodlesToy Poodle
Height (Inches): up to 10
Weight (Pounds): 10-18
Lifespan (Years): 10-18
Popularity (AKC): 7
Group (AKC): Toy
Yorkshire TerrierYorkshire Terrier
Height (Inches): 7
Weight (Pounds): 11-15
Lifespan (Years): 11-15
Popularity (AKC): 10
Group (AKC): Toy
Yorkshire, England

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