February 22, 2020

Breed Profile: Yorkshire Terrier

by Lauren R. Tharp

Known as “Yorkies” to those who love them, the Yorkshire Terrier originated in Yorkshire, England (how appropriate, no?) where they were originally used to catch rats in clothing mills. Perky, fun, and utterly adorable, this toy breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1885 and currently reigns as the third most popular dog in the United States.

Physical Traits

Size & Weight: Extremely small, even by Toy breed standards. Yorkies are generally 5-7 inches in height and weigh a mere 3-7 pounds. “Teacup” Yorkshire Terriers can be even smaller than that!

Coat & Color: Colors are black and tan or “steel blue” and tan. Their hair is long, straight, and incredibly silky. Many Yorkies have hair that reaches all the way down to the floor.

Other: A Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky was a war hero (with the 5th Air Force in the South Pacific) during World War II. Smoky was also the first therapy dog!

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years.


Intelligent and energetic, Yorkies are incredibly loyal to their owners and, although they don’t require much exercise due to their small size, they need daily interaction with their preferred human. Quick to adapt to almost any surrounding, Yorkshire Terriers are affectionate, fun, agile, and intensely curious.


  • Easy to train.
  • Excellent watchdogs.
  • Requires very little exercise.


  • Grooming needs for this breed are high.
  • If not properly socialized at a young age, Yorkies can become yappy—or worse: snappy!—with strangers.
  • Yorkshire Terriers were originally ratters and those instincts still run strong within the breed today, often making them unsuitable around small animals (especially rodents such as mice, rats, and hamsters).

Do you think the Yorkshire Terrier would be the perfect addition to your family? Check your local animal shelter and/or rescue groups like the Save a Yorkie Rescue.


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