What is a Yorkshire Terrier?


The Yorkshire Terrier, often referred to as a Yorkie, is a small breed of dog that originated in Yorkshire, England. Known for their long, silky coats and confident personalities, Yorkies have become a popular choice for dog lovers around the world. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the Yorkshire Terrier breed, including their history, appearance, temperament, care, training, health, and popularity.

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier breed has a fascinating history that dates back to the mid-19th century. During the Industrial Revolution, workers from Scotland migrated to England, bringing with them their small terrier breeds. These terriers were crossbred with local dogs, resulting in the development of the Yorkshire Terrier.

Originally, Yorkshire Terriers were bred for their hunting skills, particularly in catching rats and other vermin in textile mills and coal mines. However, as their popularity grew, breeders started focusing more on their appearance and temperament, leading to the refined breed we know today.

Appearance of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog, typically weighing between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kilograms) and standing around 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. They have a compact and well-proportioned body, with a level topline and a high head carriage.

One of the most distinctive features of a Yorkshire Terrier is their luxurious coat. Their silky, straight hair grows long and flows down their sides, often reaching the floor if not trimmed. The coat is typically a combination of blue and tan, with a dark blue or black color on the body and a rich tan color on the head, chest, and legs.

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Temperament of the Yorkshire Terrier

Despite their small size, Yorkshire Terriers are known for their big personalities. They are confident, intelligent, and spirited dogs that often exhibit a fearless attitude. Yorkies are also affectionate and loyal to their families, making them excellent companions.

However, it is important to note that Yorkshire Terriers can be prone to developing small dog syndrome if not properly trained and socialized. This syndrome can lead to behavioral problems such as excessive barking, aggression, and possessiveness. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for raising a well-behaved Yorkshire Terrier.

Care and Grooming of the Yorkshire Terrier

Due to their long, flowing coats, Yorkshire Terriers require regular grooming to keep their hair healthy and free from tangles. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting, and occasional trims may be necessary to maintain a manageable length.

In addition to grooming, Yorkshire Terriers also require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Despite their small size, they have a moderate energy level and enjoy daily walks and playtime. Providing them with toys and interactive games can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Training a Yorkshire Terrier

Training a Yorkshire Terrier can be a rewarding experience, but it requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Yorkies are intelligent dogs and can quickly pick up new commands and tricks.

Basic obedience training, such as teaching them to sit, stay, and come when called, is essential for their safety and well-being. It is also recommended to enroll them in puppy classes or seek the guidance of a professional trainer to ensure they receive proper socialization and training from an early age.

Health Concerns of the Yorkshire Terrier

While Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy dogs, they are prone to certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of. Some common health concerns in the breed include:

  • Patellar Luxation: This is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, causing lameness and discomfort.
  • Collapsed Trachea: Yorkies can develop a weakened or collapsed windpipe, leading to coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Dental Problems: Due to their small size and overcrowded mouths, Yorkshire Terriers are prone to dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Portosystemic Shunt: This is a congenital condition where blood bypasses the liver, leading to a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper dental care can help prevent and manage these health concerns in Yorkshire Terriers.

Popularity of the Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is consistently ranked among the most popular dog breeds in many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Their small size, adorable appearance, and lively personalities make them appealing to a wide range of dog lovers.

Yorkies are often seen in the media, with celebrities frequently carrying them in purses or showcasing them on social media. Their popularity in the fashion world has also contributed to their status as a sought-after breed.


The Yorkshire Terrier is a captivating breed that combines elegance, intelligence, and a lively spirit. Their history, appearance, temperament, care, training, health concerns, and popularity all contribute to their unique appeal. Whether you are considering adding a Yorkshire Terrier to your family or simply want to learn more about this beloved breed, understanding their characteristics and needs is essential for providing them with a happy and fulfilling life.

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