Yorkshire Terriers started at the bottom, catching rats for workers in Northern England factories. Now they're here: Yorkies — as they're known to their fans — are the world's second-favorite dog breed. And if the Labrador Retriever is ever, for any reason, unable to fulfill the function of her “World Favorite” title, you know the fashion-plate Yorkshire Terrier is ready and willing to step in.
A few characteristics make this breed unique. Yorkies aren't born with those distinctive tan-and-blue coats; their puppy hair is pure black. And their unusual gag reflex sometimes makes them honk like geese. It's their supermodel locks that really set this dog apart from the pack, though. Get ready for some serious brushwork!
Originally from England, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to roughly 7 pounds and lives an average of 11-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Toy group. (But don't let the classification fool you — the Yorkie is a terrier through and through.)
|Breed's original pastime||Companion|
|Average lifespan||11-15 years|
|Bark factor||I love to talk!|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Small vermin-hunting|
|Average size of male||Height: 8-9 Weight: <7|
|Average size of female||Height: 8-9 Weight: <7|
|Energy level||High energy|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Shy|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Shy|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Friendly|
|Ease of training||Easy to train|
|Protection ability||Not very protective|
|Grooming needs||High maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Low tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A YORKSHIRE TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Looks like a toy, plays like a terrier: this dog is curious, courageous, and determined. Yorkshire Terriers are boisterous and impish. Though they're playful and affectionate, their small size means they'll do best if supervised while playing with children to avoid injuries. (They might also a bit nippy with kids who handle them roughly.) Your Yorkie might do well with cats, but she'll most likely prefer to be the only dog in your home and heart.
WHAT IS YORKSHIRE TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a somewhat active breed. Plan on daily walks to provide necessary physical activity and mental stimulation. Though they're among the dogs most likely to wind up in a Birkin bag, Yorkshire Terriers also enjoy action and speed — and, like some well-known starlets, they live for the applause. Consider dog sports to satisfy your Yorkie's yen for appreciation and activity.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A YORKSHIRE TERRIER?
Like many toy breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier can be somewhat slow to housetrain. It's not their fault, their tiny bladders just can't “hold it” for very long. This glamour-puss is independent-minded; be patient and consistent while training your furry friend. These dogs can be somewhat vocal, so be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often.
Your Yorkie might enjoy dog sports like agility or rally.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO YORKSHIRE TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Yorkshire Terriers are infrequent shedders who require daily grooming. Those long, gorgeous locks need lots of brushing to prevent mats and tangles and frequent trips to the groomers for clipping.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO YORKSHIRE TERRIERS HAVE?
As a breed, Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy. Some are prone to slipping kneecaps or eye disease.