About Yorkshire Terriers

About Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire terriers are highly intelligent little dogs filled with energy and affection. Learn more about these cute pets here.

Yorkshire terriers are energetic, confident toy dogs.

Yorkshire terriers, commonly known as Yorkies are exuberant, loving and intelligent little dogs. They originated in Yorkshire County, England during the nineteenth century and were bred by textile mill workers and coal miners for hunting rats. Their inbred hunting instincts survived through the years and influence the behavior of Yorkshire terriers today. Though small in stature, they take their watchdog responsibilities seriously and are very vocal about it. Yorkies are brave and loyal but also enjoy endless hours of playtime. They crave love and affection from their family and become lonely when left alone.


Confidence emanates from Yorkshire terriers as they walk with a self-important air. Even with their small size, they have the confidence to take on a larger dog. Their self-assured nature also adds to their possessiveness. Yorkshire terriers know their own toys and let other dogs know to keep away from their treasures.


Curiosity can sometimes get Yorkies into trouble. An open door means excitement and adventure to a Yorkshire terrier and they usually make a dash for the door. With their small size, speed and curiosity, Yorkshire terriers do better in a fenced area or on a leash when they are outside.


Yorkshire terriers are family dogs that enjoy company, thriving on daily interaction and attention. They are loyal and affectionate, making them ideal companion pets for the whole family. Yorkshire terriers can suffer from separation anxiety when the family leaves the house because of the strong bond they form with family members.


Yorkshire terriers have never-ending energy. They are willing to play fetch or tug as long as you can hold out, which makes them wonderful dogs for children who can play with them for hours. Although their energy level is high, they are content to snuggle in your lap during quiet times. Their energy level also makes them ideal dogs for participating in performance events like agility or flyball. Their determination allows them to complete an agility course with speed and accuracy, giving them a sense of accomplishment.


Yorkies are intelligent and learn quickly. Because of their intelligence, keeping them focused and busy is essential. They aim to please and enjoy any activities that keep them thinking. Problem-solving games like hide and seek or puzzle toys keep Yorkshire terriers alert and mentally stimulated.

Yorkshire Terrier Information: Health

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog that was first bred in Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills. As such, the dog is bold, inquisitive, and loyal to its owners. As with many small dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier can be prone to dental problems, tracheal collapse, and luxating patella. The breed may also be susceptible to portal shunts, which can cause systemic toxicity. The Yorkshire Terrier lives 14 to 16 years, with the smallest of the breed living a few years shorter.

Primary Health Conditions of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier can suffer from diseases of both the teeth and gums. These infections can then spread through the bloodstream to cause other health problems. Regular dental care at home and the veterinarianโ€™s office is required. This small breed is also subject to tracheal collapse when a genetic defect weakens the tracheal rings. Breathing difficulties or a honking cough can result. Keeping the dog from overexerting itself is the best prevention, and if the condition advances, surgery may become necessary. Portal shunts are a hereditary disease in which blood is not properly filtered by the liver, which is necessary to remove toxins. Stunted growth, seizures, and coma are possible, and surgery can be used to correct the problem.

Secondary Health Conditions of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is, like many small dogs, susceptible to luxating patella, or the slippage of the kneecap. The condition can cause pain and limping in the dog, leading to decreased activity. Surgery can be used to correct the problem, although the disease can be managed in some dogs with weight control and leg slings. The Yorkshire may also be prone to Legg-Perthes syndrome, in which the head of the femur degenerates, causing walking difficulties and pain. Surgery can treat this condition as well.

Yorkshire Terrier Exercise and Walking Needs

The Yorkshire Terrier is a lively dog but its small size necessitates only short walks and exercise bouts to keep the dog well conditioned and happy. Much of this exercise can be gotten inside, even in an apartment, as the dog chases toys and plays with its owners. All dogs, however, require daily walks to interact with their environment. A Yorkshire Terrier that receives daily exercise starting early in life can avoid some of the bone and joint troubles that are common to the breed.

Yorkshire Terrier Nutritional Needs

The Yorkshire Terrier is prone to dental disease and as such should only be given a high quality dog food, never fed from the table or given sweets. A dry dog food with small sized kibbles will be preferred by the Yorkshire Terrier, and chewing this food will help to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth. Care should be taken to match the dogโ€™s food portions with its age and activity levels. The Yorkshire will lead a longer, healthier life with good weight management and proper nutrition.

Haircut Styles for Yorkshire Terrier Dogs

Known for their long, flowing hair, Yorkshire Terriers have a versatile coat that can be cut and styled in a variety of different ways. These tiny dogs can wind up with a tangled mess of a coat if they are not properly groomed. The type of clip or hairstyle that is appropriate for your dog may be dictated by your lifestyle and that of the dog. While show dogs must have a full coat, pet Yorkies can have cuts that require less maintenance.

Show Cut

Yorkies that are shown for conformation require a full coat. This flowing coat can be longer than the distance to the ground, making walking difficult for your Yorkie. To allow for proper movement and to prevent your show dog from tripping in the ring, the bottom of the coat can be trimmed slightly to floor level. Hair on the tips of the ears is trimmed short in the front and back of the ears. The hair around the feet and on the bottoms of the feet is clipped for neatness.

The Fall

With a full coat, the hair on the top of a Yorkie's head will hang in front of the dog's face and eyes. This hair, called the fall, can be styled in one of two ways for show purposes and for everyday practicality. Gather all of the hair into a pony tail and tie it with a ribbon. You can also part the fall down the middle and separate it into two pony tails, each tied with a separate ribbon.

If you aren't going to show your Yorkie, this tuft of hair can be clipped shorter to keep the hair completely out of your dog's eyes, or shortened into a miniature pony tail.


Show dogs who must maintain long, silky coats require extensive daily brushing, and conditioning after bathing. This may not always be practical, especially for these spunky little dogs, who do enjoy an occasional frolic in the yard. To solve this issue, the coat can be sectioned, folded up and wrapped in small packets of rice paper that are secured with rubber bands. Before wrapping, the hair is coated with oil to maintain its silky texture. This keeps it ready for showing while giving your dog ease of motion without the need for frequent grooming. This is a practical way to style your Yorkie's long hair for daily life without having to cut it, keeping your dog show-ready.

Puppy Cut

For owners who don't plan to show their dogs professionally, a puppy cut or pet clip may be a good solution. This cut clips the dog's hair, over the entire body and face, to one length, usually about an inch or two long. This low-maintenance style reduces the grooming needed to keep this breed's fur looking its best.

The puppy cut also works well for Yorkies suffering from atopic dermatitis. Yorkies are affected by the contact or food allergies that cause this skin condition more than other dog breeds, according to the pet allergy testing lab, Bio-Medical Services. The shorter hair style allows you to more easily treat your Yorkie's itchy skin with whatever creams, dips or medicated shampoos your veterinarian may recommend.


The modified schnauzer cut can be given to your Yorkie, giving the terrier the look of a schnauzer. This cut, also referred to as a "snorkie," involves clipping the torso and tail shorter in length, similar to a puppy cut, while the hair on the head and legs is left a few inches longer. The longer hair on the legs gives the dog the appearance of a skirt, and the hair on the muzzle looks like a short mustache and beard. The fall is either cut short enough to keep it out of the dog's eyes or left long enough to tie into a short pony tail. The snorkie cut allows your dog to keep a look of glamour, while reducing the grooming time for your dog. You will have to brush the face and legs of your Yorkie daily to prevent knotting of the longer fur.

Modified Westie

To keep the hair out of your Yorkie's eyes and shorten it around the face, a modified version of the West Highland white terrier cut can be given to your dog. This cut, referred to as the modified Westie clip, shapes the hair around your dog's face into that of a circle or chrysanthemum-like shape, something that the Westie is known for. The hair on the face is trimmed to a few inches in length, while the rest of the body is clipped short, as in the puppy cut.


Ask your veterinarian to recommend a groomer in your area who has experience with Yorkies, especially if you plan on showing your dog. Bring a picture of the cut you have in mind to the groomer, because different groomers may have different ideas of cuts.

Observe the groomer during your initial session to ensure that your Yorkie is comfortable with the person; these little dogs, usually no more than 7 pounds in size, are delicate and can be easily injured by a groomer.

Reward your Yorkie after the session to reinforce the grooming as a positive experience.

References & Resources

Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, Inc
Yorkshire Terriers: Care, Training, Diet, Diseases, Behavior: Armin Kriechbaumer
American Kennel Club: Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier Club of America: Working with Your Yorkie
Yorkshire Terrier: Your Happy Healthy Pet: Marion Lane

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