Canine Breed Spotlight: Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier!

Dog Breed Group: Toy dogs

Average Life Span: 13-16 years



The Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) originated in Yorkshire, England. Information on the history of how the breed originated is not well documented. Cross breeding of a variety of small terriers (such as the Maltese, Skye Terrier, Paisley Terrier, Manchester Terrier and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier) ultimately led to the creation of this breed. The crossbreeding was mostly done by workers in north England, who wanted to develop a breed for catching rats and mice in clothing mills and mine shafts. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1885, but prior to that any dog in the shape of a terrier:  having a long coat, blue on the body and fawn or silver colored head and legs, tail docked and ears trimmed, was named a Yorkshire Terrier. The modern day Yorkie is much smaller than the original breed and has become a pet. They are no longer used for hunting rats and mice and controlling pests.


animal-15440_960_720These dogs are highly energetic. When trained properly they can be a wonderful, sweet and loyal companion. Yorkie’s can also have a stubborn streak, which can be controlled by a confident owner. They are naturally inquisitive and if left unattended have a tendency to get into mischief. They are very barky and yappy, but this trait makes them great at being watch dogs.

Is this breed right for you?

  • They need a strong confident owner, as they can suffer from “small dog syndrome” and become bossy and want to be the leader of the house if not trained properly.
  • Their exercise requirements are minimal. They do need daily exercise, but a 10-15 minute walk around the block daily will suffice.
  • Their coat requires a lot of care. Regular grooming is essential to keep their coat neat and tidy.
  • They do best in households with no children or older children.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that are more commonly seen in the Yorkshire Terrier.

  • A Congetnital Portosytemic Liver Shunt occurs when a blood vessel bypasses the liver, resulting in the blood being carried past the liver and therefore not being filtered and cleaned. Shunts are present in all fetal mammals and usually close down shortly before or after birth. However, if the the shunt doesn’t close down or develops in an abnormal place, your pet’s liver won’t get proper blood supply to grow or function properly.
  • A Luxating Patella occurs when the dog’s kneecap is dislocated from its normal position in the groove of the thigh bone. This may require corrective surgery, depending on the severity and frequency of the luxation.


  • Yorkies have a very small mouth, making Dental Disease is a major concern for this breed of dog. Crowding and mis-alignment of the teeth is common in these dogs. They are also prone to tartar buildup, making home dental care is very important. The crowding and alignment of your Yorkie’s teeth may lead to tartar buildup that may not be able to be managed with brushing alone- dental cleanings and dental surgery under anesthetic may be necessary throughout your Yorkie’s lifetime.