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 they can 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. When it’s not strutting its stuff in the show arena, the Yorkie does its best to live up to that last name.

Where Do Yorkies 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. 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. Their rat-catching beginnings show up when you give your Yorkie a small, squeaky mouse-like toy.

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. Some of 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 in the years 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 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.

Scruffy Yorkshire Terrier. Cute Pet. Cute dog.

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

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.

Need some help training your Yorkie.  Get this Yorkshire Terrier Training Guide icon

How Much Does A Yorkie Cost?

Yorkies have small litters and are very popular dogs.  Due to supply and demand, you should expect and will find that a Yorkshire puppy is expensive.  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.  

It would be best if you did considerable research before you settle on where of from whom you will get your puppy.  Not all breeders are equal.  The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America website has a list of breeders that 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.  A place to start looking for a rescue dog is your local animal rescue foundation or the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America website.  

Are Yorkies Hypoallergenic?

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

Are Yorkies Healthy?

Veterinary doc and nurse with cute Yorkshire terrier in clinic, copy spaceYorkies 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 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 a normal size dog.  For a Yorkie, the normal 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 small children who do not know how to treat a small animal properly.  

The Yorkie will generally be friendly to all family members but is likely to have a favorite person.  The person who feeds the dog will certainly 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.  If their barking becomes a problem, proper training may help decrease their barking instincts.  It is unlikely you will be able to keep a Yorkie completely silent.

Do Yorkies Need Grooming?

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

Yorkies with longer hair will need daily brushing to prevent tangles and to keep the coat looking pretty.  Some owners prefer to keep their Yorkies’ coat 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, visits these websites:

American Kennel Club

Yorkshire Terrier Club of America

Other Toy Dog Breeds To Consider

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