Yorkshire Terrier

By Dr Eloise Bright 9 Min Read

This toy terrier also known as the Yorkie has an adventurous and demanding personality despite its small stature.

Yorkies are very energetic dogs that often become very closely bonded to just one special someone in their life. They are inclined to be strong-willed and sometimes yappy, so they have a tendency to rule their household if not given firm boundaries.

Yorkies are terriers by nature so share the determination and energy of their group. They are however much smaller than most other terriers, but are often not aware of their small size. If poorly socialised they can be a little snappy with young children and fear aggressive, so care should be taken to give help them be confident with new situations and people during the first 12 weeks.


I would love to live with a single person who spends a great deal of time at home. I love to go for little walks and have constant company, but may not be suited to homes with small children. I love a comfortable life that involves cuddles on the couch and my own place on the bed and would be happy to live in an apartment.


Lifespan 10-15 years
Weight 2-3.2 kg
Height (at shoulder) 17-20 cm



Stubborn/strong willed – Yorkies are known to be a little stubborn at times. They can be easily trained if motivated and only positive training methods are used, but they will often have a mind of their own.

Courageous – No one ever told this dog to back down from an argument. They will often take on much bigger dogs and will always finish the fight if someone starts one. They can also be a little timid if not socialised when young and these dogs must be carefully watched around small children.

Lively – these are very active little dogs and need lots of activity and stimulation. They are often very excitable, particularly when their owners come home.


Exercise Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Training Requirements Low – 0-0.5 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? Yes


Yorkies are ideal pets for retired or older owners. They are not ideal family pets due to their fragility and temperament. They require moderate exercise when young, with very little exercise as they age.


Trips to the Groomer Yes – regular grooming required.
Tick Friendly? No
Hypoallergenic Yes
Brushing High – Daily brushing required
Hair fall Low Shed – minimal shed or needs regular haircuts
Coat Type Long


The hypoallergenic status of the Yorkie is due to its hair-like coat that is continuously growing and non-shedding. It does have dander and the protein that causes allergies to humans is contained in the skin and saliva, but this allergen tends to be less likely to spread throughout the home if there is less hair shed. If you have allergies, please be cautious with any so-called hypoallergenic breed. For more information read more here.

Yorkies have a high maintenance coat that needs regular brushing and clipping. They often take several years to develop their natural colour, and start out with a puppy coat that is shed and is often different in colour to the adult coat. Their coat is lovely and silky and will grow at around 1cm a month. Traditionally their coat is worn floor-length, but can be clipped shorter to avoid regular trims every 6 weeks.


Good With Kids Poor –may not be good with kids (dog dependent)
Good With Other Small Pets Medium – Ok with other pets, supervision advised
Sociability Medium – Can live alone or with others.


Yorkies can be fragile little dogs, so may not be the ideal family pet. However if socialised and accustomed to older children they can fit in well with family life. They are terriers at heart so often love to chase cats, however this is dog dependent.


Overall Expenses (Annual) Low $1000-$1500
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) Low – $100-$300
Food Expenses (Weekly) Low – $5-$10


Yorkies that are smaller than average are anecdotally said to be prone to more chronic health problems and therefore may be more costly to own. They are generally otherwise low-cost pets.



Dental disease – Small breed dogs often get significant dental disease, sometimes through poor diet and lack of chewing, but also simply due to genetic factors. Implementing daily brushing, diets that involve chewing and perhaps water additives can help.

Luxating patella – small breed dogs often have knee caps that pop in and out, sometimes with no pain, but in a relatively small number of cases they need surgical correction.

Hydrocephalus – some breeds, due to their dome-shaped head can sometimes develop excess fluid in the brain, which is usually apparent at a young age and causes neurological signs, including vision deficits, seizures, abnormal behaviour or be less intelligent than usual.

Tracheal collapse – many small breed dogs have a characteristic ‘goose honk’ cough with exercise or excitement due to the tracheal cartilages being a little weak, this can lead to increased risk of airway infections.

Dry eye – otherwise known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a condition of improper tear film resulting in eye irritation. It usually requires long-term medication to avoid vision loss.


Yorkies are prone to developing hypoglycaemia, so should be fed at least two small meals a day, particularly as puppies and if very active.

Avoid obesity in your Yorkie, as it will make problems with luxating patellars more prominent.

Ask your vet to regularly check your Yorkies eyes for dry eye and retinal problems, as these problems are often difficult to detect early in the disease process.

Regular dental care is important for Yorkies and they often have a tendency towards retained deciduous teeth, so should be checked at 6 months in case they need correcting.


Yorkies were named for the region in the North of England where the breed was first developed during the 1800s. They little terriers were bred as ratters in cotton and woollen mills.
Traditionally Yorkies had docked tails, however this practice has been banned in Australia since 2001.

Teacup Yorkies that weigh less than 1.8kg are significantly more likely to develop health problems with knees, heart disease, hydrocephalus, hypoglycaemia and seizures. The practice of breeding these small dogs should be questioned when it is more likely to lead to a sick (though very cute) dog.

The smallest dog recorded was a Yorkie called Sylvia who was only 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder and died in 1945 at only 2 years of age.



Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The ASPCA often has Yorkies for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.


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Dr Eloise is a Clinical Lead at Love That Pet and one of our resident pet care experts. She also curates the select range of vet recommended and approved products which feature on our site.
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